Denise Davis and Bethany Falls lived in the same city, but their paths had never crossed before. Then in 2013, both women and their husbands embarked on an emotional journey to become foster parents through MCH Family Outreach in Tyler.
They became acquainted in weekly trainings as they pursued licensing for foster care. Then both received placements within one week of each other of boys who were born only one day apart. Evan was placed with Falls and her husband, David. Jacob was placed with Davis and husband, Keith.
Evan’s case was a voluntary placement and the family thought he would go back to his mother after a few months. However, she relinquished her rights and they thought at that point he was theirs to adopt. Jacob came into Davis’s family with expectations that his case could turn into an adoption. But the roller coasters for both cases had just begun.
Evan’s biological father unexpectedly came into the picture when he was 1 year old, leading to visitations and court appearances. Even though their situations were unstable, Jacob’s biological mother and father each fought for custody which led to two separate jury trials. During the trials, the biological parents’ rights were terminated but then appeals and more legal issues followed.
Throughout the journey, Falls and Davis grew closer as they were experiencing the same emotions and challenges.
“We were kind of thrown into it together but I am thankful for that,” Falls said. “I wouldn’t have been able to make it through as easily.”
“It was a Godsend,” Davis said. “God knew I needed that friend that could identify and be there right beside me.”
The mothers would call each other in the emotional times of waiting in the car as the biological parent was having a visitation. Or sending a hopeful text as they knew the other was waiting for news. During the trials, the mothers leaned on each other for support as they waited to learn the fate of their family.
“We could speak truth and speak scripture to each other when we need it most,” Falls said.
They also relied on each other for advice as they experienced new behaviors in the boys that their older children did not have.
“It felt like for the first time I didn’t know how to parent,” Davis said. “You have to parent so differently. Obviously, because you are a foster parent you also have to discipline differently. But their behaviors are so different and you have to figure out if it is a toddler thing or an emotional trauma issue? And you can feel isolated in that because your friends don’t understand the difference. You feel like an island on your own sometimes. We were able to talk about that.”
Both mothers’ journeys led to the adoption of the boys and their boys have now grown to be great friends. Looking back, the mothers are thankful to each other and for God’s role in their experience.
“I don’t know how people foster without being firm in their faith,” Falls said. “I can’t imagine going through this without God. To know that He has my back and is protecting these babies and knowing that no matter what the outcome, His Will will be done.”
“With Evan and Jacob, God chose them and plucked them out to give them a fresh start,” Davis said. “It is such an honor and a blessing. I’ve said to friends considering (fostering), it is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it is so rewarding. And I think as a family unit, it has been amazing to see my older kids know it is a ministry and see that they want to minister this child and get them through. They grow and the growth that comes from it, you are amazed by that.”