Father’s Day is traditionally a day of rest, maybe even a nap, for Dads. But most likely it won’t be nap time for 45-year-old State Rep. David Meeks. That’s because he’s a new father of eight. David and wife, Naomi, are in the process of adopting a sibling set of five kiddos; adding on to the sibling set of three they adopted in 2015. In a short amount of time the Meeks’ went from having no kids to having eight, ages 2 to 7.
From the time they got married in 2009, David and Naomi knew they wanted to foster and adopt. When David was voted into office in 2010 he suddenly had access to detailed information about the state’s foster system and just how desperate the needs were. He sat on the Aging, Children, and Youth Committee for eight years, which allowed him to hear reports on the state’s foster system and the issues that affect those children.
“Reading the statistics and seeing how overloaded the system had become really pushed me. One of the biggest issues was the fact that there weren’t enough homes for these kids, and especially sibling groups. Imagine being separated from your parents and then your siblings in one night. It was just heartbreaking. I knew I could do something and that I had to do more,” Meeks says.
There are hundreds of kids in foster care in Faulkner County; and less than 100 families to care for them. The statistics only get worse as time marches on.
Through David’s work at the Capitol he also found out about an organization known as The Call. That’s a group that helps streamline the process to become a foster family and provides support to foster and adoptive families.
“We attended the informational meeting and knew it was what God had planned for us. We both left with a heart for sibling groups. ... Nothing breaks our hearts more than when sibling groups have to be split up into different homes,” Meeks says.
They immediately began the process of becoming an approved foster home.
“Before we were an open home, we heard of a sibling group of three boys that were 1, 2, and 3 years old that were trying to place together. We called and told them we were one more inspection away from being an open home. Eight days later they asked if we were still interested in the boys. We said yes! That was quite a transition for us; going from zero kids to having a 1, 2, and 3-year-old at once,” Meeks says.
The oldest, JD, is now 7. Ben is 6 and Zachary is 5 years old.
The Meeks’ didn’t want to stop there. They continued preparing and renovating their home to fit even more sibling groups; knowing it was God’s call for them.
“We started with one bedroom with three beds, then moved my office out to the dining room so we could open up two more beds. We eventually even enclosed our garage/carport area so we could add three more,” Meeks says.
Good thing they did. Just before this past Christmas, the Meeks found out about a sibling group of five that needed a forever home. The ironic thing is; they already knew the children and had already been driving them to church and providing for them.
“My wife and I worked on a bus route at our church, where we would pick up families or kids and bring them to church on Sundays. We’d visit them on Saturdays and spend some time talking with them and handing out candy or trying to meet the needs of the families with food or whatever,” says Meeks.
They can’t go into too much detail yet or show the kiddos faces because the adoption won’t be final until later this summer. “It is mind blowing to know that the kids we hugged and loved every Saturday and Sunday are going to be part of our forever family. We are so blessed that they will join our family,” Meeks says.
The five kiddos are ages 7, 6, 5, 3, and 2 years old.
To accommodate all the sweet little ones, the Meeks purchased a 15-passenger van and a 7-passenger one. They call them the Megavan and the Minivan.
As a family of 10, one of their favorite things to do is ride bikes. Meeks says, “Well, I usually just chase the kids on their bikes!”
David’s wife Naomi is an incredible bargain shopper; and works very hard to make sure birthdays and holidays are big events in their home. Meeks says, “She is always looking for good deals on toys that the kids would enjoy for Christmas. She already has new pj’s for all the kids ($3/each) and a gift closet full of toys for Christmas that she found for 75% off!”
For each kiddo’s birthday the Meeks take the other seven kids to the dollar store so they can each pick out a present for their sibling. Meeks says, “They get a big gift from Dad and Mom and seven little presents from their siblings.”
In joking, David says the ultimate Father’s Day gift would be a nap. He says, “Whenever one of the kids wakes up in the night they call for Daddy. Not sure if that was my wife’s doing or what! But I enjoy being able to help our whenever possible.” But in reality, his perfect Father’s Day would be attending church together, eating a nice lunch, and going to the park with the entire crew; perhaps squeezing in a nap.
Happy Father’s Day to all!!!
If you’re interested in becoming a foster family you can contact The Call.
The Call: www.thecallinarkansas.org