Bobby and Molly Edwards are models of God’s mandate in James 1:27 to love and care for those whom society often neglects. Since 2006, they have opened their home and hearts to nearly 60 foster children.
Oklahoma Baptist Messenger photo
The Edwards Family
Molly herself was adopted through the foster system and her parents hosted 101 foster children in their home.
“Our goal is at least 102,” Molly said with a smile.
Their story may sound like a Hallmark movie, but it is one that only God could author.
In 2005, Bobby and Molly’s troubled oldest son left home at the age of 15. On Oct. 2 that year, their compassionate, God-loving middle son Tommy died unexpectedly from hydrocephalus. They were devastated and began the struggle to find the new normal in their lives.
Molly returned to her work at a daycare, and Bobby trudged through the days as an assistant supervisor of facility management at Oklahoma State University. When the couple learned that the girlfriend of their estranged son was pregnant, and unsure who the father was, their grief was still too overwhelming to even worry about it.
In October 2006, a couple brought a 15-month-old foster child into Molly’s daycare class. He had been taken by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) after he was found roaming the streets in a diaper.
“He walked in and grabbed my heart,” Molly recalled, “and I had no idea why.”
Bobby, in his visits to the daycare, also fell in love with him, and the couple’s daughter, Samantha, who volunteered there asked her parents to adopt him. In July 2007, Molly prayed that if it would be God’s will, He would somehow make the child theirs.
“I knew that he would never replace Tommy, but I also knew that he would fill a void in our lives,” she said.
They knew that Tommy would want them to share the love they had for him with a child in need and somehow find beauty among the ashes. Two days later they were told that DHS had removed the child of their oldest son’s girlfriend. Molly began to ask questions about the toddler.
In a plot twist that only God could orchestrate, it was the same 15-month-old boy who had marched into her daycare and captivated the hearts of her family. DNA testing confirmed that Molly had unknowingly been taking care of their grandson for the last nine months.
They rushed to complete the required foster parent training and on Oct. 2, 2007, two years to the day after Tommy’s death, the family brought Tony home as a foster child.
This was only the beginning of the work God planned for them. In 2014, they adopted Robert, another of their foster children, and in 2015, Tony’s adoption became final. They also have four foster children currently and plan to minister to many others.
Their daughter Samantha now works for DHS. The Edwards’ home continues to be a revolving door for children in need. They haven’t had to minister alone. Molly and Bobby received much support when they were members of Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater, Okla.
Pastor Brent Prentice said the couple “is an example to us all of what it looks like to consistently, joyfully and sacrificially give their lives to hurting people. Our goal as a church is to be more than just pro-birth; we must be as pro-life as possible. It is not enough just to be known for being against a tragedy like abortion. In word and deed we have to be [compassionate] for the vulnerable unborn and hurting mothers and fathers.”
Bobby and Molly continue to receive foster care support as members of Countryside Baptist Church in Stillwater.
Through their obedience, God has given the Edwards family an opportunity to minister to parents and children who have lost all other support.
“I was never good at witnessing in a traditional way to people,” Bobby said, “but foster care has allowed me to share Christ in a different way with so many people. We love to take in these babies. I watch them change from being frightened of me to climbing in my lap and loving on me.
Bobby and Molly pray that their influence will affect how these children see family, and that little girls in their care will grow to understand God’s role for men in their lives. Seeing the sanctity of life as extending beyond the womb, the couple also hopes to show these children that their lives have value, hoping that by doing so they can break a vicious cycle.
“These families don’t want to be in the situation they are in,” Bobby said. “Most of them aren’t bad people; they just don’t know any better. They are all searching for something.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kristi Prince is a contributing writer for the Baptist Messenger, baptistmessenger.com, newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.)