Cimarron couple seeks child to share home, family, unconditional love
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
Editor’s Note: The following is part of a continuing series on local couples seeking to adopt through the Catholic Charities of SW Kansas Adoption Program. If you would like to see a video/slideshow about the Staats, go to http://catholiccharitiesswks.org/services/adoption/our-waiting-families.
Their eyes met from across the crowded room and suddenly time stood still. The boy and the girl approached each other slowly, perhaps a bit apprehensively, guided by divine providence toward what they couldn’t know then was a destiny designed by God.
Well, that’s not … entirely accurate. I mean, this was preschool after all, and it would be a few years before the youngsters even entered the Kootie stage, much less recognized any sort of future destiny.
Kallie and Rodney Staats of Cimarron are among those rare married couples who can say they’ve known each other since they could barely form sentences. And today, in their home just blocks from where they were reared, the couple are working through Catholic Charities of SW Kansas Adoption Program to begin a family.
“One private adoption company wanted $30,000,” said Kallie, who works for United Telecommunications. “Catholic Charities was better, more economical. I also like that it’s non-profit. Nobody should get rich off a child.”
The pair approached Catholic Charities two years ago, where adoption social worker Lori Titsworth guided them through the intensive process of preparation for becoming adoptive parents. It doesn’t cost $30,000, but it’s not cheap.
“It is cheap!” countered Rodney, a diesel mechanic. “That’s not the right word. I should say ‘economical’. It’s based on your income. If someone doesn’t make a lot of money, they can still adopt.”
By August of last year — after an extensive review and education process — the couple placed their video/slideshow onto the Catholic Charities website (http://catholiccharitiesswks.org/services/adoption/our-waiting-families), introducing themselves to birth parents who may be considering the adoption process.
There you learn that Kallie and Rodney were friends all through school; they didn’t fall in love until after each had graduated from college. Before then, they’d spent those freedom-filled days of childhood and youth hanging out together from time to time, cruising Main Street with mutual friends, never knowing that their futures were tied inexorably together.
On June 4, the couple will celebrate 13 years of marriage – among which have been times of great joy and great heartbreak.
A few years ago, the two became foster parents to two young children, a boy and a girl, belonging to a relative.
“We went from childless to parents of two in 24 hours,” Kallie said. “It was the hardest most difficult time of our lives, but it was also the best. It was a mental roller coaster.”
After two years, the birth parents petitioned to have their children returned, and the courts decided in their favor. It’s not difficult to imagine the sadness Kallie and Rodney endured.
“When they took them away, that was heartbreaking,” Rodney said softly. “It was God’s will. The good Lord was preparing us for something else.”
Last year, Rodney was offered the chance to spend a mission trip in Rwanda with a ministry started by his sister Kendra Willard and her husband, Ruben, called, “Lift Them Up.”
“We had prayer meetings; we talked with the children,” Rodney explained of his time in Rwanda. “They like to touch. The men there don’t have hair on their arms, and some of them have never seen a white person. So, there was me and Ruben, two hairy white guys.
“I can’t believe as poor as they are, how happy and content they are,” Rodney added. “They show love for everyone. And they’re forgiving. The people who killed their families are now getting out of jail – people who lived right next door – and they’re forgiving them.”
The wait for an adoptive child requires two things: 1) patience and 2) more patience. As the couple looks forward to the day when God leads a child to their door, Kallie looks back on those two years as a foster mom as a mirror for what is to come.
“It’s the unconditional love — those hugs and smiles and kisses for no reason at all, and the conversations with children — that I look forward to. You never know what they will say. You may have a bad day, and they can bring you right back up.”
“I’m going to enjoy teaching them things,” said Rodney, his grease-stained coveralls and the machine shop, wood shop and a large garden on their surrounding property paying testimony to a man who is expert at making things work.
“And spoiling them,” he added. “We look forward to loving whoever God brings to us.”