Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Next 4 Adoptions on April 8, 2011!

Noah, Menorah, Daniel, and Janiah

(This is their story written in letter form to our Heavenly Father, Tuesday, July 12, 2011 @ 6:42 p.m.)

Hello Father,

Well, on April 8th, You did it again! And I sound like the court official responding to our lawyer. When our lawyer said that she was there representing the Walkers for an adoption, the court official exclaimed, “Again?” Yes, again! One more time, we finalized the adoption on 4 more little Walkers! One more time, we get to be called mama & daddy forever. One more time, four more children get the security of knowing that someone loves them enough to say I love you forever -- Adoption! Such a precious word backed up by an eternity of Love! Abba, thank You for giving us Your heart about adoption. At 53, adopting a sibling group of four little ones, ages 3, 8, 10, & 11, [plus planning to adopt their baby brother, age 18 months, as soon as paperwork is completed] definitely wasn’t on my agenda for my life, but I’m so glad that is was on Yours!

Noah, Menorah, & Janiah

So October 2008 there I am teaching Worshipping Warriors (children’s church) and in walk these two adorable little boys, Noah (8) and Daniel (6) who had just been placed in foster care for the 2nd time. My heart went out to these two little fellas, and I began to shower them with love. But even I did not know that You had just introduced me to two of my new sons!
    In December, the boys were returned to the biological parents. I missed them, was mad at the system that would return helpless children to such an environment, but resigned myself that there was nothing I could do. Then the first week in January, they were back in foster care and attending church again. Or at least they were sort of back! It took me the whole class period to coax just a partial smile out of Daniel. Both the boys were extremely traumatized, and I wanted to choke the bureaucratic monster that allowed precious children to be so repeatedly mistreated!  Billy not having any idea what had been going on asked, “What is it?” I blurted out, “I want those boys!” Then I explained how hurt and damaged they were, and I couldn’t stop crying. Noah and Daniel already had issues and behavioral struggles previously, but now everything was compounded several times over!
Menorah Christina Isabella Walker

Well, in March 2009, You added another piece to the puzzle. Older sister, sweet Menorah (9), was also placed in foster care and she too became very attached to me. I loved them so much, but still didn’t know what You had planned.

The boys continued to struggle emotionally. I didn’t find out    until later that Noah’s biggest problem was going to parental visits, sitting in a room, roughly 8 x 10 foot in size, with the man that used to beat him sitting in the same room! Father, I just don’t get it! No one would make an adult repeatedly stay in that close proximity with their abuser, yet our system requires it of a innocent child! Something is wrong with that equation! Something is very wrong!

Summer came and VBS arrived. One day while we were playing games outside, Menorah came over and sat with me. She looked at me and said, “ I wish I could live at your house!” Even this I down played, assuring her that she probably wouldn’t like it because my kids have to work. She replied, “I’ll work!” It still hadn’t hit me, even then, what You were up to, Father. But I’m so thankful that Holy Spirit didn’t stop talking!

In September of 2009, after class Noah walked up to me, wrapped his arms around my waist, looked up in my face and said, “I wish you were my mama!” My heart skipped a beat! Lord, what are You doing? By October, there was talk of removing Noah from the foster home and placing him in a children’s group home. His behavior was progressively deteriorating. I immediately asked Billy could we get him, so at least he’d be close to his other siblings and get to see them at church. I called DFCS and put in our request. We began to get the usual runaround. Are you licensed? No, you have too many children under the age of 16, and the list went on and on. I was not deterred! I had went around, over, and through that bureaucratic mountain on more than one occasion. I have seen You work so many amazing miracles on behalf of children, no red tape was going to stop me from saving that precious little boy!

Well, the devil ain’t no dummy. He saw Noah was about to be rescued, and he reared his ugly head. The next day, Noah had a melt down at school. He got upset and pitched a fit. Now, Lord, I know something needed doing, but I strongly disagree with what was done. The school called the police or DFCS. I’ve never been clear on who called whom, but the result was that an nine year old, terrified little boy was put in the back seat of a police car, and taken to DFCS! DFCS called the foster mom to bring his things, and he was immediately transported to a children’s group home one and a half hours away! He wasn’t even allowed to say goodbye to his siblings!

You talk about a mad mama tiger, but I was furious and determined! I called DFCS the next morning and told them we’d do whatever it took to get Noah. Everyone was saying that it couldn’t be done! I wrote in my journal to You, “Show them what You can do!“ I cried, prayed, and could hardly sleep. I was calling everyone from here to the governor’s mansion, and the whole time I kept seeing Noah’s precious little face, afraid and crying.

Three days later, I had my word from You and confirmation! You let me know that You were on the way to help. Then you gave me Isaiah 54:2-4 again, telling me to “enlarge my tent.”   With Joshua 3:5, You said, “Sanctify yourselves. Tomorrow God will work miracle-wonders among you.“  Then You shared this revelation about Noah and his siblings that God had given during prayer. Noah in the Bible built an ark (a Refuge) for the saving of not just himself but his family. And that my Noah would pave the way for the other siblings to come to the Ark here - Refuge Ranch!

Immediately, I put in to go visit Noah, but here again red tape moving at a snail’s pace blocked my path. A frightened little boy was locked away with total strangers, in unfamiliar settings, not hearing one familiar voice nor seeing one familiar face for 2 ½ weeks, and I couldn’t get to him! Father, here again, to an adult that would be horrifying! To a child? I can not even imagine!

Daniel Silas Walker with his adoption puppy!

You’d been telling me that You were about to do a new thing ( Isaiah 43: 18-19). Well, November 5, 2009, You did! At 11:00 a.m., I received a call from DFCS. The head guy had given permission for me to go see Noah. I said, “That’s great!” Then the worker said that they had also given permission for us to adopt Noah. I replied something like, “He did? That’s wonderful.” Then they replied that there’s just one hitch. I asked, “What is that?” The answer was, “It’s a package deal. You’ll have to take all five.” (The birth mom was pregnant and they were anticipating having to remove that infant as well.) I didn’t even hesitate! My immediate response was, “Okay!” I’ve often wondered did they offer us all 5 to get me to shut up and quit bugging them. I am nothing if not persistent when one of my children are not safe. It didn’t matter to me what their reasons. I was ecstatic! I cried, squealed, laughed and shook my head at Your amazing ways!

Two days later, Noah’s CASA workers would take me and his siblings to see him! Hallelujah! 

When we arrived, Noah’s face was priceless! So many mixed emotions . . . relief, joy, fear, hope, doubt . . . all filtered across his little face as tears filled his eyes. I held him and hugged him so tight, fighting tears myself. But the worst was yet to come! We played and shared gifts that we’d brought, laughed and talked. He shared the horrors of bathing while the older boys in the cottage would put bars of soap in socks and hit him through the shower curtain. He told of the nights of crying, of being so afraid. He was the youngest in the cottage and most of the others were teens with really rough records already. Fear was his constant companion!
Noah Elisha Walker on Adoption Day!

Then came the part that I didn’t think I’d live through. . . the leaving! Noah latched on to me and started begging me not to leave him, to take him with me. Then he looked up at me and said, “You’ve adopted all those other kids. Adopt me, please?“ DFCS had not given me permission to let the kids know yet what was going on, so all I could do was holler for the CASA worker, who tactfully changed the subject.

Precious Janiah Melina Walker

I thought that leaving Noah would kill me! But Your grace was sufficient again.
Pregnancies are wearying at times even in the best circumstances. Being pregnant with 5 and waiting for delivery. . . well, let’s just say it’s a long wait! But as with natural pregnancies, spiritual pregnancies don’t last forever either. The Monday after Christmas, the delivery began! The DFCS worker called and said, “I have a little bit of good news. Are you ready for Noah to come home?” Yes, oh Yes! I started getting everything ready. As she was on her way to the children’s home to get Noah’s stuff, she called me back with another question. She wanted to know did I have a crib. I
answered, “Oh yeah. Are you going to let me use my crib?” She said that the baby would be coming that week, because a c-section was scheduled for the next morning. I jumped up and down, squealing with joy. I was so excited and so overcome with Your awesomeness. You had said “a suddenly”, and it definitely was!

Late that afternoon, I went to McRae to pick up Noah! The worker handed me a sack. Puzzled I asked, “What’s this?“ Those were Noah’s meds was what she replied. I knew he was medicated, until then I had know idea just how medicated! Oh well, the Lord would deal with that. I was getting to take my son home at last. It felt so good to say, “Noah, let’s go home!” As I lay down that night, I was tired but almost euphoric with happiness.
Sweet Baby Elijah Jedidiah Walker

On December 29th, 2009, Elijah was born. He was having mild withdrawals, but the doctor was ready to release him the next day. So, we picked him up at one and a half days old from the hospital. I felt like I was dreaming -- tears kept coming to my eyes. I kept saying that You are incredible! He is beautiful! Thank You, Lord! Thank You, Lord! We kept praying over him and by Friday You had delivered him from the withdrawals. Thank You, Lord! 

On January 19th, 2010, the other 3 siblings came home: Menorah (10), Daniel (who turned 7 the next day), and Janiah (2). At last, they were all together. I was so ecstatic, but I rapidly became walking exhaustion for about three months! You had warned me in November 2009, with Isaiah 43: 1-7, “Don’t be afraid. . . When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. . . “ Most days I definitely felt over my head, but You are always faithful! My doctor had also admonished me to stop trying to do everything myself and to let the teenage girls help. So I did, and I began to get more rest. Billy also had began to do something that I still can’t hardly believe. He started cooking! Who ever said that about ’ole dogs and new tricks’ wasn’t talking about my sweet hubby. His culinary skills have been a huge blessing.

God has worked so many miracles in these children’s lives. Noah & Daniel are not taking any medications at all! Praise God! Menorah is so peaceful to have her family complete with a mama and daddy! Janiah is blossoming out of her extreme shyness! And Elijah, for whom life with us is all he’s ever known, is the apple of everyone’s eye. A few weeks ago, a lady, who had heard about us and just wanted to meet me, came for a visit. She works with foster children everyday at her job. After visiting with us for a while, she said that she didn’t mean it taking anything away from me and the work I do, but ‘THIS IS GOD’ ! My spirit rejoiced! That’s exactly what I want people to see and say! You are to be glorified Lord, just You! I am desperate to do Your will! Lead on my Lord! Lead on!

Happy Menorah!
Your willing daughter,



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Living My Dream. . .but Bigger

Thirteen of my Twenty-seven Blessings !

     Sometimes, if I stop and think about it. . .I realize that my life is somewhat NOT normal! For you see, I am the blessed mother of 27 children --- 23 of which are adopted! But most days, I don't think about it . . . and I just do the normal things, that are normal to me.

It's called . . . my life! and it began with a dream!

     A dream that Father God planted within my heart, even before I knew that it was Him calling!
     A journey that began as Holy Spirit whispered to me and called my name. Here is a brief summary of the beginnings of my story as I journaled to my precious Father in 2001:

1st  Newsletter
To God --- From Your Servant at Refuge Ranch 

January 21, 2001 @ 4:45 a.m.

Oh, Dear Father,

They want to know how Your work at Refuge Ranch got started. What You’ve done? What You’re doing? And what You’re going to do? How do I tell them that Your plan began in eternity past? Holy Spirit, use this pen to tell the Father’s story in a way that will glorify Him and not exploit these precious gifts-- the children!

Father, when You gave me this full blown plan for Refuge Ranch I was overwhelmed, as You very well remember. “To provide a Community of permanent adoptive Christian homes for needy children. Making available to each home the resources of Christian schooling, church, recreation, emotional encouragement, support, and prayer needed to successfully heal the hurts of past trauma these precious children have endured. The problem is that the needs are so urgent and so desperate with so many helpless children --- but You are bigger than any problem -- and Refuge Ranch is Your answer to meeting the needs of hundreds, possibly thousands, of hurting, homeless children.“ Help us Father, to “raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” for Your glory! And Father, thank You for using our family home as the start of Refuge Ranch.                               

But I’m getting ahead of myself; I guess we really should begin at the beginning. On May 22, 1958, You brought me into this world where You nurtured me at the feet of an angelic mother who loved children. With only three siblings, it is amazing that our home continually overflowed with kids.

In the meantime, less than ten miles away, You were raising up a fine young man--Billy Ray Walker, born September 9, 1958. Here, too, You were planting Your love for children through a daddy that continually taught Billy the preciousness of children.

You joined us together--Your team--on October 22, 1975. Such babies we were. In fact, we were so young that everyone laughed when we told them we were going to have ten kids. Actually, Lord, even then I knew it was more, but they laughed a ten. What would they have said if I’d of admitted You’d told me more than that? You’d already given me a heart for adoption, but even I never dreamed of the magnitude of Your plan!

Billy and I began work on our family. One and a half years later, on February 6,1977, Christy Marie Walker was born to us. Oh, Father, Your blessings were unfolding before our eyes. The years slipped by with Josey Lois Walker adorning our family on January 19, 1980. She was followed by another smiling baby girl four years later on January 23, 1984, who we named Katrina Victoria Mae Walker. Each was so precious, so alike, and yet so extremely different with hair and skin color. One was red-haired with fair to tan complexion, the second blond-haired with freckles popping out everywhere, and the last black-haired with her daddy’s dark complexion. Even in our children, You had a plan. You knew as the years unfolded no one would be able to draw a line and separate the adopted from the biological. You are so neat in the planning, not even the tiniest detail passes by You. 

 Then with Katrina just over two years old, in March of 1986, You said, “Be a Foster Parent!” Man, did we ever argue with You on that one! Adopting we could consider, but fostering??? But here again, You knew we’d need all the training and preparation for the years ahead.

So in May of 1987, our first foster son arrived. I’ll never forget his first bath. As I washed his hair, fighting back my tears I wondered how could anyone let a child stay so filthy. You really grabbed a hold to my heart in a big way, didn’t You, Father?

From 1987 to May of 1993, You sent ten foster children. Each with his individual set of needs and problems, but You were continually teaching and training us. The biggest need of each by far was the need to know that someone loved them, that You loved them, Father. This “temporary” parenting was extremely hard on us emotionally, but here again Your grace was sufficient. We are so grateful that You allowed us to adopt at least three of these children. Peggy Rae (10) and Cindy Lachelle (7), who had arrived October 1987, became legal members of the Walker household on September 20, 1989. They were our first adoption--thank You, Father! Little Greyson Tyler, who had come to us as a baby two and one half months old on February 6, 1989, received his adoption papers on August 31, 1992. With three biological and three adopted, our family was slowly taking shape. During this time as our family increased, so did our needs. So in 1989, You increased our 1800 sq. ft., three bedroom home to a 2400 sq. ft. home with five bedrooms. What a blessing!

Then in June of 1992--through a dream--You revealed another step in Your plan! We were to adopt a Hispanic sibling group! Our four new additions arrived a year later on July 19, 1993. Alex Ray (11), Weston Cordel (9), Diana Jean (7), and Pamela Rose (6) brought so much love and blessings to our family. We finalized their adoption on March 29, 1995, a process which brought our numbers higher than state regulations would allow for fostering. Blissfully, the fostering door was closed. As You closed the door on that phase of Your plan, You flung the adoption door wide open!

In December 18, 1995, Ricky Jonford (5) came to make a sweet addition. Followed in January by an unexpected surprise, a little birthmother needed housing for the remainder of her pregnancy. She wanted us to adopt her infant son. On May 14, 1996, Gabriel Samuel Walker was born. We were ecstatic! But doctors soon realized he had a medical condition requiring surgery. So after two and one half weeks in the hospital, our baby boy had surgery, removing a portion of his colon and intestines requiring him to have a colostomy. That procedure was later reversed at five and one half months of age--thank You again, Father, for that miracle of healing. On October 2, 1996, we had a double adoption, making Ricky and Gabriel legal members of our family. I won’t say official members, Father, because officially we feel the kids are ours from the first day You bring them here!

Well, Father, that put us up to twelve--an “even dozen.” How blessed we were. You let us take a breather for a couple of years. It was a wonderful time of growth and contentment in You. The contentment was new for me. I’d been almost driven by an ever-present yearning for “more kids“--the urge to “help” more kids. But during this time, You helped me grow up in You to the place that I was no longer trying to work Your plan for You. I guess really what happened is that You “grew up” in my eyes as I began to see really just how awesome big of a God You truly are! It was as if You were saying, “Finally, I believe the girl’s got it!” It took long enough, huh? I relinquished the reins of my life to You, being truly content with the number of kids You’d blessed Billy and myself with. If You wanted more, that was fine; if You didn’t, that was fine, too.

It's not until hindsight that I can see that’s the place You wanted me all along. Now, You could really work through our lives! In the meantime, You started us into home schooling! By the start of the third year, You’d provided us a classroom in the backyard which now needs enlarging, by the way. Having the kids here all the time is another major blessing. Thank You!

In the fall of 1998 (with our four oldest having moved out to various walks of life, marriage, college, etc.), You began to deal with our hearts about a sibling group from Texas. Anna Abigail (9), David Joseph (7), Bethany Nicole (5), and Adam Nathaniel (2) arrived at the airport on March 29, 1999 with smiles, laughter, and tears of joy to be with their new family. There were tears in our eyes, too, tears of gratitude to be chosen to love these precious souls You’d entrusted to our care. Oh, dear Father, help us to be faithful to Your task!

Things were going smoothly. The kids suffered very little culture shock. The fourteen of us snuggled cozily in the same 2400 sq. ft. home. We barely noticed the tight quarters, except when the hot water ran out and two of us still needed a bath or on heavy wash days when instead of the eight normal loads, there’d be twelve or more. Lord, I’ve lost count of the number of washer and dryers we’ve worn out!

Then, on October 4, 1999, the day before I was to fly to Texas to finalize Anna and her siblings’ adoption, I received a call from our caseworker. She sounded terribly distraught. My first thought was that there was a hold up with the paperwork and the finalization would be postponed, but You had another surprise! This sibling group’s birthmother had given birth to a baby boy the day before, and our worker wanted to know if we were interested in adopting him also. Oh, God, You are so awesome! Your timing is so infinitely perfect. As I was flying to Texas the next day, all I could think of was “How Big is God?” On October 6, 1999, I finalized our adoption on Anna and her siblings and then was introduced to our new son, Joel Isaac Walker! Oh, God, how great Thou art!

I returned home, praying for “mountains” of paperwork to be moved so that Joel could come home quickly. It was a long five and one half weeks, but by November the tenth You brought him home! The children were so funny. They thought the only thing wrong with having a baby brother was that there was only one of him to pass around. We finalized his adoption on May 30, 2000. Our family now numbered thirteen children at home, four grown, and with Billy and myself, we totaled out at nineteen.

Another miracle came on September 20, 2000. Joseph Chuck (7) arrived frightened and trembling. Because of his past, he had such a fear of being rejected once again. Oh, but Father, You had planned all along to remove that fear. You’d told me in June with Genesis 30:24 that You’d give us another son named Joseph. He called himself Chuck upon arrival, and I didn’t realize until I looked at his birth certificate late that night that Joseph was his name. I wept. But You had another confirmation the next morning. When I began studying his life history and checking my journal as to when in June You’d told me, another astounding fact was revealed. You’d given me the verse with the promise of a son named Joseph on the exact same day that his birthmother had called asking for help! I bawled! You are too wonderful for words! Joseph no longer lives in fear of being rejected. I shared with him how You planned it all and told him, that You don’t change Your mind! He’s peaceful!

 So, here we are--fourteen kids in four bedrooms, and You’re stirring our hearts once again. You have more children that You’re wanting to bring home. Lord, You’ve said, “Enlarge your house; build an addition; spread out your home! For you will soon be bursting at the seams” (Isaiah 54: 2-3a). I remember Billy laughing jokingly and saying, “I thought we already were!” You’ve even promised all the money, supplies, and labor for Your plan. Give us courage to step out in Faith--taking You at Your word-- because You are the original “Promise Keeper”!

Father, You’ve given us the vision and the blessed privilege of being stewards of Your children and Your plans. You’ve given us so many blessings--so many still to come! We felt Your leading to title Your plan Refuge Ranch because truly You, our “God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). We’re to teach these children that You will be their refuge also.
Please, guide us with every detail. This has been Your ministry from the start, even before we realized it as a ministry! We’re feeling that Your long-range vision for Refuge Ranch is to be a community of adoptive families, who like us have a heart to help these children: the large sibling groups, the minority children, and the special needs children. Oh, Jesus, You have such a love for children. You told Your disciples to let the little children come unto You. That’s our heartbeat as well. We want to be good stewards of Refuge Ranch: build other adoptive homes for other adoptive families, a school, a worship and training center, a pond, horse stables, and nature prayer trails  --- and anything else Father that You show us You want as Your plan unfolds. You’ve blessed us so much and we “Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in [us] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

Thank You again Father for Your awesome Privileges,
Promises, and Plans. Glorify Yourself in this work; use us as
Your servants as You see fit -- in Jesus’ name -- Amen!

Your Willing Daughter, Bonnie

Well, that was the start, but the dream has become


6 CHILDREN later, 5 adoptions last year, and film producers arriving in April. . . . .

Holy Spirit is still whispering. . . . there's more!