Mary & Ben
Our story of adoption began long before “adoption day”. We were married in 1980 and were blessed with two biological daughters within the next six years. I never really imagined having more than two children in those early years of marriage. As time went by, Ben and I began to develop some stronger pro-life convictions as friends were beginning a ministry to women seeking abortions at a local Planned Parenthood office. As we searched our hearts for God’s direction in joining their efforts, we felt God’s urging to put our convictions into practice another way – adoption. We began to look into what that would look like for our family, and how much it would cost. At that point, we were considering only international adoption because we really didn’t know much about other options, and assumed a private adoption would be out of reach financially.
"I never really imagined having more than two children in those early years of marriage."
At the same time, we were learning how to let God lead in other areas of life. Over the next couple of years, we began volunteering with a ministry whose purpose was to heal and restore broken marriages. Watching God work in the lives of people who had literally given up hope of being reconciled with each other brought us to a place where we knew that full-time ministry with this organization was to be our next step along this faith journey we were traveling. Our biological kids were 11 and 8 years old at this point, and the next four years were spent raising our support, selling our home, and getting ready for a major move 1000 miles away from our families and the places we’d grown up. We still thought about adoption, but with all the changes taking place in our lives, we knew that this was not the time.
After moving from Rochester, NY to Little Rock, AR and getting settled in there, we were talking with some new friends one day about their impending adoption. They were in the process of the second adoption of a special-needs child from Russia and were expecting to hear at any moment from their adoption agency on setting a date to travel and pick up their son. We shared with them our desire to adopt one day and prayed for their family as they completed the process and brought their son home.
Months later, this same couple called us and asked if we were still interested in adoption. We met together as they explained that while in Russia, they had seen another child in the orphanage that tugged at their heartstrings. They’d been told at the orphanage it was very unlikely that he would ever be adopted because of his facial deformity. The doctor’s experience told her that people only wanted children who were beautiful, intelligent and absolutely healthy. Adoptive parents often walked away when they saw what awaited them at the orphanage. Though our friends didn’t feel they were in a position to adopt another child, they committed to pray for this one, who had a cleft lip and palate. In the three months since arriving home, praying day after day, God consistently brought to their minds our family’s name.
"They’d been told at the orphanage it was very unlikely that he would ever be adopted because of his facial deformity."
God’s voice and following after His leading. Nearly ten years had passed since we first heard from God on having our hearts open toward adoption. He didn’t waste a minute of that time in preparing us for what was about to unfold. Within 13 months (considered record time in international adoptions), our son was home in Little Rock with his forever family. Long story short, God added three more children seven months later, through foster care. We were privileged to adopt all three siblings a few short months after that. That is another amazing God-story that I may share in the future. We went from a family that was close to empty-nesting (one in college, one a sophomore in high school) to a family with four preschoolers in a matter of a few months! That can only be described as “God’s timing”!