Murphy resident Robert Davidson felt a sense of urgency to tell his wife, Mechelle, “I think our daughter is waiting for us!” Robert described the urge as, “A voice that insisted on itself.” When he told Mechelle, she said, “I know this will seem strange, but that is exactly what was I thinking too. She’s in China, isn’t she?!” Robert said, “We kinda laughed, knowing this was God moving in our lives, and we agreed we needed to make this a very big priority. Mechelle started contacting adoption agencies that day.”
Up until this time, even though their attempts at having biological children had not been successful, they had not really talked about the option of adoption. In 2003, they started the adoption paperwork and in 2004, they had their ‘logged in date’ which is when the paperwork is completely filed. During the adoption process, they felt like the year of waiting was unusually long and travel arrangements did not go as expected, but hindsight has provided them with the understanding that all of these elements lined up just as they should for them to meet their daughter.
Mechelle emotionally described the moment she and Robert first saw their daughter, “You are warned that the photo you receive of your child might not look like her when you see her. We were prepared for that. 13 nannies brought in 13 babies. I tried to find her, but I couldn’t recognize her. When they called her name, she turned her head and I recognized her. We’ve been snuggling ever since.” She also said they tell you that the babies might not have had much human interaction, but the nanny who held the Davidson’s baby girl had to leave the room due to the emotional attachment she had developed.
They named their daughter Madeleine Faith. Faith is Mechelle’s mother’s name. Before bringing Madeleine home on October 25, 2005 (one day before her first birthday), they moved to Murphy because, Mechelle said, “We wanted to raise her in a great place. We loved it so much we moved my parents a block away.”
Before adoption, Madeleine lived in the province of Guangxi in China at the Desheng Social Welfare Institute. The Davidsons went through Children’s Hope International adoption agency.
Regarding what surprised them during the adoption process, Robert said the required paperwork delved deeply into all aspects of their life.
Summarizing, Mechelle said, “I don’t know how anyone can go through this process and doubt the existence of God.”
In 2014, after they hosted an exchange student from Thailand, they had the thought that they might like to become a foster family. Unlike with the voice that wouldn’t be silenced leading them to adoption, they didn’t feel a sense of urgency on this idea. It wasn’t until an un-requested email arrived in Mechelle’s work email from Buckner Baptist Children’s Home requesting prayer did they feel the clear sign that they needed to get the ball rolling.
Thus far, they have fostered three children at three different times. They currently are fostering a 10-year-old girl who will go to live with her grandfather soon. They were able to set parameters of the type of child they would foster. The Davidsons will foster only girls who are younger than Madeleine, who do not have special needs and who do not take a lot of medications.
Mechelle said, “…If we can show a child a stable, loving, Godly home, I think we owe it to them.” Discussing the temporariness of relationships in foster families, Robert said, “A few people have said to me, ‘I don’t know how you do it. How do you care for a child, and then let them go?’” To those queries, he responds, “This has opened up my heart. It makes me more intentional. I need to do my best to make lasting and good memories for them.” He said he has found himself extrapolating this mentality into other relationships in his life, it has changed his perspective. Mechelle said, “I feel this is a huge responsibility. I’m taking care of another mother’s child. If someone was taking care of Madeleine, I would want them to do everything possible to give her a great experience.” Madeleine said she enjoys being a foster sister, but finds the only drawback is the uncertainty of how it will all pan out. When foster children are adults, they can reach out to their previous foster families. However, foster families cannot contact foster children after they have left their home.
When they are notified that a child needs to be placed with them, they are given minutes to decide if they can take that child. If the Davidson’s agree to foster the child, the agency will arrive at the Davidson’s home between four and ten hours with the child. Sometimes the child will have a few belongings with them, but sometimes they arrive with just the clothes they are wearing.
The church the Davidson’s attend, Chase Oaks, has recently established a program supporting foster families. Support will be offered in a variety of ways with minimal to more involved ways to help such as creating go-bags and respite care. Go-bags will contain items the foster child needs such as clothing. Respite care requires a level of certification and allows that person to provide short-term care for a foster child.
The Davidsons will speak at the Murphy Exchange Club monthly meeting on August 13 regarding their experiences as a foster family, how those interested can become foster families and how the community can support them and perhaps other Murphy foster families. The meeting begins at noon and will be held at Country Burger in Murphy. Robert has been a member of the Murphy Exchange Club for many years and is the current Chairperson of the Patriotic Committee and Treasurer.
Robert and Mechelle Davidson have been married 27 years