For the Everett family, it is clear that foster care was always a thread woven throughout their lives. But without God’s voice and his timing, they wouldn’t be where they are today.
Brian and Jennifer Everett began volunteering with Buckner in Amarillo nearly 15 years ago. It started with helping with the Family Pathways apartments – raking the leaves, cleaning and moving in and out, and evolving into fellowship and cookouts. Every summer, they would have an event at the park and each Thanksgiving and Christmas, they would work with their church to provide baskets and gifts to residents.
“We really just wanted to do whatever we could to bless those families and connect them with a church,” Brian explained. “After really getting connected to Buckner and our church got connected, I was asked to consider being on the ambassador council. It was similar to what I kind of already had been doing – getting the word out, being a liaison between Buckner and the community, and communicating those needs across the ministry.”
Through ambassador council meetings, the topic of foster care and adoption often arose and piqued Brian and Jennifer's interest.
“My family has been involved in foster care and adoption in the past. My mom fostered kids for several years after I went to college and ended up adopting two boys," Jennifer said. "Now, I have two brothers and both my sisters also helped foster. One sister has adopted – so it’s kind of a theme in our family.”
Their heart to foster is built around the hope to reunite families. As they became more knowledgeable, Brian and Jennifer saw the statistics and felt called to meet the need for foster care – specifically as a family willing to bridge the gap between the need of the child and the reunification with their family.
Kerri*, 10, was placed in their home in March 2019, just a few weeks after they completed their certification. Throughout her time with the Everetts, they have seen her soar. Kerri now exudes confidence and joy – she becomes the star and entertainment of every conversation.
“We definitely felt led by the Lord to do it. And you realize, wow, this is way harder than I thought it was going to be… but we know he called us to be foster parents, and if God’s called you to it, he is going to equip you,” Jennifer shared.
As they work together to help pour life and faith into Kerri, she has grown leaps and bounds in school, choosing after-school activities and even in her own faith. She came to the Everetts not knowing anything about Jesus, but excitedly shares she can’t wait to tell her mother about him too.
“It feels like God has brought a missionary opportunity into your home. Not that we’re trying to push our beliefs on her, but to be able to share the stories of the Bible and who Jesus is with someone who comes to live with you … it’s a great opportunity to support them in the chance to consider it for themselves,” Brian said.
Kerri has become a key member of the Everett family. She adores their weekly movie nights, featuring homemade pizzas and classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz.
“We have this period of time to help affect change in her life, and it could be amazing the way God uses us during the six months, 12 months, whatever it is," Brian said. "You just have to be ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make that impact and equip her for whatever might be next for her.”
While there currently is no timeline or plan for the length of time Kerri will be in the Everetts’ home, they rest in the truth that God has a plan. This will always be a home for Kerri for however long she needs it.
*Name changed for privacy.