Since the day they got married, George and Agatha Wall dreamed about having a large family. They both grew up in large families – Agatha has nine siblings, George has seven. They dreamed of little feet running down the halls and delightful childish laughter echoing throughout their home, but after 11 years of marriage, the halls were silent.
“I try not to remember those days,” Agatha said. “It was hard. We tried from the very beginning, and we’ve never had any luck.”
George and Agatha went to many doctors and tried many treatments to no avail, but even still, they hung on to the dream of family. During one appointment, their doctor suggested they think about adoption, and then a new plan to grow their family materialized.
“When the doctor said you could always adopt, that’s when it clicked,” George said. “It became clear that if we wanted to have kids, the only way was going to be foster-to-adopt.”
The Walls knew a few neighbors who were involved with foster care and reached out to them several times seeking information on a process that was unfamiliar to them. The families, though receptive to meet with them, were unable to at that time. So Agatha turned to the Internet to search for foster care in Midland. Buckner International was the first link that popped up.
“When I talked to Sarah [Hataway], it was like she was expecting my call,” Agatha said. “Like it was planned so long ago.”
“It was just perfect,” George added.
The Walls began training immediately, fervently going through all the required courses and paperwork. They were licensed for foster care in July 2014. The Buckner staff warned the Walls it could still take up to a year before any children were placed in their home.
“We were so nervous, unbelievably nervous,” Agatha said.
Just days after the Walls were licensed for foster care, a toddler was found wandering down the street alone, far from his home in Odessa, Texas. Police took the little boy home and found it to be in complete disarray. The conditions were unlivable, and his mother was asleep while he and his baby sister were left unattended. Child Protective Services was called, and they decided to remove the children while they conducted an investigation.
At his job, George received a news alert on his phone regarding this case. The report was short and did not give a reason for why the children were removed, but George felt a stirring in his heart.
“It just clicked right there,” he said. “These are our kids. I could just feel it in my heart. I sat there expecting the call from Buckner.”
Two hours later, George received the call from Buckner asking if they wanted to take in these two children. George wanted to agree immediately, but felt he needed to confirm with Agatha. He had trouble reaching her though as she was working with her family on a neighbor’s farm.
While working in the field, Agatha’s sisters kept asking her when a child would be placed in their home. Agatha tried to explain how the process could take a while, but in her heart, she was pleading with God to guide her and make his will known.
“The whole day we were talking about kids and then George called and said there were kids available,” Agatha said. “I didn’t know in the morning that my life was going to change.”
Since they had only just become licensed, they were unprepared for children. They didn’t have the supplies a child would need, but the Walls didn’t want to turn down this opportunity.
“George said, ‘There are babies waiting. Do you want them, are you prepared for this?’ I wasn’t at all,” Agatha said. “We had no car seats, no cribs, nothing. And I said, ‘Yes, isn’t that what we wanted? Why would we say no.’”
On the way home, she stopped at the mailbox to pick up the mail. Inside was their license for foster care.
Sarah Hataway, Buckner foster home development supervisor remembers calling the Walls to tell them of their placement. The excitement in their voice could not be contained.
“When they greeted the children in their home, it was like it was meant to be, and they were an instant family as soon as they walked in the door,” Hataway said.
Lukas was just shy of 2 years old and Naomi was 3 months old when they were placed with the Walls. Agatha’s family came to visit right away. They were so excited for George and Agatha that they couldn’t wait to visit. They came with gifts – cribs, clothes, toys, anything they may need to care for the children.
“We were very excited for them,” said Agatha’s sister, Sara Krahn. “They have been wanting this for a very long time. We all came to see them and there was just so much energy in that house. It was a happy time for them. We love the kids. They are such a joy to us.”
Though excited to be a family, it was difficult at first adjusting to life with two small children.
“There were times when we were at the point when we thought ‘we can’t do this,’” Agatha said. “But we didn’t give up. We didn’t know it would be that hard. It doesn’t matter how hard it gets though, you are never alone, and Buckner has been there with us every step of the way.”
It was dedication and commitment to their family that gave the Walls the courage to continue on.
“It’s so important to have families that are this focused on the word ‘family’ and the meaning behind it, and the meaning behind love and care and generosity, being able to welcome these kids into their home as a family,” said Hataway.
In the beginning, it did not look like the children would be adoptable. George remembers coming home from a court case and thinking surely the children would be going home.
“It sounded like they would get their kids back for sure,” George said. “We didn’t have a chance to keep them anyway. When we came back from court, I said, ‘Let’s just pretend that we’re babysitting and not bond too much.’ But we couldn’t just pretend like that.”
“It didn’t work,” Agatha added. “We bonded from day one,” George said.
Eventually, the case started to turn, and the parental rights were terminated. The day the Walls got the call asking if they wanted to adopt Lukas and Naomi, they sat down and cried. They would finally have the family they dreamed of.
One year later on Nov. 13, George and Agatha Wall officially adopted Lukas and Naomi on National Adoption Day in Odessa. In attendance to witness the occasion was most of Agatha’s family.
“They have been married so long and always dreaming about kids, and all of a sudden they are here,” said Agatha’s sister, Tina Penner. “We know Lukas and Naomi will have a stable home forever.”
At home, George and Agatha have a special message framed for their children that expresses the sentiment of their special day. It reads, “We didn’t give you the gift of life, but life gave us the gift of you.”
“We have been praying for kids for years and years,” Agatha said. “I wanted a boy and a girl, and I wanted the boy to be older, but what- ever God wanted was fine with me.”
“Now we have a boy a little older than a girl. It’s a dream come true,” George added. “Now that we know how hard it was in the beginning, if I had to do it all over again, I would.”
“It’s better than I ever dreamed or imagined,” Agatha said.