A Happy Family of Five
Many people's lives take an unexpected route. This is very true for James and Marissa Bottoms, a young couple who attend First Baptist Church, Woodstock. When they first heard about the foster care crisis and FaithBridge Foster Care's mission to solve it, the Bottoms knew they were in. They just didn't know how deep!
James and Marissa prayed about their decision, attended the pre-service training and completed their home study. They became approved foster parents in January 2009, one of the first First Baptist Church Woodstock Community of Care families. The Bottoms felt, as many first-time parents do, that their first placement should be one infant or toddler; they understood that sometimes such specific criteria result in a long wait for placement.
Several months passed, during which time the Bottoms continued to examine their hearts. They realized that perhaps God had a bigger plan in store for them than they had first thought. After much discussion and prayer, James and Marissa decided that a phone call from their family consultant with a referral was essentially a sign from above. They promised each other that they would never say "no" to any child or children presented to them.
The Bottoms' first placement was a sibling group of two brothers, ages five and seven. The oldest was moved shortly afterwards to a facility that could better treat his significant needs, while the younger one stayed with the Bottoms for several months and thrived in their home. James and Marissa fully integrated this boy into their family and Community of Care until his successful reunification with his biological mother.
Their second placement came just weeks later. The FaithBridge family consultant called Marissa with a referral of a sibling group of three children - a two year-old boy and newborn twins, one boy and one girl. Marissa recalls that while it sounded like a lot of kids, she knew they would say "yes." She called James, they accepted the referral and they went to pick up the children from the local Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) office.
FaithBridge and the FBCW Community of Care made supporting the Bottoms a priority. Volunteers stepped in to help with everything from babysitting to coming to their home with dinner, to help do dishes or laundry or whatever was needed. Looking back, the Bottoms agree that this support helped them get through several weeks of adjustment. It made what could have been difficult much easier than expected. They have now settled into a routine and are a happy family of five.
The Bottoms could have never imagined what God had in store for them. After 18 months, the Bottoms are still experiencing the joy of saying "yes". Christmas came early with the adoption of all three siblings on December 21, 2010, creating a beautiful forever family.
The Bottoms prove, as do many other foster families, that God never gives us more than we can handle. They trusted in the Lord, and He showed them their path and their capabilities. The result? A beautiful family they never expected.