November 5, 2015

Arrow recently joined forces with Hope For Tomorrow, a fellow Christian foster care agency in Texas, and will operate in four new cities as a result of the acquisition—San Angelo, Brownwood, San Marcos and Harlingen.

Hope For Tomorrow offices in Amarillo, Granbury and Copperas Cove will merge with existing Arrow offices, bringing new resources, staff members and foster kids into the Arrow family in those regions.

Arrow now operates 12 offices across the state, and is providing our exemplary care and services to more than 200 additional foster children, for a total of 1,200 children across the nation.

“This joining of forces makes Arrow the largest foster care agency in the State of Texas,” said Arrow CEO Scott Lundy. “This only serves to position Arrow as a leader in the National Child Welfare arena.”

To find out more about becoming a foster parent, visit www.arrow.org/foster.

new offices

October 1, 2015

Poole fam 3An Arrow family who adopted three children from foster care, two of whom have special needs, has been named Adoptive Family of the Year by the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services!

Kendrick and Rosalyn Poole had been involved in the deaf ministry at their church when they felt called to adopt a child with a hearing impairment. The couple felt especially equipped to parent a deaf child because Kendrick himself is deaf, and Rosalyn is an American Sign Language interpreter.

A search on an adoption website led them to seek out more information about a 14-year-old girl named Dynasty. Dynasty was born deaf, and had been in foster care since she was 8 years old.  During her 6 years in foster care, Dynasty had struggled through 14 foster care placements and was living in a group home. Being bounced from home to home, and not having the proper support and guidance she needed to cope with her disability, caused severe trauma in Dynasty’s life. Never had she been in a foster home that was able to communicate effectively with her in sign language.

That is, until Kendrick and Rosalyn came into the picture.

The Pooles became licensed foster parents, and finally welcomed Dynasty into their home. Dynasty felt immediately accepted. Kendrick and Rosalyn not only loved and cared for her, but could communicate with her in sign language. Six months later, she became Dynasty Poole when she was officially adopted by the Pooles.

But Rosalyn and Kendrick weren’t done. A search on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange website lead them to two brothers who had been featured on the website for more than two years. One of the brothers, Wesley, had developmental and communication challenges that required the use of sign language.  Wesley and his brother William were placed with the Pooles in October of last year, and their adoption into the growing Poole family was finalized last month. Since being placed with the Pooles, William has learned sign language and can now perfectly communicate with his brother, sister, father and mother.

“The Pooles are a wonderful family worthy of this award for what they have done for these three children,” said Mala Ganapati, Arrow’s Regional Adoption Coordinator who nominated them for the award. “They are strong advocates for their children, and give them unconditional love and acceptance. The Pooles are a testament to the fact that there are no barriers when it comes to adoption.”

September 17, 2015

girl by lake


Below is an excerpt from a recent update one of our team members received from a 17-year-old foster child, who recently was reunited with her mother. In the letter, the teen talks about how her foster family and Arrow staff inspired her to get a job and look into college. We are so proud of her!

I miss all the staff from Arrow. Y’all were amazing, and I hope I can help kids like me one day just like y’all helped me and so many others. I still keep in contact or try to keep in contact with my friends up there, but I’m trying to focus on work and school over everything.

The resume that Ms. Heather (Johnson, family intervention specialist,) helped me revise and the interview pointers really helped with getting the job (at Texas Roadhouse). Also, I have been looking into college. I still don’t know if I am going to go, but it doesn’t hurt to look.

One of the major things I miss though is having an older sister. Down here (with my mom) I’m back to being the oldest, so I don’t really have anyone to run to that is there in person to talk about stuff when I don’t want to talk to my mom. When I lived with (my foster mom, my foster sister) was right downstairs. I know I probably annoyed her sometimes, but seeing her and her push for success is what has made me rethink college. She is honestly a huge role model. I learned what the word RESPECT meant when I moved in there and I thank them for that. Also, I found out that not everyone is going to leave me stranded. I am happy at home and thank y’all for helping me grow as a young woman because without that help this visit would been just that—a visit. It would not have been successful (in reuniting my mom and I).  I miss all of y’all and I hope everyone is doing well, and I hope to be up visiting the Baltimore area during one of my breaks from school, and days off of work.

August 28, 2015

By Rebecca Bender

Rebecca 2Rescued victims. Have you heard this term? Maybe your heart fills with excitement, passion or joy when you think of being able to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We imagine a child like our own, taken, abducted, hopeless and helpless while trapped in a room with her teddy bear. It becomes unbearable to think of what may happen next, as a captive victim of sex trafficking. The righteous fury rises up inside us and we stand, as the army of God to fight this injustice.

Well, what happens when it doesn’t quite look like this? I am a survivor of trafficking. I was forced into prostitution for nearly six years at the age of 18- an “adult.” In my time as a trafficking advocate, I have helped dozens of girls, consulted safe home staff across the world and trained more than 5,800 community members just like you. Do you want no know how many times I have encountered the above scenario? None. Does that mean trafficking doesn’t happen? Absolutely not… trafficking is very real in our country. But, unfortunately, most people have the very wrong idea of trafficking and end up being disappointed or hurt when running to the “rescue.”

Imagine this scenario instead: your neighbor girl next door is 7. Her parents fight and dad, because of his alcoholism; is verbally abusive, yelling and throwing things against the walls most evenings. She spends her time hiding under bed, hoping his fury isn’t taken out on her. At 9, her parents divorce, and mom gets a new boyfriend. Mom has no time for her because she is enthralled with her new romance. Your neighbor begins fading into the background of importance. When she turns 10, her new step dad begins sneaking in her room at night and touching her inappropriately. She is scared and doesn’t want to hurt her mom. She puts up with it until she is 12. In middle school, she starts drinking at parties, both to escape from her home life and simply as a predisposition to her father’s alcoholism. Her mom notices the change and begins grounding her. Unable to tell her mom the truth out of fear, she runs away in the night to a party. Her step dad “just happens to notice” and calls the police who put out a pick up order on her. Cops are called because the party is too loud and she gets picked up as a runaway and put in juvenile hall. Inside, she is bullied because she is clearly “new” and the girls who are in juvie often can pick up on “fresh meat.”

Your neighbor is lost and lonely and hurting. She doesn’t know her way out, she has never seen another life modeled for her and at 13 now, lacks the cognitive reasoning to understand cause and effect. This cycle of running to avoid step-dad and stay self-medicated at parties continues, where the pickup order and juvie spirals. She is hardened. Callouses have developed around her heart. At 14 she meets a guy a party who is 24. She is flattered that the older, cute boy at the party is paying attention to her. He takes a real interest, making her feel valued, listened to and adored for the first time in her life. He asks when she has to be home and she tells him she isn’t going home. He invites her to travel, to get away for a couple days. She wants nothing more than to run to something better and this appears to be the first and only invitation in her life to escape…

Your neighbor arrives in a new city with her adult boyfriend. She is excited until he gives her a new pair of bra and underwear and tells her to go to the strip club across the street, that they need the money for the hotel. She feels pressured, afraid and doesn’t want the dream of escaping to end. The boyfriend coerces her, reminding her that it’s just dancing and her dad use to force her to do more. At least now she’s in control. It’s an empowering feeling for her to turn it around on men. Her boyfriend picks her up from the club at 2 a.m. for a week. He tells her how proud he is of her, how he knew she was special. She makes enough money to support them, even though he takes it all because he is the adult and “knows what needs to be paid.”

One night, he picks her up and there are men are in the backseat. He tells her how much they need this extra cash to get out of town and rent a home not a hotel. He wants to be a family with her and marry her when she turns 16 in a different state but they need the money to move. Just once he begs…

Her boundaries have already been expanded to a further point than most children and a small shove from her “boyfriend” pushes her over the edge. This continues and no longer is it the strip club, but now it’s Backpage ads or he’ll hit her– a far step from the verbal abuse growing up. She gets picked up by law enforcement and ends up in Freedom Place at 15.

She isn’t running from the hotel thankful to be “rescued.” She wasn’t kidnapped, nor does she have her teddy bear. She’s hardened and hard. She cusses and wants a cigarette. She misses her abusive boyfriend, which we know is a trafficker, but she doesn’t see the fraud and wants to be the family he promised. You want to help her, but she looks at you like you’re one of her school teachers, annoyed and untrusting.

Why does this situation not make us want to run to help her? Because we don’t see the back story the day we arrive to help? We see an angry young girls who flips you off and cusses saying she’s going back as soon as her time here is done. Why invest? Why get close? I’ll tell you why:

We must reach our youth with the same love and compassion and empathy that Christ calls us to. We must push the “rescue victims” out of our thoughts or we’ll be disappointed. She is hurting and needs time to let her hardened heart soften before she’ll let you in. She asks herself, “Why did the volunteer get the hand of cards dealt to her while I got a life of pain?” She is jealous and mad at you for the privilege you were born with. She is afraid of what her life holds when she gets out. Will she be back with her step dad? Will she live in a foster family who doesn’t get it? What really does the future hold with a drop-out education, a minimum wage job and no job skills to really put her in a position to be economically empowered.

It’s not the kidnapped version, but it is the majority of what we deal with here in America. We need people to look past the tough façade, and see a hurt child who has built walls around herself. We need to stop acting like we have it all together and share a bit of our struggles, proving more and more that we haven’t had a silver spoon either. We need to help identify resources in the community for her exit plan: an internship, a home where she can go to college or technical school, incentives for completing programs and a career/life coach to help her make choices for her future that will keep her out of poverty. We need her to get counseling to understand the complex trauma of exploitation and healthy ways to stay connected to an unhealthy family for the rest of her life. This is the reality of the work. It’s complex, it’s individualized for each girl and it’s hard. But, it is also incredibly rewarding. Being diligent and watching the transformation of lives. No, we don’t win every one but we do win many! No greater love is this than to lay down your life for a friend.

“She’s the daughter of a king and even though she doesn’t know it yet, we will love her until she does know.” – Christina Rangel: Trafficking Survivor and Advocate

Rebecca Bender is a nationally known and recognized Survivor Leader in the efforts to eradicate modern day slavery. She has trained people such as directors of FBI and former President Jimmy Carter. She is the author of Roadmap to Redemption, a faith based work book for survivors. Her organization, Rebecca Bender Ministries is the first to offer online mentoring classes and webinars and specializes in rural America. In her free time, you can find her finishing her Master’s Degree at Bethel University and spending time with her husband and their four lively daughters.

August 13, 2015

The TODAY Show recently wrote an awesome article for their website featuring an Arrow family! Seventeen-year-old Breanna was recently adopted by her foster parents, Fred and Diane Shaw. The Shaws were empty-nesters before they welcomed Breanna into their home, and at first they were nervous about fostering a teen. However, Fred and Diane soon realized they had nothing to be scared of! They love being Breanna’s parents, and Breanna is so happy to have a family to call her own. Read the full TODAY article below!


TODAY show

Before Diane Shaw met her daughter, Breanna, she wasn’t sure she was ready to foster a teen.

Having become empty nesters after raising four children of their own, Diane and her husband knew they faced “a major life change” in welcoming Breanna and her brother into their home.

“I was so nervous… to have two teens in the house I didn’t know,” Diane recalled.

But on Breanna’s first visit, any anxieties Diane had about fostering simply melted away.

“I couldn’t stop smiling, and whenever [Breanna and her brother] turned their backs, I’d mouth to my husband that I loved them,” Diane said.

Diane and her husband, Fred, adopted 17 year-old Breanna in May, four years after that first encounter.

“It was the best day of my life,” said Breanna of her Adoption Day. “I have a family all my own… and I know they’re not going to ever give up on me.”

The Shaws celebrated their special day in the courtroom with a photo inspired by Together We Rise, a foster care advocacy group that shares Adoption Day photos (also known as “gotcha day” photos) to increase awareness of adopting through foster care.

With more than 100,000 children in foster care still waiting for permanent homes, an adoption such as Breanna’s is more than just a family milestone. It’s a sign that attitudes about adopting from foster care are starting to shift.

Americans now have a more favorable opinion of foster care adoption than of international adoption or private infant adoption, according to a 2013 study by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

However, more than half of Americans still wrongly believe that children in the foster care system are juvenile delinquents, the study also revealed. In fact, children enter foster care because of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment at the hands of their biological family.

Between their unfair reputation for being “bad kids” and the misconceptions many families have about adoption in general, many foster care children are still struggling to find forever homes.

Here are six of the most pervasive myths about adopting from foster care, deconstructed by adoptive families and experts alike:

1. You’ll end up fostering/adopting more than one child

There’s a fear that if you become involved with the foster care system, “they’re going to twist your arm and you’ll come home with a carful of kids,” explained Rita Soronen, CEO and President of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.In reality, Soronen said, “[foster care] agencies for the most part err on the side of caution.” Agencies don’t want to overwhelm new foster parents, or place children in homes where they won’t get the attention they need.

“You have the power over your family… you say yes or no,” said Kristina Wilmoth, an active foster parent. She and her husband, Josh, adopted their son Jasper after having two biological children of their own.

2. All foster care kids have medical or behavioral needs that make them difficult to parent

Only one-third of the children in foster care have any kind of diagnosable disability, according to a report from United Cerebral Palsy and Children’s Rights.

Many other children are classified by the state as having “special needs,” but not for the reasons you might think. The term simply refers to a condition that makes the child harder to find a home, such as being older or part of a sibling group.

“That doesn’t mean that [these children] are any more difficult to parent,” said Soronen. “They’ve just had a rough start in life, and they need a family.”

Breanna Shaw, for example, “fell under the category of special needs, even though there was nothing mentally or physically that she needed help with,” explained her adoptive mother, Diane.

On the contrary: Bre is “a huge reader and a great speaker” and is doing well in school, said Diane.

Even when a child’s “special needs” are impossible to predict, families don’t have to give up hope of a happy ending.

Caring for their soon-to-be son, Waylon, during his four months in the NICU, Dan and Lindsey Jenkins weren’t sure if he would have cognitive deficits or other health problems as a result of being premature. In the end, Lindsey said, it didn’t matter.

“We didn’t care… we just grew to love him,” Lindsey Jenkins explained.

As it turns out, “he’s actually proven to be mostly healthy and physically sound,” said Dan. “We call [Waylon] our little miracle baby.”

3. There’s a higher cost than adopting from overseas

“People believe that because it’s expensive to adopt internationally or to adopt through a private agency…it’s also expensive to adopt from foster care. It’s not,” Soronen explained.”It costs virtually nothing.”

In fact, the average cost of adopting from foster care is less than $2,500, and up to $2,000 may be covered by the state. Families may also receive monthly maintenance payments and financial aid for their child’s college education.

“We were under no financial burden at any time,” said Dan Jenkins of his son Waylon’s adoption. But even “if it cost a million dollars to have the little boy we have now, we would have done it.”

4. It’s not worth the risk of having to say goodbye

As with any form of adoption — or really, any method of becoming a parent — there are no guarantees. But some worry that the emotional toll of adopting from foster care is too high, as they may lose their child to a biological relative months or years into the adoption process.

Adoptive parents say the wait was tough — but entirely worth it.

“Sometimes I felt like I would keep my heart guarded, just in case,” said Kristina Wilmoth, remembering the time before she and her husband were granted custody of their son Jasper. But “once they get adopted, it’s like you gave birth to them.”

Plus, fostering a child is “so important, and you do get so many rewards out of it,” said Lindsey Wery, adoptive mom to 4 year-old Annie. “I wasn’t a parent before, and now I am.”

“I look back and wonder what I was so worried about,” added Dan Jenkins. “[Our] little boy has benefited our lives in more ways than we can put into words. The reward far outweighs the risk.”

5. You have to build a relationship with the birth parents and/or relatives

“No adoptive family is required to have a relationship with the biological family,” said Soronen. “Once you’re an adoptive family, you make the legal decisions for [your] child.”

Soronen recommends staying touch with the birth family only “if it’s safe and if it’s appropriate,” as every situation is different.

Dan and Lindsey Jenkins, parents to 2-year-old Waylon, are in contact with a few of their son’s relatives, as well as his biological brother.

“As he gets older and wants to know them, he deserves to,” said Lindsey.

Josh and Kristina Wilmoth feel similarly. But when interacting with their son Jasper’s biological parents, they’ve tried to establish certain boundaries.

We’re “very clear that [Jasper] is my child… [and] that my husband is ‘Dad,'” explained Kristina.

Breanna Shaw, meanwhile, is only in touch with her siblings. As for the rest of her biological family, she said, “I prefer not to talk to them.”

“I feel like I have a family here,” Breanna added. “I just prefer to move forward.”

6. If you adopt an older child instead of an infant, they’ll never feel like “yours”

“That’s just so wrong,” said Soronen. “There’s just no reason to think that adopting an older youth — whether they’re nine or 16 — isn’t worth the effort.”

Breanna Shaw remembers how anxious the idea of being adopted made her at first, after a nearly lifetime of moving between different homes.

“Rationally, I knew they loved me… But there’s always that small voice that says, ‘Are they going to love me enough?'” said Breanna.

Meanwhile, Breanna’s adoptive parents, Diane and Fred Shaw, were concerned about being able to provide adequate support.

We wondered, “‘Are we going to be enough for her? Are we going to be enough to help her heal?'” Diane recalled.

But these days, Breanna told TODAY, she feels completely at home.

“It takes a lot of being vulnerable [to be adopted], but it’s worth it,” Breanna said. “It’s the best feeling in the world, being loved.”

July 16, 2015

Back Hands Flowers
The sisters hold hands at a neighborhood park.

From a young age, adoptive mother Shelley grasped a concept that some seem to struggle with—foster kids are just “normal” children.

When she was a little girl, her neighbor was a foster mother, so she frequently befriended the foster children and helped outwith the babies. Years later, Shelley remembered those experiences as she considered becoming a mother through adoption.

“I knew there were so many kids out there… good kids, in need of homes,” Shelley said.

With that in mind, Shelley and her husband decided that they would be a perfect fit to adopt a sibling group. After completing their training as foster-to-adopt parents, Shelley and her husband were eventually selected for 3 and 4-year-old sisters.

The day they met Emma and Anna at a neighborhood park, the family instantly clicked. The girls had been with an Arrow foster family prior to Shelley, and the foster parents, along with a counselor, had prepared them to meet their adoptive family. The oldest, Emma*, talked about wanting to come to Shelley’s house, and how she wanted her own mommy and daddy. She also insisted that she wanted a “princess family,” so as Shelley prepared Emma’s Life Book (a special scrap book for foster children), she wrote it as a fairy tale.

“It was just amazing,” Shelley said. “It was unreal. They were so perfect and ready.”

That’s not to say there weren’t obstacles.

Anna was a bit more scared and hesitant than her outgoing sister. However, Emma helped Anna with the transition and frequently reassured her. Additionally, Anna’s speech was delayed, so at first, she would grow frustrated when Shelley couldn’t understand her.

Now, her speech is on track, and she’s slowly coming out of her shell. Unlike her princess-obsessed sibling, Anna loves super heroes and especially Spider Man.

“To watch her personality grow has been one of the best things,” Shelley said. “She is so sweet, and so funny.”

Also, Emma has had to learn to accept boundaries. Before entering foster care, the girls were neglected, so Emma felt she was in charge. She also felt she had to stash food to reassure herself she and Anna would have something to eat.

Her Arrow foster family, counselors and adoptive family worked with Emma to make her feel safe, and now those things are no longer an issue.

It has been about two years since the family adopted the girls, and they are doing incredibly well.  They’re smart, funny and well-adjusted, and Shelley feels lucky to have them in her life.

“Our case was a fairy tale,” she said.

*The girls’s names were changed to protect their privacy at the request of their family.

July 9, 2015
Trautner fam
Christina and Laura Trautner talk about how their relationship has grown since Laura first became part of the family.

Our friends at Campus Crusade for Christ, or Cru, recently wrote this awesome story about one of Arrow’s kids! Christina entered foster care at 10, and was adopted by an Arrow family, the Trautners, at age 12. Since then, the Trautner’s have helped Christina heal and brought her out of her shell. Now a confident high school student, Christina is leading Bible studies with her cross country team at Kingwood Park High School. We are so proud of her! Below is the article Ross McCall wrote about Christina and her family, in which they give some very good advice to foster families. To find out how you can make a difference in the life of a child, like the Trautner’s did for Christina, visit www. www.arrow.org/foster.



Christina Trautner was 10 years old when a woman from Child Protection Services arrived at her door. “You have to leave your family because we are taking you to live with another family,” she said. “You have one hour to gather what you most want to take with you.”

Choosing some clothes and her favorite soft toys, Christina had just enough to fill a bucket. Clutching her favorite toy tight to her chest, she climbed into the CPS worker’s car and sat, silently, as she was driven to a family who had chosen to foster her. The CPS worker asked her questions as they drove, but Christina refused to break her silence, afraid of the future.

“When she arrived she just looked small in every sense,” says Laura Trautner, the woman Christina would eventually dare to call Mom. “We had told the CPS that we thought we were best suited to fostering a child who needed to be brought out, helped to flourish, rather than one that needed reigning in.”

Over the past six years Laura, a staff member with Cru, and her husband John, who teaches at his daughter’s high school, have patiently created a home for Christina – a safe place where she’d have the opportunities her birth home would never afford her.

The specific things they emphasized can help any child step into their calling.

  1. Unconditional acceptance
    Christina’s background is a painful story, but she has reached a point where she can talk about her past openly because she never felt judged by the family God eventually chose for her.
  2. Be present
    Christina’s early life was characterized by parental neglect. She says she spent most of her time at home watching television with her younger brother. Having an adopted family who wanted to spend meaningful time with her, and lots of it, helped her to begin feeling precious to them.
  3. Provide clear boundaries
    Laura Trautner says that providing clear boundaries for Christina from the beginning provided her with security and begin to navigate a future that initially created inevitable anxiety for her.
  4. Create plentiful opportunities
    Christina says, “When I came to live with the Trautners, I was closed off. Mom encouraged me and gave me support to try new things. I had never had the opportunity to try out for a sport. She told me about the benefits of trying out for the swim team, something she had done herself.”
  5. Trust, trust, trust
    “There’s nothing my mom and I can’t talk about,” says Christina. She strives to show her parents they can trust her with schoolwork, and with all the normal decisions a high school girl faces each day. This trustworthiness was rooted in the confidence her parents placed in her first.

At age 12, Christina stood in a courtroom before a judge who asked her, “Do you choose this family to be your family from here on?”

“I do,” Christina replied. Laura remembers the moment vividly, describing it as feeling like a marriage.

“My mom wanted to choose something to place on a charm bracelet to signify their adoption of me,” says Christina. “Then we found a jigsaw piece that fit perfectly. Mom told me that our family had been incomplete without me, I was the missing piece in the puzzle.”

Flourishing in God’s call

A year ago, Laura and Christina decided joined a group of Cru staff and high school students from Houston on a spring break trip to Hungary.

As they befriended Budapest high schoolers, Christina remembers meeting girls she describes as, “model-like.” “But I would ask them, ‘Is there anything you would like to change about yourself,’ and they would reply ‘everything.’”

Christina wanted to help those girls recognize how treasured they were by God, but knew she needed to first believe that more deeply about herself.

Christina brought the lessons of the Hungary trip home to Kingwood Park High School outside Houston, where her mom works for Cru’s high school ministry. She brought the change in her own life into a place where she sees girls sitting alone in the cafeteria or walking in the athletics corridor, painfully self-conscious.

“I was never comfortable in the Athletics Corridor, then I felt God telling me to join the cross-country team, that he was going to use me there,” says Christina. Her adopted father John is a keen runner. Christina recently led her first Bible study with her cross-country teammates. She was nervous, but knows she’s become a safe place for other students.

Ana Acosta is one of Christina’s closest friends. “I think a lot of people inside the school try to fit in. They don’t act like themselves at school,” says Ana. “Christina’s the same inside or outside school. She doesn’t really care what people say or think about her, and that’s helped me throughout my high school years.”

Her experiences have created a passion in Christina to eventually work with kids in foster care. She says her Mom gets emotional thinking about how amazing it is that she wants to help people who are where she was, rather than never going back there.

Kingwood Park High School is changing along with a student and a family God labeled ‘chosen.’

June 24, 2015


Arrow mom’s Facebook post goes viral

Arrow adoptive mom Charity Robinson and her son Lincoln appeared on Fox and Friends after a photo of Lincoln making a new friend touched the hearts of tens of thousands of people on social media!

Charity snapped the photo of Lincoln playing with Jason Taylor, a local pastor who was sitting near the family at the rodeo, and shared it on her Facebook page with this message:

Dear stranger next to us at the rodeo,
When my son came up to you and grabbed your arm, you didn’t know he used to be terrified of people. When he talked to you about the bulls, you didn’t know he was diagnosed with a language disorder. When he jumped in your lap and laughed as you tickled him, you didn’t know he had a sensory processing disorder. You also didn’t know as his mother, I sat in my seat, with tears running down my face, sneaking this photo. When we adopted him a few short months ago, we didn’t know how long it would take for him to laugh, play and engage others like this. You didn’t know any of this, but you took time to connect with a child who has had to fight to learn to connect. My heart is full. Thank you.

The Robinsons are such a special family, and we are so proud of the progress Lincoln has made!



March 19, 2015

Scott picOn a recent sunny afternoon outside the home of Arrow CEO Scott Lundy, 16-year-old Dylan Lundy playfully tackled his younger brother, Joey, to let their younger sister Jessie “score” by dribbling a basketball past them.

The way they laughed and teased each other, they looked like a typical group of siblings. You might not guess they’re not related by birth.

Dylan, 11-year-old Joey and 10-year-old Jessie were all adopted by Scott and his wife Stacy. Their adoption journey has led the Lundy family to be incredibly close. Because of their common adoption experience, the Lundy children have a deep connection that is seen in their devotion to one another.

“We were all brought together,” Dylan said. “We were all sent as gifts from God, because that was his plan all along.”

That isn’t to say there haven’t been struggles for both the kids and Scott and Stacy—one of the best examples being the very first day Dylan became part of the family.

He had just been born when Scott and Stacy got a call from the placement agency asking if they wanted to meet him in just one hour.

“The caseworker placed him in my arms, and I looked down at him and I just started crying,” Stacy said. “We instantly knew he was supposed to be ours…. and we had nothing, not even a car seat to take him home in. We had to leave him there with the caseworker while we ran to Target.”

They rushed to Target and told the store associates they were about to pick up a baby and needed a crib, clothes, diapers—the works. The Target employees helped them fill their cart with all the essentials, and as the Lundys left the store, they received a round of applause.

One struggle for Joey has been getting teased about being adopted, but he has a good comeback for bullies.

“I just say to them ‘At least my parents got to choose me!”

But the biggest challenge for Joey and Jessie has been not knowing their birth parents. Both are very anxious to search for them, when they get a bit older.

“One negative is you don’t know where they are, or even who they are,” Jessie said. “But the positive side is you have a family that can care for you, and love you and raise you.”

Scott said adoptive children wondering about their birth parents is natural, and not something to be afraid of.

“Don’t squelch that need,” Scott said. “Don’t avoid it. It’s a very real need, and something to be out in the open with.”

Dylan’s situation is different. The Lundys have a relationship with his birth mother, and see her and her children every Christmas. The kids love playing together, and Dylan is thankful to know them.

“I like being part of their lives,” he said. “They love my mom and dad. They know I’m with a good family, and I think it’s good to remember who started my life.”

For foster and adoptive parents hesitant to have a relationship with their child’s birth parents, Stacy said to not be afraid to reach out, because it can be beneficial for everyone.

“It’s not a fearful thing,” Stacy said. “Knowing what they gave you, you feel connected to them.”

All of these experiences have affected how Scott performs his role as CEO of Arrow. He said being an adoptive parent himself gives him insight as to how his decisions will impact our families.

“I can draw on our own experiences with regards to training, advocacy with licensing, legislation, etc.,” Scott said. “I always think how will this action affect our families and how will it affect our kids.”

Like many Arrow families, the Lundys see the weaving together of their adoption struggles and triumphs as something beautiful.  It started with the tremendous pain of not being able to conceive, but now has blossomed into the ultimate blessing.

“This is the story God wrote for our family,” Stacy said. “It’s a gift to live it, to share it, to see what a blessing it’s been.”

March 12, 2015

In this post, blogger Lauren Casper shares with us the story of a day at Trader Joe’s when she was struggling to get her adoptive children to behave. She was incredibly frustrated and near tears when a Trader Joe’s employee reminded her what being an adoptive parent is all about– giving love and hope to children.

Trader Joes famI was tired, hurried, frustrated, and ready to just go home. John was pushing Mareto in the cart just as fast as he could to leave the store before the melt down got worse. We were frantically trying to open up a cereal bar  in an effort to stem the tears. Arsema was strapped to my chest in the ergo carrier watching it all through wide eyes. Sweat beads were forming on my forehead, caused in part by my embarrassment, but mostly from the heat and amount of energy I was exerting by running through Trader Joe’s with my 18 pound baby strapped to my chest and my toddler year old screaming behind me.

I sure didn’t feel like I was going to be in the running for any mom of the year awards. I felt like a hot mess. In fact, I was sincerely hoping that no one was looking at us too closely… that somehow we were invisible to the people bustling around us. It was chaotic, exhausting, and an unfortunately all too common experience for us.

Our family doesn’t exactly blend in with the wall paper. Not only are we two white parents with a brown son and daughter (something that causes enough stares and questions all by itself), but our son has noticeable developmental delays and different behaviors caused by his autism, and our daughter has physical differences with her missing and webbed digits. In other words, when we all go out together we stand out. Usually I don’t mind, and often I love it. My children are beautiful and so is our story.

Sometimes though, on the days when we are very far from having it together, I do mind. Those days I just want to blend in with the crowd and hide far away from the curious stares. Some days I get tired of it all and just want to be a family. Not the adoptive family. Not the family with special needs children. Not the unique family… just a family. This was one of those days.

I was close to tears myself as John took Mareto to put the cart away. I rushed through the doors with Arsema on my chest to get to the car as quickly as possible when a voice behind me slowed my steps.

“Ma’am!!” She called out. I slowed, hoping and praying she wasn’t talking to me.

“Ma’am!”  I stopped and turned to find a young woman rushing toward me. A bright smile covered her face and I immediately noticed her beautiful black curls, just like the black curls snuggled on my chest, tickling my chin. Recognizing her shirt, I realized that she worked there and assumed I must have dropped something. I looked at her, holding back my tears, waiting.

“I just wanted you to have this bouquet…” and I looked down to see the flowers in her hands. She quickly continued to explain…

“I was adopted as a baby and it has been a wonderful thing. We need more families like yours.” I stared at her, stunned. Hadn’t she seen what a disaster we were in the store? Didn’t she see that we were barely able to keep it together? Didn’t she see what I felt were all my failures as a mom?

As she handed me the flowers I managed to choke out a thank you and tried to express that this meant the world to me. She patted my shoulder, told me my family was beautiful, and walked back into the store.

My steps were much slower as I finally headed to the car with my arms full of flowers and tears that had spilled over onto my cheeks. On a day when I felt like we were the worst example of family… a day when I hoped no one noticed us… she did.  But she didn’t see what I assumed everyone was seeing. She didn’t think what I assumed everyone was thinking. She saw beauty and love and hope and family. She thought we were wonderful and it made her smile.

I wish I had thought to get her name. I wish I could go back and tell her, two years later, what her gift continues to mean to me today. To the beautiful young woman in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s … thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure.

You can read more of Lauren’s writing at www.laurencasper.com

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