The Simmons Family
God Has Grown us, changed us, and shaped us into better people who are fully dependent on Him.
God Wrote Our Story
When Steve and I were dating, I told him I felt God had called me to adopt older children instead of having my own biological children. This could have been a deal- breaker, but Steve was not opposed. After marriage and prayerful consideration, God affirmed the call
to adopt in Steve. I began praying for my children’s safety, and occasionally I would feel God telling me to pray specifically for them at certain times. When we built our home, Steve and I spent hours writing scripture on the floors and the studs about God’s love for us, how He calls us to care for the orphans and how He has a plan for every life. On the day we were praying and writing scripture, I distinctly felt the upstairs bedroom overlooking the backyard would be for a sweet young girl and the front bedroom was being reserved for a sweet young boy.
After eight years of marriage, we both agreed that God was prompting us to start the adoption process and we contacted Southern Christian Services. We specifically prayed that God would make it very clear which children He’d chosen for us. We received a few calls that were very clearly not a match. But one day I noticed a missed call from Tana, who recruits families and matches children for Southern Christian Services. I knew the moment I saw her number THIS was the call. On the voicemail Tana said, “I think I found your children.” Before calling her back I called Steve and told him, “Tana called about our kids!” Matthew was six years old, Caylin was eight years old and they were free for adoption. We were told about their history, mental health diagnoses and behavioral issues . . . but none of this scared us. God gave us complete peace.
The first time Steve and I met Matthew and Caylin was at Newk’s. As they walked in with their social worker, Steve looked at me and said, “Yep, those are my kids.” They even looked like us! God continued to confirm they were the children He’d chosen for us. When our visit at Newk’s was over, Steve and I knew they would be back. According to their social worker, the next step would be a weekend visit, then a longer visit, then the final placement. We expected the entire placement process to take a month or so. But shortly after planning the weekend visit, we received a call from the social worker saying the kids had to be moved immediately. Instead of having the weekend visit, we were asked if the kids could just move in. We had 48 hours to get our home prepared for children.
Our world came to screeching halt as we transformed into a family of four overnight. We were not (and still are not) equipped but, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” Parenting kids from trauma sometimes looks different. It looks like more rules and restrictions, more structure and a set schedule for meals. It looks like saying “no” when other parents get to say “yes” because your kids have different limitations. It looks like early bed times, extra naps, therapy and tutoring. It looks like managing anxiety and fear. It looks like hurtful comments, hard questions, grief and pain. But God gives us beauty from ashes, gladness from mourning and praise from a spirit of despair. He also surrounds us with the people we need at the perfect time. He gives us provision and guidance each step of the way. And we pray. A lot.
Caylin and Matthew became permanent members of the Simmons Family on May 7, 2018. We’ve experienced all of the “firsts” – first Christmas, first birthdays together, all of the holidays, first day of school, lost teeth, first time on the honor roll, first Father/Daughter Dance, and our first family vacation. Our time together has been packed full of celebrations, changes, and figuring out what it means to be a family.
I wish I could say that once Caylin and Matthew were placed in our home, or even once they were adopted, all of their troubles magically resolved. But they did not. There were days in the beginning when we thought we couldn’t do it. But we learned we were never meant to do anything in our own strength; we need to rely on God for all things. We still struggle with some issues because of the kids’ history, but it gets better every day. Our kids have worked so hard in therapy, at school, and at home. They are not the same children who walked into our home 18 months ago and we are not the same adults. For that I am grateful. God has grown us, changed us, and shaped us into better people who are fully dependent on Him.
God has continued to affirm that He chose Matthew and Caylin for us long before any of us were born. We now know the times we felt led to pray for our future children and the times we had conversations about whether it was time to adopt, were around the times Caylin and Matthew were born. They were taken into CPS custody the same month we wrote scripture on our house floors and prayed for them. Their biological parents’ rights were terminated the same month we wrote on our pledge card at church that we planned to “make room” by adopting two children. At our first doctor’s appointment with them, the doctor told us that Matthew was projected to be 6’4” – Steve’s height and Caylin was projected to be 5’7” – my height. His handwriting is all over our story.