God Put Me On This Earth Just To Love These Kids
December 2021 · Foster Care / Adoption, Kansas
Aaron Sidwell has always carried two great loves in his heart – music and children. And he is happiest when those two loves connect. It wasn’t until recently, though, that the Maize, Kansas, teacher experienced a merger so radical that it changed his life forever, along with the lives of two young boys.
“Love of mine, there’s comfort to know, you’re finally home …”
So begins the song Aaron wrote for his son Jason following his adoption last year. They met through Facebook, but not in the usual way.
“This video for ‘Susan’s Kids’ showed up on my Facebook feed,” he says. “I’d never heard of ‘Susan’s Kids’ before, but it was a video about a boy, and his name was Jason. He seemed familiar, and I felt a connection. He looked a lot like my younger brother growing up.”
A longtime project by Wichita news personality Susan Peters, “Susan’s Kids” highlights local children in need of adoption. Over the years, she’s even partnered with Saint Francis Ministries, lending her support to helping children in our care find forever families.
“I’ve always had a heart for kids,” says Aaron. “I clicked on the link in the video and began reading about adoption. I learned that there are so many children in need of a good home. Still, I wasn’t sure … Could I be single and still adopt? Well, I learned that, yes, married or single, what matters most is that you provide these kids with a good home. So, I called the number to inquire about Jason.”
“Adopt Kansas Kids” advised Aaron to first get a foster care license so he could foster Jason first and get to know him. Jason moved into Aaron’s home in early 2019, and they began the process of getting acquainted. In the meantime, Aaron also fostered other kids, mostly by providing respite care.
Caring for kids is nothing new for Aaron. He’s been working with them since he was 18. Early on, he took an 18-month break from college to try to get a better idea of what he really wanted to do with his life. He applied for a job at the Via Christi St. Francis Child Development Center in Wichita, and they hired him to serve as a teacher’s aide. The program operated a licensed kindergarten classroom during the summer, and part of Aaron’s job was to take the kids on field trips and other recreational activities. He also performed mini concerts for the kids in his class.
“Music has always been a big part of my life, and one of my hobbies is writing songs, recording music, and performing,” he says.
The job gave Aaron a musical outlet, but it also inspired him to return to school and pursue a teaching degree. For the last 10 years, he’s taught math and science to 5th and 6th grade students. Yet, before that, he spent several years in Los Angeles trying to satisfy his other love – music. He had some success, making connections and pitching his songs to BMI and artists like Lady Gaga and Josh Grobin, but it’s a tough business for even the most talented.
“I spent four years just going in circles, and finally realized it just wasn’t for me. I felt like something was missing in my life, something major. So, I moved back to Kansas and poured myself into my career and got my master’s degree. But that still didn’t fill the void in my life. I prayed to God to help me find what I was looking for, to show me what I was missing. That’s when I saw the ‘Susan’s Kids’ video. I’d found the puzzle piece.”
Jason started with weekend visits to Aaron’s home, and finally moved in shortly after his 13th birthday.
“I was a little apprehensive; I definitely relied on God. I said, ‘Lord, if this is not your will, please close the door. But if it is, I’ll walk through it.’ So, I just trusted in God and knew that if it wasn’t what God wanted, he would shut the door.”
He need not have worried, God flung open the door wide and left it open. Aaron knew right away that Jason would be his son, and within a couple months, Jason was calling him “Dad.” Several months after Jason’s adoption, Aaron’s worker told him about a 13-year-old boy who also needed a forever home. He talked it over if with Jason, who said, “Yeah, let’s meet this kid.” Jayvin arrived just three days after a different family had changed their mind and decided not to adopt him. Aaron was also moving in his ill mother who’d lost her own house in a fire.
“So, I knew nothing about Jayvin’s disrupted adoption at the time, and he was just this ball of energy,” says Aaron. That first night was kind of dramatic, you know, with my mom moving in unexpectedly. We had lots of people at our house, and it was emotional. I tried to reassure Jayvin by telling him, ‘It’s not always as crazy around here, but this is just a situation I’m having to deal with right now.’ And he said, ‘I think I want to stay here.’ We hadn’t even gotten around to discussing him staying permanently, but just like with Jason, I knew.”
So, with Jason’s approval, they adopted Jayvin in October – and now the two are brothers, Aaron’s sons.
“Sure, as with any teenager, they fight from time to time, but I think they’re proud to call each other ‘brother.’ I made sure each of the adoptions was their decision. I feel it’s important to let kids have a choice, and I’ve always told the boys, ‘I don’t want you to feel like you’re trapped or that you’re stuck someplace you don’t want to be. Just know, though, that once you’re adopted, I’m going to be in your life forever.”
He means it, too, and he said as much in the song he wrote for Jason.
“When the rain falls down
I’ll be near to you, feel me near to you
When the cold winds howl
I’ll be near to you, feel me near to you
When you can’t be strong
I’ll be the strength that you need to lean on
When my time is gone
I’ll be near to you, always near to you.”
Aaron seems to have discovered that missing part of his life, the same one that prompted his return to Kansas those several years ago. As he says, “This is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, even more than teaching, because I choose these children. I choose to give my life, my resources, and my love to them. There isn’t another feeling like it. I think that maybe God put me on this earth just to love these kids.”
That’s why he wrote the song to Jason – because Aaron knows of no better way to express how he feels about his son. And that’s why he’s busy working on a song just for Jayvin.