Thirty six years ago, to most onlookers, Garry, and I married on the rebound. We had both experienced infidelities in our first marriages and I had a two year old son, Erich. Having been raised in Central Ohio, a move to Atlanta took us to the Bible belt. Agreeing that we needed God in our new marriage, we immediately began attending a local church and Bible Study and were soon born-again. Our lives changed dramatically. Our daughter, Jennifer, was born on our first anniversary and shortly after, Garry sheepishly asked what I thought about adoption. Although this had always been a childhood dream of mine, we had never discussed it during our whirlwind courtship! Obviously, adoption, for us, would not be out of necessity to build our family, but rather a calling by God to build His family.
Our first three adoptions were from our local state agency where we adopted, Cary Paul, a seventeen month old little boy, with medical challenges, and David and Sharon, an eleven and nine year old brother and sister. We were thrilled the next year to add another biological son, Jeremiah, giving us six children by our 5th anniversary! Luke, was born five years later during which time, God had continued to bring children into our home for various reasons and lengths of time, but none to stay. Then he sent us Arunee, a lovely young Thai girl who needed a family. Believing our adopting days were behind us (eight was surely enough!), a “random” brochure in the mail made us aware of Vietnamese orphans. Thus, began our sojourn into international adoption as we brought home eight year old Bethany and six year old Benjamin, From day one, these children were a delight and a blessing and we were convinced that God had brought them to us as the “joy of our old age!” Little did we know that they were the “end of the beginning!”
Eight years later, in 2002, God renewed the call of adoption on our lives when we learned of two Vietnamese sisters whose opportunity for adoption would be gone forever, when the older sister turned fourteen. While we had always recognized God’s provision in our lives, it was at this point that His provision turned to the miraculous. Just prior to this, the purchasing company of our small and profitable vegetative management company went bankrupt taking our profits and employment with it. We had depleted our savings and were going into debt. Feeling as old as Abraham and Sarah, we were starting over. Yet, God confirmed this call for adoption through Exodus 3:11-12a, where Moses says to God, “’…who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ And God said, ‘certainly I will be with you.’” We chose to believe God and watched Him supernaturally bring in $38,000 in less than six months time to pay for Rachel and Rebekah’s adoptions. Subsequently, while our personal finances gradually improved, we could never have paid for six more adoptions, including two boys, Joshua and Caleb, from China, and Hannah, Abigail, Noah, and Nathaniel from Ethiopia, which brought our total number to eighteen. (The youngest seven are now seniors in HS.) A book could be written about the amazing ways in which God funded each of these adoptions and provided two separate additions to our home. We followed the principles George Muller set forth in his autobiography and put our total faith and trust in Him and not in natural circumstances. We believed we were not to borrow money nor solicit funds. In making God the source of our supply, we avoided the disappointment of unmet expectations and placed no person in an obligatory position. It also gave us “front row seats” to watch God move!
Garry and I have found that parenting is what gives us the most joy and fulfillment in life although we realize we have forfeited any “retirement,” financial or otherwise. We consider the satisfaction we receive through watching these children grow and fulfill their God-given potential an adequate reward. However, we do believe the “ark” has reached capacity! We never could have said that prior to the last four coming home, but God has been faithful to “give us the desires of our heart,” and we know that we can rely on His leading. We are humbled to be used in the lives of these children and to exhibit to the world God’s awesome power and faithfulness when we simply “trust and obey.”