PORTALES (BNM) – In 2019, the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home added “and Family Ministries” to its official name. Implementing an adoption ministry had been a dream of the organization for some time. The new ministry possibility influenced the organization’s name change.
Later in 2019, the NMBCH hired Carolyn Tollett as its adoption worker. Tollett’s hiring moved the home closer to implementing a direct adoption process. Just as Tollett began her ministry, COVID-19 restricted much of her interaction with children and families. “Tollett works as much as she can, although [New Mexico’s state Department of] Children, Youth and Families limits much of her work. But, she is compiling names and doing home studies as much as possible,” said Randy Rankin, President of NMBCH. “She receives private referrals and referrals from CYFD.”
Tollet is a licensed adoption worker and is licensed to conduct home studies for prospective adoptive parents. She is a former children’s home employee. Tollett is completing a Ph.D. and is an instructor of social work and field director for Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. “She has a dual role,” Rankin said, referring to her role with the Children’s Home and ENMU.
Initially, the adoption ministry site was in Estancia, where the NMBCH is renovating the former Immanuel Baptist Church facility. “But, due to Tollett’s dual role, her office is in the Hope Center in downtown Portales,” Rankin said.
Though Tollett works with CYFD, there are quite a few children currently living at the Children’s Home who are also available for adoption. The adoption ministry hopes that families will look at some of the older children who qualify for adoption in New Mexico. That is the main focus of the adoption ministry. “Older children need forever homes too,” said Rankin in a previous interview.
The Estancia property is still under renovation but should open in a few months. Once ready, one of the most pressing needs will be staffing that facility.
The facility consists of six rooms, each with the capacity to house two school-age children. The facility has a large common area living room and two apartments for house parents and their children. The former worship center building holds offices, classrooms and meeting rooms. The meeting rooms are “multi-purpose” rooms, according to Rankin. “Tollett could use some of the space, if needed, to meet with families. Anyone else in the organization needing office space could use the facility also,” Rankin said.
The organization does not receive any Cooperative Program funds for its operations. And, for religious reasons, the children’s home also refuses government funds. Churches, donors and investments fund its ministries. The Mission New Mexico State Mission Offering has allocated a portion of its proceeds to launch the home’s adoption ministry. Rankin said, “The convention has been very good in the last few years in supporting us through Mission New Mexico funds.”
For more information on NMBCH, visit www.nmbch.com.