Rebekah says she feels like God gave her the desire to adopt when she was young, and she never wavered. After returning from missionary work in the Dominican Republic, she began the process of getting certified as a foster parent through Good Shepherd Children & Family Services.
She vividly remembers the day she received the call that an infant girl needed a safe, loving home. A case worker arrived a few hours later and opened the back door of his car to give Rebekah her first glimpse of a sleeping baby with a shock of red hair. Raylie’s adoption was completed through another agency on June 11, 2020.
“I always knew that I would be a happy foster mom for any child God sent my way. And then Raylie became available for adoption, and I felt so thankful that He chose me to be a part of this,” says Rebekah.
Tell us about the day you met Raylie as her foster parent.
I had just gotten over the flu, but I got the call and said, “Let’s do it!” Within an hour, there were friends and family at my house with cars and trucks full of the things you’d need for a baby. When I first saw her, she was six months old and completely asleep. I took her in the house and I think I went in every other minute to check on her, until finally she was looking back at me. I picked her up and started feeding her and she was just staring at me and holding my finger. My dad snapped a picture, so we have a great memory of those first moments.
What’s it like being a foster parent who’s also interested in adoption?
In Missouri, the #1 goal in foster is reunification; we believe that’s ultimately the best choice when it’s safe and healthy. My goal was to give a home to any child who needed it. I would be their mom as long as God needed me to while also doing whatever needed to help the family get better. I knew by loving Raylie well, I would be helping keep her biological family together if possible.
I also knew that any child in my home who became available for adoption, I would ask to be an adoptive resource. The second you meet them, they’re your child. You don’t withhold love. They’re immediately yours and you love them like they’re yours. It’s what they need and deserve.
When the goal changed from reunification to termination of parental rights, I got additional licensing for adoption. We still have a great relationship with her paternal grandma and their family.
How did Good Shepherd help you along the way?
Good Shepherd is my licensing agency. Kim Gisburne is my case worker and she’s been the best resource for me. I love her! She wrote my home study, she came to my home and help me with all the paperwork, she was a mentor. She walked me through everything, explaining and encouraging.
Raylie’s case was challenging because there were connections with the biological family. Kim had the experience to walk me through scenarios and give advice. She shares the same heart and goal, that if a family can be healthy and safe then they’re the best option. But at the same time she was supportive of me.
During adoption, you have to be able to feel two things at the same time: You love this kid and want this kid, but at the same time you have to be supportive of the biological family. Kim challenged me when I needed to be challenged to keep the goal in mind.
What’s it like being Raylie’s mom?
Raylie will be three in February. She is so much fun, busy and energetic. She has the most beautiful bright red hair. Everywhere we go, she’s a show-stopper.
Being Raylie’s mom is my favorite role I’ve had the privilege of playing. She’s challenged me to depend on the Lord in new ways, but also look at the world in new ways. She was diagnosed with autism in June, which challenged me to see everything in a better perspective… to see how far she’s come and the challenges she’s already faced in such a short life. It’s beautiful to watch. I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mom.