2,026 days in foster care and today Madison Smith and Hannah Threadgill OFFICIALLY have a forever family!!
I know a lot of people don’t know the whole story, so I’m going to give a short version here since we can officially talk about it now!
Back in September of 2015 our amazing pastor Skip Allen preached a sermon that convicted me. God was telling me that I didn’t have to wait until I graduate to make a difference. “God does not call the equipped and qualified BUT he equips and qualifies the called”. That week I went to our Christian services center on campus and asked if there was a group home around that I could volunteer at. I have two adopted sisters so I’ve always had a heart for kids in foster care. So I got set up with the supervisor and he informed me that a sibling set of girls had just come to the home and I would be a perfect mentor for them. (5 months after they went into foster care is when I started volunteering with them.)
I started going to the group home 2-3 days a week to play with the girls and hang out at the home with them. A few months later I met my now husband-Sami. Another few months later we started taking them on weekend visits. We would bring them to church and lunch every Sunday to get them out of the group home and spend time with them.
2 years go by and my parents are interested in adopting the girls. Long story short they were not allowing them to go out of state because of previous out of state placements that didn’t go well. One night while I was having my quiet time with God he spoke to me and basically said “why can’t you adopt them, what’s holding you back”? I began a list of excuses of why I wouldn’t be able to adopt two teenagers but once again I was convicted. Sami and I talked and prayed about it a whole lot and realized God had a different plan for our lives than what we had planned.
We took the 10 week long foster care classes in the fall of 2018 only to be told the last class that we wouldn’t be able to get the girls because of our age difference. All along no one said a word then all of a sudden there is a problem. No one could give us an answer as to why this was a problem. No where in writing did it say anything about this “10 year age difference” they were telling us about. We were told to stay cool, keep getting the girls on the weekends and “wait it out”.
In January of 2019 Sami and I moved to Charlotte where we got jobs and tried to have Mecklenburg county certify us as foster parents to get the girls. I won’t bore you with details but basically everyone in the system doubted us, thought we were too young, that it wouldn’t work, that we couldn’t manage to take care of teenagers. Everyone doubted that we would keep trying and keep fighting for them. When they told us we wouldn’t be able to get the girls they thought we would stop trying and they would be done with us. The devil put in overtime for a year and a half trying to get these girls to never have a forever family. However, on June 10th of 2020 my God won the battle and the girls were placed with us to have a forever family that loves them and will never let them go!!!! Today we went to court to get legal official custody of them!! They are officially out of foster care FOR LIFE and officially have a mother and father who love them like their own!!!!
I don’t share this story to have everyone say “you guys are such good people” or any other compliments because the truth of it is we really aren’t “good” people. All of the praise and glory goes straight to God because none of this would have been possible without Him on our side! Sami and I are sinners who make mistakes every single day, who have a past of regrets and mistakes we have made. We are far from perfect and far from being equipped to raise teenagers. But guess what?! God WILL equip and qualify the called. God will take normal people like me and you and preform miracles if you only make yourself available to Him!
So what is it that God is calling you to do? What are you running from? What is your excuse? Are you too young? Too old? Too busy? Not fit for the position?! Stop making excuses when you know that God is convicting you to take that leap of faith and follow Him!! Take that leap of faith and God will guide you the entire way. At times it may not feel like it but He will finish the work He starts with you. This Christmas season is the perfect time to go out and make a difference in the lives around you. Foster care may not be for everyone, but there are many ways to make a difference in the lives of others! Be bold and let God use you in ways you could never imagine!