Orphan Awareness Month: Cassie

On November 25, 2013 by Bethany

Hi, I’m Cassie.

  • Stay at home mom to my kids.
  • Celebrating my 5,/6/7/8th  wedding anniversary.
  • Part-time missionary who travels the world with my little family.

This was what 30 looked like when I was 19.

Meet the husband in MBSF (college ministry) while on some kind of mission trip, get married, start a family after spending a few years in Costa Rica, Africa, Russia (take your pick) doing some kind of mission work, have beautiful kids, and keep living the “good life”.

Not exactly how it happened.

My 30 looks more like this:

  • Full-time Junior High Choir Director.
  • Single Foster Mom.
  • Occasionally showered, sleep deprived, nose-wiping, diaper-changing  -Foster Mom.

Orphan Awareness Month CassieAnd I love it.

When I was in college I began to read in the Word and believe The Lord had a big plan for me.  I had an incredible group of friends along with loving mentors who were pouring into me and we began to see God move in our lives and in the lives of the people around us. I also started going on mission trips and believed I was going to be doing missions, worldwide, for the rest of my life.  During this time of great spiritual growth 22 of my friends got engaged and within two years and I thought:

This.  Is.   It.  

This is my time.  

My plan is going to fall into place.  So I gladly sang love songs and/or stood as a bridesmaid in 11 weddings throughout the next few years knowing that God was going to place me in the path of the husband He had for me so we could get this plan going.  I was having a great time in college and loving all the roommates I was getting to spend my life with as well as teaching a 6th grade Sunday School class.  I really loved life and was believing God was going to follow my directions.  Send a husband then live our lives and do something BIG.

Then, out of nowhere, I was 23.  

I was about to begin my internship, graduate, get a job and find somewhere to live…by myself.  It caught me off-guard because I wanted God to do something BIG in my life and staying in Jonesboro, Arkansas teaching school was not my idea of “something big”.   I began to get very discouraged and also the subtly believe that I God didn’t want good things for me and He couldn’t be trusted.  Satan has been telling this lie since the fall and I was falling for it again.

I got a job teaching middle school music 3 days before I graduated from college and moved into a cute little rent house 3 months later.  Around this time I heard James Taylor speak at an MBSF event. He and his family were about to leave and live as missionaries in Africa for the second time. It was weird, but I remember being so excited to meet him and his family.  I think in the back of my mind they were going to meet me, love me, and ask me to move to Africa with them to be a missionary helper.  That night he spoke about Jesus calling the demons out of a possessed man.  The man wanted to then go with Jesus to another region then Jesus said to him:

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

James Taylor read this verse then said to the crowd:

“some of you are wanting to GO but God is telling you to STAY.  You need to stay at home and do his work right here in Jonesboro, Arkansas”.

Really, Lord?

I knew He was speaking to me, even though I didn’t want to hear it.

I continued to do my job but with the idea that God just might do something big with me as a teacher.  He led me to a group of teachers who would later become some of the greatest encouragers and helpers in my life.  He opened a door for a group of believers to plant a church in Jonesboro.  That church, citychurch, showed me what the word, CHURCH, meant.  I was blessed to be the worship leader and through this experience, God was confirming his word to me about staying at home.  The door opened for me to have a job directing junior high choir in town and I took it and loved it!

One night I ran across a blog about this single girl, Katy Davis, who had moved to Uganda when she graduated high school to live in an orphanage and be a mom to kids who have no mom.  Since then, she has adopted 14 girls, started a school and sponsorship program, and feeds hundreds of hungry kids out of her home.  She was in her early twenties and was definitely doing something BIG with her life.  While reading her story, something changed in my heart, I just kept thinking that God could do that with me, I was burdened and very unsettled but I didn’t know exactly why.  I started at the beginning of her blog and would read every night while I prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do with this burden on my heart.  He was leading me to adoption, but not in Uganda.  He was leading me to adoption right here in Arkansas.  As a single woman.  As a woman whose plan had fallen a part right before her eyes.

A year passed and I bought a house with three bedrooms knowing that a child was going to live in that third room. I began praying over that room.  And I waited a year.  A very long, trying year.  Last Christmas I announced to my family that I was going to begin the process of adoption and I made an appointment with a lady named Nicole Potts.  She is in charge of The Call in Jonesboro.  The Call is an organization made up of Christians who foster and adopt kids from Arkansas foster care. My friend Alicia and I went to her house one night to hear more about adoption not knowing that God was about to blow my mind.  Nicole loves adoption, she has an adopted child, but her heart is foster care.  I didn’t know anything about foster care but two hours later I had signed-up as a foster and adoptive home.  So I was praying like crazy and I think my friends thought I was crazy.  The classes and paperwork were all completed in May and I was going to be “open” in June.  I had met a wonderful group of people who were all going through the same process and we were so excited.  I spent the last few weeks in May making preparations and dreaming about the children that were going to live in that room.  Because I teach and have the summers off, I knew that this time would be wonderful for my first placement.

June.

July.

August.

No word.  Summer had passed and I didn’t have a child in my home.  I continued to email the people in charge of opening my home and finally I emailed Nicole.  I expressed how disappointed to I was to be starting back to work without having the summer with my foster child.  Here is what she wrote:

I’m so sorry.  When strange things like this happen, I have seen where the child or children you’re supposed to have aren’t in care yet. But this is such an unusual problem.

I wasn’t so discouraged after reading her email and continued to pray for that child and trusting God’s timing. Then things began to move very quickly.  Paperwork was completed and on September 17th my home was opened. That Thursday I was teaching my 5th period class and I saw I had a missed call.  Between classes I checked the message and sure enough, they needed a placement for not one child but TWO.

Two?

At one time?

Orphan Awareness Month CassieSo what did I do?  I waited.  I went ahead with the next class and started praying that the answer would be clear.  And the phone rang twice during class.  At one point I just stepped out and answered it.  It was the lady who had opened my home.  She told me that she had requested me for these children; she thought we would be a perfect match.  Holy. Cow.  On the other end of the phone I was literally sitting on my knees in my office silently praying about what I was supposed to do.  I had told her I didn’t know about two maybe I could just take one.  She then asked me if that was the case, which one would I take, the 16 month old or the 1 day old?  My heart broke, I could not pick one or the other.  The word both kept running through my mind.  Both. Both. Both.  So I said both.

I cannot share many details but I will share that these kids are just great!  I picked up J two hours later and baby A from the hospital the next afternoon.  It has been the most exhausting two months of my entire life.  In every way I was ready for one.  Physically I had one room with toys for one kid and one changing table.  Financially, I was prepared for one.  Emotionally…you can’t be ready emotionally when it comes to foster care, but in my wildest dreams I had never imagined TWO.

TWO.

BABIES.

I don’t really remember the first two weeks.  People came and brought everything we needed.  God really does provide EVERYTHING we need.  I just remember being overwhelmed in every possible way.  With love, joy, astonishment, and sweet babies. Come to think of it, I am still overwhelmed with love, joy, astonishment, and sweet babies! And two months later I have been privileged to experience milestones with both babies.  Every afternoon I get to pick them up from day care and experience my older child running toward me with a HUGE grin on his face then squeezing my neck when I pick him up.  I used to love sleep (and I still do) but I love getting to experience the sweet smiles and new faces of a growing infant at 2 AM.  I know they won’t last for long.

I don’t know if I will have these two for another month, year, or for the rest of my life but I am doing my best to point them to Jesus and to love them with His love.  This is the something BIG. ….And it’s better than I could have ever planned.

——

I’ve known Cassie for years, her heart and passion for children and youth is inspiring. Cassie, thank you for being a warrior for the marginalized. Thank you for being Christ’s love embodied. A single woman, taking on two foster children under the age of 2. That’s nothing small. That’s BIG.

I love you so much. You’re an inspiration, to God be the glory!

-Bethany

Get Involved

  • In Haiti – please give to Life is Hope orphanage through our website at prayingpelicanmissions.org for uniforms. The children are in need of uniforms to go to school. Without these uniforms, the school cannot proceed as planned and be seen as legitimate by the Haitian government.
  • In America – would you consider donating to Jacob and Anna? They are two of our newest PPM co-workers, and are in the final stages of bringing home their son from Belize. Not only are they adopting, they have just stepped out in faith and taken positions as Missions Coordinators, meaning they must fundraise the majority of their salary as a family. You can visit their support page to make a donation toward their adoption.
  • In Arkansas – we want to support a local Christian foster care organization: The CALL. As a response to the lack of foster and respite care homes for the over 7000 foster children in Arkansas,  The CALL exists to educate, equip, and encourage Christian families to meet the needs of these foster children. to help fund this awesome ministry you can send a check to us, or donate online on The CALL’s website.

 

 

5 Responses to “Orphan Awareness Month: Cassie ”

  • Even if they are not in your home forever, you have already pointed them to Jesus.

  • This is such a wonderful and touching article! I am currently writing a story on Father Flanagan, Boys Town, and the Foster system and wondered if you wouldn’t mind if I emailed Cassie a few questions or quoted parts of this article in my story to show the kind of joy that comes with opening your home to Foster children.

    • Thanks for the encouraging feedback! I’ll get in touch with Cassie and let her know what you’re interested in doing, then email you one way or the other.

  • Beth are the uniforms for the children at Life is Hope orphanage? If so what is the cost and quantity needed?

    • Hey there Linda,

      As of now, things have changed a little and uniforms are no longer the immediate need. This post is a little older and therefore, the needs have changed at this point. The current effort is to raise support for staff pay at both orphanages, to get this up to a level that is sufficient to both keep a full staff on and provide them with a competitive and healthy income. They are the ones who work daily with the children… cooking, cleaning, disciplining, etc.

      You can sponsor a child (which ultimately helps with all the expenses of a child) or donate through lifeishope.org or give online at prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate and designate your donation to Life Is Hope Staff Pay. Either way works great!

      Thank you for your heart and desire to serve and give in such a special way! Every person and dollar matters in this work, we appreciate you so much!

      Blessings,
      Bethany

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