My husband is the only person I know who follows UGA basketball. In the SEC, we’re all about football. So when Davis, who we adopted this year, doesn’t hear me call his name because he’s glued to a UGA basketball game, I am reminded that biology doesn’t determine everything.
I started recruiting foster families back in 2011 – a solid four years before my husband, Jon, and I became one. After attending a meeting of local church leaders, hosted by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), I realized there were over 400 vulnerable children in foster care in the New Orleans area. DCFS made a plea for local churches to mobilize their congregations – they needed families for kids and churches were full of safe, loving families. Crossroads NOLA was born out of the desire to match the need of the foster care system to what I believe is the greatest resource available to them – the local church. Through Crossroads NOLA, I set out to recruit, develop, and support foster families from local churches.
God had definitely given me a passion and mission to work on behalf of children in foster care. But Jon and I did not feel like God was giving us the “green light” to become certified. Becoming a foster parent is a significant commitment. It is a commitment of your time, energy, resources, and emotions. There is much to consider – how will this affect my schedule? my marriage? my child or children? Do I have enough support – in my family, church, community?
In the spring of 2014, we started the certification process. Our green light came in the form of the little boy who would eventually become our son. Davis had been placed in the home of a foster family in our church. For months and months they loved him and cared for him – they were committed to fostering children and preparing them for permanency – whether that was reunification with a biological parent or placement with an adoptive family. As Davis’ case plan moved toward adoption, we began to wonder if God had put this little guy in our path for a reason.
As we finished up the certification process, DCFS determined that Davis would likely need an adoptive placement. On July 2, 2014 Davis was placed in our home. We had interacted with him at church on a limited basis and had a few play dates, but basically, a 4 year-old stranger moved into our home. If you think that sounds difficult, try being a 4 year-old who moves into a stranger’s home. Let’s just say…. there were some growing pains. We had to learn him. He had to learn us.
Over the course of the next year, we had to wait for the system to work through the details and requirements that would allow him to become a Palmer. There were unexpected twists and turns in the journey, and some days that we were afraid we would not get to be Davis’ forever family. But in the end, it was meant to be. We finalized Davis’ adoption on July 10, 2015.
Adoption is always born out of a loss. Because of circumstances out of his control, Davis lost his biological family. But loss does not define adoption – it is also about growth, renewal, redemption, and unconditional love. We couldn’t imagine life without Davis. And, we’re not sure what the Georgia basketball team would do without their second biggest fan.
Executive Director, Crossroads NOLA