Since our pastor is incorporating different aspects of family life into his messages this month, we wanted to get an inside look at what makes a family unique. I hope you are encouraged by one family’s journey to adoption.
Heather: Is adoption something you’ve always been drawn to?
Sommer: I knew from high school that I had a heart to adopt. Once married, I talked with my husband, Jonathan, about the desire to adopt when our biological kids were older, but he absolutely did not feel the same.
H: Obviously there was a shift in his heart. What was that process like?
S: There came a moment when I said to the Lord, “You are going to have to change my heart or his, because I will not nag him into adoption.” About a year went by and then Jonathan went to Haiti for a mission trip. On that trip the Lord changed his heart. We started the paperwork when he returned!
H: Your family chose to adopt from Ethiopia. What were some obstacles with adopting internationally and how did God make a way to bring your son home?
S: The financial commitment was the biggest obstacle because international adoption usually costs close to $40,000. Thankfully, we had friends who had already walked this road and they encouraged us to step out in faith saying, “If God has called you to do this, He will provide the money,” and He provided EVERY penny! One huge way was through the Karis Adoption Fund. We applied for financial assistance and were approved for a $5,000 grant. Through Karis we were also able to send out fundraising letters, allowing us to raise all the funds needed to bring Brooks home.
H: Is there any encouragement you would like to give to a family who is waiting to bring their child home or in transition right now?
S: For those waiting, I would encourage them to trust God's timing. And to use the season of waiting to pray very specifically for what you would like God to do once your child is home with you. In the transition time and in the months leading up to Brooks homecoming, we spent a lot of time studying his culture and reading books on adoption so we could prepare for the unknown.
H: Unfortunately, racial reconciliation has been a recent issue. What words of insight or encouragement would you offer as a mom raising both black and white children?
S: The race question comes up a lot since we have a black son in an all white family. Part of the miracle of adoption is we truly don't even see his color anymore! This goes for our kids and extended family – it's as if God supernaturally took care of that. As Brooks gets older we will most likely have some hard conversations with him, but for now we keep open communication with our older kids about the current events. We believe and teach them that it's our heart and what’s inside that matters, and the color of our skin just doesn't.
H: I love the fact that no two families are exactly the same! In your opinion, what makes a family?
S: That’s a tough question, because there are so many things! In the end, I think unconditional love and forgiveness make a family. Family should be a safe place when the world beats you down, knowing the good and bad, but still loving each other. We often encourage our kids to give each other their best, not their worst; to love each other well because when life gets tough you want your family there no matter what.
Meet the Author!
Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth to help women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! She loves teaching young married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate and long conversations in coffee shops. CRBC has been her church home for two decades and she is thrilled to be part of the Women's Ministry team, helping women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!