Jana: I have always loved children and grew up helping with my siblings and holding every baby I could get my hands on. I have always wanted to be a wife and mom and have lots of children. Growing up, I always thought it would be neat to adopt someday, and it was especially on my heart to adopt a child that no one else wanted. As we have walked through this process, I am increasingly overwhelmed by the grace of God in adopting me into His family.
Family is important to me. I am the oldest of 8 siblings. I loved having lots of siblings grew up being best friends with them, and we are all still really close. That is a gift I have always wanted to be able to give my own children. My parents instilled in me a love for people and a desire to serve others from an early age. They taught me to work hard, but also never missed an opportunity to have fun! We did lots of fun and active things together as a family during my growing up years, and that is another gift I want to pass on to my own children.
Ben: My calling for adoption started long before I knew it was happening. After college I worked at a Christian day camp and was exposed to many children who did not have a positive male role model in their lives. That had an impact on me and I ended up spending 3 summers in that ministry with the goal of being a positive male role model. At the time, I thought, “This is something that I want to give to my own children,” but I was thinking about my biological children, not adoption.
Jana: After our first son was born, I struggled with a lot of health issues. I was sure I would be on medication for the rest of my life and that I would never be able to have more biological children. As thankful as I was for the son I did have, I was absolutely devastated because from the time I was a little girl, I had dreamed of being a wife and mom and of having lots of children. I told Ben over and over that I had this strong sense of love for children I didn’t know and who had not yet even been born. I was angry with God for a long time because I didn’t understand why He would have given me this love and this desire to give life to children if I wasn’t going to be able to have more children.
Somewhere along the way, I began to wonder if God was giving me this time of not being able to have children so that we would pursue adoption now, and not just as a “cool idea for someday in the future.” I realized that I could give life to a child even if I was not the one to bring them into the world. But I kept wondering if maybe I was just thinking about adoption because I wanted more children. As Ben and I started really praying about adoption and studying what the Bible had to say about it, we were blown away. We realized how we had been adopted into God’s family. We saw that we were commanded to care for the widows and orphans of our day. We understood that not everyone is called to adopt. But we felt that God was specifically calling us to pursue adoption, not just as a way to add to our family, but also because it was something God wanted us to do – to show the love He had shown to us to a needy child and his or her birth family.
Ben: After our first son was born, my wife was taking medication that our doctors highly advised us not to be pregnant on so the thought of trying to get pregnant again was out. My wife was asking me whether we should adopt but felt guilty because she thought maybe it was a selfish request. Finally it dawned on me, “Rather than assuming this is a wrong desire, maybe this is a God-given desire and God is calling us to pursue adoption.” But we still weren’t sure, because we had no idea how to even go about adopting, and it seemed like there were so many insurmountable barriers that we would not be able to pass. For example, we definitely did not have $40,000 in savings for an adoption! But we decided we would take the first step, trusting that God would open or close the doors.
Jana: Even when I got pregnant with Layla, I still wanted to adopt. I didn’t want having biological children to keep us from adopting, or adopting to keep us from having biological children. My desire was to welcome and give life to whatever children God had for us, regardless of how they came into our family. But by the end of 2015, we had just about decided we needed to wait until after Layla was born in April to continue the adoption process. And that was when we got matched, Christmas of 2015. Even though I was going to have two babies only 3 months apart, I felt complete peace that God’s hand was all over this match. One confirmation was when we talked to the birth mom for the first time. When she asked us what we wanted to name her baby boy, we told her we had some ideas but wanted to hear what names she liked first. She told us it was important to her that her son to have the middle name that had been traditional for the males in her family for generations. That name just happened to be Ben’s middle name and was the one we had wanted to use!
Ben: To our surprise, God opened up all the doors! And then . . . we found ourselves pregnant. However, we still felt God calling us to move forward, and so we did. Just when we had almost decided to wait until after our biological daughter was born, we were matched. Again, we saw God open every door up to the very point of taking our son home and knew this was what God had for us, even though we would have two babies very close in age.
Jana: Our son was born a month later and we traveled to the birth state, and the real roller coaster began. Some family members of the birth mom had showed up at the hospital and were pressuring her to let them adopt the baby instead. We were not even allowed to enter the hospital to meet him or his birth mom. For the next 3 days, it was a crazy drama of, at one minute thinking we weren’t going to get to adopt our son, and the next minute, it looking like everything was going to work out fine. I remember thinking that if this were a movie I wouldn’t be able to watch because it would be too intense, but at the time God gave us such peace that we were right where He wanted us, and that He was in control. One night, we had been told by our case worker that we wouldn’t be able to meet our son’s birth mom, but then she called us right back and told us to get to the hospital immediately because the birth mom wanted to see us! As the doors the ICU swung open, I remember Revelation 3:8 flashing through my mind: “I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.” And God opened every door, all the way up to the point of having our son strapped in his car seat, ready to take him home. Then they told us that the birth mom’s family had called, there was a glitch in the paperwork, and we would have to wait 4 hours before everything could be re-signed. Those were a blissful 4 hours for me, bonding with my son.
I have never been so shocked in my life as when they came in and told us that our son’s birth mom had changed her mind, and Child Protective Services was coming to take him. I will never forget handing my son over. I heard someone wailing and it took me several seconds to realize the sound was coming from me. I will never forget hearing the sound of our weeping in that empty hospital room. I will also never forget our caseworker saying,
“What you are experiencing is just a little taste of what a birth mother feels when she places her child for adoption.”
I had always thought of birth mothers as heroes for choosing life for their babies. But in that moment it really hit me the depth of the love and sacrifice that they make. I think having that greater understanding was one of the things that gave us the strength and grace to go down right after giving our son up to say goodbye to his birth mom. We told her we forgave her and that we loved her and her son, and that we would pray for them every day. And we have – we pray for our son every day just as we do our biological children, and by faith we trust that we will see him and his biological family in heaven someday. He will always be my son through prayer – the son of my heart.
Ben: During the 4 hours I spent with with our son in that hospital, I knew he was my son. In fact, he was more than a son to me. I realized that God had given me a strong and unrelenting love for him. The bond I had with him was as strong as the one I had with my biological son.
Jana: After Layla was born, we decided we would intentionally wait 6 months before we revisited the idea of adoption. During that time I prayed about it almost daily, but I just couldn’t imagine how we were ever going to know for sure when the timing was right and how God was going to confirm for us whether or not adoption was still
His plan for our family. The day Layla turned 5 months old, I randomly discovered I was pregnant again. We were shocked, and I think a little bewildered. It seemed God was clearly answering our prayer and saying to “wait” on the adoption. As excited as I was to have another baby, I also felt a little disappointed and sad about the fact that we wouldn’t be adopting anytime soon. But just 3 weeks later, I ended up in the ER and had emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. I nearly bled to death internally in a matter of a few hours, and we are thankful to the Lord for working out even the smallest details and sparing my life.
Even as I grieved losing a second child in the same year, it was during the 3 days in the hospital that God confirmed for me that it was time to start the adoption process again. Layla was so lovingly cared for during those days by our family members, but her usual sparkle and ready smile were missing except for when she was with me or Ben. Even after we returned home, it took about 2 weeks for her to return to her happy self and usual routine. It was like she was a newborn again – she wouldn’t sleep in her own bed and just wanted to be held and nurse all the time. Layla’s life was only disrupted for a few days. But there are so many children out there whose lives are disrupted and dysfunctional from the moment they are conceived. God’s design for children is to have loving parents and a stable family life. My heart aches to love and comfort those children.
Ben: Even though Layla had very loving care at my parent’s house, we could see how this had disrupted her life and how upsetting it was to her to not have the stability of parents in the home. I remember telling Jana’s mom that this was why we wanted to adopt, so that every child could have a consistent, loving home.
Jana: We are blessed with a loving and supportive family, church family, and community. Both of our families live (mostly) in the area and are always happily available for babysitting. Ben’s parents live just 6 blocks away and his parents spend most of their days investing in the lives of their local grandchildren. Jana’s family attend the same church as we do and shower love and attention on our children every chance they get! Our church family is small and close-knit. Several of our closest friends have adopted or are pursing adoption. Our community is very close-knit as well and we feel surrounded and by family and friends who are willing and eager to support us in every way. God has used so many people to show us His provision. We feel so thankful.
Adoption has not been an easy road for us. But we feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the gifts of life and love that God has given to us, and for adopting us into His forever family. It is our heart’s desire to share the love and stability we have that is only possible by God’s grace with a child and their biological family who would not otherwise have it in their lives.
We both love children and our hearts ache knowing that there are so many children without a loving family and stable home environment. We are overwhelmed by the grace of God in adopting us into His forever family, and we want to share God’s love and light with children and their birth families. We are not a perfect family, but we are blessed with a strong and loving marriage, a big house, and a supportive community, and we long to share those blessings with a needy child.
Ben: It is also our desire to inspire others to adopt. We like to say that if we can pursue adoption, anyone can pursue adoption! Not that everyone will be called to adopt, but we pray that even just one person is inspired by our video to consider how God is calling them to be a part of His gospel story through the gift of adoption. We are committed and focused on adopting even though we are still having biological children. Having a failed adoption has caused us to feel like we are even more called to adopt.
We would be honored if you would join us in the next step of the journey, through prayers or financial support.
My parents are very relational and always lending a helping hand to people, so a love for people and a desire to serve others was instilled in me from an early age. My parents taught me to work hard, but also never missed an opportunity to have fun! We did lots of camping, hiking, boating, snow skiing, and trips to Silver Dollar City. To this day I love all things active – ultimate Frisbee, snow skiing, water skiing, swimming, camping, and roller coasters! I also enjoy writing in my spare time and have self-published several books.
I am the oldest of four brothers and three sisters. I grew up being best friends with my siblings and we are all still very close. Growing up, I was a second “mother” to my siblings. I especially loved babies and was always holding every baby I could get my hands on! My dream has always been to be a wife and mom to lots of kids, both biological and adopted.
I feel like I am living my dream and I absolutely love being a homemaker and stay-at-home mom. It’s not always easy but I find such great joy in caring for my children, teaching them, and discipling them to love the Lord. My very favorite thing in the world is quality time with Ben and our children. One of my favorite family traditions is Sunday evenings together. We take afternoon naps, go on walks, play games or watch TV together – and Ben and Josiah make popcorn and homemade ice cream for supper. Some of my other favorite things are being outside, traveling, being barefoot, and eating 85% dark chocolate at least once a day.
I grew up on a farm where I was able to spend both quantity and quality time with my Dad. I am the fifth of six kids. I have three sisters and two brothers. We all get along well and enjoy being together. Getting together once a year with everyone is a highlight. I enjoy my nieces and nephews (currently 28 including our children!) and Jana has to remind me now and then that I’m not an uncle to our own kids and that I have to buckle down and “be the Dad” sometimes. 🙂 My parents have been married almost 50 years. They taught me to have a strong work ethic and a love for others.
I work as a carpenter. I like the flexibility that being self-employed brings and I enjoy helping people and fixing up their houses. I have a passion for counseling, so in my spare time I like to study that. I also enjoy playing volleyball, watching sports, and reading, and showing Josiah how to sing and dance – even though I may or may not be very good at it! 🙂
I got to know Jana while on a church work trip in Guadalajara, Mexico. One of the highlights of our early married life was getting to go back to Guadalajara and work on another phase of the project of that same church plant. We honeymooned in the Smokey Mountains and can say we have walked the Appalachian Trail – even if it was only for a few hundred feet 🙂
We are so thrilled to introduce our newest blessing, Noah Joseph!(see pictures below) He was born August 29th and was 5 lbs, 2 oz. and was 19 in. long. His name means “God will add peace, rest, and comfort.” We are all in love! God is so good!
We are currently still out-of-state, waiting for the piece of paper that says we can leave the birth state and travel home! We are enjoying lots of relaxed time together, bonding as a family of 5! Josiah and Layla seem to be adjusting quite well, and love holding the baby and helping to feed him.
Thank you everyone for praying! We have many stories we can tell of answered prayer this past week. Thank you to everyone who has given financially as well. We could not have done this alone.
We know the days ahead will be full of joys and well as challenges. We appreciate the continued prayers, and we praise God for His great blessings!
We praise God for the healing he is bringing to our son and for working out the “gritty” details that surround an adoption. Baby is out of the hospital and doing well!
Ben and Jana