Blog  /  Advancing Grace  /  One Family’s Adoption (of Grace Based Parenting)

Advancing Grace, Family Matters, Grace Based Parenting

Andy and Barb Everroad lead seemingly ordinary lives.  College sweethearts, they’ve been married 19 years.  Andy enjoys a successful career as an attorney and is actively involved in their church.   Barb, a teacher for many years, now stays home full-time.  However, look deeper into this ordinary family and you’ll discover an extraordinary story.  A story of God’s grace!

 

Andy and Barb’s journey with Family Matters began in 2000 when their biological daughters, Ashley and Taylor, were 4 and 1.  It was in an enrichment class at church where they first heard the message of Grace Based Parenting.  In Andy’s words,

 

Embracing the grace message wasn’t hard.  Simply stated – it’s truth!  It makes sense.  When we heard the message it almost instantly embedded itself in our hearts.  Family Matters has successfully captured grace from the Bible in a way that’s tangible and practical to us as parents.

 

In reflecting upon the message and their daughters’ early years, Andy shared that, “Taylor was our first ‘curve ball.’  With our first daughter Ashley, things were easy.  Taylor was a different story.   Through the grace message, we came to appreciate how God uniquely designed her.  Although our desire was to meet Taylor’s inner need for security, significance and strength, we realized we couldn’t do that without first embracing her unique inner bent.” Barb agrees that accepting and actually valuing Taylor’s differences was indeed difficult.  “She wasn’t like the rest of us.  But that was where we grabbed ahold of the grace message and implemented it in our family.  As a result, we have a happy child instead of a frustrated and worn out child.”

 

Everroad Family Picture”When the girls were young”,   Andy explained, “our hope was that they’d experience grace – even if they didn’t know it by name.  As they grew older, we started telling them about God’s grace.  Because of the work of grace in our own lives, we openly acknowledge our mistakes and seek forgiveness when we fall short.  As Barb reflected on their open relationship with their now teenage girls, she said, “Nothing they bring to us shocks us.  Our girls know they’re free to tell us anything.  While we don’t always like what they have to share – we don’t overreact.  We stay calm and meet our girls where they are.”

 

In many respects, it was no surprise when Andy and Barb enrolled as foster parents.  God gave them a heart for it – and they made themselves available.  However, things became more complicated when they were asked to consider adopting their foster daughter Nia.

 

Andy explained, “My initial reaction to the idea of adoption…was fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear that our plan was changing.  Fear of adopting at my age.  But I can tell you without hesitation, I heard Tim Kimmel’s voice talk about the risks and dangers of ‘fear-based parenting’ as we considered this decision.”  Barb added that, “The warning against making our plans based on fear was powerful.  Had we not heard the warnings, I don’t know where we’d be in this journey with Nia or any other child that may come into our home.”

 

Through Family Matters, the Everroads gained a greater appreciation of God’s grace and sovereignty.  As a result, they’ve progressed from worrying about Nia’s future – to trusting God’s plan for her future as their third daughter.  Andy and Barb agree wholeheartedly that grace has helped them trust and follow God – even into the unknown.

 

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

 

Their plan at this point is to adopt another child.  They don’t know how, when – or even if – that will happen.  In Barb’s own words, “We’re not charting a course.  I have a plan in my heart – but I’m waiting on the Lord for the plan to unfold.”  The Everroads have come to know that God has a perfect plan!

 

Andy’s love for the message of grace-based relationships led him to become a Family Matters ambassador.  In the past year, he’s led small group studies, taught parenting classes and shared the message of grace with those around him.   “I love the grace message.  It’s meant so much to our family and I wanted to be intentional about sharing it with others.  When I teach, I love to see how excited people get when they interact with the message.  It’s encouraging to hear parents say, ‘That’s a great idea.  I’m going to try that!’  It gives me hope that more families might become homes of grace where marriages and children will grow and flourish.”

 

Barb’s prayer is that families hearing the grace message will be open to its many facets.  “Different aspects have applied to us at different times.  Each time we listen, God reveals a different nugget.  In every season, the message has resonated with us.  We’ve never been disappointed by the message of God’s grace!”

 

Father’s Day this year holds special meaning to the Everroads.  For Nia, it marks the year God appointed her a new earthly father.  For the Everroad clan, it’s a powerful reminder of their Heavenly Father – and the extraordinary grace He’s shown their ordinary family.

 

Please take a moment to watch Andy and Barb’s Profiles in Grace video to hear more about their journey into foster parenting.

 

Michelle Broek is the Director of Advancement for Family Matters. She spends much of her time figuring out ways to advance the message of Grace. We have the privilege at Family Matters to see God change countless lives and then see those very people go on to become passionate ambassadors for the message of Grace. In the “Advancing Grace” series, Michelle shares some of her favorite stories of people turned ambassadors for a life-changing message.

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