Adopting older children can be a huge commitment, but there is no substitute for the gift of family. The family was God’s idea, and adoption was his idea too. Adoption was not our second choice or third choice or even our fourth choice as some might assume. Adoption was our first choice because it was our calling.

My husband, Doug, and I have adopted three daughters. Our daughters were adopted when they were 17, 13, and 12 years old. We believe they are treasures from heaven!

Our story is unusual in that Doug is 27 years old and I am 28 years old. We feel God has gifted us with the ability to parent female adolescents.

It is our desire to encourage others to view adopting older children and children who have special needs as a calling.

Yes, we have been tested as we have stepped out in faith to care for the least of God’s children. Yet, God has been with us every step of the way. And we have truly discovered that with God’s help all things are possible.

Adoption is about providing for children.

I recognize that many adoptions of older children and children who have special needs fail; however, if one believes he or she has been called to this as a ministry there is a greater chance that the family will be a forever family. Adoption ought not to be about the couple’s need to have a child; rather it ought to be about providing for the least of God’s children.

Within the first year of our marriage, Doug and I sensed God’s calling for us to be adoptive parents. It had been my heart’s desire for as long as I can remember.

During the first three years of our marriage, God repeatedly showed us that we had been called to be adoptive parents. We took a dramatic step forward by becoming licensed foster parents in the state of Iowa in 1996.

One critical question was asked during our licensing interview: Are you becoming licensed to adopt children? We answered that at that time we were not; however, we would want to be considered if a child placed in our home became available for adoption.

The unadoptable are adopted.

Little did we know how important that question would become. Our first placement was in July of 1996. Two lovely young ladies, Tanya and Cassie, came to stay in our home for one week (their foster parents were away on a family vacation).

After the girls had been in our home for a few days, a social worker approached my husband and said Tanya and Cassie were in need of a new foster home. There was little question in our hearts as to what we needed to do.

Tanya and Cassie moved in August 2, 1996. Tanya was 16 years old and Cassie was 11 years old. The girls were much older than we had prepared our home for, but we knew immediately that God had brought us together.

Over the next several months we learned of the state’s plan to have Tanya and Cassie remain in foster care until they reached age 18. They had already been in the foster care system for several years and had lived in numerous foster homes. Furthermore, the state had determined the girls were unadoptable because of their ages. We disagreed so much with that assumption that one and a half years later, on February 2, 1998, we celebrated the adoption of Tanya and Cassie Adams.

Many children need a family. 

God would again lead us to our next daughter. We first learned of Stacy through a bookmark distributed in our church. Stacy’s picture was on the bookmark with the slogan: “She’s looking for very special parents.” The back of the bookmark read: “Every child deserves a forever family.” Stacy Adams became a member of our family by adoption on March 29, 1999.

Although we would love to care for all the children who need a forever family, we also recognize our limitations. Every day there are thousands of children waiting to be adopted in the United States. We, as a family, feel God is leading us to tell our story. It is one of our deepest desires to share this message with others.

We are eager to spread the message: Adoption is a Calling!