By Emily Moore
200 Million Flowers Rescues Children
Jamie Walley did not think foster care was for him. It’s ironic now, considering he is a resource parent and the Director of Church Relations and Training at 200 Million Flowers, a faith-based nonprofit adoption agency in Ridgeland.
He serves full-time as the student and missions pastor at Meadow Grove Baptist Church in Brandon. “I was helping organize our orphan care ministry, but not listening to God’s call for ME to be a resource parent,” said Walley. “It was just a blind spot.”
Jamie’s wife, Stephanie, presented the idea to him. They already had three biological children between the ages of 12 and 19—but Jamie agreed to pray about it.
Meanwhile, Walley continued to play an integral role in growing Woven, the orphan care ministry at Meadow Grove. They reached out to their local Child Protection Services office and began to build relationships with social workers and also started a support group for foster/adoptive parents. They also opened a resource closet to provide social workers and parents with easy access to clothes, diapers, toys, school supplies, and other childcare essentials.
After a great deal of thought, prayer, and encouragement from others, the Walleys began to pursue their license for foster parenting in 2013.
After opening their home to the first couple of children, the Walleys realized foster parenting came with its own set of challenges.
“I really struggled at first with bringing children into our home,” said Wally. “It disrupted everything. Our schedules were off, we had additional meetings to attend, and it limited what we would normally do as a family.”
While helping organize the orphan care ministry and going through the licensing process themselves, the Walleys were introduced to 200 Million Flowers, which partners with churches to create, equip, and train orphan care teams.
In October 2014, 200 Million Flowers presented Walley with its annual Heart of Adoption award. Walley says he was honored to receive the accolade, but was still struggling as a new resource parent.
“God, in His grace and kindness, used several people in my life to help change my heart over the course of that first year,” said Walley.
Two months later, the Walleys received a call about a medically fragile child that would be a long-term placement. “I remember going to the hospital and seeing this tiny baby boy just lying there with no place to go,” said Walley. “The doctor told us he would eventually need a kidney transplant and would likely always have to take several medications daily and have dialysis in our home.”
Though there were a great deal of uncertainties, the Walleys trusted the Lord’s guidance. They are now waiting to finalize the adoption of that little boy.
Earlier this year, Walley joined the staff of 200 Million Flowers, in addition to his ministry at Meadow Grove. It was around that time Rescue 100 was born.
Rescue 100 is a collaborative effort between the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, the Mississippi Commission on Children’s Justice, 200 Million Flowers, and churches across the state of Mississippi to provide loving homes for children in the foster system.
“What we do is streamline the training and certification process for resource families,” explained Craig Robertson, Co-Founder of 200 Million Flowers. Robertson is a family law attorney in Ridgeland. Five years ago, he and his wife, Rachel, started the non-profit in an effort to connect the church with foster children.
Families who attend the Rescue 100 Training Weekend receive all 27 hours of training required to become a licensed foster parent in one weekend.
The Central Mississippi Rescue 100 Training Weekend is scheduled for October 21-23 at Mississippi College in Clinton.
Before attending the weekend, families must attend a one-hour faith-based orientation to learn about foster care and Rescue 100. Orientations are set for October 10-13 in Madison, Hinds, Warren, and Rankin Counties.
Visit 200millionflowers.org/rescue100 to register or for more information.
Emily Moore is Director of Communications for 200 Million Flowers.