The Parker Family
Pictured (L to R) : Gloria Parker, Angela Parker, Mondrea Parker, Chloe Parker, Tobias Parker. The baby is Kameron Scott (Angela’s baby).
Years ago, most families were large, and mine was no exception. There was Daddy, Momma, and 8 children. The older siblings took care of the younger ones while my parents worked. Since the age of about ten years old, when I felt I was too old to play with dolls, I found it made me happy to take care of children. That included my younger sister and brothers and other people’s children, too. In my neighborhood, there were several little girls who didn’t have their hair combed for days, didn’t get regular baths, who didn’t get enough to eat, and seemed to be neglected. They became my little dolls. I enjoyed cleaning them up, feeding them, and making them look pretty. Their mothers seemed to appreciate the love I showed them. I could hardly wait to have my own little children.
After marriage, I got a big surprise. God did not bless me to be a biological mother. He had other plans for my life. Sure, it was a disappointment for many years. I finally accepted the fact that I would never have children. I divorced my husband, moved to Houston, Texas. I lived and worked there for several years, enjoying life to the fullest.
When I moved back to Atlanta, my mother, who was a foster parent at the time, called to tell me she had a little girl for me. What?? I didn’t need or want any children. I was happy with the single life. It was never my plan to adopt a child; it never even crossed my mind. But, when I saw the beautiful little 2-year-old girl lying in the play pen, I knew this was my child. She took to me as if she had known me forever. She even looked like me! We were inseparable, and I started the adoption process immediately as a single parent. A few months later when the adoption was completed, I was told that there was a little sister, and asked if I would be interested in adopting her too. After careful consideration, we added one more to the family.
Several wonderful years went by. I met an awesome man who loved children. We all fell in love with him very quickly. Many people who knew us said my older daughter looked like me and my younger daughter looked like him. We married two years later, had a small wedding and the girls were our “flower girls” in the wedding. I could not have planned a better life if I tried. It was all I had ever dreamed of.
After we were a family for about ten years, the girls had the idea that they would like to have a little brother or two. We thought about it and decided to adopt again. We completed the M.A.P.P. classes, but there were no boys available for adoption at the time. The instructors encouraged us to foster until we could adopt the child we wanted. We agreed and later adopted a brother and sister (7 and 8 years old). We continued to foster and received a 5-year-old little boy with severe behavior disorders. That was really the test of love. We adopted him too and he is now 15 years old. He still has some issues, but we have a great support system and learned to manage well.
It has been over twenty-eight years since our first adoption, five adopted children, over 150 kids fostered, and several extended family members from the children we adopted, but we are still fostering to this date.
My family went from one person to a happy family of five adoptions, a sibling group of 5, ages 11, 10, 8, 2, and 15 months, and a teenage daughter still in care, age 15. This was not the plan I had for my life, but it was God’s plan. I would not change a thing. The children have given my life a purpose that no job could ever fulfill. I pray that I can make a difference in the lives of children, their biological families, and any extended family members that my life can touch. This is a labor of love that doesn’t stop.
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The joy of fostering children is a rewarding experience that is second only to the adoption of your own forever child.