By now you’ve probably seen or heard the heart-warming story of Josh and Jessaka Clark adopting a sibling group of seven children, bringing their family to a grand total of TEN! Their story has been shared on countless media outlets (Good Morning America, CBS, FOX, Daily Mail, People.com, KLOVE radio, along with local news stations, to name a few). The Clark’s attend our church, and I recently had the honor of photographing this sweet family in their first “official” photo shoot!
I am filled with emotion thinking of how excited these precious children have been about finding their forever home! Every child deserves a loving home, and I am thankful that there are now seven less children in foster care. Yet as cool as their story is, Josh and Jessaka are using their time in the spotlight to put the focus on the thousands of children still in foster care and in need of their forever homes. I asked Jess to share a little bit of her heart on how they got to the place they are in, and I hope you are touched by her words as much as I am…
“Josh and I both knew we wanted to adopt children, even before we had met. I have two adopted brothers of my own and grew up around Foster Care and adoption. Josh told me on our first date that he wanted 10 kids and he wanted most of them to be adopted (in his eyes we are almost there!)
We were told the month we were married that it would be almost impossible for us to conceive on our own. While it wasn’t pleasant news to hear, we just decided that God wanted us to start the adoption process a little earlier than we had planned. Well 7 months later we were surprised to find out we were pregnant! In June of 2013 we welcomed Noah to the world. After you have a child, adoption agencies want you to wait at least a year before adopting. In that time frame God lead us to make a few changes. We moved to Georgia and found the first church we have ever called “home,” Compassion Christian Church (formally known as Savannah Christian Church). God used this amazing church to grow our faith and strengthen our trust in God’s love and timing. Our church family also became one of the biggest supporters during this grueling process.
In January of 2015 we signed up for our Impact Training Classes. We decided that we wanted to adopt a sibling group of 2 or more. Sibling groups had a special hold on our hearts; for me, because my brothers are biological brothers, and for Josh, because he had heard of how many sibling groups don’t get adopted because they are considered more challenging. We didn’t have many requirements past that. We were open to whatever God brought to us. There were many challenging moments during this process and the times of waiting were the hardest. It wasn’t until March of 2016 that we were being matched with children. The first ‘match’ we had was for a sibling group of 2 year old triplets. This, we thought, was the absolute most perfect situation! We didn’t believe that there could be a better group of children for us! Well, that situation fell through. I had a hard time with that for a bit because I couldn’t see past, what i thought, was a perfect situation!
After the ‘loss’ of the triplets we started inquiring about other sibling groups and one day we received a call from our case worker. She spoke to my husband while I watched his facial expressions. After he hung up the phone he said,
“How do you feel about seven?” to which I replied, “A seven year old?” He said, “Well there is a 7 year old but no… seven children.” My eyes got as big as his and we both gave the same answer. We needed to pray about this. We spent that night in prayer and both woke up the next morning with the same answer. God had spoken to both of us and said
“Is this not better than you could have ever imagined?” We called up our case worker that morning and told her to send over their file!
It has been over a year since we first heard of the “Super 7” and it has been a long and taxing journey. However, we can look back at each and every single moment and see God’s amazing hands in those times! It has not been all sunshine and rainbows by any means! You can ask most people at our church about that. But we wouldn’t have it any other way!
May is National Foster Care Month and we hope our story can shed just a little light on the crisis of families and adoption in our country. Just in the state of Georgia there are 13,000 children in Foster Care, and of those 13,000, over 1,000 are waiting to be adopted. God calls us all to help the fatherless. Adoption may not be right for your family but if you can’t adopt, foster; if you can’t foster, help those who are fostering and adopting, and above all these things PRAY! Pray for these children in care, and pray for those who are fostering and adopting.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help the Clark family either expand their house, or get a larger one to better suit their family. Right now they live in a modest 3 bedroom and are perfectly content, but they feel that God has more in store for them in completing their family. In order for them to be able to adopt any more, the state requires them to have a larger house. If you’d like to donate to those efforts, you can do so here!