“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” – II Corinthians 5:18
Cameron and Emily Beaty are not what you might picture as typical foster parents. For one, they are both young professionals in their early 30s. And second, they have never been parents before. However, they felt God drawing them toward this vital work and they listened and followed God’s call.
The Beaty’s were first introduced to foster care and adoption in seminary. They heard stories about churches, like The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, that embraced foster care and adoption as a part of their calling to the local community. They began to wonder about what that might look like in their ministry. So when they settled in Dallas, where Cameron is a pastor and Emily is a therapist, they began talking about whether foster care was something they should do as a family. Emily met several children in foster care through her job, and began urging Cameron to attend a foster care and adoption informational meeting with her.
“Most people think that they need to be fully ready and committed to foster care or adoption before they do anything,” Cameron remembered. “By going to an information meeting, we felt that we were just taking a step in the direction that God was leading us, and we wanted to see where that would take us. We weren’t committed to anything, we were just getting some more information.”
After that first meeting, Cameron and Emily were hooked. They reached out to a few foster care agencies, but felt more comfortable and welcomed by our PCHAS Foster Care and Adoption staff in Dallas. Over the next few months they attended trainings and turned in their required documents and paperwork, all the while thinking and praying for the child that would soon enter their home. Not being parents yet, they eagerly absorbed the parenting strategies PCHAS offers and soon they were ready to accept a child into their home.
A few weeks after they were licensed as foster parents, the Beaty’s were called about a young girl, Amanda, and within a few hours Amanda was at their doorstep. Emily recalled, “The first week is always the hardest, not because of the kids or their behaviors, but because of the various doctors, therapists, and other meetings that one must attend in such a short amount of time. After that first week, things settled down quickly.”
Cameron and Emily were amazed at how easily they took to parenting. They enjoyed watching Amanda learn, grow, and experience new things for the first time. Taking her to the park or another child’s birthday party became a part of their weekly routine. Cameron had to give up some of his free time on Fridays, but he also really enjoyed the one-on-one time with the kids.
When they became foster parents, Cameron and Emily only intended to foster, hoping and praying that they could provide a great home for a child on his or her way toward reunification with their biological family or with their forever adoptive family. However, they quickly became attached to Amanda and began to think about the possibility of adopting her. When they found out she was going to be reunited with a sibling that was already adopted, they were happy for Amanda, but they were also heartbroken that they would not be able to adopt her.
“We began this journey because we wanted to be a part of God’s plan of reconciliation,” commented Cameron. “God desires for all of us to love and be loved, and we wanted to express that love to a child in need of a family. What we didn’t recognize at the time was that we had to be open and vulnerable to love Amanda fully, but that also opened us up to heartbreak when she went to another adoptive home. But God was willing to take that risk with us, and we are willing to do the same with these kids.”
Despite the grief that came with Amanda leaving, Cameron and Emily are still committed to fostering. They are now caring for their third child and are open to whatever God has in store for their family. As Emily said, “We are humble about what we are accomplishing, but we are also excited about being a part of God’s plan for these children.”
Note: to protect identity, the name of the child has been changed.