It started with an e-mail. We Need Families.
Julie and James Forrest had adopted through All God’s Children before, when they brought home, Judah, their son from Ethiopia. But when James brought up adopting again, Julie wasn’t convinced they were ready to go down that road a second time.
“Adoption is hard. There are a lot of years of waiting,” Julie Forrest said. “But I told my husband when he asked me to pray about adoption, if someone calls us or emails us and says, we need your family, then you come talk to me.”
In May of 2014, James forwarded her AGCI’s email asking for families for the China program. James added his own message: Let’s do this.
Despite her initial concerns, Julie called the Inquiry staff to learn more. She quickly learned that there were hundreds of children in the special needs program in China waiting for families. “We went into this because there was a need. Our story didn’t start with; I’m all yours God, whatever you need. God worked on our family to get there,” Julie said.
When they began their adoption process for the second time, Julie and James had concerns about their abilities to parent a child with special needs. “I felt very incapable throughout the whole process. I kept thinking, I don’t know how to be a mom to a child with special needs. I felt like I couldn’t do it. I’ve now realized that none of us are really capable to do this, but with God, we can.”
A little over a year later, the Forrests were in China, meeting their youngest son, Zachary, for the first time. “When we took the tour of the orphanage in China, I just looked at James with tears in my eyes and said, we are exactly where we’re supposed to be.”
Looking around the orphanage, Julie’s heart melted with love and compassion for the many children needing families. “All of these children are so loved by God and they have so much potential and so many gifts. They just need a family,” Julie said.
Through the stress and the joy of the adoption process, the Forrests felt supported every step of the way. “The reason we chose AGCI for our first adoption from Ethiopia and stuck with them for our second adoption, is that they told us right away that their job is to find families for children, not to find children for families,” Julie said. “I love the way that AGCI advocates for these kids. Tiffany [Williams, AGCI China Program Director] does not see any kid as being too hard to place. We just feel like they have walked the journey with us so well. We felt so well taken care of, and so well prepared—as much as you can be prepared.”
Now with Zachary home for almost 2 months, the Forrests are settling in to life with the newest member of their family. “Now, I just can’t imagine not having gone through this,” Julie said. “The bigness of a child having special needs just becomes so little. It pales in comparison to the privilege of getting to advocate for our son.”
Zachary’s older siblings have also had to adjust to a new family member, but it’s been a transition they’ve embraced wholeheartedly. “They are just smitten. They love him so much,” Julie said. “I think a lot of families are scared of special needs because of how it will affect their other children. We have seen our children’s hearts just soften and have so much compassion for their brother and love for children with special needs.”
Julie’s advice for other families starting out on their adoption journeys? Take it one step at a time
“This is about a child needing a family. We had all the same fears that everybody has. We didn’t go into this thinking, oh yeah, we can handle that no problem,” Julie said. “It was just one step at a time. God will provide what we need, every step. And He has. God has given us peace and joy with every single step. What better thing can I do with my days than go advocate for this little boy?”
Are you ready to adopt? We still need families for China’s waiting children. Fill out a pre-app today to begin your journey.