TALLAHASSEE (July 2009) – The Mims family is gathered around the kitchen table looking at photographs of Omon when he first started staying with the Mims family. Omon’s brother, Mitchell, teases him about being so skinny when he was a little kid.
Omon’s adopted family includes his father Chuck, his mother Natalie, his brother Mitchell (17), and his sister Morgan (14). The entire Mims family is all about three things: God, family, and sports.
Omon is a very gifted athlete and is highly regarded for his skills in football, baseball, and basketball. He started on the varsity football team at Lincoln High when he was a freshman. He also has a deep relationship with God, which shows through in his kind and gentle manner.
Right now Omon says that his favorite sport is baseball, but some think that he has the most potential in football. In addition he plays forward in basketball. He has some time to think about a future in sports after high school as he will just be starting his sophomore year at Lincoln High in Tallahassee.
“Omon is obviously a very talented and gifted athlete. Omon’s best sport is probably football. Omon’s athletic skills have the potential to lead his to a college scholarship. He also has exceptional leadership skills that he brings to his teams. With dedication and determination, there is unlimited potential for Omon should he decide to pursue sports,” Natalie said.
The pictures of Omon when he was younger are very different from what you see today, which is a tall, athletic, and very poised teenager who appears much older than his 16 years.
“He definitely looks older than 16. The other day we were out shopping and a lady asked him if he would like an application for a credit card. I said ‘C’mon, he’s only 16!’” raved Natalie in mock exasperation.
“Omon has also started driving. He takes pride in his large 4×4 Ford truck. It seems like he washes it almost every day,” Natalie said.
Omon came to the Children’s Homes in 1999 when he was six years old. His biological mother was never able to break the drug addiction that prevented her from properly caring for him.
One of his former house parents, Tim Hadley, remembers when Omon came to live at their cottage on the Tallahassee campus.
“Omon made quite an impression on us when he came to live with us at the Children’s Homes. He was smart and had a very sweet nature about him. He also had a deep love for God and enjoyed going to church and participating in activities there,” Hadley said.
“I also remember how he could really make us laugh. When he lived with us he would come outside with his Bible in hand when we were grilling and stand up on the picnic table and preach to us. A couple of times he really had us in stitches. Back then he said he wanted to be a preacher when he grew up.”
Hadley also noticed Omon’s athletic skills at a very early age. “His athletic gifts were evident even at a very young age. He would spend hours outside playing sports. And when he played flag football and soccer the parents of the other players would shout out to their kids ‘give the ball to Omon, give the ball to Omon!’”
Omon remembers all of his different house parents quite fondly. “They all cared about you. They were always there to support you and help you out. You could go always go to them if you had a problem,” Omon said.
Omon was soon seeing the Mims family on a regular basis as his Visiting Sponsor family, where he visited their home most weekends and holidays. The Mims eventually became Omon’s full time foster family through the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes when he was 12 years old, at which time he went to live with them full time. A couple of years later the Mims started the process to adopt Omon. His adoption was finalized on April 2, 2008.
“He came to the Children’s Homes as this funny, skinny little kid. Now he’s this tall and gifted athlete that is now driving this large 4×4 Ford truck. As soon as he got his truck he called me, knowing that I have a fondness for Ford trucks. He was obviously excited and had to tell me all about it,” Hadley said.
“I must admit, I love getting calls like that from kids we have had in our care. We love hearing about their lives and what they are doing. It’s a blessing just to know how well Omon is doing and that he now has a permanent forever family. We are just so proud of him. We couldn’t be happier.”
Natalie s explained that adopting Oman came about because of the Lord’s leading. “Adopting Omon was a decision the Lord made in our hearts. After being his sponsor family and foster family for so many years it seemed like the most natural sequence of events. He too desired to be a permanent part of our family as he knew that he was in all our hearts and minds,” Natalie said.
Natalie and her family receive questions from time to time about challenges they may encounter due to the differences in race, but she says that there has never been a negative response.
“Our entire family wholly supported Omon’s adoption. Our church was very supportive as well. We receive a lot of questions and people are naturally curious and want to know how it all came about, but never a negative response.”
“Realize that love can overcome a multitude of issues and if the Lord has guided you to a child of a different race, do not be afraid. He is more than able to take care of any issue that may come about. But also, be prepared for a lot of curious looks in public. We find it quite comical.”
“We have a very open dialogue in our family about being of different races. We joke about our differences. However, we are a family and love each other and are there for each other no matter what comes our way.”
“My advice in adopting any child regardless of age or race is to spend time in prayer and seek the Lord’s guidance,” Natalie said.