How many kids around the world live their lives without ever knowing the warmth of a family?
That was the question that married couple Casey Douglas and her husband constantly have as they volunteer to help kids in need.
Casey has always chosen to be a ‘childfree’ woman, but that life choice has made it hard for her to find a man who loves her for all she is. She was born as a daughter to a Christian pastor and everyone expected her to have a big family that will ‘fill out the pew on Sunday morning’.
She wasn’t going to conform to that idea, however. She wants to fill out the pew in a different way.
And it began with meeting her husband who love her for who she is.
“My husband still chose me and chose to bear the labels placed on him as the husband of a ‘different woman.’
“He never looked back on a “normal” life.”
The pair started volunteering twice a week to help students in low-income ares. These kids are the type who usually have ‘sub-par parent figures’ and often suffer from domestic abuse or lack of love. They don’t grow up in the kind of environment kids should be growing in.
Soon, the pair wanted to do more, “After three years of marriage, we decided that Sundays and Wednesdays weren’t enough. We had to be all in.”
So, they began thinking about fostering and adopting.
The idea of adopting someone else’s kids before having their own was weird and unacceptable to many. Casey gets a lot of comments that basically says she needs to have a kid of her own.
“God will bless you with a child of your own,” Casey recalls one comment she got upon suggesting the idea of fostering.
They soon realized that this has to stop – it’s best to make their wish clearer with a determined step. They scheduled with CPS, got a vasectomy, and chose to end their fertility. They don’t want people to stigmatize their future children as if they were plan B or because the pair were ‘not receiving their blessing from God’.
The couple also realized that teenagers are not the most famous choice people have when adopting kids. When Casey and husband expressed their wish to adopt a kid above 13, people were throwing hateful comments.
“Are you sure you don’t want younger kids? Teens will kill you in your sleep.”
“You won’t even give your husband children; how could you raise someone else’s kids?”
“You’re a waste of a good uterus.”
The worst comment both of them ever got was probably that people were telling them older kids will leave them when they get past 18. For 9 months, the pair bear through the hateful comments and would pray together for the love of the future kids they will have.
Casey replied, “Something like that.”
That was the first question the caseworker asked the couple as she got out of her car. The fact that some people ask to adopt teenagers sound so bizarre that it was the first remark she could make.
Casey and husband are also open to fostering if there are kids in an emergency need of a place to stay temporarily. But they prefer to provide a forever home and family for a teenager available for adoption.
It didn’t take long before their wishes were heard.
The caseworker was leaving when she came back for a news, “Well, I got a phone call in your driveway for a 16-year-old male who needs a home by tonight.”
I told her, “Bring him home.”
Her husband couldn’t believe his ears and asked if they should be taking their time in making the decision.
She, however, was adamant. Casey was sure this is her chance.
She recalls, “I told him, ‘I don’t need to pray again about the prayer God has already answered, but you are welcome to.’
“Then he looked up and said, “She’s right, bring him.”
For a brief while, Casey suddenly fell into disbelief that she just agreed to that. She felt like she wasn’t ready and walked into the room that will soon become his son’s.
“I prayed over his room and his life with us, and the tears stopped. Peace filled my heart and joy began.”
His son arrived to his new home three hours later with a small fishing pole.
“Nothing could have ever prepared me for the pain of a desperate child showing up on my doorstep,” Casey recalls the moment.
Casey felt an overflowing love for the boy, unable to describe it.
“He was far too small to be nearly 17 and he came with two bags of clothes that were ripped, stained, or too small.
I wept as I emptied his bags into my washing machine.”
Casey’s new son was abandoned by his birth mother and nobody knows when he was born or what his name was. He sat at the hospital for a week until his grandmother came to raise him until he’s 11. She fell sick afterward, and he began getting passed over from one place to another.
He suffered from abuse before he finally reached the end of the list of people who can care for him.
He informed the CPS that he’s homeless and needed a place to go. He was ready to throw away his life and hope with all the rejections he’s felt. He didn’t think he’d ever find a family who’ll really treat him like one.
“He had been rejected by everyone he had ever met and didn’t believe we would be any different.”
Then, he said something that showed just how much love he’s felt from the family.
“I have waited my entire life to be treated the way y’all treat me. I have never had real parents before.”
His custody was given over to his new parents, but he still cannot be adopted, yet. And it was clear that this boy has a lot of trust issues – he wants to be loved and own a place he can call home.
“So many times he would beg for us to keep him, and so many times he tried to push us away to protect his heart.”
“He said, ‘Mom, can I stay even after I’m 18, and will you promise to tuck me in even if it’s awkward?’ That was the easiest promise I could ever make to my son.”
It was a date to remember for the family because the pair was finally able to adopt their son after he’s 18 and give him their last name.
He finally has a mom and a dad two years after stepping into their house.
“I never dreamed of things like going to college or having a family, but now I have support and I am living a life I never even thought I could have,” Randall says.
He’s now Randall Wilson Douglas.
The new family is still keeping in touch with several birth family members of Randall and it was like a new big family.
We live by the motto of, ‘It’s not about our family needing more kids, it’s about more kids needing our family.’Casey Douglas