So, remember when we had 2 children? Yeah, me too.
The Simpkins family has grown! The Lord is SO good!!
About 10 years ago, my beautiful and wonderful wife came to me and said, "Matt, I think it is time for us to consider adoption as the next part of our family growth." I responded, "Oh Sweetie, that's nice." But at the same time, I couldn't shake it. God kept working on me. Over the next couple of years, I spent time away at Lutherock in Newland, North Carolina. I loved my time working at Camp there, but perhaps the most impactful time in my life there was spent with the children of The Crossnore School. We took our Lutherock campers to Crossnore to play games with the children, hear their stories, and share a meal. This was so incredibly powerful for the campers. They got a chance to see what life looks like outside of their norms. They had a family. They had food on the table. They had a home. And these kids did not.
But it wasn't just the campers who had their lives changed at The Crossnore School. I remember it incredibly vividly still. It was the summer of 2009. While we were playing, a young girl - probably about 4 years old - came up to me and started holding my hand. She had long brown hair and brown eyes and looked like Melody when she was a little girl. It was uncomfortable, weird and yet so incredibly beautiful. I wasn't quite sure why she was holding my hand, and she didn't really say anything, but she seemed to just want the comfort of my hand. That was the moment that I realized that the little angel that was holding my hand was in fact, a little angel. After we left Crossnore that day, I called Melody and said, "Okay I'm ready." When I got home from camp, we began the process of looking into what it would be like for our family to adopt.
Pastor Melody and I have spent many years now in preparation for what happened in our lives last week. We've been through home studies. We've been through form after form after form after form. We have had interviews and evaluations, and even more forms. We have even been approved in two different states! This has been a long time coming. It has been our dream for years and years. We are currently approved in the foster-to-adopt program working with the state of North Carolina, and believe it or not, the Crossnore School were the people that helped to make it happen! The week before last on Friday our two foster daughters moved into our home! While adoption is a ways off, we are hope-filled that we will be their forever family. The very place where the dream came to life for me has helped to pave the way for our foster daughters to come home. We have been working with Gretchen Goers of the Crossnore School. She is absolutely incredible. We highly recommend that if you are considering this calling that you reach out to her. We will include her contact information at the bottom of this blog as well as links to The Crossnore School.
[Side note: I preached about this process more fully at Christ South, and if you are interested in hearing more you can listen to that sermon (6/24 "CHOSEN") here: Facebook.com/christsouth]
So if you have seen two young girls walking around with Pastor Melody, me, or the boys and wondering what happened, now you know. These two beautiful girls are so important to us and we are finding how important we are to them.
Throughout this process, people have been so incredibly supportive. Case in point: we found out fairly quickly that the girls would be moving in in about 3 days and had not fully been able to prepare a room yet. We got the news on a Tuesday and after sharing that with our Christ south softball team, a group of people came to our home, helped us move things that needed to be moved, paint their new room and brought gifts for the girls!! It was incredible!! We even had someone bring us a meal!
We feel so very loved and supported. We have had several people ask us how to talk about what has happened so here are a couple of things that are helpful to know:
+ While the girls are in the foster program, they really don't like to be called foster kids. They have been waiting for a forever home for a long time and want to feel like they have found it. (More on that in part 2 next week). They call themselves sisters to their new brothers and daughters to us.
+ We have had some wonderful people exclaim, "Wow you guys are crazy! Didn't you just have a baby?" Why we completely understand that sentiment, we believe that this is a calling, not crazy. We feel called to this as part of our family's ministry in the world and hope that you will see it as a calling too. God blessed us to be a blessing for others.
+ Yes, our life is now a whirlwind. When the Simpkins 7 arrive somewhere, you will probably know it. :-) We are so blessed by the energy and excitement that exists in our home. We live and love the whirlwind. A couple of nights ago our boys had friends over, the girls were in excited mode and Copeland our youngest, was laughing at everything that everyone was doing. I was making waffles like I was the Swedish Chef, Pastor Melody was catching the syrupy sausage frisbees I was chucking, and life was a picture of beautiful chaos.
Jesus tells the story of what the kingdom of God looks like where a Shepherd has 100 sheep and one gets lost. Jesus says that the shepherd's love means that the shepherd will go out and find the one. The one sheep that is lost is so incredibly important. As I reflect on that scripture, I am sure that these girls were the lost sheep that our family felt called to go find and then carry home... But then again, maybe as much as I can now see how our calling has come to fruition, perhaps our family was the lost sheep and these girls brought us into the fullness of the family that we have always been called to be.
Maybe today you are feeling lost, alone, or maybe even orphaned. Maybe you feel like God is not paying attention anymore. Maybe you feel like the world has abandoned you. Brothers and sisters, know that the God of life, reconciliation, and providence is here and is now, and will always be running out into that wilderness you're stuck in to find YOU. That God loves you beyond measure. We pray that you are blessed to be a blessing that you might be found, and then live the rest of your life seeking how you can find others and bring them home.
Thank you all for your love and support through this process. Please continue to pray for us, support us, and encourage us. When you see us running around the church and it looks like we have a lot going on, step in and help. That's what the church is for, and we need you! We are so blessed and loved by this congregation. We give thanks to God for you!
Assistant Director of Foster Care and Adoption
Avery Campus, 100 Dar Drive, Crossnore, NC 28616
Office (828)733-4305 ext. 502