Editors Note: This article was written by Stella Prather, Director of Community Engagement, Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries for their Fall/Winter Outlook Magazine
If you think Jeff and Cassie Lothes’ hands are full as the parents of nine children, you should see their hearts.
The Springdale couple’s home and their lives are overflowing with love and devotion to their preschool, adolescent, and teenage children, seven of which were adopted this past summer.
“Our kids are amazing,” excitedly shared Cassie. “I know a lot of people that cannot imagine having that many kids at one time. But they are actually very well behaved and so, so sweet. Our kids are amazing!”
“We have our bad days too, … but who doesn’t? The great thing about having lots of brothers and sisters is when one group starts to squabble, they have lots of other options.”
The Lothes admit their adoption journey is a bit comical. They didn’t quite know what they were getting themselves into when they opened their home to foster children about a year ago.
“We knew we wanted to offer a safe place for kids in a time of need, even if it was temporary, but we weren’t sure how many children that would be or for how long,” shared Cassie. “Our very first call from our foster care caseworker was asking if we would pray about taking a large sibling group of seven.”
After much logistic work to figure out how to maneuver vehicles and bedrooms for the large group, the Lothes welcomed the foster children to their home. A few months later, they started the adoption process, which was finalized this past July. “We never imagined a group of seven would be our first and only placement, but it worked out beautifully,” stressed Cassie. “We are blessed.”
The seven adopted children are biological siblings, who formerly lived at the Baptist Ranch. The Lothes praise Ranch staff who walked alongside them during the adoption process, helping the couple navigate how to cook, shop and run a large household. Staff also prayed and encouraged the Lothes, as well as attended the adoption finalization last summer.
We treasure our relationship with the Ranch staff.
“I don’t know that we would have moved forward with the adoption without the support and prayers of the staff at the Arkansas Baptist Ranch,” stressed Cassie, adding, “They went above and beyond to support and love our whole family throughout the process.
“We will always treasure our invaluable relationship with the staff at the Harrison Ranch.”
Matt Urioste, Ranch foster care coordinator, said “I believe loving a foster child means grieving with them when they are sad and rejoicing with them when they are happy.” This sibling group began experiencing this kind of love at the Ranch and it has continued into their forever home.
The Lothes children are doing well. All are excelling in school. The boys are enjoying baseball and the girls are looking forward to gymnastics.