Connections for adoptive families
Two upcoming opportunities at First Free are aimed at adoptive families and those considering adoption or foster parenting.
Jim Killam
March 22, 2023

Two upcoming opportunities at First Free are aimed at adoptive families and those considering adoption or foster parenting.

Wednesday Conversation

Next Wednesday, March 29, Toni Rowley will lead the Wednesday Conversation by telling her family’s story. She and her husband, Philip, adopted their two kids out of the foster system.

“It will be about our journey and what led us to adopt,” Toni says, “and what God has taught us and continues to teach us through adoption.”

The Wednesday Conversation will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Fireside Room off the main lobby. Anyone can attend and no registration is required.  

Adoption Connection

After church on Sunday, April 30, an event called Adoption Connection is planned. First Free Kids Director Kari Heckler and Kids Ministries Coordinator Toni Rowley—both adoptive moms—have high hopes for the gathering.

“It’s kind of a two-fold event,” Kari says. “One thing is to connect our families. I know when I was raising my kids I would have loved to have more friends who had families like mine. It would have been really good for our kids, too, to know that. So we would love to see them connect and be encouraged.

“And then we also are inviting people who are interested in adoption and have questions.

If people ask us questions, we’re not going to put on the rose-colored glasses. For adoption, you really need to be called to do it, and know that it’s not going to be hunky dory like in the movies.”

Shaylee Heckler, Kari’s and Chris’ eldest daughter, will talk about growing up adopted in a multiracial family. Also, representatives from several adoption-related ministries and organizations will be present to answer questions.

The event already is drawing interest from adoptive families needing to find a support network.

“You might not connect with everybody there, but you might connect with one family,” Toni says. “It’s just being able to share your feelings and be transparent. Because some of the situations that these families are in, they feel isolated. You don’t feel like you can go to just anybody. It has to be someone who understands.”

Adoption Connection starts at 11:45 a.m. Sunday, April 30. Lunch will provided, along with child care through grade 5. Registration is required so we have an accurate lunch count. Register here.

Jim Killam
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


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