“We felt like this was a way that we could be generous with our time and energy and have our own children join in a mission with us. We felt like this was a way that we could live out being the hands and feet of Jesus.”

When Jeff and Lindsay Terrell first heard about AGAPE of NC, they were drawn to the strong Christian values. When they started training to become foster parents with AGAPE in 2017, they loved how flexible and personalized the experience was. They both felt like they had found their home.

While new to AGAPE, this was by no means Jeff and Lindsay’s first experience with foster care. Lindsay works at the Duke Foster Care Clinic and is also a child abuse and neglect pediatrician. Jeff was exposed to the foster care system through his mother who is a guardian ad litem in Ohio. As Lindsay shares, “Once we had our own kids – Emma, 7 and James, 5 – the idea to foster began to grow in our hearts.”

Just as anyone would, Lindsay shared that she and Jeff did have some concerns about fostering at first. Her biggest fear was that it might impact her own family in a negative way. So, as a family, they decided to set clear boundaries. “We have relied heavily on prayer and communication with each other to understand who our family can best serve. Our fostering experiences so far have shown us God’s goodness in so many ways. God’s goodness doesn’t mean easy. We have learned how He has used even very hard moments to help us learn to depend more on Him.”

Then along came their sweet foster child, Michael. Just two years old, Michael has already confronted many difficult hardships. He was born with heart issues that required numerous procedures and surgeries – all of which Michael handled with strength and grace. While caring for a child with complicated medical issues can be difficult, Lindsay shared that it made her even more appreciative of the support AGAPE provided her family.

“We accepted Michael not really knowing the help we may need. AGAPE has been there with us every step of the way.”

One of the most pivotal points for the Terrells was when they desperately needed respite care that would meet Michael’s unique needs. “AGAPE connected us with an amazing family who not only helped at that time, but also has continued to be there for Michael since. Their help has been amazingly life-giving to us. God provided through AGAPE and this family in a way we could have never imagined.”

The Terrells are happy to share that Michael will soon be an official part of their family. In recent months, it’s been clear that Michael’s biological family will not be able to meet his complicated needs. While the Terrells mourn for Michael’s loss, they also have deep respect for his mother and the love she has shown by signing her rights over to them. “While we will grieve that he cannot be with his biological family, we will welcome him as an official part of our family and cannot wait to celebrate that official date. Our family loves Michael. He is full of joy.”

Sometimes it’s kids who see things the most clearly. Lindsay recently asked her seven-year-old daughter, Emma, what she loved about fostering and she summed it up perfectly: “How much fun Michael is.”