Radio commercial propels couple toward years of foster care with ABCH

Radio commercial propels couple toward years of foster care with ABCH

One morning 10 years ago Todd Wilson heard a radio commercial that changed the course of his life.

It was about foster care, and when he got to his laptop he went straight to the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries (ABCH) website to do some research. 

“I made a phone call and ended up meeting with their lead social worker and another social worker while my wife, Lori, was still in school and didn’t know anything about it,” said Wilson, pastor of Grace Covenant Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills.

A decade later

But when Lori got home from teaching that afternoon and Todd told her what had happened, she said she’d heard the same radio commercial — and also had planned to have a conversation with him about it.

“So that’s kind of how our journey began — we both heard the same commercial on the same day,” Wilson said.

And now, a decade later, they’ve hosted 15 children in their home from age 13 down to 7 months old. They’ve grown as parents and as Christ followers, he said. And they’ve led their church to be more hands on with orphan care.

“We wanted to get involved in this with the goal of planting the gospel in these kids while they were in our home and also reach out to the parents either directly or through the kids when they went home,” Wilson said. “We try to love them well, and our church gets attached to them too.”

Their church has 50 to 60 people on a Sunday morning and nearly everyone is involved in the children’s lives in some way, he said. 

Sunday School teachers have welcomed every child his family has brought to church and two other families have gone through the training to become foster parents too.

He’s been encouraged and challenged — and he’s now challenging other pastors and churches to get involved too. Of ABCH’s 259 foster families, currently 29 are the families of church staff members. 

“I’m still a work in progress in this, but what I would say to pastors is that even if you can’t take a child into your home you still need to lead your church in orphan care,” said Wilson, noting that James 1:27 says true religion is to care for orphans and widows. 

“You can’t just be passive — you’re not walking with the Lord if you’re not involved at all. It’s important that you try to instill in your people to be involved in some way.”

‘Love of Jesus’

All of the children the Wilsons have hosted have come from a place where they’ve rarely, if ever, been exposed to the gospel, he said.

“They’re all hurt in some way, they’re all needy in some way,” Wilson said. “That’s been the purpose for us — to try to get the gospel to these kids who more often than not are not hearing about the love of Jesus in the environment that they’ve come out of.”

Rod Marshall, ABCH president, called the Wilsons “exceptional foster parents.”

“Todd and Lori demonstrate a commitment to care for the fatherless that I have had the unique privilege of watching close up as it has transformed their family, including their adult daughters, their church and their own sense of calling to caring for children from hard places,” Marshall said.

For more information about ABCH and foster care, visit