Beginning in the 1950s under the guidance of Le Ellen Bradshaw, Adventist Adoption and Family Services is today a full service adoption agency affiliated with the North Pacific Union Conference. It is now widely known as Christian Family Adoptions, a division of Adventist Adoption and Family Services, providing service to all persons and organizations without regard to sex, color, creed, age, religion or national origin.
"I love you, Daddy and Mommy.” It's been said that parenting is the toughest job you'll ever love, but somehow hearing "I love you" makes it all worthwhile. But what if a family doesn’t have any children, wants more or cannot have any children of their own? Adoption can be one of the answers.
Jim and Wendy wanted to adopt a baby. “We mailed in a pre-application to Christian Family Adoptions (CFA) and received a large application form with many papers to fill out,” they explain. “What a daunting task. We started filling it out and then went back and re-read the cover letter. It said to expect a two- to three-year wait, and we wondered how the Lord would answer our prayer for a little one.”
Wendy received a call from a CFA social worker who wondered if Jim and Wendy had received the application form. Wendy explained that they were considering some other agencies because they were discouraged about the wait. The CFA social worker said they were low on applications from Adventist couples, that a baby girl had been born that morning and would they be interested?
After a very tense and exciting week during which the detailed application form was completed in record time, Jim and Wendy were holding their beautiful baby daughter in their arms. “It was love at first sight! We named her Jessica Leah-Renee,” Wendy says. “What an awesome experience—we highly recommend it!”
Jessica is almost five years old now and is doing great.
CFA receives many calls and e-mails each week from young people facing unplanned pregnancies, people desperate to know what to do, what their options are and how to face their friends and family. Our case workers help by educating them on options and walking them through the process—whether they choose to parent or to find an adoptive family for their child.
Take the case of Lori* who found out she was pregnant just weeks after her boyfriend had broken up with her. Through the next few months, Lori weighed the pros and cons of parenting and adoption with a CFA counselor. When Brian,* the baby’s father, expressed an interest in helping her plan for the child, they learned together that 90 percent of teen marriages resulting from a pregnancy fail within the first five years. Since they had already decided they were not good as a couple, they explored Lori parenting alone.
When faced with the many disadvantages and learning that 70 percent of convicts in prison have been raised without fathers, they wanted more for their child. Though a painful decision, Lori began planning the adoption. She was able to help pick the family who would love her daughter. Through CFA, Lori and Brian were able to keep in contact with the family and watched their daughter grow into a beautiful, secure and loving young lady.
Special Needs Children (SNAC) are kids in state foster care who are available for adoption. Although many infants make up this group, most are over five years of age and have at least one of the following attributes:1) brothers or sisters waiting for adoption with them, 2) physical/emotional/mental challenges, or 3) ethnic/racial/cultural minority status.
In Oregon and Washington alone, there are more than 1,200 SNAC children waiting to say "I love you" to a dad and mom! Though much effort is often required, SNAC children can truly be special blessings. Recently, an adoptive father wrote us about his seven children, five of whom came through adoption. Some are boys, some are girls; some are black, some are mixed; some are special needs…all have wonderful and unique stories of God directing them to their adoptive family. His 16-year-old son wrote this about one of their recent "gifts":
"In July, God brought Karlisha Rose into my family. Who would have thought that one little two-year-old girl could bring so much noise, clutter, joy and smiles to our home?...It brings me so much joy to hear her sing sweet little songs, and it feels so good when she gives me a chubby-cheek hug. It has been challenging, though, to have a little tyke around the house. She has fits, she screams and she is great at making messes. Fortunately, God has blessed her with four older brothers and one older sister (ages 9-21) who love her just the way she is. I count it a blessing to have been adopted. I have parents that love me and truly care for me. To me, my adoptive parents are my real parents. They are the ones who have invested time and energy into training me and loving me. They are my heroes!”
Paul, in the first chapter of Ephesians, conveys the pleasure that our heavenly Father experiences every time He adopts another son or daughter into His family:
"Praise be to God…For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure..."
We at CFA consider it our privilege to direct Christian fathers and mothers into a lifelong commitment of sacrificial and joyful service—the adoption of children into their homes—and to help support and love young people faced with tough decisions as they make the best choice for themselves and their child.
Juline Bodnar is the Christian Family Adoptions executive director and writes from Portland, Oregon. Merv Best is an adoptive parent and Christian Family Adoptions communication director and writes from Portland, Oregon.