By Tracy Taplin
God has woven our family together over the last 30 years into a hand-stitched patchwork quilt of bright, beautiful differences—both in genetics and preferred ice cream. A down-to-earth sensibility is ever present to put the work in, and we dust ourselves off after we fall, limping and determined to keep on keeping on. God is at the center of who we are and what we do. We possess an ample amount of laughter and competitiveness and are absolutely imperfect. There are currently two “chicks” with one foot in the nest and a couple who have flown into adulthood. And yes, my husband and I have purchased matching recliners but have no plans to become glued to them or to resemble our next dog.
I am a mom, blessed both biologically and through adoption, who is in the parenting trenches, having navigated special needs and multiracial family life as well as created and maintained balance with birth parents. All the while, I continually thank Jesus for grace and new mercies each day. As a child advocate, I currently serve as an Orphan Care ministry leader and Community Outreach Director at a local church with a passion for faith communities to (continue to) rise up, welcome, equip, and serve children and families who are vulnerable as they move through the loss, trauma, hurt, and impermanence that has brought them to where they are and a commitment not to leave them there.
This passion for trauma-informed care within the local church for me—best crafted with a hyperlocal focus and impact with regional, statewide, and global connectivity—is a way to serve in my own community while accessing best practices, collaboration, and tools from those smarter than I am. This leads to a continual pursuit of the messiness of life—a setting aside of schedule and helping potential parents to use “waiting time” to heal, learn, pray, and research before their children come home—and encouraging lifelong learning once they are home while celebrating the wins and mourning the losses together.
I was a prospective adoptive parent back in the last century, ill-equipped for my calling and also confident that it was not accidental. Bruised by disappointments and heartbreaks several years later, I trudged on as an adoptive parent, holding education degrees yet without the tools I desperately needed to parent well. God’s patience and a community in desperate need of healing kept me pursuing ministry to others like me and my family. I am not the healer, but I know him.
Partnering with Show Hope encourages me on hard days, like this Tuesday or other days ending in “y.” My story is offered to encourage those as yet unscathed by the parenting path they are called to pursue, staying vulnerable and vigilant and also to those already acquainted with what I’m describing. Such ministry is nearly impossible without Pre+Post Adoption Support and tools that Show Hope provides. This gives meaning to the “one another” commands throughout the Bible. We aren’t meant to do this alone.
Years of prayer to stay willing and available for how God might use the gifts he has bestowed upon me opened the doors for a Show Hope scholarship in 2022 to attend TBRI® (Trust-Based Relational Intervention®) Practitioner Training while engaging in a statewide governmental initiative with other faith communities responding to the call to care for children in need of safe, loving homes. This training, along with ongoing ministry support such as Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey Conference has allowed our church to throw open the doors to our neighbors, saying, “Welcome! We are FOR you and your family. God loves you and so do we.” This selfless giving that Show Hope pours out for those who will receive it is changing generational and eternal trajectories while equipping people across the globe as they welcome children from hard places. This is the good stuff.
Show Hope has also allowed me to take time, through trainings, to consider my childhood, how I was parented, and how I have parented. Twofold, I have been empowered to accept grace and forgiveness in plowing forward with renewed passion and increased empathy while searching for others who desperately need tools for their continued parental sanctification as they die to self and serve Jesus with trauma-informed intentionality.
To the many faithful donors whose generosity allows families—both pre- and post-adoption— access to quality resources, financial assistance, reliable teachings, and a reduction of barriers, I say thank you. You not only allow preparation and hope in the waiting, you also give sustenance in the form of encouragement—a collective holding up of our adoptive parental arms when we simply do not have the strength to do it alone.
Tracy Taplin is an experienced educator and ministry leader, an advocate and speaker for children impacted by adoption and foster care, a TBRI Practitioner, a Court Appointed Special Advocate® (CASA) for children in foster care, and recently served as a panel member for The Gospel + TBRI module of Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey Conference. She and her husband, Dru, were high school sweethearts and “are happiest when we serve together.” Tracy and Dru are also the proud parents of four children.