“Sometimes God just has a different plan,” said Meghan Payne, of Owensboro, fully admitting that adopting five boys ranging from 6-14 years old at one time might seem crazy to a lot of people.
But Meghan would say Christmas came early last Monday, Dec. 14, when a judge terminated parental rights and the boys’ adoption was finalized. “I’ve always known I was called to be a mom. This is definitely not the way I thought that would pan out for me. But what I do know is that God has a purpose and a plan and that He works all things for good for people that love him; so here we are together now.”
It was an exciting day for Kevin, 14; Dustin, 9; Romer, 8; Kennedy, 7; and Brian, who coincidentally turned 6 on his adoption day. Not to mention the sight of nearly 100 family and friends who gathered to witness the occasion, making it the largest crowd Judge Castlen had ever seen for an adoption finalization. As a small momento, Judge Castlen gave each of the boys a pen with their name engraved on it which he used to sign each of their papers.
The road to their adoption day had a few twists and turns; for the boys and for the Payne family.
Meghan’s parents, Tom and Amy Payne, went through foster parenting classes and turned in their paperwork to the state so their home could be a foster home. Meghan took the classes too, but did not turn in her paperwork immediately.
The boys were Tom and Amy’s first placement, which was on August 28, 2013.
“The social worker called and said she had five brothers that couldn’t be placed together anywhere else without being split up, except for our home,” Amy explained. “People ask us all the time why we fostered five boys at one time. My answer became ‘why not?’ They’re fine young men who need a home. And we have a home available to share with them.”
“It’s just a ‘God-thing,’” Tom Payne added. “I always think of Mary’s ‘yes’ that she gave God. We all – at some point – take a step of faith. We felt it was the right thing to do.”
That’s when Meghan moved back home, both to pay off graduate school loans and to help with the boys. Several months later, Amy had a spinal chord tumor removed, and the Payne’s decided Meghan would become the foster parent in her “foster home” once she got her paperwork turned in, even though they all still lived under the same roof.
“When we knew the boys would be an adoptable group, I explored it in prayer,” Meghan explained, describing her decision to adopt the boys. “The thing that I kept coming back to in prayer was to focus on what is in front of me right now and to not worry about tomorrow. Even parents who have kids biologically don’t know what tomorrow holds for your family. So, I’m going to love them and raise them to the best of my ability and pray that they grow up to be good men. We’re meant to be a part of each other’s journey.”
What does it mean for the boys to be adopted together? “It means a lot,“ said Kevin, the oldest brother. “Before we were here (with the Payne’s) we were split. It was me, Dustin and Romer, and then Kennedy and Brian were in another home. If we weren’t here, chances are high that we would be split up forever. It wouldn’t be the same. This means a lot.”
It’s certainly not fair to call Meghan a single parent of five. “It would be crazy to try and do something like this by myself,” Payne admits. Judging by the number of people who were there in the courtroom to celebrate, Meghan is in no way in this by herself. Plus, Tom and Amy are right there to help with the boys all the time. And Meghan’s sister, Sarah, is in town and helps however she can. “It would not have been fair to the boys if I didn’t know there was a bunch of people that love them, and love me, and will be here to help raise them,” Payne said.