From fostering to adoption, this Greensburg family lives their beliefs about helping American children and encourage others to step up and do the same.
There is a society that breaks the hearts of Chris and Tammy Wolfley of Greensburg. They feel deeply for children who don’t have parents to come home to who care about them. Their hearts hurt for children living in poverty with nothing to eat on a regular basis. In 2009 their passion to help children lost in the system became a living reality.
According to Tammy Wolfley, their home didn’t seem complete. They had two children already (Naomi, 3, and Brandon, 1) but through the unfolding of unexpected events, they found themselves taking in a friend’s daughter who was addicted to painkillers and needed help.
That was the beginning of a realization that they could help other children, when after 7 months when their friend’s daughter returned to live with her family
“Life just wasn’t the same,” Tammy Wolfley said. “There were missing pieces to our family, and it was more children.”
Tammy had told Chris before they were married she wanted 12 kids, but after marriage reality of life hit them and they decided two was enough. Chris had a vasectomy and they told each other then, if they changed their minds they could always adopt. So when they began to feel their family wasn’t complete, they proceeded with their plan to adopt. They decided to try fostering to adopt after a private adoption fell through.
The Wolfley family began providing respite care for foster children, which is temporary placement away from the original foster family, usually so they can have a break and take some personal time away. Technicalities in official foster care rules, linked to Tammy having a daycare in the home, prohibited them from fostering full time.
Often Tammy would get on the internet and look at the Adopt Kansas Kids Facebook site. One night as she scrolled, she noticed a video that jumped out at her, but how was she sup- posed to know what child to take? Through tears she prayed, “Lord if my kids are on here show me, bring them to us.”
The very next week, as the family planned to at- tend a conference, Tammy she got a call about three kids who needed respite care for that conference weekend. At first Tammy told them no, but the case manager didn’t give up. The case manager called back again, willing to over-look the fact there was only one extra bedroom in the house and it didn’t meet the criteria for the foster systems regulations.
When Tammy called the foster care family to make final arrangements for the trip, she recognized a name as being one that was in the video of the kids that jumped out at her that very night she prayed while looking online. Tammy said at that moment she knew they were her kids, but didn’t want to say anything to Chris because she wanted him to confirm her feelings.
It didn’t take long for Chris to say that he wished these kids fit their criteria, meaning that they were older then the Wolfleys originally thought they wanted. They thought they were looking for children younger then Naomi and Brandon, who were 7 and 6 years of age.
The following weekend on a family vacation where it was just the four of them, the family discussed it further and the final decision was made. They were going to adopt three children even though they were not the ages they were looking for, but had stolen their hearts and filled that empty hole they had in their family.
As soon as they got back home they began the process of adopting Alex, 9, Andrew, 8 and Makayla, 6.
The Wolfleys say their first few weeks were much like the family portrayed in the recently released movie, “Instant Family,” which the Wolfleys sponsored at the Twilight Theater. There was a honey-moon period and then there was the conversation of “what did we get ourselves into?” just like was portrayed in the movie
“It’s hard,” Chris said. “We are human, and kids in these circumstances come from tough back- grounds, but this is what we are here for and we knew we were supposed to do this.”
Four years later, the Wolfley’s are even more passionate about supporting adoption and foster care. But what is also deep on their hearts is supporting families now, teaching young adults how to parent so their kids never have to be taken away.
“You have to look at these kids through a lens of grace, they are still kids, they are still little humans who want nothing more than to have a mom and dad, to be loved, accepted and to grow up in a safe environment,” Chris said.
“I am often reminded of what the Bible says about the widows and the orphans and the least of these. So many of these kids are the least of these, especially the ones who are in the foster care system and up for adoption, they literally have no one but the CASA workers, the judges and case managers looking out for their best interest. If Tammy and I, as parents and adoptive parents and as Christians, can lead the charge in that, even if that means planting our faces squarely on top of that so people can ask questions, we will,” he said.
“I want people to just step out and try,” Tammy said. “It bothers me how little the American church participates in foster care and adoptions, but are the first to run to the picket line about abortion,” Chris said. “If you are going to be pro-life to save the baby then you should be willing to support that baby after it is born because many of these mothers don’t know how to raise a child and if they don’t have the proper support, that child is probably going to end up in the foster care system.”
According to Chris, there are 350,000 to 400,000 churches in America and there are 120,000 kids available now to adopt.
“If one family in every three to four churches would adopt, we could eradicate orphans in America right now and really get back to doing what God has called the church to do,” he said.
“I absolutely hate abortion, to me it is murder, but I am not convinced it will ever be illegal in America again. But if I can’t stop abortion, I want to lead the charge in starving it out,” Chris said. “That is one of the reasons I am so passionate about foster care and adoption.”
The Wolfleys said it has been wonderful to see their kids transform in just the ability to be kids and get settled in their home, which is now full of teenagers, as they have Alex, 14, Andrew 13, Naomi, 12, Makayla, 11, and Brandon, 10.
“We are imperfect people and imperfect parents just doing the best we can,” Chris said. “We don’t want to be glamorized as great and wonderful people. We are ordinary.”