David and Naomi Meeks planned to adopt one baby. Today, they are the parents of two groups of siblings.
My wife, Naomi, had always dreamed of having a big family. But I was one of three children, and thought that might be enough—maybe even too much!
When we started talking about adopting early in our marriage, I am positive that neither of us thought that someday we would be the parents of eight children. But on July 3, that is exactly what we became.
Deciding to adopt
We were dealing with infertility when we were presented with an opportunity to adopt a baby girl. We were busy getting our home ready when, a month before the baby was due, the mom decided she wanted to keep her. It was heartbreaking, but the desire to adopt stayed with us. We knew that God had other plans, perhaps even better plans, for us.
Committing to adopting siblings
I have been an Arkansas state representative for seven years and was chair of the committee that oversees the Department of Child Welfare. In that role, I learned that even in our small state, there are more than 300 children waiting for forever families. Many are siblings who risk being separated because most people do not have homes large enough to accommodate them.
I also learned about a group in Arkansas that helps people become foster and adoptive parents. After attending an informational meeting with them, our hearts were moved with the desire to keep siblings together. We started the process to become a foster and potential adoptive family.
A license—and an immediate family!
We were one final walk-through away from being an open foster home when we discovered that our agency was trying to find a placement for three brothers. They were one, two and three years old. We expressed interest, and a week later, we found out that our family had been selected! The boys moved in a couple days later and never left. We finalized their adoption in November 2015, after 15 months of having them in our home.
On the way back from the adoption ceremony, my wife said, “I do not feel like our family is complete yet. I think we are supposed to keep fostering.” I completely agreed.
We went on to make our carport a bedroom that would add several more beds in our home and focused on fostering. We had 13 more foster placements before our hearts were moved toward adoption again.
Room for five more?
We knew that, once again, we wanted to adopt a sibling group. Shortly after we told our caseworker, she called to let us know about a sibling group of five she was working with would need an adoptive family soon.
When she told us more, we realized that we knew these children! As part of our work with our church, we used to visit their family every Saturday and bring them to church on Sundays. We loved these kids!
It had been a few years, and we had lost track of them. But the two oldest remembered us. The first time we met, they ran over and gave us the biggest hugs. We knew then and there that we would do whatever we needed to do to adopt them.
Making adjustments and finding support
Of course, becoming a family of ten has required many adjustments—starting with buying a mega van and getting very, very organized! Those were the easy things. More difficult was the process of helping our children, who had been in several homes before joining ours, learn to trust that this was their final home and we would love them unconditionally and keep them safe.
It was a little rough in the beginning, and we still have our crazy days, but now everyone gets along wonderfully, and we really love each other. As Naomi says: “Our family was formed because of brokenness. From it, we have created something beautiful.”
Thankfully, we have not done this alone. We have a very amazing support system. Our families have been alongside us through this entire journey, our church has been encouraging, and we have an amazing group of local foster and adoptive parents who we lean on for advice and counsel. When we feel burned out or need a date night we always have someone to call who is willing to help.
Reflecting on the rewards
We started down this path with a heart for keeping siblings together, and we have helped eight children not only keep their brothers and sisters but gain new ones as well. We’ve built a family, and that is tremendously rewarding.
Hearing our children call us Mommy and Daddy or say, “I love you” melts our hearts every time. Naomi says that every time she looks at our family photo and sees the ten of us together, she feels overwhelmed—and humbled—at what we’ve created.