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Kaylin finds rest and healing with adoptive family

Updated: Mar 28


Makalynn’s (Kaylin’s) journey to adoption began in a home with a loving mom and four doting, older brothers. But her mom’s bad choices and the bad people in her mom’s life turned the little girl’s home into a place where there was “bad stuff.” It was unsafe. Makalynn remembers how she couldn’t rest and was afraid. She remembers seeing her mom in that life and feeling sad. At five years old, she was taken with her brothers to live at a children’s home.

“I remember the day we left,” she says. “It’s blurry, but I see it. I see Mom and remember telling her it was going to be okay. Don’t feel sad.”

The children’s mom lost custody of them and the siblings were placed in a foster home. The boys settled in, but Makalynn was restless. A respite weekend for the little girl led to meeting a new family, the Huddles. It was a “great weekend,” she remembers. There was popcorn and a movie, a library trip, and church on Sunday. It was low key. It was restful.

“We knew adoption was on the table,” Kristy Huddle says. “They were looking for a family that would keep her forever and, from the first moment, Jason and I knew we were that family.” It clicked for Makalynn, too. At the end of the respite visit, she called Kristy and Jason Mom and Dad. She moved in the next weekend.

“I was so happy,” Makalynn recalls. “I wanted to be adopted and I thought this could be my forever family.”

Adoption is a new beginning—one that can seem illusive. After four uncertain years, a children’s home, and two foster families, the day of her adoption finally arrived. Nine-year-old Makalynn’s new beginning started on August 6, 2020. There was a celebration dinner and a decorated cake, but due to COVID, there was no family court event. She had longed to hear the judge’s gavel and a declaration that her adoption was official. Jason came up with a plan. He had a friend who was a superior court judge who was moved by the girl’s story. He agreed to preside over a special session of his court on September 25.

“All rise,” declared by the court bailiff. The courthouse was only open to officials due to the pandemic, and special permission was

needed for a small group of family and friends to attend. The judge called for order in the court and then called on Jason. Fighting back tears, he declared his and Kristy’s love for their new

daughter. Makalynn spoke next affirming her love for her new family. Satisfied by all that he heard, the judge pronounced her adoption final.

“I had the biggest smile,” Makalynn recalls. “It was just like Judge Judy. I was official.”

A name change made her adoption, her new beginning, complete. It wasn’t drastic. It was a new name for a new start. She chose Kaylin. She would use her last name Reese as her middle name. Added to her new family’s last name, she became Kaylin Reese Huddle.

Kaylin is catching up with her studies. She is talkative and never meets a stranger. She is athletic and loves cheering. She volunteers and is active in her church.

She had everything she needed—but there was one thing more. Kaylin wanted to visit her birth mom Casey. It had been six years since they had seen each other. “I was told you don’t do this,” Kristy says. “But Jason and I believed it was important. So, I messaged Casey.”

Kaylin and Casey began to write letters and there were conversations on the phone—it could not be hurried. Eight months later, Kristy began talking with Casey about meeting. In 2023, Casey attended one of Kaylin’s cheer competitions.

Kaylin remembers, “I wasn’t nervous, but there were lots of butterflies.”

Casey cried. The two hugged, talked, and spent time together over dinner. This first visit led to more over the months since then. Kristy calls it a “stop and go process.” The focus for the Huddles

and Casey is Kaylin’s needs and well-being.

“I remember living with her and she always had dark circles around her eyes,” Kaylin says. “Now, they’re gone. She is better. I can see the difference. All the bad things in her life are behind her.”

Kristy knows a meeting like this doesn’t work in every situation. But the decision for Casey and Kaylin to meet has been good. “Jason and I knew there was enough room in our hearts to love Casey, too.”

Kristy and Jason know the challenges, but they see value in fostering older children. Older children are more often over-looked, believing older children come with too much emotional and mental scarring. But fears may keep a child who needs a family from the perfect forever family.

“People who want to foster should not be afraid to adopt older children,” Kaylin asserts. “They might think we are bad, but it’s not true. Older kids are traumatized—but no more than babies or toddlers. All children who are in foster care have suffered trauma, no matter their age.”

Choosing to foster and adopt older children, like Kaylin, help them walk through their past, offering a future and the family they dream about.

There's more to the Huddle's story! Read the Jason and Kristy Huddle's journey in part 1 and then part 3 to read about a new connection made between Kaylin and her biological mother brings about healing.

NOTE: There are more than 10,000 children in the NC foster care system. Learn how you and your church can be the answer to this incredible need through the EVERY CHILD foster and adopt partnership between Baptist Children's Homes and NC Baptists.  

Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children

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