Posted on October 14, 2019
The CALL banquet speaker to share her story in hopes of inspiring others to take the call
By Caitlan Butler
The CALL of Union County will hold a fundraiser a week from now, with the goal of raising $18,000.
The CALL, a statewide nonprofit organization, prepares Christian families to foster children; they also provide resources, like education and basic necessities to those families to ensure the best outcome for foster children.
The fundraiser, a banquet to be held at the College Avenue Church of Christ, will feature El Dorado resident Christy Wheeler as the keynote speaker. Wheeler said she has never shared her story publicly before.
“I’m a little nervous. I’ve shared my story with close friends of mine, but I’ve never told my story to the public,” she said. “But if it helps somebody — because I was told that I would never graduate high school, that I would never go to college, that I would never make anything of my life — I graduated No. 3 in my school, I did five years of college in four years, and I made something of my life.”
Before she was 2 years old, Wheeler was separated by the state from her biological parents, going on to spend most of her childhood in her grandparents’ care. Several times during that period, she tried other living arrangements — with biological family members, friends — but she eventually found that being in their care is where she felt safest.
Even after entering adulthood, Wheeler still felt lost, until at age 36 she asked her grandfather to adopt her.
“I knew that my grandmother loved me, but as a child, you still have that longing,” Wheeler said. “As far back as I can remember, that was home; that’s where I felt safe. I used to always struggle with ‘why didn’t my real mom want to change.’ … But they raised me … and they are my parents.”
Wheeler said that being adopted gave her a sense of security she hadn’t had before. The circumstances of her life inspired Wheeler to devote herself to her family; she now has four daughters who she says are her proudest achievement, and she fosters children in need of a home.
“My biggest dream, when I was a child, was to be a mother and have children, and to show those children that you don’t ever have to feel like you’re not wanted,” she said. “Now I have four beautiful daughters. We’ve lived in the same house all their lives; they have such stability. They never have to lay down at night not thinking they’re wanted by their mother.”
The CALL’s Restoring Hope: A Night for the Waiting fundraiser is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is expected to last until about 9:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $20 each and table sponsorships are available. Tickets may be purchased at All About Flowers or eventbrite.com/e/restoring-hope-anight-for-the-waiting-tickets-73344412111. Email email@example.com for more information.
For more information about The CALL, visit thecallinarkansas.org .
Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.