James and Meagan's story began when they crossed paths shortly after Meagan's return to the United States. She had just completed several years of missionary and teaching work in Tanzania. At the time, James was in the process of moving forward after a divorce he'd experienced a few years prior, and he was also a father to two children from his previous marriage. Right from the outset of their relationship, including their dating phase, Meagan and James shared an awareness that adoption might play a significant role in their life together. Meagan had always harbored a desire to open her heart and home to an adopted child, and as a couple, they firmly believed in the profound beauty of adoption, echoing their own adoption into God's family.
After a few years of marriage and Meagan's adjustment to her role as a stepmother to James' two children, they began to prayerfully consider expanding their family through adoption. The catalyst for their journey was a close friend who worked as a social worker and frequently discussed sibling groups in foster care in desperate need of loving families. Although the idea of adopting through foster care initially felt unknown and daunting, the more they learned about the plight of children in the system, the more drawn they became to the possibility. Children placed in foster care have no control over their future, and it is so easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. The vulnerability and instability that many foster children face struck a chord with Meagan, drawing on her experience as a teacher. However, the idea of venturing into foster care parenting was undeniably intimidating. Yet, how could they not do it? They prayed for God to help them be willing and to break their heart for what breaks His. Eventually, they took a leap of faith and decided to pursue training to become certified foster parents.
Their journey took an exciting turn when they welcomed Zoie and Elijah into their lives. Meagan and James' first meeting with Zoie, Elijah, and their case worker, was at IHOP - because pancakes make everything better. Meeting at IHOP, they felt a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Could they truly provide the loving home these children needed? It was a nerve-wracking experience, with Zoie and Elijah, aged only 3 and 5, sharing their nervousness. But the children's laughter broke the ice, and that initial meeting was filled with joy and love beyond their imagination.
The intimidating prospect of fostering began to feel right, and they embarked on a journey that would transform their lives. Just six months after Zoie and Elijah were placed with Meagan and James, the adoption became final, and they officially became the Vinson family, party of six.
The process of forging a family through adoption is a unique blend of awkward, funny, and beautiful moments. The older children were excited about the idea of adoption and gaining two new siblings, but the rapid changes meant they needed time and lots of family games and silly moments to feel like a family.
Every adoption story is distinctive, and the Vinsons' journey was no exception. Their former church in Knoxville provided a support network of close friends and foster/adoptive parents who offered encouragement, understanding, and a listening ear during challenging times. There have been multiple times that they felt like failures and that were making a mess out of their family. As any parent knows, parenting is challenging and hard but amazing and wonderful. As they shared their fears, disappointments, and failures with others, they found encouragement and hope. They felt heard and understood.
In the fall of 2020, James' work brought the Vinsons to the Kennesaw area. They started attending North Metro Church and, as newcomers to the area, sought support from people who could understand the complexities of an adopted family. It was here that they recognized the potential for North Metro Church to serve as a safe haven for families like theirs. In 2022, with God's grace, James and Meagan launched the Foster & Adoptive Support Group at NMC.
The Foster and Adoptive Support Group was founded with the aim of connecting families who have adopted and/or fostered children. This group provides a safe, understanding space for parents to share their struggles and victories, seek guidance, offer and receive prayers, and, most importantly, find a sense of community. In the unique challenges that often come with fostering or adoption, these families can discover a network of support that helps them navigate their journeys with greater resilience and hope.
If you are a parent of an adopted child or child in foster care, we invite you to join us and find community through this group. Click here to get in touch.