Nathan and Kylee Spraggins heard a word from their pastor in 2020 that they were supposed to have children in their lives – whether biological or not. Neither of them sure what that would look like, they chose to fervently pray and ask God for guidance.
They began pursuing the idea of foster care – with encouragement from Rachel and Lincoln Wingerd, Nathan’s sister and brother-in-law. Rachel and Lincoln opened their home to foster care through Buckner Foster Care and Adoption and adopted their last three placements.
“Seeing them do that, and being a part of that family, becoming an uncle and an aunt to those kids was very inspiring and motivational for us, seeing how the process unfolded,” Nathan shared. “Seeing it as like maybe this is something we’re supposed to do.”
Nathan and Kylee both had hesitations walking into the possibility of foster care.
“It’s a big commitment,” Nathan said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty there, a little bit of fear. But as we started to look into it, we knew we’d want to go through Buckner because that’s who Rachel and Lincoln went through. And we saw the support system they had there.”
After a lot of prayer and a little extra faith, they both knew this was their next step.
“We do this because this is where God’s told us to go. This is our calling at this point – this is our ministry,” Kylee shared.
In December 2021, Nathan and Kylee welcomed their first placement – two sisters. When the girls first entered the Spraggins’ care from a tough situation, they were hesitant to let Nathan and Kylee in. But with time came trust.
“Once they knew they were safe here and [we] gave them consistent structure and a dependable home life, we really started to see them blossom,” Nathan shared.
“Seeing two broken children nine months ago and watching them become self-sufficient, independent, confident, mature children who I am confident will be able to maintain these skills and foundations throughout their lives has been an amazing thing to see,” Kylee agreed.
For these first-time parents, community and family were key resources when navigating new behaviors and situations. Parenting is not easy and foster care comes with its own unique challenges.
“Rachel has been an invaluable resource to me any time I would see a behavior. We don’t have biological children, so any behavior I was like, is this normal?” Kylee said. “She was able to give me insight on whether that was a normal kid thing – or this is possibly a trauma response. Here are some things you can do to help and guide, support and love her in a way that’s going to be more constructive to what she’s going through right now.”
The two families lean on each other and cultivate a safe, reliable and genuine community for their children. Having a support network to be able to call on at a moment’s notice has been instrumental in what Nathan and Kylee have been able to provide for the two girls. For Nathan, he’s thankful to give them a bigger family to be a part of.
“Those are their cousins now. I can see their connection going far beyond those girls being placed in our home and those relationships lasting a lifetime,” he shared.
Another facet of their support network came through Buckner staff, other foster care families, and the resources available. Their family had the opportunity to attend Camp Buckner as well as other foster care events. Through those outings, the Spraggins family connected with other Buckner foster care families.
“We are lucky to be in the position we are with our family community already being foster care minded,” shared Kylee. “But there are families who come into foster care and they don’t have the support system. These [Buckner] events where families can get together and meet each other and grow that community, I think has been really beneficial to others who aren’t as lucky as us.”
For the Spraggins family, foster care has been an adventure for the whole family. And they’re excited to see where it leads them next.