An adoptive mother recently said, “This is going so much better than we ever would have thought. Our daughter just blended right into our family!” She explained that so many people have been so supportive to them throughout this adoption journey including their church congregation, the adoption support group at their church, the placing agency, the local, Ohio agency, and their family and friends.
She explained that she and her husband returned home from China with their five year old special needs daughter six short months ago. She said, “Time has gone by quickly. My kids have all settled in and adapted really well to having another sister. We didn’t know how everything was going to come together. But our worship leader at church gave us great advice. He told us to take one step at a time and let doors close where they needed to close and wait for doors to be opened.” This adoptive mother said, “It became very clear throughout every step that this little girl from China was meant to be in OUR family!”
The family’s church was instrumental in placing the idea of adoption into their hearts. The church celebrated National Adoption Awareness Month during November. It was during that service that this adoptive mother’s heart was touched deeply. Her husband is a firefighter, working 24 hour shifts. He missed the service, so he listened to the recorded sermon on-line. God stirred his heart through that message too.
The church has an adoption support group. It’s a small group of parents that keeps growing. Anyone is welcome to attend, even those who are just thinking about adoption. She explained that the group meets every month. “It’s my favorite night. They feed us. They entertain my children and I get to talk with other adoptive parents.” She explained that the group is closed, meaning whatever is shared there is confidential, not to be shared outside of that group. “It’s a really great group!”
It was through this group and her church that she and her husband started exploring adoption. They found families to talk with who had been through the adoption process. Some were fostering children. Others adopted children from the United States while some were parenting children from other countries.
A family in her church told her about their experience of adopting their daughter from China. They spoke very highly of the care and attention they received from Gladney Center for Adoption in Texas, the adoption agency that facilitated their adoption in China (www.adoptionsbygladney.com). Gladney Center for Adoption is a Hague Approved primary adoption service provider which means that they are approved to facilitate international adoptions of orphans from other countries with adoptive families in the United States.
This adoptive mother contacted Gladney to start the process. That is where she learned that she needed a Hague Approved service provider in Ohio to complete her family’s home study and post adoption home visits. She found Options For Families And Youth (www.ofycares.org) by searching the COA’s (Council on Accreditation) website (http://coanet.org/accreditation/who-is-accredited/who-is-accredited-search/). COA is the nonprofit accreditor of all international adoption service providers.
This adoptive mother initially spoke to Mike Rush, the Director of Options for Families and Youth (OFY) in Cleveland, Ohio. She said she called two other agencies, but she felt most comfortable with Mike and his staff. She said, “Once we met Ginger from OFY who did our home study, we felt like we were working together to bring our daughter home. It has been a great experience so far!”
As this adoptive mother said, “God opened the doors for us to adopt our daughter.” This included providing every cent needed to cover the costs. They set up a special account and prayed that there would always be a positive balance available to cover the costs. They pinched and saved, forgoing vacations and any other unnecessary purchases or expenses while saving for their daughter’s adoption. The family organized a 5k run in their area which raised $2500. They had bake sales at their church which raised $2000. They sent out letters to their extended family and friends, asking for donations to their adoption fund. She said, “More than half of the money we needed came from unsolicited donations from people. All of a sudden, her husband was given multiple opportunities to work overtime once they started the adoption process. She said, “God provided everything we needed.”
This family’s adoption story is unique as well as very common. It’s a beautiful story of faith and blessings. Their adoption journey started out by talking to a family who had been through the process. Through their church support group, Hague approved adoption service providers and their family and friends, they have had a wonderful experience of growing their family through international adoption.