Adoption isn’t picture perfect–adoption is a picture of the gospel. – Ann Voskamp
It started when he was about five. Removed from his home because of his parent’s choices, Edgar had no idea what lay ahead. With an older brother and two younger sisters, and all with different fathers, the children were split up fairly quickly. Edgar bounced around from foster home to group home to foster home. The days became weeks, which became months, and suddenly nearly five years had passed. That’s almost 1,825 days, give or take a few. It’s also a long time with little to no stability.
There were a couple of good years when Edgar lived with Mrs. Baldwin. They grew close and her fiancé was the first father-figure Edgar remembers. But it still wasn’t a permanent home.
Married in 2000, Melinda and Jered Markman wanted to have children, but somehow it just never happened. There were a number of options open to the Markmans and they talked through them all. Did they want to travel down the infertility road? Did they want to remain childless? Should they adopt? Melinda says, “It was a two-year process. No overnight decision here. We even talked about whether or not we could love a child that wasn’t our biological child.” But Melinda and Jered have always been involved with kids so they knew that wouldn’t be a problem.
So they decided on adoption and again there were many questions. How do we get licensed? What agency should we use? Do we look at a foreign adoption? Would we rather have a baby or offer a home to an older child? “We found out we couldn’t afford a foreign adoption,” Melinda continued. “And it seemed like a waste to go that route because there are so many kids here who need families.”
The Journey Begins
So the Markmans embarked on a journey towards building their family and they chose The Children’s Home (today, Crossnore School & Children’s Home) to help them. When asked why they chose The Children’s Home, Jered replied, “It’s a God-story. We knew an older gentleman at church named Charlie Armstrong. He had grown up at The Children’s Home in the 1930s and 40s. He even had the opportunity to be adopted, along with his birth siblings, but refused. Charlie said if he left The Children’s Home, he would lose 500 brothers and sisters.”
As Charlie and his wife got to know the Markmans and encouraged and mentored them, the Markmans enjoyed hearing Charlie’s stories of The Children’s Home. Charlie died not long before Jered and Melinda decided to adopt and they remembered those stories. “Choosing to work with The Children’s Home was our way to honor Charlie,” said Jered.
Licensure for foster and adoptive families is a process. Jered and Melinda attended their training classes at The Children’s Home, completed their home study, had background checks and were fingerprinted (twice, in fact!). Melinda said she did all the paperwork because Jered was teaching, coaching, working on his Master’s degree, and doing some preaching on the side. “And people say they are too busy!” Melinda said as she laughed. “It’s a lot of work but it can be done.”
Orchestrated by God
Once the licensure was completed, the waiting began. Jered and Melinda viewed the children’s profiles on NCKids and noted a picture of a special young man they were interested in. When they went to The Children’s Home to sign some more paperwork, their adoption worker asked if they had looked at the NCKids website. As Jered and Melinda described the boy they had seen, their adoption worker turned over a photo that was laying on his desk. In a moment that could only be orchestrated by God, the photo was of Edgar, the same boy Jered and Melinda had felt drawn to.
From there, Jered and Melinda interviewed together with Edgar and decided to proceed with visits. They met right after Christmas that year and Edgar had his first home visit in January for his birthday. The process included day time visits, weekend visits, and finally Edgar came home to stay in March. The Markmans all agree that this was the hardest part of the process. Waiting from March to October when the adoption could be finalized seemed like it would never end. But finally the day came and everyone celebrated!
Although it is a long road, the Markmans agreed that it was the right road for their family. Jered says the training classes were great for helping them feel prepared for the day Edgar came home. He also mentioned that the classes helped him get to know himself better. Melinda said she saw a side of Jered that she had never seen as they grew together throughout their training.
A Picture of the Gospel
Melinda also says that being a mom is awesome. “It’s been wonderful to see our extended families come together to welcome and embrace Edgar as a member of the family,” said Melinda. This family support was crucial to the success of Edgar’s adoption. When asked if their family would accept a child of a different race, Melinda said, “Don’t insult me! I knew I would love him but didn’t know I would love him so quickly and so much. His race didn’t matter, and our families felt the same way.”
I’m not loved. I am very loved.
At this writing, Edgar is a freshman in high school. He enjoys sports and won the Most Improved Award in Soccer at his middle school. Edgar’s favorite subject in school is Social Studies and he looks forward to studying computer technology in college. His parents call Edgar the “baby whisperer” because kids just love him. Edgar says he is blessed to be part of this family and he tells people, “I’m not loved. I am very loved.”
Today the Markman family of three is thriving. Jered and Melinda simply want to raise a good and faithful Christian young man and they are doing just that. Melinda says, “He was a good kid when he came to us, and we just want to build on that.” To sum it all up, Jered says, “It’s a process. The family will come together, it just doesn’t happen overnight. But it is definitely worth it!”
For more information on how you can become a foster or adoptive parent, contact Kelly Riley, Foster Care Trainer and Licensing Specialist, at (336) 721-7600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.