By Russ Dilday
Photography by Nathan Chandler
Kerra Meurer has always had a heart for children, says her husband, Micah, pastor of Paramount Baptist Church’s River Road campus in Amarillo, Texas. So it was devastating years ago when she learned she would never be able to have children following a car accident.
But since then, the Meurers have been blessed with five birth children, adopted two foster children, hosted foster children in their home and, somewhere in between, have become some of foster care’s most ardent advocates in the area. It’s a calling from God, the couple says.
The family members’ names read almost like a baseball roster. In addition to birth children Micah Jr., 23; Kathiryne, 21; Joe-Charles, 17; Joshua, 14; and Kristin, 13, the family has added former foster children Josh, 4, and Kaytlin, 2, to the team through adoption. Rounding out the squad is infant foster daughter, Kali. And those are just the starters. Micah notes the couple also has three grandchildren, ages 1, 2 and 3.
“I believe the Lord blessed us with five kids,” Kerra explains. “But I felt like the Lord allowed me to open my home in so many ways to other kids and this was an opportunity to show them who God was.”
It’s a life Kerra has come to call “peaceful chaos. There’s always something going on, but there’s just the peace of God, just a love for all the kids. I have big ones playing sports while I still have little ones at home just running around.”
Micah credits Kerra’s “heart for children” with the family’s initiation into foster care and adoption. The couple trained to be foster parents several years before, but was denied because of lack of space in their home.
“Ever since she was a little girl, her heart has been to be a mom, so she’s been a mom to our children and to a bunch of other children through baby-sitting and things like that,” he explains. “But our heart really turned toward foster care when we moved to Pampa about two and a half years ago and we started the process again. We were in a bigger house and our older two were married.
“And so we started the process again and we went through all the classes with Buckner,” he says. “Our only thought was foster care. I remember watching Kerra pray every night that the Lord could provide us children she could bless. And that was our plan, just to bless children, prepare them for their forever (adoptive) home or to go back to their birth parents.”
Brittany Bonner, foster care case manager for Buckner in Amarillo, says the Meurers are “the most amazing parents I’ve ever met. They’re so loving, so patient, so kind, so faithful. They’re just great people and great parents to any child who comes into their care.
“I feel like it’s just something God has called them to do, to love children and to be that voice for children,” she adds. “So many people nowadays don’t do that and I think it’s so evident in the Meurers’ home and in their life: kids are what they’re about and they’re just amazing that way.”
The pair’s foster-only plans were thwarted almost immediately – by Josh and Kaytlin, Micah recalls. “In 2011, we got our first foster children – I was on my way to preach in Channing – and she called me. She had been literally praying every night for these children we didn’t even know, and she said there were two babies coming to our home tonight.
“And I remember going and preaching and telling the story to the congregation. And I talked about God using the desires of your heart that night, and I talked about Kerra praying, praying and praying.”
He smiles broadly while sharing the story’s end. “So I got home and saw these babies, and we never would have realized then God had intended them to be in our family forever. They fit our family in a way we could have never imagined or planned. So God’s plan of bringing them to our home was amazing and so we’ve been blessed by the journey.”
The Meurers’ adoption journey, he says, has led them to a theology of adoption that is both biblical and personal. “When we first were going through this process, we wanted to bless children. As we got into it, I began to look at the Lord’s picture of adoption in the Bible, and we see God has adopted us as children.
“There are some things God says over and over in the Bible that He has a heart for: One of those is ‘the fatherless,’” Micah says. “The more I saw that, the more it began to open my eyes. I was blind to a lot of stuff on foster care and adoption. Even when we got into it, it took me a while to fully understand how great the need is in our state and our nation; even in the Panhandle. We’re so shielded in the Panhandle; we think we have perfect communities and we don’t have a need.”
As the family’s theological understanding grew, so did their understanding of the need for care in their area as they trained to foster with Buckner. According to Bonner, the need for foster parents in the Panhandle is extreme.
“We need foster families in the Amarillo area, mainly foster families that have a really strong faith and a really strong family value,” she says. “We have, roughly, in this area about a thousand kids who are available for adoption and even more than that for foster care. We need foster families willing to take a risk, take the plunge, have the faith and have the dedication to be what these kids need for them.”
That growing theology and the need for foster parents has driven Micah to become a vocal foster care proponent among the faith community in the Panhandle. “I don’t think churches realize the dire need there is for foster care and adoption. There’s a great need for foster parents and adoptive parents in our Panhandle.”
In addition to his duties as pastor, Micah also has started a non-profit ministry, Gospel Outreach, in part to answer to the needs of children. Among its guiding principles, he says, is promoting foster care and adoption in churches.
“My desire is to get into churches and speak on behalf of this. I carry Buckner ‘Be a Family’ packets with me in both of our cars, and we hand those out every chance we get to talk to people about foster care and adoption.
“We need a bunch of champions,” he says. “We need every foster parent to be a champion; we need every Christian to be a champion for this. There’s so much opportunity. Yes, there is a need, but also there’s a call to the Church to care for the fatherless.”
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