Who We Are

Joel & Kristen Longshore

Even as children, both Joel and Kristen always felt a pull to adopt, but the adventure of their adoption came as a complete surprise. The Longshores were planning to adopt a toddler from China when God revealed to them a 13 year old boy in another country who would become their oldest son. Soon after, they knew that they would be adopting not one, but TWO boys from Ukraine. Terrified but obedient, and having never previously parented anyone (much less two adolescent boys!), the Longshores jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back. It is their joy to be Mom and Dad to these two incredible teenagers.

Through the adoption and parenting processes, Joel and Kristen’s eyes were opened not only to the orphan crisis, but also to the struggles of adoptive families as they work to connect with and heal the hearts of the children. While the Biblical mandate to adopt is clear, adoptive families are often left isolated and unsupported by friends, communities, and even churches. Joel and Kristen have a deep desire to see children placed in families and to see those families not just survive, but thrive. The Longshores understand first-hand both the great joys and deep struggles many adoptive parents face as they work to become a family and to help their children heal and it is their privilege to walk alongside other families in this redemptive journey.

Joel - Executive Director

Joel’s heart for his own family and for other adoptive families is what drives him as the executive director and administrative leader for Refuge. Joel has a background in Biblical studies and youth ministry and has served in various capacities in both church and para church settings. He loves the outdoors, running, and a good strong cup of coffee.

Kristin - Co-Director of Education and Family Resources

Since her children have come home, Kristen often finds herself in situations where she is able to encourage other adoptive families. She has become passionate about assisting both families in process and those whose children are already home. Kristen has a background in education and has taught primarily in high risk, low income schools. She loves reading, writing, and is a total musical theatre nerd but her true calling is advocating for kids and encouraging, educating, and supporting adoptive families as they walk the road of healing with their children.

David & Krista LaRocque

Starting in 1997, we have over the years adopted 11 children, with 20 years separating the oldest from the youngest. We thought we were done with adoption, and "moving on" to a support phase, but God continues to bring children into our lives for us to care for! God has given us a wide variety of experiences, many different personalities in our children, a broad set of traumas to deal with, and He has remained consistently faithful through them all. We, on the other hand, have to struggle and learn throughout it all.

Our vision is to share our lessons learned with other adoptive families, as much to remind us of God's grace as to encourage others with Him.

Where we've been

Our adoption story has been full of surprises, sorrow, and delight. We have a particularly soft place in our hearts to keep siblings together, which we've been able to do several times.

We've adopted from Guatemala, USA, Russia, and Ukraine. Our children came with institutionalized behaviors, attachment disorders from neglect and abandonment, and lifelong effects of parental substance abuse. We do our best to instill family values and a Bible-centric worldview into our children. We've found varying degrees of support in family, friends, churches, and other groups, particularly as our family has grown larger than many consider comfortable.

What we are doing next

In 2016, God moved us from North Carolina and the only US home our children knew to Kansas, and new opportunities. We moved into a decommissioned school in western Kansas, in a tiny community of about 250 in rural contrast to the metro area of 2.5 million we left behind. We had searched nationwide for a location where we'd have space for our large family, and this 23,000 square foot school in great shape with a full indoor basketball court, stage, and large garage fits the bill.

We are working hard to create a peaceful location for respite care, family care breaks, adoption conferences, and whatever else we might be able to offer. Krista has been certified as an instructor for foster care / adoption classes, and is enjoying working with other families who want to open their homes to children.

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