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Big Hearts Need Bigger Home

Reprinted from the Amarillo Globe-News, Oct. 4, 2011

It’s not that Tim and December Barcroft wouldn’t love to be in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. They would be among 150 others nationally to be honored at a gala as part of the Angels in Adoption awards through the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

It’s just they can’t.

Tim has a route to run delivering tortillas around the area for J&T Distributing. December, who not surprisingly, was born in December, can’t afford to miss class at West Texas A&M University, where she’s studying to be a teacher. Then there are the girls — Genie, Heavenly and Kelsey — what to do about them?

“It’s probably best we not go,” Tim said. “We’d like to, but just can’t. It’s disappointing, but money was also an issue as well.”

The Barcrofts are a common couple doing an extraordinarily uncommon thing. That’s what foster parents are. They’re like so many on the outside, but inside have an extra dose of love, unselfishness and sacrifice.

Life was peaceful and routine the first five years of their marriage. Maybe too peaceful.

“We were tired of our quiet house,” December said.

They talked of being foster parents for three years. Finally, they enrolled in the foster parents program through Buckner International, training that is intense and rigorous. They had a heart for children, had none of their own, and were eager to have some extra noise in their home.

“Foster parents have to be patient, flexible, giving, and obviously loving,” said Scott Collins, vice president of communications for Buckner. “I think for Tim and December, it was also part of a spiritual calling.”

In March 2009, they became foster parents of two boys, Aaron, 6, and Jason, 9. They were in their home until they returned to their mother the day after Christmas 2009.

“We still pick them up and take them to church every Sunday,” Tim said. “They may not live with us, but they’re still part of our family.”

It’s now a crowded drive to New Life FourSquare Church. A little more than a month after the two brothers left, the Barcrofts received two sisters, Genie, 14, and Heavenly, 6, in January 2010 from the Panhandle Assessment Center. In March of that year, their infant sister, Kelsey, 1, was taken from another foster home to join her sisters.

“It’s been mind-altering, a house full of girls,” said Tim. “I mean, sharing one bathroom, come on. There’s not a moment’s peace with that. It’s been rough, but we love them to death, absolutely love them to death.”

Imagine this challenge: A teenager, one in kindergarten, and one who is now 2 years old. Those are some different needs and priorities with no time for parents to grow into the challenge.

“Kelsey can entertain herself. She’s independent, but very loving,” Tim said. “Heavenly had some severe behavioral issues in the beginning, but she’s come a long way. Genie is Genie. She’s attached and then detached. She has her moments as I’m sure all 14-year-olds do.”

But few have had the baggage the two oldest had been saddled with. What was missing in their lives, as it is with virtually all foster children, is stability, a parental role model who will be there for them.

“We’ve provided them and showed them there are people out there who do love them for who they are,” December said.

The Barcrofts didn’t get to go to the nation’s capital Wednesday, but they did get to go to 108th District Court in Potter County last Thursday. There, before Judge Doug Woodburn, the Barcrofts legally adopted the three girls. No doubt which one meant more.

“Going to Washington would have been pretty cool,” said Tim, “but the real honor is the having these kids for a lifetime.”

But the Barcrofts hope this isn’t the final chapter. They would like to add more foster children and their own biological children one day.

“God’s not done with us yet,” Tim said, “but we’re going to need a bigger home.”

Jon Mark Beilue is a columnist for the Globe-News. He can be reached at jon.beilue@amarillo.com or 806-345-3318. His blog appears on amarillo.com.

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