Trey and Emily Robbins lived in a two bedroom house in their hometown of Marston. The house, built by Trey’s great grandparents, was the perfect size for the couple and their ten-year-old daughter Caroline. It was also home to the family’s chickens, goats, pigs, and Caroline’s horse, Twinkie.
The Robbins family never imagined moving from their home. However, since becoming foster parents through Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), their perspective, along with their living space, has grown.
Trey and Emily, members at Second Baptist Church in Hamlet, were already ministering to children. They taught children in their church and helped children on the state and international level as members of Gideons International.
They also felt God leading them to become foster parents and had contacted their local Department of Social Services (DSS) to begin training.
In the meantime, the Robbins received extraordinary news, Emily was pregnant. She gave birth to daughter Rayleigh in April 2020––almost ten years after Caroline arrived.
On maternity leave, Emily read a notice in the Pee Dee Baptist Association newsletter that grabbed her attention––Baptist Children’s Homes was seeking a couple interested in being foster parents at Smith Home in Marston.
“Emily made the call to BCH before I even got home from work,” Trey laughs. “We felt like the Lord was putting everything in place.”
The couple’s familiarity with BCH was mainly through Smith Home which is only a mile away from their family home. They knew it as a BCH Family Care home, a place for single mothers to reach stability while parenting their children. Smith Home was the residential property of Lois and Claude Smith and was given to BCH by their daughter Claudia Robinette in memory of her late parents.
“Trey had gone to church with Claude and Lois as a child,” Emily says. “Our church donated things over the years and some of the women from the home had come to our church. Trey had also done some maintenance work there.”
Today, BCH has implemented its new Family Foster Home ministry in the place of Smith Home’s program for single mothers. The nonprofit has grown its Foster Care ministry as a complement to its Cottage Homes program where couples, employed by BCH, provide daily care for boys and girls.
At Smith Home, the Robbins care for children the same way as other foster parents, except in this case, they live in a BCH-owned property. However, they have their own jobs and are not BCH employees.
“As foster parents, we couldn’t be of any use in only our two-bedroom home with Rayleigh and Caroline,” Emily admits. Smith Home has five bedrooms, three bathrooms. It offers space for DSS to place multiple foster children with the Robbins in tandem with BCH.
“When my mom and dad first told me about moving into a bigger house, I said ‘no’ because I like our little house,” Caroline admits. “Then, when they asked me how I felt about helping foster children and explained that’s why we needed to move, I said, ‘When do we start packing?’”
BCH’s Kay Burriss and Wanda Feldt began training the couple and working with them to become licensed foster parents.
“Wanda and Kay are encouraging and always honest and open about what we might experience,” Emily says. “BCH gives you the help you need. We’ve never felt alone in this.”
Trey and Emily learned that many of the children in foster care come from traumatic experiences where they have been neglected and abused. The family’s first placement was a sibling group who had lived in a dysfunctional, single parent home. The youngest child, only a toddler, was struggling to gain weight.
The Robbins’ church has been very supportive. Trey and Emily wrote an article for the church newsletter at their pastor’s request. They shared about their new endeavor and, just as the church had assisted Smith Home in the past, church members rallied around the Robbins family and the foster children intent on sharing the love of Christ.
“They’ve provided clothes, baby needs, and months worth of food,” Emily says. “Laundry detergent would just show up on our doorstep. Our WMU board provided book bags full of necessities. People have been so generous.”
Trey and Emily take the foster siblings to help with the animals and collect the farm-fresh eggs at their family home which they still own.
“They’ve never been around animals before,” Trey says. “It’s rewarding to see them experience new things.”
Among those new experiences, Emily says, is attending church. “They are seeing that there’s much more to life––the seed is being planted.”
“And Emily and I want them to experience what a real family unit is like,” Trey explains. “Through this, they’ll be able to see what God’s love is like.”
Recently, the Robbins said goodbye to the siblings as DSS reunified them with their family. The rooms at Smith Home were not empty for long as new children were quickly placed in care. With the prayers and support of their family, friends, and church, Trey and Emily are set to give their new foster children a safe home where they will experience the love of Jesus.
“We can’t do it alone, no family can,” Emily explains. “Children need to know there’s more people out there who care. You don’t have to be a foster parent in order to help a foster child. It not only takes daily prayer, it takes daily help.”
You and your church can be a part of foster care and adoption. For more information, visit www.bchfosteradopt.org
Article by Blake Ragadale, BCH Director of Communications