My name is Cheryl and my husband, lover, and best friend is Jack. We have been married for 43 years and have 3 daughters. Two of our daughters grew under my heart and one grew in it. When we first got married Jack and I talked about a family. My vision was far greater than his...I wanted 13 children, he wanted no more than a few...no actual number. Our first daughter was born 10 months and 10 days after we were married. After a very difficult pregnancy and equally difficult delivery she arrived at 8 pounds 13 ounces 20 inches long...we were ecstatic! However, later that morning my doctor came in and informed us that because of all the pregnancy and delivery complications, we would more than likely never become pregnant again and if I did, I wouldn't be able to carry the baby to term. We were devastated! Over the next couple years we lost two babies so it seemed like the doctor was right...but the wisdom of man is foolishness to our great God. Four years, four hours and four minutes later, we welcomed our second daughter...at six pounds, 10 ounces, and 19 inches long. A few years went by and we desperately longed for another child and I was never able to become pregnant again nor did I feel that I could handle another devastating loss. Friends and family told us, "You have two, be satisfied." We were, but...we knew God was tugging our hearts in invest our lives in the life of another child. As children of God we are all recipients of adoption as we are adopted into the family of God...it is not a birth right, as a matter of fact, it is a "death right"...our adoption is because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of His sacrifice, we are adopted into the family of God when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Now for our daughter's adoption story...after a failed attempt at adopting, we became aware of a little girl who was in a very dangerous and life-threatening environment. We first met Heather when she was two months old, fell in love with her, our girls fell in love with her, and we believed she was the answer to our prayers for another child. The neglect was very evident...she had the worst diaper rash I have ever seen, she weighed about seven pounds, and she was very lethargic. She spent a week with us and the time came to take her back to her birth mother. Before I could do that, I met with her birth mother and asked her to relinquish custody to us. She told me she would not do that as she received welfare benefits and Heather was her "Party Money". We had to take her back and to be honest...I questioned God. But we continued to pray and now we prayed specifically for this little girl. Fast forward a few months. I was at work and received a call that Heather had been rushed to the hospital in critical condition. I went to the hospital, the birth mother was nowhere to be found. Heather was about 8 pounds by now and she was six months old! A couple weeks went by, we visited almost daily and never saw the birth mother . Finally the doctor's diagnosed Heather with "Failure to Thrive Syndrome". They were the words we had been waiting for as we knew that the diagnosis would finally be the catalyst to remove Heather's custody from her birth mother. That was ironically on a Sunday afternoon November 4 - The Lord's Day and the hearing to remove custody from her birth mother and place her with us was on Wednesday November 7- Prayer Meeting day! Heather actually went to church before she ever came home! That evening our associate pastor announced that Heather was back with us and asked for donations of baby clothes and baby items...they poured in to the point that the next Sunday, we asked him to thank everyone and announce that we did not need anything else! Heather's adoption was finalized two years later on November 4 - two years later! Through our adoption journey we learned many things...God knows the plans He has for all of you...Jeremiah 29:11, Prayer works..."For this child we prayed and the Lord heard us", and probably the hardest part...waiting..."They that wait upon the Lord WILL mount up with wings as eagles..." today our oldest daughter is married with two children and is a successful business owner, our second daughter worked in ministry for many years and has three children, Heather currently works in children's ministry at our church...I often wonder what would have happened to her if God had not intervened through the avenue of adoption. I don't know you but I am praying for you as you embark on this awesome journey called ADOPTION.
After giving birth to my daughter I had to start a medical treatment that would prevent a second pregnancy. So when my 2 year old started asking for a sibling we started asking the Lord for guidance and researching our adoption options. My medical record made foreign adoption complicated so we knew we had to keep our search in the country.
A friend at church urged us to go meet an adorable 2 year old boy in a Christian Children’s Home and we fell in love instantly. We began working on our home study right away. Following the advice of the foster home, we decided not to visit again until our home study was done and the baby was cleared for adoption. He was later placed with a family member and we were disappointed, but our home study was approved. Having such a close relationship with my sister, it pained me to think that my daughter would be an only child, so we agreed to keep looking.
The adoption options that came up when I did an online search were overwhelming. After hours of research, we chose to submit our application to an agency. This agency would show our file to birth mothers that would choose where their babies would be placed. We prepared a birth mother letter, giving information about our family; and I checked the website daily, looking for cases we would like to apply to.
My plan was to adopt a baby boy, and I was determined to do just that. A self-declared “control freak” I liked having the option to choose the cases that would be shown our file, but God had other plans. I spent hours combing through case descriptions online and applied to several cases that did not choose us. We pressed on, feeling the urgency of our home study expiration date looming over us. Home studies can be updated, but after much prayer we decided that if we were not chosen before the expiration date we would not keep trying. I sat back down at my computer and chose a few more cases to apply to. When I called in, those cases were no longer available, but they asked me to consider another case that was due in a few months. They did not specify if it was a girl or boy and did not give me much information about the birth mother, but I gave my consent, thinking I had nothing to lose.
A few weeks later we got the call that we had been chosen. At that point we did not know if it was a boy or girl and like most expecting parents we did not care. After some cheers, they asked us if we knew it was a girl. I turned to my 3 year old and told her. She said, “Mommy I knew it was going to be a girl. I asked God for a sister and I knew he was going to give me one.” It was February and the baby was due in April. It was a whirlwind of preparation and excitement.
About 10 days after we were matched, we received her sonogram pictures in the mail. We were instantly in love and the reality of having a baby on the way really hit us. Our birth mother was only 18, and she chose not to have direct contact with us; but we received reports of her weekly doctor’s appointments. She lived on the other side of the country, and she insisted that we be there as soon as the baby was born. She did not plan to see the baby after it was born and wanted to make sure that the baby was not “left alone” while we traveled, so we had to be ready to travel as soon as she went she went into labor. We were advised not to make large purchases until after she was born and chose to restrain ourselves and fill up a baby store gift registry instead.
When we received the call, we jumped on a plane right away. We landed and 12 hours later were told it was false labor and she had been sent home. She was already overdue so they promised to induce in 2 days if needed. We went sightseeing and waited. The next day we were told our daughter was really on her way and we would be called when we could go to the hospital to see her. If we did not have pictures, it would be impossible to say what we did while we waited. We tried to stay busy walking around town and shopping, anxiously waiting to meet our daughter.
There are no words to describe how we felt when we finally had her in our arms. We were asked if the love we felt was the same as with our “real” daughter. I understood the curiosity behind the highly insensitive question, but it was shocking nonetheless. The process that we had gone through to get our daughter was definitely driven by God himself. The love we felt for her was no different than the love we had for her sister. This baby’s mother could not care for her and had entrusted her to us. I felt that she needed us in a way that was truly “urgent”, and our love for her was equally intense. Our initial motivation for adoption was to give our daughter a sibling. We now realize that the Lord used that excuse to bless our entire family a dose of energy and joy that we had been missing.
I don’t know why my friend the English teacher would ask me to blog, especially since she is very aware of my chronic uncorrectable misspellings and torture of grammatical principles. Yet here we are and you are reading my thoughts. Oh the editing my wife and friend must do to this piece to make it fit for your discernment?
I was asked to share my family experiences through “Foster care with the intent to adopt”. The basic bio of my family is this; I married the love of my wife nineteen years ago this month. Together we do have two biological children (both girls and teenagers now). We have fostered another teenage girl who has been adopted into her “Forever Family”, and currently for the past two years we have fostered a little girl who is presently in fifth grade. I cannot tell you her name, but I call her “Itty Bitty” because of her size. Itty Bitty is entering the process of being adopted herself to a family without any children. It has been a long road for all of us helping her conquer many emotional hardships, but we are closing in on the set goal of getting her to a place where she can successfully be adopted into a family that will pledge to love and keep her.
My journey into this world started about three years ago. When I remember those moments, they relive themselves vividly in my mind. My pulse even now starts to race when I recall sitting there stunned and wavering in my composure to not show emotion and cry publically in a conference room of 1000 persons.
It was the winter of 2013, I was chaperoning a group of churches college students at our collegiate conference with other churches and Christian groups from various universities across our state.
The collegiate speaker spoke on Christian compassion and service in our state focusing on a Christian perspective of Foster Care. Foster care with a bunch of 20 year olds? The speaker’s desire was to open the students’ minds for the future. Amazingly as God seems to always do, the topic was fresh and raw in my life. By then my wife had patiently been waiting on mea full year to make my decision concerning foster care. I had my excuses mainly focusing on cost and how can I upgrade our tiny house for another child? Do I want to put us in that emotional zone? So many fears rushed through me then.
The statistics were first very general (again this was 2013 and I’m sure they are larger now)
3.4 Million People in the world have unsafe drinking water
There are 27 million slaves in the world
2 million of those slaves are children in the commercial sex slave industry (by the way this sex slave industry is very alive and well in the Good ‘ol U. S. of A.
Children below age of 18 represent 50% of the world’s slaves.
There are 2 Million homeless people in the United States.
In my home state of South Carolina there are 1,451 orphans
There were 9,479 churches in our state.
The room was silent, or at least I heard no one else at the mention of those last statistics.
My home state, a buckle in the Bible belt, had that many houses of worship and we the individuals of the body of Christ were allowing it to happen. If just one family from 1,400 of those 9,000 churches opened their homes and lives to a child we’d eradicate the parentless in our state.
These children would not only have a home to feel safe in but would have a loving Christian influence!
And here I was worrying about my comfort zone- me a student minister, who just got done teaching our youth James 1. The very last verse of that chapter states in my paraphrase “pure and undefiled religion before our God is that we take care of the widows and orphans in their afflictions and remain true and undefiled to Christ while we reside in the world.” I knew there was no getting around the fact that I had to practice what I preach. If you are reading this and you consider yourself a believer in Christ, will you practice that pure faith before God as well?
One argument that I continue to hear is that people want a child of their own biological D.N.A. not someone else’s child. I completely understand the desire of having a child that is the product of you and your spouse’s relationship. However, I stand in amazement when people who desire a child refuse the options of adoption or fostering. Please let me clarify that I understand that I have two biological children and cannot lecture on the pain, confusion, and anxiety that one who does not may experience. I do understand deeply the pain of a miscarriage and the missing and empty feelings-- I still get sad when I think of when that happened to us five years ago. Conversely, I encourage you to think upon this point. A child doesn’t care that you are his or her own blood. She only wants to feel loved and to give love to a mommy – her own mommy. He doesn’t care if you are the best baseball player only that he has someone who will want to keep him and he can run out to greet when you drive into the drive way. These children want to be worthy of someone’s love and fight through their rejection and pain holding out upon hope after hope that someone will call them son or daughter.
As a Christian I also understand that my natural sin nature kept me from my spiritual father, making my sinful spiritual DNA contrary to His very being. Yet Christ bore my sin
upon the cross and spiritually made all those who call upon His name, true sons and daughters. He adopted us unto His own. How can we accept this adoption from Him yet let our lack of personal DNA be a road block to opening our heart to a baby , a child or a teenager who wants and needs love? Your longing for that child is proof that you also want the same.
I believe that my family is fostering for not only possibly being able to adopt for ourselves, but possibly for your future child. Maybe not your specific child, but someone like me somewhere may be helping him or her right now. If you are exploring the issue of adoption then I just maybe am helping your future child get to the place where he or she can slip into your arms without fear of rejection or pain. I don’t know you but am praying for your journey.
In 1999, after much prayer, God made it possible for my husband and I to fly to Ukraine in search of our forever child! The process was long, overwhelming, expensive and emotionally exhausting! Back then; you were not assigned a child ahead of time. You had to physically travel to the orphanage and go through a selection process. My husband and I were not prepared for the emotional roller coaster that we were about to go on!
We arrived to the orphanage and sat in the director’s office and in came a parade of beautiful children! There must have been almost a dozen children ranging in age from 2 to 6 years old…that alone was enough to secretly make me want to go back home! They were all so precious and sweet and all deserved to know the love of a family. We could not stop crying and at one point we wanted to take them all home! I kept asking God to please reveal to us “our child’ and sure enough it did not take long for our hearts to melt and fall in love with Alec. He was a 21-month-old adorable little boy with very blonde hair and big blue eyes.
We immediately knew that he was the child that we had been praying for and shared with the director our choice. She was concerned because at almost 2 years old he had never spoken a word plus he showed signs of being developmentally delayed. But then again, so did most of them. So, we did the only thing that we knew how to do, pray…pray…pray!!!
Within ours of God revealing to us that Alec was the one, we quickly started our paperwork to make the adoption final. We were in Ukraine for almost a month and by the time we left Alec was vocalizing words like: hi, bye, mama and papa! It was very clear that he had never spoken because no one had ever taken the time to teach him. Oh, and right before we left we accidentally found out that Alec had a 10 month old baby brother in the orphanage that was extremely developmentally delayed, as well!
We arrived back home excited to start doing life with our son. We immediately plugged him into all the therapies available to him. Between speech, physical and occupational, the proper nutrition and tons of love Alec was able to catch up and thrive in no time!!! He left Ukraine weighing 18 pounds and gained 10 pounds his first month home. It was incredible the progress that he made in such a short time. Within a year we were back in Ukraine adopting his younger brother, Nicky!
Nicky seemed to be worst off physically. He was the same age that Alec was when we adopted him, 21 months. However, he only weighed 12 pounds and did not walk nor showed any signs of walking any time soon. He had minimal movement of the legs and was diagnosed with retardation of the muscles…whatever that means! By then, we were ready to take on the challenge and knew he would do great with the right therapies and physical activities. Sure enough, we plugged him into all the therapies as well and he was walking within a month and discharged from ALL therapies 3 months later! Nicky has always been an active boy, loves to run and is a starter for the Florida Christian Varsity Football Team!!!
I would be misleading you if I told you that it has always been easy. We have faced many challenges, especially with Alec. He has had a hard time attaching emotionally and it has not been easy for him or any of us but we have done the most important thing there is, teach him who God is!!! I thank God every day for the privilege to parent both our sons and they are not in our family by chance but by HIS choosing.
Hi, we are Jennifer and Kory, founders of Chosen One Ministries. On this blog you will read our stories and thoughts about adoption as well as contributing writers whose lives have been impacted by adoption.