Ken & Cheryl Shomo
Children: Cullen (7); Zoey (7 months)
Church: Redemption Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia
“Upon you [O Lord] I have leaned from before my birth. You are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.” Psalm 71:6
How can anyone lean on God before birth? How can God be first in line to hold a child…before the doctor, midwife, or even mom?
I think I know.
In May 2009 we sent an email to an adoption agency, simply seeking information. Our email contained these words:
We would very much like to adopt. Like all Christian couples, we want this to be God’s will and God’s timing. We cannot afford an adoption, based on what we understand; but we know God is a big God. We currently have an almost-2-year-old boy. I’d love to talk to you sometime.
Only four months later our lives took a dramatic turn when that 2 year old son was diagnosed with autism. This led to a tremendously difficult and disruptive journey over the next several years. Medical bills and daily demands continually pushed adoption into the background. It seemed that our adoption dream had died.
Nevertheless, we had heard stories of others who had seen God provide for adoption, and we believed God was leading. So we eventually took some baby steps, and nearly four years after that initial email we submitted a preliminary application and paid a small application fee. That was February 2013.
The very day we submitted the preliminary application a check arrived in the mail that covered half the adoption costs. This completely unexpected inheritance combined with some other unsolicited gifts covered all the expenses up to and including our home study.
We believed God had given those funds on that exact day because he knew of a child that needed a home. This is when we realized, it’s not about us… it’s about a child that God has chosen to love through us. He was providing for her even before we knew who she was. We now know that he was providing for her even before she was conceived.
As we continued our adoption journey with all its uncertainties and testings, we realized we had been given a tremendous gift, and it wasn’t about money. It was the certainty that this call to adopt was not just our idea, but God’s plan. This also gave us openness to any child, any gender, any racial background, even special needs.
Zoey was born on July 7, 2014, over five years after that initial email. Yet God’s timing was perfect and his provision was abundant. Zoey is a beautiful, smiling girl whose name means “life.” We think of this in terms of Jesus who gives not only life, but abundant life.
Once she was born, the body of Christ surrounded her with love. Katelyn’s Fund proved to be one of the ways God provided for Zoey’s needs at this time, not only through a generous grant but through the prayer and encouragement of genuinely loving Christian family.
We do not know all that God has planned for Zoey. But we can confidently say her life is his. He loved her before we knew her, and he continues to surround her with love from the whole body of Christ. We are glad she is a part of our story, and privileged that we get to be a part of her story!