Isaac Kimball, 2, focuses as he pours sand into a heart-shaped jar at Life Center Foursquare Church in Spokane. His father, Paul Kimball, holds his oldest boy, a huge grin on his face.
A little over a year ago, Isaac was the Kimballs’ only child. Now, thanks to the state’s foster care system and Washington-based Antioch Adoptions, the Kimballs have gone from a family of three to a family of five with one on the way.
“Things went really fast,” said Paul Kimball’s wife, Sara.
The Kimballs are among eight Spokane families who have finalized adoptions with Antioch Adoptions in the past two years. Four more families are waiting for their children. Antioch, a nonprofit that started in Redmond, provides adoption services to Christian families at no cost.
Most of the 12 Spokane families who were matched with children through Antioch came together Saturday morning for a celebration brunch at Life Center Foursquare Church. The brunch also celebrated National Adoption Day, which is next Saturday.
Children squealed and scampered around the auditorium as their parents shared their stories of adopting through the program.
Antioch volunteers and executives introduced the families one by one, who then poured different colors of sand into jars to take home. Each color represented a different individual, and the filled jars represented the newly expanded and unified families.
Antioch has finalized 289 adoptions statewide since 2000.
“We’re very encouraged by their commitment to families,” Sara Kimball said of Antioch. “They’ve been great.”
The co-founders of the Spokane branch of Antioch, Kathy Ahern and Sherri Davis, met on a mission to Nicaragua. Both saw a need for families who couldn’t afford the cost of adoption.
“We started up so fast,” Davis said. “It’s been such a blessing.”
Davis, who adopted her son at a cost of $28,000, said Antioch adoptions are funded through fundraising events, private fundraisers by potential parents and Bloomsday runners who get sponsorships.
New mother Kaelin Smith first heard of Antioch last November through Life Center, and she and her husband pursued it as an option for having a child.
“We wanted to be able to love on a little one,” Kaelin Smith said.
In April, the Smiths finished all their paperwork. In May, the couple hosted a garage sale to raise money for Antioch. When they were driving to the office to deliver the check, the phone rang.
“This is the call you’ve been waiting for,” Smith remembers hearing. A foster mother had a boy named Owen who was ready to meet his new parents.
Within 12 days of the phone call, Owen was on his way home.
His father Luke Smith bounced 9-month-old Owen on his lap Saturday. Owen hiccupped, his chubby cheeks bright pink as his father smiled.
“God has opened door after door for us,” Luke Smith said.