Zach and Whitney Urquhart always knew they wanted to adopt. They even talked about it while they were dating. So when the couple had trouble getting pregnant they knew it was a sign. Though they had a daughter, Pearson, the desire to love more children was strong. Then, after starting the adoption process, Whitney got pregnant. They decided to put adoption on hold.
Whitney and Zach welcomed their son, Green, and after a while they restarted conversations and prayers about adoption again. But, while Whitney was ready, Zach wasn’t sure.
Then, two years ago at Christmas, Zach hung a stocking with a “B” on it. He surprised Whitney with the stocking to show her he had started the adoption process for them. The “B” stood for “brother”.
Because they planned to adopt, the Urquharts never considered foster care. As teachers, Zach and Whitney had taught foster children in their classrooms and had seen children’s need for loving homes. As followers of Christ, they knew it was something they should consider, so Zach and Whitney prayed for guidance.
The Spirit moved the Urquharts to contact PCHAS. The couple soon began the process to become licensed foster parents. PCHAS specialists also prepared Pearson and Green to adapt to the realities of caring for, then saying goodbye to a new child in their home. Because the goal of foster care is to reunite children with their birth families, the Urquharts expected to wait some time before adopting. They never expected that when their first foster child moved into their home and their hearts, he would never leave.
When Child Protective Services (CPS) called the Urquharts and asked them to take a 20-month-old boy, they were unsure because he was so young. They decided that they were supposed to have this little boy. Pearson and Green screamed with joy when they found out there was going to be another kid in the house.
When sweet little Dominic arrived, he only knew two words: “Paw Patrol”, the name of a popular children’s television show. He needed to work through this big life transition, so PCHAS arranged for Dominic to receive play therapy with Tara, a home development coordinator, and walked with the Urquharts through the process of Dominic’s emotional healing. “Those first three months, we were in survival mode; but we had a lot of support from friends, family, our church and, of course, PCHAS,” says Whitney.
Two years later, Dominic is speaking in 12-15 word sentences and doesn’t believe his parents when they tell him what he was like as a baby. “His favorite thing to do is to say ‘Can I have a hug now?’ So you have to stop what you’re doing and hug him. He is so sweet,” says Whitney. Mia, Dominic’s younger sister, has since joined the family, too. She is a beautiful, feisty, independent two-year-old who has attached well to her parents and, according to Whitney, runs the house.
Whitney credits PCHAS, especially home development coordinator Erin Findley, with supporting her family throughout the foster-to-adopt process. “We really felt like we were over-prepared, even though you really can’t be,” says Whitney. But the thing the Urquharts appreciate most is that PCHAS puts the children first. “PCHAS is there for you, but their main focus is the kids in your care,” says Whitney. “PCHAS is for the child and their best interests.”
Even though fostering was tough at times, Zach and Whitney wouldn’t have it any other way. “The little bit of difficulty was nothing compared to the rewards,” says Whitney. “Even if the day was hard with visits or paperwork, we’d be sitting at the dinner table and Dominic would laugh and make it all go away.”
Today, Zach and Whitney are still fostering and aim to recruit other families to foster as well. “There’s always an excuse you could find to not foster or adopt,” says Whitney. “But those disappear when you discover how many children just need your love.”
In honor of National Adoption Month, PCHAS is sharing the stories of just a few of our amazing adoptive families. PCHAS is proud to provide Christ-centered foster care and adoption services. Learn more about fostering-to-adopt.