Since she was a child, Amy Russell has always loved babies. Her parents even had a Christian Daycare. Now, as a wife and a mother of two 20-something-year-old biological children in their early twenties, Amy still loves babies. As a matter of fact, Amy and her husband Randy have taken in around 100 babies. Some of those babies have had disabilities.
They have stood in as interim parents since 1995 as the birth mothers were in the process of deciding whether to parent the baby or give the baby over to the adoption agency to be adopted. After the decision is made, the Russell’s must then give the babies to the agency so that the child could either be given to the birth mother to parent or to the adoptive parents.
Most of the babies have been African American and Amy and her family are Caucasian. This always makes trips to the store interesting to say the least. People usually stare, often times commenting or asking questions of Amy when she is in public. She sees this as an opportunity to share with the inquiring minds God’s love for us. She often communicates to those that ask her about the race of the babies and her own race, that God does not see color and she feels that she should not either.
“I cannot go in and out of stores quickly,” Amy said. “There is an open door for ministry when someone asks me a question.”
Amy and her family are Christians, and believe that this is a calling from God to take in the babies as the birth mothers are deciding whether to parent or not. During the Russell’s family dinners, Mr. Russell prays and thanks God for the birth parents and for the forever families. The forever families are the families that decide to adopt the baby if the birth mother decides not to parent.
I asked Amy what the hardest part is for her, she stated that it is thinking that she knows what is best for the baby in terms of the mother’s decision.
“My prayer for the birth mother is that she would have wisdom and courage to do God’s will,” Amy said. “God knows best.”
In reply to the question of other difficulties, Amy stated, “The longer you keep the baby, the harder it is to see them go.”
“One baby took to my [biological] son more and it was harder for him to let go of the baby.”
In terms of race, the birth mom chooses the race of the forever family. Bethany Christian Services goes to local African American churches in the Oxford, MS area in order to educate people about adoption. In order to adopt from Bethany, the adopting family must be Christian. Often times, Amy goes to speak to women’s missions groups as well.
Amy is pro-life, and she enjoys giving the mothers an alternative choice to abortion. She does not just want to be against abortions, but she wants to provide options for those who are facing the decision on whether or not to have a baby.
Tips for Caring for Babies
Here are a few tips that Amy has for caring for babies. She has, after all, cared for more babies in her lifetime than most daycares have in all of their years in business!
1. New Born Babies Need Routines
“Having a routine for the baby makes you a better mom,” Amy advices.
2. No Holding From 7pm-10pm
“This helps them to develop a sleeping pattern,” Amy claims. “This has worked for most all of the babies.”
3. Crying Does Not Hurt Them
“This is not mean. If you allow them to cry because they simply want their way, it is ok to let them cry. It teaches them that the world does not revolve around them.” Amy stated.
4. Use a Swaddle
“This is helpful in many ways and allows your hands to be free to use. The ones at slingling.com are great!” Amy declares.