Nathan Buchanan, pastor, First Baptist Mineral Wells, foster dad
Where is your church? Tell us a little about your ministry and your family.
I serve as pastor of FBC Mineral Wells. I have been here for six years as pastor and five years as youth minister. God is doing many great things in Mineral Wells, and I am very happy serving here. I met and married my wife, Kayla, in Weatherford while I was serving at a church in Weatherford as a youth minister and going to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. We have three daughters, Elaina, Kate and Olivia. My wife stays at home and home schools our children and leads out in our Upward program at church, teaches a Sunday School class, and many other wonderful things.
Why did you decide to become a foster family?
It was a God thing all the way. First, Kayla had a heart for adoption early on in her life. In her teenage years, she babysat some children who were adopted, and God used that time in her life to plant a seed. Later on as we married and began our family, Kayla felt God might bring other children into our lives beyond our biological kids. About seven or eight years ago, Kayla began reading some books to me about adoption, and we began talking about it. I prayed about it but not much more. Then, one evening while attending a Texas Baptist Men’s meeting, I met a representative from Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach (APO). After that meeting, we began the process of becoming an adoptive family. After three years with APO, we had learned a lot, but we were never chosen by a birth mother.
We were introduced to the idea of fostering by a representative from the Texas Baptist Home for Children, who shared with us that our county (Palo Pinto) had over 100 children in foster care but only three foster homes. Although, we didn’t end up going through the process at that time, we kept praying about it. In January 2015, a judge ordered a little boy to be placed with us while his parents attempted to get clean from drugs. As his foster parents, we were also able to work with and support his parents. As of today, both parents are clean after completing rehab and committing their lives to the Lord.
Currently, we are fostering an 8-month old boy, a 2½-year-old boy, and a 4½-year-old girl. So, for now, we are a family of eight, and we are blessed.
What are the biggest misconceptions and/or challenges of being a foster family?
Great question. For us, just getting through the initial process of being licensed to be a foster parent was daunting. We had to go through 30 hours of training, background checks, fingerprints, and CPR. On top of that, we had to prepare our home and meet their standards. The first month, there are tons of appointments. Another challenge is just learning to care for traumatized kids, because of abuse they require special care and attention. But even with these challenges I would say, it is not impossible to be a foster family. The support is there. Also, birth parents are not lost causes. Reconciliation can happen and families can get better.
What have been your greatest joys?
When you run into family members and they say thank you it’s a great joy. We do not think we are doing anything more than we would do for our own biological kids, but for those family members, it seems like we are doing amazing things for their niece and nephew. It is a joy when you see progress from the kids and when we see our biological kids joyfully sacrifice for these kids. It is a joy when children are reunited with their families. It is wonderful also when you see your bio kids get excited about a placement. There are many joys, and it is worth everything one has to go through to show the love of Christ.
How can the church help foster families thrive?
It is very helpful when others join us on this journey. They might not be foster parents, but they can help us be good foster parents. Simply asking how you can help is a great way to start. Other ways to help include: offering to bring a meal hosting a foster parent night out; or becoming certified to be a babysitter (babysitters have to undergo background checks, fingerprinting, and CPR training).
Pray and support foster families in your church. Have children and youth pastors trained and equipped in order to minister to children in foster families. Just being aware will make a huge difference.
Why should Texas Baptists be concerned about children in foster care?
According to James 1:27, pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
We must take care of our community and our kids. We must “visit” the orphans in their distress. We must be Jesus’ hands and feet to our kids and their parents.
If you have questions for Nathan or his wife, Kayla, you can reach them through their church First Baptist Mineral Wells at (940) 325-2523.