We would like to share the stories of some of our grant recipients. Enjoy and be encouraged as you hear their stories.
Our adoption journey began when Jeanine was just a teenager. She listened to Dr. Dobson on a radio program as he interviewed women who had recently returned from China with their children. The stories that were told on that program made an impact on Jeanine. She was changed after hearing of the conditions of the orphanages. The orphanages were also severely short-staffed, which affected the care given to the children there. Jeanine knew in her heart that the Lord allowed her to hear that specific program for a reason that is now being revealed.
We were married in December of 1995 and we both knew we wanted a larger family. We both shared Jeanine's desire to adopt from China but we were young. When we married, Jeanine was 19 and Jeremy was 21. Three years later, we welcomed our first child into the world. He was perfect! Then two years later, we welcomed our second son into our family. We were a busy young family. When Micah was only 16 months old, our daughter was born. She was not so perfect. Rebecca was born six week premature with under-developed lungs. She required immediate care to breathe using a ventilator. She is a fighter and came home just 8 days after her devastating delivery. She has been a healthy child ever since. Then when Rebecca was 17 months old our youngest son was born. Unfortunately, he was born with spina bifida and a tethered spinal cord.
As our world drastically changed, Ben's health seemed to deteriorate. He has had RSV and pneumonia. This has left him with terrible asthma. He has had several surgeries in his short little life. He walked when others doubted he would. If you didn't know his history, you would never know there was a problem. He has since had multiple health problems requiring six specialists in three different hospitals.
Today, Ben is an eight year old boy that is full of more energy than all of us put together. He has overcome many obstacles. Yet he has many more to come. He is our special needs miracle.
In December of 2010, we knew that the Lord was working in both of our hearts. We decided to submit the matter to prayer. As we would talk about it, it was clear that the Lord was leading us back to our hearts' desire from when we first married…….to adopt a little girl from China. We officially began the process of March of 2011. We knew without a doubt that the Lord was leading us to China for a daughter. As Jeanine continued home schooling our children, the missionary biographies that the curriculum called for were those of George Mueller, Amy Charmichael, and Gladys Aylward. All of these missionaries gave their life's work to children in orphanages. God had his hand in the smallest of things. Our devotions also seemed to be screaming to us that we were to continue to move forward.
To be completely honest, the one thing holding us back was finances. We were fully aware that adoptions are very costly. The legal fees and agency fees easily top $30,000. We do not have that kind of money, and not many people do. We had a decision to make. Either we wait until we had the money or put it in God's hands. We both knew how the Lord was dealing with our hearts and we decided to move forward with our adoption.
An adoption friend and mentor encouraged us to apply to Katelyn's Fund for a grant. We filled out the application and mailed everything in to the board. Our phone call came in November when we were struggling with agency fees and Christmas for our four kids here at home. They spoke with us at length on the phone. It was one of the most heart-felt conversations we have ever had with anyone. We both could feel the Holy Spirit comforting us as we shared our testimonies. They closed the conversation with a powerful prayer.
About a month later Katelyn's fund called again and gave us the news that we were awarded a grant from them for $3000. That came just in time for the agency fees that were due. God is so perfect in His timing!
Two days before Christmas we received a phone call from our agency. We had a referral of a little girl who had just turned a year old. We reviewed her file and submitted our Letter of Intent to China. We were granted approval to begin the paperwork process for Chang LuPing's adoption into our family.
We are likely traveling to China in June and will meet our daughter for the first time. Mariah is our daughter! She was intended to be ours from the beginning of time. Without the help of Katelyn's fund, we do not know where we would be. We intended on using a home equity loan, or Jeremy's retirement money to help fund our adoption. We will be able to complete this adoption without incurring any additional debt. Thank you so much, Katelyn's Fund, most of all for your prayers for our family as we walk through these waters of our journey to adopt. It was a blessing to us to be able to speak with you and get to understand your heart for God's children, especially the orphans. Secondly, thank you for the generous grant awarded to our family. We know that words cannot possibly convey how we feel. God bless you and you continue to carry out His work.