As foster parents, John (’08) and Brenna (Pittman ’06) Windham have had 14 children – and counting – come through their home. They’ve been able to adopt two of their foster children, 6-year-old Grace and 3-year-old State, and are in the process of trying to adopt two more.
“We wanted to become foster parents because we both had a passion for kids and adopting,” says Brenna. “We had heard about adopting through the foster system and decided it was the way to go for us. Obviously, they don’t all end up being able to be adopted but we enjoy loving on all the kids we can.”
Enjoy the Windhams’ story as we continue our series about Abilene Christian University alumni who have followed their hearts to adopt. John is the general manager of Taco Casa in Abilene, and Brenna is a teacher at Highland Church of Christ Young Children’s World.
Fostering to Adopt We currently have five children in our home ages 12, 6, 3 and two 11-month-old infants who were born three days apart.
Grace was our first placement. We got her when she was 2 days old. I remember getting the call while at work and couldn’t stop jumping up and down and running around telling everyone I was getting a baby girl.
Everyone knows fostering is not an easy road. It wasn’t until Grace was 18 months old that the parental rights were terminated. We were on a roller coaster ride, scared we wouldn’t be able to adopt our baby girl. But in May 2011, she became a Windham.
We had three foster kids between Grace and State. Right after Grace was adopted, we decided to take a short break to focus on her, but God had other plans – exciting plans! In July, we found out Grace had a baby brother. We got him at 5 weeks of age. They have the same biological mother but different fathers.
And so the roller coaster began again. Since we had his sister, the chances of us adopting him were better but it always depends on the biological family. Finally, in July of 2013, right after State turned 2, his adoption was official.
Foster care is an amazing ministry with the positive outcomes of not only getting to adopt but also seeing kids go back home to their families who have worked hard. However, that isn’t always the case. Kids do go home to parents, but parents can screw up again, and the babies get lost in the system. Prayer and knowing God is ultimately in control helps us get through the heartaches and heartbreaks of fostering.
The most common phrase we hear is “We could never be foster parents. We would get too attached.” Here is my response: Foster care is not about us. You SHOULD get attached. It helps the children who may not have ever had that kind of love before. If you are too worried about how YOU might feel, then it’s not for you.
Be prepared to have your heart broken and to be unsure about what will happen and to question why God lets things happen. But know in the end that God has it under control, and there is a bigger plan. I challenge you to let God take control.
In the weeks to come, we will introduce you to other alumni who help make a real difference in the world – and enrich their own families – by adopting and fostering children.
You can follow new stories in this series on the ACU Facebook page.
See previous posts in this series:
- For the Least of These: A home for Elliott
- For the Least of These: The Tidmores
- For the Least of These: The Schroeders
- For the Least of These: The Joneses
- For the Least of These: The Mendenhalls
- For the Least of These: The Campbells
- For the Least of These: The Rodriguezes
- For the Least of These: The Del Balsos