Welcoming Refugees: An Adoption Story

Five Minutes Away

“I can’t believe that just five minutes from my house there was a family that just arrived from the war-torn city of Kabul, Afghanistan. What an amazing opportunity to get to know them!”

Trevor and Molly were part of a team of twelve from their church that adopted this newly-arrived family of six from Afghanistan. The family fled their country in 2021 when the Taliban took control. The father served with security forces and was targeted by the Taliban. They first landed elsewhere for several months, and then were resettled in the ‘Afghan hotel’ Kansas City. It was in January 2022 that Trevor and Molly first met them, when the family moved into their new home.

A New Home

“Our team leader was traveling internationally when we got word that we would adopt this family, and the date that they would be moving into their house. The resettlement organization gave us a list of everything we needed to furnish the house. We asked friends, went thrifting, and finally came up with all we needed for their home. The family consisted of a father, mother, three school-age children, and a newborn baby – mom had been pregnant when they fled. We didn’t know their needs and preferences, but did our best to set up the house. We thought the girls would want to be in different rooms. But when the family moved in, they let us know that the whole family would be sleeping in the two downstairs rooms – mom, dad, and baby in one room, and the three girls in the other. They didn’t share our value for privacy, but instead valued closeness.”

The Ministry of Time

Trevor and Molly were surprised at how many things there were to do to help this family settle in and get connected with the right resources. They also learned that the resettlement agency was right in encouraging them to have diversity in their welcoming team. It turned out that it was important to have the retired couples (like Trevor and Molly) involved because of the many things that needed to happen during the days – and because of their general availability.

Over the year, among other things, the team furnished the house, fixed the insulation, got rid of a family of possums, moved the family to a new house, took the father to job fairs to find a job, connected the mother to ESL classes, took them to the grocery store since they didn’t have a car or drivers’ license, built raised gardens for them to grow vegetables, helped them find a vehicle, and helped them figure out Social Services. They also accepted the abundant hospitality of the family as they were served tea and a meal every time they visited!


What was challenging? Trevor says, “The biggest challenge has been language. One time we had a Dari speaker who also spoke English visit with us and them, and that was wonderful. But otherwise we figured it out attempting to use tools like Google Translate. We also discovered the service called Propio, which connected us to a live translator. They needed this service to figure out complicated medical and tax issues. But it takes a long time to learn a new language! Their nine-year old daughter is now the most proficient English speaker in the family.”

Molly said, “I really sensed how isolated and lonely the wife felt, but realized I was unable to meet that need. She found it challenging to go to ESL classes because she had to take her children, which involved caring for a newborn baby. What she really needed was time to be with other women who had gone through the same experience. And some trauma-based support counseling. I gave this feedback to the resettlement agency.”


In spite of the challenges, Trevor and Molly are so grateful for the opportunity to know and serve this family. Trevor and Molly say they know that the family trusts their team and that they feel cared for. The family is devoutly Muslim. They pray five times a day, the wife always wears her head covering with men, and they have prayers from the Koran taped on all four walls of their home for protection. The resettlement agency did not allow teams to proselytize, due to the involvement of Federal money. While honoring this rule, the team was able to love them well and build friendships. They have prayed for their needs and shown the love of Jesus.

Trevor and Molly have learned through this relationship what a long road it is to welcome and love a refugee family like this. They hope that the future still holds opportunities for them to share stories about Jesus with this family – when their English is good enough for this kind of a conversation!

May Jesus raise up more people in His body with the eyes to see and welcome the strangers in our midst, and the willingness to sacrifice our time and energy to love as Christ loved us.

More resources on Welcoming:

People of Peace training – As we welcome new-American (or really ANY) neighbors with love, we want to be obvious about our love for God and keep our eyes open for ‘people of peace’. These are people who are open and welcoming of you and Jesus not only in their own life, but also into their social circle. All Nations has a training called “People of Peace: How to Reach Your Muslim Neighbors”. Although the focus is on Muslims, the principles work with any peoples. Get in touch with us if you’d like us to bring this training to your community!

UPG North America – No matter where you live in North America, UPG North America is a great resource for Welcomers. Use it to help you discover what people groups might be in your back yard – or to help you discern where to move to encounter the people you love! Take some time checking out their map and resources.

Refuge KC – Live in Kansas City and ready to get involved? Check out Refuge KC. Live in another city? Do a google search for refugee resettlement agencies, or ask around for ways to get involved!

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