Kathy - Adoptive Parent

I was raised in a wealthy family. I went to Oklahoma State University and received a degree in interior design. I once argued with a college professor about the necessity to take a child development class because I wasn’t going to ever have children. I was a devoted “libber” and pro-choice advocate. On my first date with Rick, my husband, we went to hear Gloria Steinem speak on women’s issues.

I had a friend who was a youth pastor and needed extra work. I was the manager of Pottery Barn and hired him to work in the stockroom for me. He kept bugging me to accept the Lord and wanted me to go to a youth conference in Denver in 1984. The conference was in December, and I told him NO! In the retail business, you don’t take time off in the month of December. It just so happened that I was fired a week before the conference. So, I went to my first youth conference, fed homeless people, and became a Christian all in one weekend.

I am not sure exactly when Rick and I decided to follow God’s leading in becoming adoptive parents. It certainly wasn’t our first choice. We tried to adopt an infant and had him in our home for ten days. We didn’t get to keep him and lost all our money. God sometimes has to cancel other options so that we only have one course of action…His. Since we had no money, we decided to contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) in our state and complete their paperwork. It was humiliating because we had to disclose information, take classes, and be subjected to much that birth parents are never required to do and probably wouldn’t do. Rick was still a juvenile court judge and worked with the DHS workers and didn’t really want them to know everything about our finances and life.

DHS called and asked if we would take an almost three-year-old boy who had been shaken, and thus began our journey of adoptions. That was Ben, we have had him in speech therapy since he was three, and he is now eleven. About a year after we adopted Ben, we met a doctor at church who had been a medical missionary in Russia. He had worked out a deal with an orphanage in Russia. Thus came Sara (Maya) and Daniel (Sergi) at 17-18 months old. It was almost like having twins. However, before we left to pick them up, Rick had a court school session. A foster mom asked him if he knew anyone who would adopt a fifteen-year-old. Her name was Jan (Jennifer). Approximately a year later, we went to a Matching Party, where prospective adoptive parents and orphaned children can meet and get to know one another before choosing one another. There, we met Stephy who was then thirteen. She became part of our family, making us seven. The next year, right before another matching party, DHS called and asked us to meet a little girl who was eight, and her name was Tamara. We are currently working on getting two girls from Liberia, Africa. They are ages five and eight and will be our first biological sisters.

God has used our various life experiences, sense of loyalty, compassion for kids in bad situations, and lots of determination to make us successful adoptive parents. I feel a strong confirmation that we have done the right thing when I see Sara and Daniel in a school program singing God Bless America. Also, knowing that all my kids have accepted Christ while with us is certainly confirmation that we are in God’s will! However, the challenges are many and on-going. All the kids have had physical and emotional challenges to face. I have had to learn things that I would have never thought possible. It has been disappointing to learn that love can’t fix everything and that other Christians are not always able to understand why we do what we do. Our relationship with Christ has certainly been strengthened through all the difficulties and continues to be so. Without Him, we could not continue in the work we feel He called us to do.

To those just beginning to explore God’s call on their lives, I would pass on the words of Billy Graham, “Breathe in faith and exhale works.”