Orphan Care Alliance equips Christians and connects them to opportunities to care for the fatherless. Through our pre-adoption classes and seminars, financial support through grants and loans, and post-adoption conferences and connect groups, we’ve come to know and love many adoptive families. Being that November is National Adoption Month, we wanted to introduce you to these beautiful families. Not only do they share their hearts, insights and redemption stories, but they offer prospective adoptive families wise counsel and words of encouragement.
When I (Katrina) was in high school, I began feeling the nudge in my heart that I would one day adopt. I have always been very curious and concerned about the orphan crisis around the world. Once Chris and I were married, we struggled with a mild form of infertility and began to think adoption might be the way we would grow our family. I think this time helped to soften and open our hearts even more to the concept of adoption–not as a backup plan to growing a family, but as an important part of God’s plan and purpose for family since the time of Creation.
After a miscarriage, we were blessed with our first child. Following that, we had twins. We had one additional miscarriage after the birth of our twins, and at that point, we began to seek the Lord’s leading in earnest if we should adopt. We are also involved in a church with a strong focus on adoption, and I think this helped to further cement in our hearts our call to adopt. We knew the Lord was calling us, and barriers that had existed in the past were no longer there. We saw the Lord throwing the doors wide open for us to bring our daughter home through international adoption. We stepped out in faith and submitted our first application in July 2013 and brought our daughter home in February 2015. We are nine months home from China with our little girl, Hannah Ruth Zhen.
The adoption journey grew (and continues to grow) our faith in a myriad of ways. We were stretched to trust God with the finances for our international adoption. We did not begin our adoption with the money to cover the necessary costs and fees, but we knew the Lord had called us, so we trusted Him to provide, which He did beyond our expectations. OCA provided our family with a significant matching grant that enabled Hannah’s homecoming to occur. We are forever grateful for their tremendous generosity to help our family make a small dent in the orphan crisis.
Adopting has taught us more about the gospel than anything we’ve ever experienced. We understand the hefty cost, the painful sacrifice, the unmerited grace, and the abundant love of Christ now more than we ever have before.
Likewise, we had to trust the Lord to match us with the child He had for our family and sorting through referrals was daunting and overwhelming, but again, He made it abundantly clear when we’d found our daughter. On the post adoption side of things, we have been stretched to trust Him to guide us in meeting the needs of our child from a broken past, ensuring we are meeting all of her medical needs, and stretching us as we trust Him to help us parent her and heal her heart.
Adoption certainly presents a certain level of challenges to each family in a unique way. For our family, we came home and had four children all under the age of six at the time. Having that many little people has been demanding and draining at times. Hannah had been an only child in her foster home in China and was just not used to sharing our attention or affection. She came to us terrified and very angry about her situation–hungry for love, petrified of abandonment, and yet thirsting for the old and familiar. Parenting her, with her unique set of special needs, cultural adjustments, and language barriers has caused us to rethink and reconsider a lot of our former parenting style. We laugh and say adoption parenting is upside down parenting. Everything that seems instinctual is often not what is best when focused on bonding and attachment. There are just things with Hannah that are different than with our biological children. She is deeply broken over her abandonment and, therefore, is terrified of us leaving her–things like typical church nursery settings just don’t work for her. It has been hard to juggle and adjust to not being able to leave her with others, but we have adapted, and she is slowly showing she can and will grow in this area.
Adopting has taught us more about the gospel than anything we’ve ever experienced. We understand the hefty cost, the painful sacrifice, the unmerited grace, and the abundant love of Christ now more than we ever have before. Being adopted into the family of Christ comes at a great cost to the Giver of the Gift, but the outcome of being born again into His family is such a beautiful thing. He takes us, in our broken state, and restores us – the blossoming of the new creation we are in Him.
Our family’s encouragement to those just beginning the adoption journey, seek the Lord in all facets of your adoption. Repeatedly, we have had the Deceiver try to whisper lies to us about our adoption. Being able to be absolutely certain, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we were called by the Lord to adopt has been what has gotten us through some of the toughest of moments. When things get hard, you must always return to that call, trusting in His promises to fulfill it.