In 2005, Gateway members Randy and Vickie Akins were working to adopt their son through foster care, but it wasn’t an easy process. “We felt like small fish in a giant sea of workers, attorneys, therapists, advocates, and judges,” Vickie says. “All we wanted was a connection to someone who knew how we felt and what we were going through.” But they found no resources or support groups to help them on their unique journey as adoptive parents. Feeling isolated and ill-equipped, they made it through, but afterward, they felt God say, “Now, you know the need. Go make it happen.”

Two years later, Randy and Vickie founded Chosen Ones, a ministry designed to recruit, support, and connect foster and adoptive parents so no one would have to journey alone like they did. Since then, Chosen Ones has recruited and supported hundreds of foster parents, which resulted in 350 adoptions—102 of those for Gateway members. “There were times of anxiety, fear, and disappointment. We were not prepared for the process. Chosen Ones supported us through all the unknowns,” says Ping and Natalie Wei, Gateway members and adoptive parents. “Our support group quickly became our family and friends—friends who understood our emotional roller coaster and were there without fail.” Chosen Ones not only helps support adoptive and foster parents through groups but also has special events, mentor opportunities, and even a supply warehouse for foster/adoptive kids who may not have much when they’re placed with a family.

If you’re interested in partnering with Chosen Ones, there are many ways to serve! You can:

  • Sort clothing donations at the Just 4 You Closet.
  • Chaperone a Birthday Wish party—monthly birthday parties we offer for foster kids through a partnership with Urban Air.
  • Become a mentor for a family who is new to fostering.
  • Serve at special family fun events and activities throughout the year, such as Summer Splash, Fall Fest, and Christmas Celebration.
  • Lead or facilitate a Gateway Group inviting families of foster care and adoption to build community with one another.
  • Pray for a foster family, child, and more!

Chosen Ones was born out of Randy and Vickie’s loneliness and lack but now prevents others from feeling the same way. And ultimately, it’s about bringing families together. “We have our girls permanently in our home now,” says Natalie Wei. “And when I look back, I can’t imagine any other life.”