Stephanie and Jon are tender-hearted, strong, and full of faith. Adoption was always in their hearts – even before they had problems with fertility. Shortly after they completed paperwork for adoption the first time, the couple found out they were pregnant. But their joy was short-lived as they miscarried just two months into the pregnancy. That day, Jon – a husband who really knows his wife – took Stephanie shopping. He bought her a piano; what a guy!
It wasn’t long until their first child, Jakob, was placed with them. Although Jon and Stephanie hoped for an open adoption, the older couple who placed him didn’t have the same desire. But Jakob filled their hearts and home with love and great joy. And it’s never stopped – Jakob, their child with a gentle heart, is now 14. The day they picked up Jakob, Stephanie walked into her place of employment and showed them all why she wouldn’t be coming to work anymore. She jumped right into motherhood and loved it.
When Jakob was three, little one year old Zae joined the family temporarily. When Zae’s birth mother relinquished her parental rights, Stephanie and Jon were so happy that Zae could be theirs forever. Suddenly the birth father (who had never met Zae and who lived out of the country) appeared and contested the adoption. It took several years before all the little miracles came together for Zae to be adopted, but it did finally happen!
Jon and Stephanie met their third child when he was just eight days old in the NICU. Having power of attorney for his medical care, they knew his condition was precarious, but they were hopeful and decided to enjoy each moment they would have Ben. The agency that placed him had somehow forgotten that they already had two children, which would have prevented a placement in their home. It was after Ben came home from the hospital and too late to reverse their decision, that the agency realized they had broken their own policy. This is the miracle of Ben (who the parents say is a mini-Jon) joining the family.
Ariela came to Jon and Stephanie as a foster child. As an infant, she and her sister were both put in foster care. Her sister was seven years old and after two weeks in foster care, went to live with her paternal grandmother. Although they were told this was a temporary situation and to not “get too attached,” Stephanie and Jon went into foster care with the intent to give their whole hearts to whatever children they were blessed with. It didn’t matter how temporary each situation would be. They know these kids need love, and Ariela was easy to love. As time passed and the couple developed a relationship with Ariela’s birth father (her birth mother had passed away), he decided it would be in Ariela’s best interest to place her. But he had a contingency – he would relinquish his rights only if Jon and Stephanie would be Ariela’s parents. The family remains in contact with Ariela’s birth family, including her sister who had lived with Jon and Stephanie for her two weeks in foster care.
While Jon and Stephanie had a teenager in their foster care, they were approached with a set of prematurely born twin girls. Stephanie was thrilled and Jon was supportive. These girls needed constant care, and as a team, they made it work. They knew that a good start to life would give them a great chance at a successful life. To their delight, when the twins were two they became adoptable. The girls are now four and in Stephanie’s words, they are “enchanting.”
At six children, and being foster parents, Jon and Stephanie were satisfied. Just at that moment Jon and Stephanie got the surprise of their lives. Little Channing was their their miracle pregnancy that is the caboose completing their family. The pregnancy was tenuous and Channing was born two weeks early through an emergency C-section.
This article just touches the surface of all the miracles that took place to create Jon and Stephanie’s beautiful family. They know that they are meant to be parents to these children, and that these children are meant for them. Jon and Stephanie – the parents of one big, happy family!