Every year during the month of November, thousands of community organizations and social service agencies arrange and host programs, events and activities to share positive adoption stories, challenge the myths and draw attention to the thousands of children in foster care who are eligible for adoption. According to the Christian Alliance for Orphans, there are more than 100,000 children and teens in the U.S. foster care system that are waiting for a “forever” home. Throughout the month, The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries and many of their adoptive parents will join forces to raise awareness about adopting from the foster care system and the great need for more adoptive homes.
Bair foster family, Niki and Seth Reichart are just one of the many couples who have opened their heart and their home to foster children who were adoptable, as well as those who are not.
Long before they were married, Niki and Seth Reichart knew that they wanted to adopt. “I believe that the Lord has commanded us all to the orphan care ministry in some way,” Niki expressed as she spoke of her inspiration to get involved in the foster care system. “Whether it is being a foster parent, supporting those who foster or adopt, public awareness or fundraising, we are all called upon to help God’s children.”
“With our desire to care for orphans, we had started on the private adoption road for a few years, but it just was not working out for us. It was not until my brother had mentioned the fact that there are so many kids in the foster care system waiting for a “forever home” that we felt that this was the direction God wanted us to take. Realizing that there are many ways to care for orphans, not just through adoption, we began our journey down the foster care road, and we would not want it any other way. We have completely just fallen in love.”
The Reicharts had been involved in the foster care system since 2009 and during that time they had many children come through their home and ended up adopting one of them, a little girl named Elianna. Their family continued to grow with their four biological sons, Grayson, Roman, Jackson and Tyson, but they still felt as though something was missing. After taking a break for a little while after the adoption of their daughter, they decided to recertify their home for foster care. Shortly after making that decision, Solomon was placed in their home. His brothers and sister welcomed Solomon with opened arms and a year later the adoption process was set in motion.
One September morning, Niki and Seth woke up full of nerves and excitement as their family got into the car and headed to the courthouse. They were greeted with balloons, cakes, photographers and so much love, celebration and excitement when they arrived to officially adopt their 17 month old son, Solomon.
“It was such a fun and exciting experience. The judge even included our children and had each of them stand up and introduce themselves.”
All of the nerves from earlier that morning had disappeared as they continued with making the adoption legal. “I cannot even describe the feeling of fulfillment, relief and happiness that we felt when the judge said that he was officially presenting Solomon Reichart.” Niki mused, “He was legally ours. We knew that was the name that we wanted, but to hear the judge verbally say it and make it official… was simply amazing. He was permanently a part of our family and that missing feeling was filled with an overwhelming amount of love.”
“We do not know how many kids we want to adopt, but we definitely want to continue doing foster care”, said Niki. “We are at a point where we are deciding if we want to take a little break or if we want to dive back in.”
Niki says that she shares information about foster care and foster-to-adopt with anyone that is interested, “It is a great opportunity to teach children about the love of Jesus, whether it is for two days, two months or forever.” She went on to say [that] “being involved in the foster care system provides the opportunity to obey the Lord’s call of caring for orphans, and to be an example of and share His love.”
So as the Reichart family and many other adoptive families celebrate National Adoption month, let us remember those children still in care who are waiting…waiting for a family to call their own.
Contemplating the challenges of foster care adoption is made a bit easier with the right information and a network of professional supporters. The permanency staff at The Bair Foundation, Pittsburgh office stands ready to help in any way they can. To find out more, call 412-341-6850. Bair also have offices in New Wilmington, Altoona, Harrisburg and Erie PA. For contact information, visit Bair’s website at http://www.bair.org.
The family information:
Niki and Seth Reichart