Even the Hardest Moments
Despite the hardship, Rob and Tiffany Slouffman would never trade the two years they were able to spend with their precious child.
Rob and Tiffany Slouffman were one of only a few families in their church near St Louis, Missouri certified as foster parents. They knew there was a need and they chose to step up, to open their home to children in order to meet the need. On the December day their first foster child arrived, he forever changed their lives.
They waited six months for a placement. When “K” first arrived at their home he was two years old, yet wore nine-month old clothing. He couldn’t walk, and his communication was very limited. Trauma as an infant caused severe medical issues. No one else would take him, and although the Slouffmans were not licensed to handle children with medical issues, it quickly became obvious they were his only option.
As time went on, they settled into caring for their child. Tiffany is a nurse, and her knowledge was of help as time passed. They grew to love the little boy who had been placed in their care, and the combination of therapies and medical technology allowed them limited communication. All the while, Tiffany and Rob continued to pray for their care of this child, and God’s will for them as his caretakers.
K’s health took a turn during a trip to Nashville. He had a series of seizures, and had to be rushed to the hospital where he was put on life support for several days. From this point on, communication became difficult. The therapies stopped working, and what they had known of their child was slipping away. Every week was a new conflict for the Slouffmans – battling the courts and K’s family to get him the medical care he needed while struggling to find the strength to continue their fight. At least once a week they found themselves in the hospital, but time and again the doctors gave them the same answer – nothing could be done for their little boy. He was dying. In the toughest moments they wondered if God was even paying attention.
As his health continued to deteriorate, K was eventually placed in hospice care. Tiffany became his hospice nurse and his foster mother. They began the adoption process for the little boy for whom they had fought for so long. Tiffany was pregnant with her third child and, at times, wondered if she could continue. Every day, her heart was broken over and over for the child placed in her care, while his biological mother and grandmother continued to accuse her of mistreatment and apathy. Tiffany and Rob feared her medical license would be revoked as a result of their false accusations. But God’s goodness was present through it all. He helped them through one day and then the next and the next.
They threw him a birthday party a few weeks early, fearing he would not make it to his next birthday. He fell asleep during the festivities, and would not wake up again. Nine days later, K passed away. Grief threatened to consume them, but once again, God reached into their darkness and brought them light. Two weeks after K’s passing, amidst their sorrow, their little girl was born – a gift of sunshine after a long night. Two years of little sleep and much pain were now complete, and a new life had begun. A few months later, the Slouffmans moved to Dayton and found themselves at Apex
The Slouffmans arrived just in time for the Gauntlet series, a sequence of sermons which helped them shift their mindset from inward grief to upward glory. They continued to ask God why He had allow such sorrow, but the focus of the question had changed. They were initially asking the question in self-pity, but now asked it with a thankfulness for the pain and a desire to see what God had chosen to do with their grief and struggle. His willingness to use their hardest moments to achieve His plan, even when Tiffany and Rob wanted nothing to do with the pain required, opened their eyes to His goodness.
K will forever be a part of their hearts and lives, but God’s goodness continues to heal them through our Apex community. And despite the hardship, they would never trade the two years they were able to spend with this precious child.
Rob now serves as the Director of KidLife here at Apex. If you’re reading this and a parent of a child involved in KidLife, be sure to thank Rob for sharing his story and ministering to your kids.
Writer- Melissa Dunkel
Photographer- Jon Goodgion