I have had the privilege of knowing the McMullen family for many years and hearing first hand their stories of bringing children into their home through foster care and adoption. I know the road has not always been easy for them, but seeing their beautiful children become part of their family and watching how God uses them to impact other families by their ministry is inspirational. I have asked them some questions about their experiences, so you can see how fostering and adoption has impacted their family and allowed them to share God’s love with others in a surprising way.
GKFTK: How have you served others as a family?
McMullen Family: Serving others in any capacity has always been dear to both my husband and I. So when we began growing our family we looked at ways to do things together in hopes our children would begin to experience the joy and privilege of serving too. Just the other night our church was in need of nursery workers for a Christmas Eve service, so we all jumped in and helped work the classroom. It was so much fun! Joshua was the greeter, Seth passed out snacks, Eveli made sure all the names were on crafts, while Jabez and Paxton helped play with the littles. What a great opportunity for everyone to jump in and be together while also meeting a need.
GKFTK: How did you become interested in foster care and adoption?
McMullen Family: Fostering and adoption has been close to us since John and I were dating in high school. We began helping with a homeless ministry down in Houston once a week where there was an amazing ministry that offered a hot meal, the gospel and practical help for anyone who was ready to get off the street. During the message John and I would take care of these precious babies so the parents could listen to the message and eat. We saw the cycle of poverty first hand and the lives these innocent children were being led into. Of course, restoration and rehabilitation for these precious families was the primary goal that we desired to be apart of, but in some cases where these babies needed a foster parent, we knew we’d want to be available if needed.
GKFTK: How has adoption impacted your family?
McMullen Family: Adoption has forever changed our family and our legacy. It begins with suffering and loss and trusting that God would heal and restore in every capacity. Our relationship with God stems from our brokenness and our need for Jesus. I think adoption perfectly demonstrates that. This life is messy and often has heartache, but we live with hope that we have a Father in heaven that is CRAZY about us. We are not perfect earthly parents by any stretch, but we do try to point our kids to Jesus every chance we get. We believe God uses every experience and trial that we’ve had, and He, years ago, began preparing us to bring children in our home that needed one. As unequipped as we were (we were very) God didn’t care about that! He provided for all of us. We’ve had to trust that His ways are not our ways and that has been so GOOD for all of us! Romans says long suffering produces perseverance which in turns produces character and hope! That is what we have HOPE!
GKFTK: What have your kids learned from this experience?
McMullen Family: I pray our kids grow to understand that while adoption has been a part of their earthly family story, we all experienced adoption into God’s family through Jesus. This is a hard question, because to them, they’re just siblings right now and aren’t quite at an age to truly understand what lead them here. I’d love to hear how they would answer this question as they grow up.
GKFTK: What would you say to a family with kids who are considering fostering or adoption as part of their family’s ministry.
McMullen Family: Get ready! If God is tugging at your heart just start obeying. You will not regret it. Start by praying and sharing with others what God is laying on your heart. Also, begin praying for that child or children. We can forget that while we are preparing to bring a child into our home, that child is going through some very difficult situations. Trust and pray that the Lord is at work and His timing and ways are always the best!
GKFTK: Fostering and adopting are not easy. What would you say keeps you going despite the trials that arise?
McMullen Family: Yes, you will be faced with trails and even seasons of difficulty, but just hear Paul (from the bible) cheering us all on saying Count it ALL JOY my brothers and sisters! There is nothing that we can do that Jesus didn’t finish on the cross. Knowing that God is in control of it all, and we want to be dead center in His work and will. Practically though, lots of prayer and support. We go on dates and take moments for each other as much as possible. You have to take time to care for yourself and your marriage to sustain a healthy home for children from hard places.
GKFTK: How has your family made an impact on others for Jesus by serving in this way?
McMullen Family: We pray that everything we do brings glory to our Father! In the everyday mundane ways of life it’s hard to feel like you’re making an impact! As a mom of five, going out in public and running errands can be quite an adventure and has it’s challenges for sure! Our family sticks out for many reasons, partly our size as well as our diversity. We get lots of comments ranging from “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” or “You brought all the neighborhood kids with you?” I’ve had people tell me how they’ve enjoyed and been blessed just to watch us work together at the checkout counter at the grocery store. Another time a stranger graciously gave us $50 to spend at a store just because she said she was blessed by watching our family. It makes me smile to think about all the times that I’ve been focused on how much of a mess we all are, but to someone looking in they are seeing something beautiful. We can only hope and desire to leave an impact on someone that they might see Jesus through our family despite how we feel or look!
GKFTK: Any other benefits from serving in this way?
McMullen Family: Yes, expect to be transformed! Ha! Sometimes the things you thought were so important in life have a way of changing. This has happened to us. Material gain, others’ opinions, ambitions, etc., mean nothing. Our obedience towards our Father means everything now! God asked us to provide an earthly home and to be earthly parents to these children, and it’s just like Him to take our small faith and fill our lives with more joy and blessing than we could have ever imagined.
GKFTK: I love how you said that people have been blessed just by observing your family. There is something special about observing a family with adopted kids that radiates the heart of Jesus to everyone around them. May He continue to use your family to encourage others both who are thinking about adoption and who are needing a reminder of Jesus’ great love for all of His children.