Join co-hosts Lynette Ezell and Tera Melber as they talk with Paula Walker about her family’s foster journey. Paula and her husband, Scott, have been married 13 years with three children and are currently fostering a one-year-old and a two-year-old. Learn how God revealed the needs that moved the Walkers’ hearts to care for the young and helpless in foster care.

For more information, visit sendrelief.org/foster-care-adoption.

Additional resources:

  • Lifeline Child: Supporting Adoptive and Foster Families Through the Church

http://lifelinechild.org/supporting-adoptive-and-foster-families-through-the-church/

  • Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries: A Daughter’s Perspective

http://www.alabamachild.org/main/abch-update/foster-care-a-daughters-perspective/

Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to the Adopting and Fostering Home Podcast. Whether your family has been on this journey for years, or you’re just getting started, we’re here to support and encourage you along the way. And now your hosts, Lynette Ezell and Tera Melber.

Lynette Ezell: Welcome back to the Adopting and Fostering Home Podcast. You know, Tera, when Kevin and I moved here about seven years ago, I couldn’t find my people so much, and so I remember going to this local church we started visiting, and I met this sweet gal, had a fire in her eye, like I had seen in yours.

Tera Melber: That’s our kind of people.

Lynette Ezell: That’s right. And so, I just began to see … Paula Walker’s here with us today. Paula and I and another staff person at that church really began to see the Lord build a community of people who cared about and wanted to engage foster care and adoption, so Paula, welcome. Thanks for being with us today.

Paula Walker: Thank you. We’re excited to be here.

Lynette Ezell: So you and Scott have been married 13 years?

Paula Walker: Yes.

Lynette Ezell: And you have three children?

Paula Walker: Yes.

Lynette Ezell: And you had a little addition, so I’m going to let you tell about that, okay?

Paula Walker: So we are fostering currently a two-year-old and one-year-old that we’ve had for 14 months. So if you do the math, we brought the one-year-old home from the NICU at five days.

Lynette Ezell: Oh, wow.

Paula Walker: Never in our wildest dreams had we imagined a newborn. Like, we didn’t know … We were just not prepared for the newborn situation.

Lynette Ezell: Right.

Paula Walker: Our first placement was a seven, five, and two-year-old. Totally prepared for that. Newborn, not quite so much.

Tera Melber: That means sleepless nights.

Paula Walker: Yes.

Lynette Ezell: That’s right. That’s right.

Tera Melber: Plus, his brother was very, very young.

Paula Walker: Yes.

Tera Melber: So you had two really little people come into your home really quickly.

Paula Walker: Yes, and the significant thing for him was is that he was 17 months physically, but much more of a six-month-old, so I basically had two babies at the same time.

Lynette Ezell: Right. Man, so what brought you and Scott to the decision to foster?

Paula Walker: Well, we both came from the background of teaching teenagers, and always had a kid on our couch. My husband was a football coach, college and high school. We never had a time when someone did not live on our couch in our time as a football coach, so we knew for a long time that God had called us to help in that realm, and thought when we started fostering we would start with teenagers. We were just going to … When the ministry that Lynette mentioned came forward, we were just going to serve, and then as our children got older we would foster teenagers. God laughed at that plan, and so we ended up going serving in the ministry, and just the more we learned the more that Lord placed on our hearts like, “No, I’m ready for you to do this.”

Lynette Ezell: I would meet you in the hallway at church and she would have pictures of children from like a sibling group of five and she had three at home. These beautiful little Asian children or beautiful … She was really wanting to build a multiracial family. You could see God had laid that on their heart, but it never seemed the time was right, and then Scott had to get on board, right?

Paula Walker: Yes. He sat in a class, and when I did leadership he loved that because I had to sign something saying that while I served in this leadership position we would not foster. He was like, “Yeah, baby, you should totally lead this ministry.” We were going through this process of I’m praying for his heart because I knew just in the short time that I had been it, this will be challenging. It will bring warfare. It will bring divide in our family just because of time, money, energy, and so I didn’t want to be the one that forced him into it. Obviously, he’s the leader of our home and I need to follow his lead if he’s definitely no then that’s God’s will that I not usurp him.

Paula Walker: He actually attended an introduction class and was like, “I’m only here because my wife does this and we’re not fostering.” It was not long after that though that the Lord, in the same way of mine, that he revealed so much need and God opened his heart to it. We began to see in these children things that we had seen in our players years before, and he began to reveal things to us that maybe some of these teenagers that we dealt with over these last 10, 12 years would not have been in this situation had someone stepped up for them. Because so many of our kids may not have technically been foster children, but they had been passed from home to home, a parent in jail, or just a parent not able to afford … Living below the poverty level and they had lived with this aunt or this friend on this couch, and so God just slowly revealed to us in time that if someone had just stepped in at an earlier age, maybe we wouldn’t be here today. I think that was his big turning point.

Lynette Ezell: As that began to grow in your heart and you’re preparing your home because you have Caroline, Thomas, and Jackson, your bio kids at home. You’re super busy running kids and your husband’s starting a business, right?

Paula Walker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lynette Ezell: You’ve got all this going on, so on paper, this isn’t great timing for you guys.

Paula Walker: Yes. My parents had thought we had lost our minds. They were like, “This is awful.”

Tera Melber: Yeah, people typically do feel like you’ve lost your mind.

Paula Walker: Yeah. Like, “Do you not look around and think maybe you’re a little … There’s just not enough time for this.” Most people do. Most people look at us and go, “What were you thinking? This is horrible timing.”

Lynette Ezell: Right, and then it’s an affluent area that we find ourselves in that most everyone wants to keep a new car, and the finest homes, and that sort of thing. The focus is really … It really kind of gets in their face when they see a family like you all walk up to the ball field. Have you had that experience?

Paula Walker: We have. We have a very … We laugh. People fit into one of two camps for us. Either they look at us and they’re like, “Oh, wow.” I had that experience Saturday morning. Sweet lady. A mutual friend introduced us, and she was like, “Wait. These are your foster children?” Like, “These are your foster children?” It always shocks people because I think they think they’re going to have horns or green skin, and so, “Yes, they are.” She weeps the whole conversation.

Lynette Ezell: Wow.

Paula Walker: It very obviously touched her. Okay, then there’s the polar opposite end of the spectrum that, “Oh, those are your foster children? It was so good to see you,” and then they walk off because it’s very confronting because I am at the ballpark. We did play a doubleheader for one kid Saturday and a baseball game for the other kid, and I did have to bring everything but the kitchen sink because I was at the ball field for five hours. I wanted to be there and the little boys love that, so it wasn’t a big thing, but the camp is so divided.

Paula Walker: We were on a team last year that one team fully embraced us, and sat with us, and helped us, and then I could go to the next field and I sat by myself, and my husband would say, “Oh, babe. I’m sorry.” You know?

Lynette Ezell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tera Melber: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Walker: Because they always two camps.

Tera Melber: Right. Right. What have you found with your bio kids? How have they responded to maybe hearing things that a typical 11, nine, and eight-year-old might not know? I know people are always concerned about bio kids. How’s this going to affect them? They’re going to know what methamphetamines are. They’re going to know what withdrawals are. They’re going to know what abandonment is. They’re going to know all of those things or just total dysfunction. Court dates, therapies, all those things that were not in your life before now are in your life. Has that affected them negatively, positively? What would you say?

Paula Walker: It’s been interesting. I will tell you that our children, although they’re 11, nine, and eight, didn’t really understand what divorce was until about two years ago. We have gone from understanding what a divorce is to understanding how children can have multiple fathers, and so I have to … There are things that I have to ask them not to share at school. Like, “Let’s not share. That’s not everyone’s experience in life,” so it has opened their eyes to different things.

Paula Walker: In the beginning, obviously, we didn’t share as much and a lot of selfishness came out. We’ve worked with them through sharing their time and their resources, but as God has revealed and has allowed us to not be fearful. We’re not to walk in fear, and so to share with our kids this is why they’re here, it’s allowed them to have so much more grace. Even this morning on the way to school we saw a most wanted billboard for a guy who is a murderer, and my Thomas goes, “Mom, how did he get there?” Whereas before you would’ve been like, “Oh, murderer. What did you do?” This has forced my kids to look at every situation differently and grace-filled because we tell them all the time these boys’ parents didn’t necessarily choose this life. No one sets out and says, “I want to be a drug addict. I want to be an abuser. I want to be …” No one says that.

Paula Walker: It’s given them eyes of grace to see people hopefully, as Christ sees them. That’s been the biggest change that I’ve seen in the babies, and then just the responsibility that we are to go about this life helping others. It’s odd for them to go to a friend’s house and there are no little people there. They just get to just play whatever they want to play versus our family is a very pitch-in, help family, so they see a lot of differences when they go to other’s house.

Lynette Ezell: [crosstalk 00:08:53]

Paula Walker: You don’t have to be quiet because the babies are asleep. You know?

Lynette Ezell: Right.

Paula Walker: At our house, you can’t go upstairs because the babies are asleep and things like that.

Tera Melber: Right. Have you found that it’s been an easy way for you to … I’m sure that it has, for you to be able to really teach you bio kids about the gospel, and have you been able to interject all of those lessons like Bible stories and Bible lessons and things that Christ told us to do? That it’s easy to be able to relate that to your current situation.

Paula Walker: Oh, yeah. This is a picture of the gospel, so every day they get to see little things. This morning, there’s a new song that we were talking about how God is a friend to the one that the world ignores. We’ve just talked about that in light of things that have happened in the world lately. School shootings and things like that, and I was telling the kids this morning, I was like, “Sometimes there are kids are ignored that those are the ones that God has put us there to share the gospel was. If you think about your little brothers,” because we call the little boys our little brothers. “If you think about your little brothers, they might’ve been ignored, and so what does that look like? Can you imagine our two babies being ignored?” “Well, who would ignore them? They’re so cute. They’re so precious,” but they don’t fit the societal norm.

Paula Walker: They’re not going to be wearing all of the name brand clothes. They’re not going to be … So we have to look for the people that God looks for, and we always talk about that God never picked a rockstar. How can you be that person to go and love them and be Christians or little Christs to all these people in your life? That was just this morning. Foster care makes us realize that because we’ve had foster children that … The ones that we have now are the cutest things in the world, if I might say so myself.

Lynette Ezell: Agreed. They are cute.

Paula Walker: We have had children that were so neglected that their entire mouths were rotted out. This is four and five-year-olds, and so all of their teeth are silver and capped. When they smile in their class picture they don’t look like the other children in the class picture, and so to extend that to your kids and say, “You may not have necessarily picked that person first for the kickball game. I’m asking you to view them as Jesus views them.” We just try to give that gospel message, and then they know and we’ve shared that with them that as we walk through this process and adoption comes forward, Jesus adopted us into his family, and so that gets shared often.

Paula Walker: The beautiful thing about that is they get to see me share that story. Because if anyone ever asks me about the boys I automatically go to the gospel. I feel like that is probably reason number one that God called us into that is I had been begging God for a way to share the gospel. I was just not … I was talking to people about Jesus but was just not getting to, “He died on the cross for your sins and rose three days later.” He has given us this as an outlet to share that, and so the kids being able to see and hear us say that at restaurants, at the ball field has been beautiful, so then they, in turn, can see it and share it.

Lynette Ezell: Fostering and adoption truly does change your view of the world, your view of your relationships. It really gives you a lens of the gospel, you’re right. I’ve noticed, Tera and I would agree, in our own families it just trains our children’s hearts. I think one of the best things you can do for your kids is to teach them to widen their tent and to broaden their homes and to share what the Lord has given us because we’re the wealthiest people in the world, right?

Tera Melber: Right.

Lynette Ezell: To share that. Paula, let’s look back. Let’s start over here and give a realistic view of what a week looks like for a foster mom as far as things that you’re required to do for the boys.

Paula Walker: Okay. Our two-year-old was extremely behind, so in the beginning, we did so many initial tests to figure out where he was developmentally because he … When I saw developmentally, he couldn’t chew, so we’re talking fundamentals. [crosstalk 00:12:44]

Tera Melber: That’s incredible to me, and I know that surprises people all the time, but a two-year-old that has to learn how to chew.

Paula Walker: Yes, I lost 10 pounds-

Tera Melber: Let’s just put that in perspective.

Paula Walker: … in the first six weeks because I spent every mealtime chewing for … Like, “Chew. Okay, let’s chew.” That is incredible because you think that’s primal within us, but so much of babies is learned from their parents and mimicking. We didn’t have basic vocabulary. Hand. We didn’t know our name. My first vivid moment where I was like, “Okay, Lord, you called me to this. You’re going to equip me for this, but what am I doing?”

Paula Walker: It was right around Christmastime. We had a 10-foot tree, and he’s pulling the tree, and I’m yelling his name repeatedly. He never turned around, and it dawned on me, “The child does not know his name.”

Tera Melber: Man.

Paula Walker: So that’s where we started, and so I fought. I just knew from the beginning that God had called us to love these kids like I love the Walker babies, so I fought hard to get him through all the government programs. I wanted speech immediately. I wanted occupational therapy immediately. Immediately and government programs are not synonymous.

Tera Melber: I think it’s really important for parents to hear that because I think so many times people go into it and assume, “Oh, well because they’re foster children I’m going to be guided through this process.”

Lynette Ezell: “I’ll be contacted.”

Tera Melber: Yeah. Yeah, I’ll be contacted.

Lynette Ezell: Not going to happen.

Paula Walker: Amongst the other 900 people that they also have to contact just in our three-county area.

Tera Melber: Right. We just had a social worker the other day that has 87 cases.

Paula Walker: Yeah, and the referrals for this things-

Tera Melber: Holy cow.

Paula Walker: … are so much paperwork. It has to go from this person, and then it goes to this office in Atlanta, and then it goes to this person, so if you’re not a squeaky wheel they’re not in a hurry.

Tera Melber: So your job as foster mom and foster dad aside from just teaching a two-year-old how to chew is, “I’ve got to advocate like mad. I’ve got to be on it,” because you’re the one who has to hit the pathway and get it going because otherwise, you’re going to be waiting a long time and then they’re getting even more behind.

Paula Walker: Yes, and you don’t know when they’re going home.

Tera Melber: Right.

Paula Walker: Initially, my fear … I shouldn’t say my fear, but my concern was we need to get this child speaking. He needs to be able to say, “I’m hungry.” “Someone hits me.” “I don’t like it here. This is scary,” and so that was initially I operated out of we’ve got to … I may have him three months. I need to get him as far ahead in three months as I possibly can because he was a full year behind, and people make the assumption that, “Oh, well, he’s in your home now. He’ll catch up quickly.” That therapist was very clear. “Mrs. Walker, if you do everything that we’re asking you to and everything that we’ve laid out, he should be caught up by four, four and a half.”

Tera Melber: Wow.

Lynette Ezell: Wow.

Paula Walker: Y’all that was three years. He hadn’t been alive three years, so I was like, “How can you be this behind if you’re not even three?” We did all of that, and so my week looks like therapists coming in. Currently, my boys are served for speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. I’m with a private agency so I have private agency requirements that I go to their office and then they come to my house along with my social worker. Then, obviously, when children come from backgrounds like my boys, they’re sick more often so there’s typically doctor’s appointments. We have put the two-year-old in preschool, which has drastically helped his language development and his social skills, so I’m doing that three mornings a week.

Paula Walker: My week looks nothing like it did 18 months ago. Free time, sitting down, reading time are not. The Lord has put on my heart that every moment that I have is intentional. Not one moment of my day is wasted. I actually have a scripture of that in my kitchen, so even at the dinner table we were talking about, “Oh, what color are your peas?” “They’re green.” It’s drastically changed, and then, obviously, conversations with my 11, nine, and eight-year-old. “How was your day? Did anything make you laugh today?” All of those things.

Paula Walker: Then my husband and I have had to intentionally block time for us, so we put those kids to bed. We forbid those big kids from descending those stairs, and this is Mom and Daddy’s time. Because until 8:00, it’s like, “You fixing this plate or am I fixing this plate?”, or, “Do you want to bath time or do I want to do bath time?” It’s like that if Daddy’s not on a business call or traveling, so the weeks are a little crazy, but everything is intentional. Everything is a person that’s coming in to help the boys, and we fight for that.

Tera Melber: Have you seen them be able to catch up?

Paula Walker: I have seen a drastic … We just are approaching a court date, so I’m having all those conversations with the therapist. We have placed the two-year-old now between 21 and 24 months, which places him only about four or five months behind, which is a complete miracle.

Tera Melber: That’s amazing.

Paula Walker: He, this week, blew them away. He knows about eight letters, can identify them, and a word that goes with them, all of his shapes, and all of his colors.

Lynette Ezell: That’s incredible.

Paula Walker: God is beautifully restoring this baby. Then our one-year-old is graduating from physical therapy. We were at the orthopedist six weeks ago fearing a major hip issue and God has completely healed that.

Lynette Ezell: Wow.

Paula Walker: Running. We run now.

Lynette Ezell: Wow.

Paula Walker: We were worried about if we were going to walk and now I can’t keep up, so the work that God has done in these babies is a miracle.

Lynette Ezell: It is.

Paula Walker: It’s just a miracle.

Lynette Ezell: It really is.

Paula Walker: My pediatrician said that this week … When I took him the last time he said, “Mrs. Walker, you need to stop worrying. You have children that came from backgrounds of opioids, and benzos, and methamphetamines, and they by all accounts should not be where they are now. They are exactly where they should be. Back it up, Mama. Your babies are good.”

Lynette Ezell: Yeah. That’s awesome.

Paula Walker: I went, “Oh, okay.”

Lynette Ezell: I can breathe.

Paula Walker: I can breathe.

Lynette Ezell: That’s right. That’s right. You’ve been on both of sides of this ministry.

Paula Walker: Yes.

Lynette Ezell: You and I were together years ago starting this up and just doing care for a couple of families in our church that had some foster children. Diapers, and meals, and that sort of thing. Now you’re on the other side of that. Tell me, teach the church, teach the body, what is the best thing we can do to help a foster family or an adoptive family in our churches?

Paula Walker: Okay. Sometimes because we, as moms, and especially moms in affluent areas don’t like to ask for help. It’s a sign of a weakness as a mom that you can’t handle what God has put in your nest. It has really helped me to look at people and not take, “Oh, no, we’re good,” as an answer. I would encourage you as a church, even when the family says they’re good, reach out.

Paula Walker: One week I was having a really awful week and a mom dropped off … I didn’t share anything with her. It was completely the Holy Spirit. She dropped off cinnamon rolls, and a thing of flowers, and something else. Some other breakfast food. Was like, “You know what? I thought you might could use that this week.”

Lynette Ezell: Wow.

Paula Walker: As a body, it doesn’t have to be an ornate plan and everything’s dotted. Those are awesome, but sometimes just staying attune and maybe noticing that those circles under her eyes are a little darker than they normally are because the baby’s teething or whatever. Also, asking them how you can pray for them. Because often times we’re going through warfare that people don’t know about it. It’s completely unrelated.

Paula Walker: For example, our septic tank. “How can I pray for you?” “Well, everything in our house, I can’t do laundry because our septic tank is acting crazy.” Just praying that the Lord will send the right person to help, that is huge. I love when people ask me that because it’s hard when people are sharing like, “Oh, this sale is going on,” or, “Oh, this fun things,” or, “I went to this women’s ministry,” and then you’ve got to drop this very serious bomb of, “We’re going to court,” and blah, blah, blah. Ask people how you can pray for them so that they can readily share.

Paula Walker: Then all kids … When we got the first set of kids I had posted a picture of their shoes because we’re not allowed to social media their faces. This woman was just like, “I would love to be your shoe buyer.”

Lynette Ezell: Wow.

Paula Walker: So when the kids need shoes … Because the same things happen for all of our kids, but I take five kids to get new shoes.

Lynette Ezell: Right.

Tera Melber: Right.

Paula Walker: Not a fun time. Just little things like that, that you can say when you’re doing with your kids, but most importantly, I think above all things to pray that the Lord would make you aware of where he’s working and how you can jump in in foster care. Because sometimes things are so simple. Buying diapers. Sometimes things are so difficult. Mom and Daddy haven’t had a date in over a year. That was Scott and I, and a sweet family at church was like, “We want to come hang out with your kids and y’all go somewhere. You can go sit in the garage for all you care, but y’all are going somewhere.” Life changing.

Lynette Ezell: That’s right, and they brought dinner.

Paula Walker: They brought dinner. They ordered pizza. They were actually here this past weekend. I walk in, they’re playing a board game with my big kids. The little kids are in the bed. That three hours of refreshment for my husband and I to sit at Starbucks and have a conversation, I can’t tell you the blessing.

Tera Melber: Those are empty nesters.

Paula Walker: Yes.

Tera Melber: So empty nesters, no excuses.

Lynette Ezell: Good point.

Paula Walker: They just had a grandbaby, and it’s like perfect practice. Like, “This is what it’s like.”

Tera Melber: Right.

Paula Walker: Because she’s like, “What is this gadget?” I’m like, “Let me tell you about it.” It’s beautiful work of the Spirit through others, but there’s always a place to step in no matter how deep, but don’t be surprised when the Lord calls you deeper because it’s just … He tells us in Psalm 41 how blessed is the man who considers the helpless. I do feel blessed, and I feel blessed for the people that get to come and meet my babies because they’re a blessing. It will bless your life to be around my babies. I think sometimes we walk in and we think, “I’m going to bless them.” You have no clue how blessed you’re going to be serving foster families.

Lynette Ezell: Well, scripture makes it clear that deep calls to deep, and the deeper we go with the Lord the deeper he calls us. I’ve definitely seen that in your and Scott’s life. It has been a blessing, but like you said earlier, by looking at our jobs, our relationships, our families, our city, even our government, what you’re dealing with with court dates, through the lens of the gospel. By looking at it that way our world begins to change and we begin to make early daily decisions with an eternal kingdom mindset, and that’s what you’re doing, and that’s what God has called the body of Christ to do.

Paula Walker: Your husband preached a sermon years ago that I heard, and he said, “When you see someone look at them and say, ‘Heaven or hell.’”

Lynette Ezell: Right.

Paula Walker: They’re heaven or hell. Challenged everything that I thought. The guy at the checkout line, heaven or hell? I look at court that way. I look at all the people in there. The judge, especially birth parents, and I look at them and think, “Okay, Lord, you want this as your child. You died for them just like you died for me. How can I help this person with you through me figure out and get them to the Lord? How can they see Christ through me? What would be the best way?” It’s difficult, but every person in that courtroom needs to see something different, and he has placed us … He tells us he appoints us at certain times and epics for these things, and I have to trust that I’m there in that minute.

Paula Walker: When I get to testify, I get to testify about the Lord’s work in these children, and those are my words, and pray that the people in the courtroom will hear that. They’re in hard places too, and so my life is hard, obviously, just the day in and the day out of you get weary. They say horrible things, “So Lord, how can I minister to their hearts?” He opens those doors to us all the time. Often times, the people that we see in foster care and that the world sees as the bad guys … Sometimes they are, but sometimes they’re just lost people and we all act shocked when lost people act lost.

Lynette Ezell: Exactly.

Paula Walker: They’re just lost people. How can we help? Whether we adopt the boys or not, I want them to find parents that know the Lord. We hear stories of that all the time. That’s why the Lord called me to this. I am not doing this because I’m a good person. That’s my pet peeve. People are always like, if I post something about the boys, “You are such a good person.” I am not a good person. I am selfish, and stingy, and ugly. This is the work of the Lord through us. I am no different than anyone else, but if he’s given me this vehicle to share the gospel, who am I to say no? We just want to be about our Father’s business all the time.

Lynette Ezell: Well, and I want to encourage our listeners today, if you’re just considering adoption or foster care, just go to your church and say, “Can we do something?”

Tera Melber: Right.

Lynette Ezell: May is National Foster Awareness Month. Let’s all be aware of the 450,000 foster children. We have 14,000 in our state alone. Let’s do something. Go to your church in your neighborhood. Do something.

Tera Melber: I always love … Those numbers are so daunting. How many are in your county? Your home county there are, I can’t remember exactly, but like 150 kids in your county.

Paula Walker: Yes.

Tera Melber: 150 kids, y’all. That’s doable. You can do something for those kids. Because we live in a metro area, in our little tri-county area we have just a little over a 1,000 in care, but that includes metro Atlanta. I just think in our little communities, they’re in our backyards. They’re going to our kids’ schools. They’re at our kids’ ballparks. What can we do? During this month, we really do want to encourage people just to take the first step.

Tera Melber: Go to an information meeting. Find out what’s happening in your area. Go talk to a social worker at the DFCS office. It’s not hard to get an appointment, and they are thrilled for you to come and say, “How can we help?” Then just start praying, “Lord Jesus, I’m just asking you to show me.”

Lynette Ezell: Open the door, right.

Tera Melber: Because he’s at work, and like you said, we just have to see where he’s at work and join. Join in.

Paula Walker: I don’t see how we can miss that he’s at work at this point.

Tera Melber: Right.

Paula Walker: There was a baby from the opioid crisis at the State of the Union. There are TV shows, primetime, around foster care. There was a child trauma expert on 60 Minutes Sunday night. The Lord has so put this in our laps at this point, and we do hear daunting numbers, and they are overwhelming. When I hear 14,000 in Georgia it overwhelms me. When you break that down that’s four foster children per church, per Baptist church. Four foster children.

Paula Walker: This is a fixable problem. We cannot fix the opioid crisis. We cannot fix a lot of these big issues. This is a fixable problem if just a few families in a church go, “We want to get involved. How can we do this?” It breaks it down to a number that we can do. Four families. Go to some of your friends and say, “This scares me half to death. I don’t know what’s about to happen. Will y’all do this with us?”

Tera Melber: Right.

Lynette Ezell: Right.

Paula Walker: Do that. That’s where my children are this morning. They’re with a friend who says, “I don’t know that we can do this, but we want to do with with you. How can we serve your family?”, which allowed me to be here this morning. When you break down the numbers … But I laugh now because I’m like, “Lord, could you make it any more evident that this is what you’re calling us to?” People call me all the time and say, “Is your life really like This Is Us?” I’m like, “Yes, legitimately that is what it’s like.” I’m so grateful that God even ordains Primetime TV to work his purposes.

Lynette Ezell: That’s right. Do something. We just encourage you this month or just today to do something that to shed light on the needs of the homeless children in foster care in our country. Paula, thanks for being with us today.

Paula Walker: Thank you. Thank you.

Lynette Ezell: May is National Foster Care Month. As the body of the Christ, we each have a part to play in supporting the lives of children and youth in foster care. For more information about foster care and supporting foster families, go to sendrelief.org.

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