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Home for Good

At Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes (ABCH) through our Foster Care ministry, our hope is to reunite every child with their biological parents when possible. Sometimes, however, God’s plan is to give them a new home, and we get to be a part of the miracle of adoption.

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It is with much excitement we share, that after 766 days in care in Dothan, biological siblings, Brandon and Ruthie, were officially adopted by Jeff and Renee Elliott in July! Not only did Jeff and Renee gain a new son and daughter, but their twins, Michael Edward and Emma Grace, gained a new little brother and sister.

BECOMING FOSTER PARENTS

Ever since Jeff and Renee were married in 2007, fostering had been on Renee’s heart. In 2009, their lives became a lot busier as they grew their family with the birth of their twins, but Renee knew they weren’t done growing their family just yet. Over the years,
she continued to pray about fostering and occasionally mentioned it to Jeff, but they never felt like it was the right time.

That changed though, one Sunday in the fall of 2014. The Elliotts came home from working in their church nursery, and Jeff shared with Renee that he could see himself caring for someone else’s child. He felt that it was time to look into becoming foster parents. Two weeks later, they started classes at our campus in Dothan. The following year, they were able to open up their home to children coming into foster care, including Brandon and Ruthie.

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During their journey of fostering and adopting, the Elliotts have relied on two verses—

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” —Romans 8:14–17 NIV

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” —Mark 9:37 NIV

ONE FINAL STOP

Though first placed with the Elliotts, Brandon and Ruthie were moved from their home for a season and placed into a few other homes while they were in foster care. Jeff and Renee continued to open up their home to more children in foster care during this season of them being away. For the Elliotts, though they had physically left their home, Brandon and Ruthie had never left Jeff and Renee’s hearts. So when the opportunity came for the Elliotts to adopt Brandon and Ruthie, they jumped at the chance.

Earlier this year, Brandon and Ruthie returned to the Elliotts’ home. Brandon came to the door first and rang the doorbell. Renee opened the door, and Brandon immediately said, “Mama, I’m home! And I’m home for good!”

THE INFLUENCE OF A CHILD

Both Jeff and Renee have seen growth in their own lives as a result of this process, mostly in their prayer lives. “I think that fostering is much more difficult than either one of us realized,” Renee says. “For me personally, it has pushed me to surrender my life to God because He’s the only one who has control . . . you think you’re going to change all these things for the kids, but what you find is, they actually change you. You can’t bring them into your home and not start carrying their burdens with them.”

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A HAPPY ENDING AND A NEW BEGINNING

The Lord has been so faithful in bringing Brandon and Ruthie into a loving community at home and at school where they will each be nurtured in their personal growth, in their learning opportunities, and, first and foremost, in their spiritual walk with Christ. We value the wholehearted devotion Jeff and Renee bring to our ministry as they have answered God’s call to foster, and now to adopt.  

While being established into a new family requires some adjustments, such as going by a new last name and having two new, older siblings, Brandon and Ruthie have already made significant progress in settling into their new home.

So far, Brandon, who at one time was labeled “developmentally delayed” in speech and other areas, has now, through a series of classes and trainings, surpassed this struggle and is fully caught up to other children his age! “We were told they had never, in 20 to 30 years, removed such a label from a child . . . his teachers go on and on about how bright he is!”
Jeff says.

Area Director of Southeast Alabama, Kim McGainey, says, “We are beyond thankful for the Elliott family, and all of our ABCH families, for the dedicated, Christ-centered example of ministry they provide for children. It is always something to celebrate when we hear of children being welcomed into a family.

“It is our prayer that children, like Brandon and Ruthie, come to know the fullness of God’s love by first claiming their identity as His children. Our families support this mission as they actively reflect what it looks like to be welcomed into a forever home.”

Welcome to your home for good, Brandon and Ruthie Elliott!

 

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