Joshua and Janel Buckingham
Since the day they exchanged wedding vows in 1999, Joshua and Janel Buckingham knew they wanted a large family. So when they found out they couldn’t have children, it was difficult to understand how that fit into God’s plan for their life. However, that didn’t deter them from being open to God’s Will and obedient to His Word. That’s why when the opportunity opened up for them to purchase a house in Wake Forest, NC, they jumped on it.
“We were house hunting in Maryland for several years, and nothing met our criteria for the environment we wanted long term. We didn’t want to be house poor”, Joshua explained. So while the search was on for a house for Janel’s parents in the Wake Forest area, Joshua inquired about a house for them as well. The first listing that came off the printer consisted of about 20 homes. One, being the home they would eventually move into. “Janel and I absolutely loved it, even though it needed a lot of tender love and care,” Joshua explains. “It’s amazing, looking back over the last three years, seeing how one door opened and then everything just fell into place,” says Janel. They put an offer on their home in Wake Forest that evening and sold their condo in Maryland within two months. Joshua got a job right away and Janel got a job within a month. The next step for the Buckingham’s was finding the right church.
“Janel, as with everything else, had a list of churches. And at the top of the list was Living Word Family Church,” Joshua recalls. Janel’s first visit to Living Word was by herself while Joshua was away on business. “I was just blown away. The very next weekend I brought him back”, Janel explains. After a short discussion on whether to continue visiting any other churches, they both agreed that they had already found their church home, at Living Word. “This is where we were meant to be”, Joshua and Janel agree. To get further acquainted with their church family, they attended several connect groups, and within 6 months, Janel and Joshua were serving in the children’s ministry; Joshua in Five7 teaching 5th through 7th graders, and Janel in Kidz Church teaching 4 – 6 year olds.
The one thing that hadn’t fallen into place yet was their desire to start a family. They had been dealing with unexplained infertility throughout this whole process, including a failed In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), despite Janel’s young age and good health. The doctors were stunned when the IVF didn’t take and it took a huge emotional toll on Janel and Joshua. Their heart’s desire was to have a family, but they put it on the back burner until they were settled in the place they knew God had led them.
“We had always wanted to adopt,” Janel states. But there were so many questions and concerns they had about adopting. Did they want to adopt from this country or another? Could they afford the time it would take to go out of the country to do so? Should they go through the Foster Care System? What if the children they adopted had issues they weren’t equipped to handle? They wanted several children and didn’t know where to start. Janel was struck with fear in such a way that it was hindering her from being able to make any decisions. Through a friend at Living Word, Janel came to realize that she needed to hold onto 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Janel began speaking that into their life and made the decision to proceed forward.
They started looking into the North Carolina Foster System. There were so many agencies to choose from and because of the extensive process of adopting through one, they knew whatever choice they made they would have to stick with. They finally chose Children’s Home Society, in the fall of 2008.
The process of adoption is strenuous and precise . Joshua and Janel knew that they wanted four children, two boys and two girls, from the ages 2 to 6 years. But they were willing to consider all types of scenarios to adopt several children. For each sibling group the Buckingham’s were interested in, they had to send their profile and a photo album. The profiles go through the adopting parents’ social worker, the child’s social worker, also, a child advocate and the judge before there is a “match” made. “You are usually competing with about 100 other families,” Joshua explains. Out of those families, the top 5 are chosen. Then, there are several interviews before the final match is made and all this occurs without the potential parents and children having ever met. The Buckingham’s made it through the adoption process. They discovered they were chosen as one of the top 5 families. They succeeded through all the interviews, the hoping and dreaming, only to learn with bitter disappointment, that they were not chosen before December 2009.
Janel had a difficult time that Christmas. Josh remembers Janel decorating the house, and staying busy, to avoid the disappointment of yet another year going by. She had anticipated having her home filled with children that would soon be theirs. It didn’t make sense. They had been approved for up to five children; they were a sound couple, married 10 years, had a 4 bedroom home and were actively working with children at Living Word. Janel questioned God, “What gives? What do we have to do to get someone to notice that we just want a family?” What Janel didn’t know was that her answers were just around the corner.
In February 2010, Janel’s father and Joshua’s mother both were admitted to the hospital. They still hadn’t received any word from the adoption agency, and Joshua was traveling a lot for work and visiting his mother. One night, after Joshua poured his heart out to the Lord, he had a vivid dream. In it, the Holy Spirit told him that Janel’s father would make a miraculous recovery, and their prayers for a sibling group would be answered. Josh woke with peace and a knowledge that it would happen soon. On March 16th, 2010, Janel received a call from their social worker. One of the sibling groups they had sent their profile to in December had become available again. The social worker went on to tell her that she and Joshua had been matched with the children, not matched for interviews, but that they were the final match. These children were going to be theirs. Janel reflects on her first reaction, “You want to believe it, but you don’t want to get your hopes up.” She kept thinking of Peter walking on the water and how when he looked down he began to sink. But when he fixed his eyes on Jesus all was well. Janel took that story to heart and understood that she had to keep her eyes on Jesus and have extreme faith.They had their first visit with the children on April 1st.
From the moment the Buckingham’s met the children they would be adopting, every piece of the puzzle fell into place. The chemistry at the first meeting was electrifying. All of the following meetings went just as well. Each evaluation done on their visits by an observer was full of praise. When Janel looks back at the journey, she sees how each and every obstacle they encountered was to get them to this exact place in their lives. “It’s like Pastor Steve says, how many times do we abort the plan before realizing what we are giving up? I’m so glad we didn’t abort the plan.” They both can see how God was working behind the scenes. In December, when Janel was questioning the adoption process and feeling discouraged that they did not have children yet, the children were removed from one foster home and placed into another. Their new foster mom was a Christian who prepared the children for the family she prayed God would bring them. During that time, Josh and Janel went through the Financial Peace University Connect Group at Living Word and were able to get their finances ready for a family. Janel comments about the support from friends and family, “We are so blown away because people do so much for us. We don’t know how to take it all in.” And just in case there is any question as to whether God worked every detail out or not, the children they are adopting include two boys and two girls, from the ages 2 to 6 years.