My husband and I had been in a state of anticipation for at least six months. We kept telling each other something was about to happen but we didn’t know what. We both felt this uneasiness. We both felt like God was calling us to something but had no idea what or when it may happen. Matt talked to Jody Schmelzer, Pinelake Madison’s adult group pastor, about it and Jody advised him that we should continue to pray and be in God’s Word. He also advised us, when ready, to just say “yes” to God’s plan and let Him do the rest. After all, He never asks us to do anything that He hasn’t already prepared for us. So in faith we stepped out of our comfort zone and said “yes.” Whether that meant mission work in Africa, moving to South Dakota or whatever – we were all in.
During this time Matt was in a men’s group that went to Sunnybroook Children’s Home every month. They would spend time with the boys there playing games, eating pizza and sharing the Gospel. Matt would come home and update me on all the boys and about what was going on in all their lives. Most of the background stories were of neglect, abuse, etc., but all of the children he told me about were funny, bright, articulate and resilient. One night I looked at him and said why aren’t we taking care of some of these kids?
After all, we were already parents. (At the time we had an eight- and six-year-old). We had room in our home and hearts. So we began to look into foster care. We signed up with the state and inquired at Sunnyborook. Sunnybrook has a program for sponsoring/mentoring the children there. Most are temporarily placed there while permanent arrangements are made, either with other family members or for reunion with their parents. Some have neither available and may be placed for adoption. When we met with the staff at Sunnybrook, we made our intentions known that we thougth we wanted to adopt. At that time, they had no children eligible for adoption but plenty with needs. Knowing that Matt had spent time with all of the boys there, they asked whom we might be interested in. We told them to give us the children who were most in need. That weekend we took Corey for a visit to our home. Two weeks later we had Corey and Bobby for a visit. Last August, Corey went back to live with his mom. We had Bobby at least two weekends monthly for a year and a half.
We didn’t know when or if Bobby would ever legally be in our permanent custody. We did know that he would always be in our family. We gave God control of the steering wheel and were along for the ride. Wherever he led, we would just say “yes” and follow.
Then, Bobby’s parents parental rights were terminated. We talked to Sunnybrook, Bobby and his social worker and everyone was on board with him moving into our home last August. We started the process of becoming foster parents for the state in order to make this happen. However, Bobby changed his mind. He decided he didn’t want to be adopted and wanted to continue to live at Sunnybrook. We were heartbroken.
We still love him and pray for him and are still processing and feeling that God might be calling us to adoption, despite our cautiousness and feelings of rejection.
But our “yes” is still on file, and we know that God’s plan is perfect. We are excited to see what He has in store for us.
Three years have passed since our last story with Bobby. We have not stopped praying for him, and we continue to have broken hearts for orphans. Over the years, the feeling of rejection has faded, and we only remember the little boy that we love. He still holds a very special place in our hearts. We love him as one of our own children.
Over the past few months, God has been working on us and has subtly been stirring our hearts again. We have had people randomly ask how Bobby is doing. His name has come up unexpectedly in conversation, and we can’t help but miss him.
We have always said that no matter how far our children may go, we will always pursue them like God pursues us. They won’t be able to outrun our love for them. They will always be welcomed home with open arms no matter the time away.
We recently reached out to Sunnybrook again. We asked about Bobby, and if there were any opportunities to be a part of his life. The team at Sunnybrook was very receptive to our inquiry and even let Bobby read our email. He was happy to hear that we still love him and have not turned our back on him.
We said that Bobby would always be a part of our family, and that will always be the case. We still don’t have an official title or name for what we are in relation to him. But we don’t need one.
In fact, just recently, our family was whole again. We spent a few hours with Bobby for the first time in three years. He’s still the sweet boy that we originally loved. Only taller!
What’s the future look like for the Guillorys? Ask God
—Matt and Kim Guillory, Pinelake Madison