Every young girl dreams of a future that is all sunshine and roses. Many of them dream of having a husband and children and living a life that is “Happy Ever After.”
But the reality is often very different than any possible dream they could visualize. Often it is even better than could be imagined. Such was my case.
My husband and I completed our Master’s degree and then we were married. We were ready to serve the Lord in some facet of teaching. We loved children and wanted to have at least 3 of our own.
After 3 years of marriage and no children, we sought medical advice. It came back as a shock because they stated: “It would be virtually impossible unless God worked a miracle for us to have children by birth.”
While this hurt we knew that the Lord loved us and that He must have something else in mind. We prayed about it and the Lord led us to a verse in the Bible (Matthew 18:5), which states “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”
We interpreted that as meaning that taking a child into our home would be like welcoming the Lord into our home because He loves and cherishes every child.
We applied to the Children’s Home Society in the fall of 1963. We lived in a rented home on a teacher’s salary and everyone said they would not let us have a child in those circumstances. In the spring of 1964, we brought our first child (Danny) home. We loved him unconditionally and completely … he was and is ours.
In the summer of 1965 we moved into a home (3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom) we purchased and called the Children’s Home Society to tell them of our new address. (They had told us we could not have a second child until Dan was 2.)
Imagine our surprise and delight when they asked: “Would you like a second one now?” By September of 1965, we brought Mark home.
God’s timing is always perfect. We knew every decision about travel etc. had to be approved by the CHS until the adoption became permanent … usually a year. Mark’s adoption was finalized at the beginning of September.
On October 1st, 1966, my husband’s parents called us and told us some very dear friends of ours had been killed in an automobile accident leaving 4 children behind. Most of the relatives of these children were older or and in reality unable to take all 4. We prayed about it and felt the Lord wanted us to take all 4. They did not need to be separated … they had experienced enough trauma.
Scott (11), Cindy (9), Steve (7) and Shelley (5) joined our family before Thanksgiving of that year. We were concerned about what they would call us because Dan and Mark call us Mom and Dad and we did not want them to feel obligated to call us that. They solved the problem … within 48 hours they asked us if they could call us Mom and Dad … they had one in heaven but they needed one here, too.
We thought that would be it … 6 children God had blessed us with. But NO … The Lord worked on our hearts to go back to CHS and see if they would give us another one. We talked it over with the children we had (major decisions in our home are always a family discussion and decision). We were doubtful they would because of the size of the house, but we stepped out by faith and applied.
In the spring of 1968, we brought home a beautiful blue-eyed blond little girl (Ruth). I am afraid her older sisters spoiled her a bit but she along with the others was and is a delight.
The CHS told us we could have another one whenever we were ready so in the spring of 1970, we applied for number 8. Another beautiful girl … dark hair and brown eyed (Julia).
We really thought that was going to be all the children God blessed us with. But we were wrong for in the fall of 1973 a couple in our church asked about adoption. The horrible practice of abortion was in full swing by then so the number of babies available for adoption was limited. I called the CHS to see what would be available for them. Their answer was, bi-racial, family groups and Special needs children and that they might not be babies. I told the couple what they said and thought that was the end of it.
Two weeks before Christmas the CHS called us and asked us if we would consider taking a baby boy with special needs. WOW. Dan, our first child, has a learning disability so I knew about all the extra time that would be necessary for a child with special needs. He was 7 months old and there were multiple areas of concern. They could not find anyone willing to take him.
We put them off till after Christmas. Christmas with 8 excited active children is a challenge … and we felt we could not let anything interfere with being sure it was enjoyable for all. After Christmas, we talked it over with the children and explained what problems the baby would have and that he would take extra time … time they would have to share from the time we spent with them.
They talked it over among themselves and all of them came back individually and said yes. The only one that hesitated was Dan and his comment was … I want a little brother but I don’t want him to have all those problems … can’t they fix them?
In February, 7 of the 8 children and us (Scott the oldest was in college) went to get Paul and bring him home. AND THEN THERE WERE 9.
Yes, we like any family have had challenges and problems but the blessings of this large and wonderful adopted family far outweigh any problems. I wish I could adopt more but at 84 reality says NO, NO, NO. Life has been full … of adventures and love. They have kept me young and in touch with life today.
They are all grown now. Some have completed college. But all have chosen their vocations and life’s goals wisely. They are in constant contact with each other and with us.
We have 22 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren with the 21st on the way. Some of them have even expressed a desire to adopt … one grandchild is in the process of doing so right now. God has been so good. The blessings of adoption of 9 children are far greater than I could ever have dreamed possible.
We consider abortion as murder and are against it on that principle, but we are also against it because it denies children the right to a full and happy life as a loved adopted member of a family and it denies couples who want to adopt the great blessing of doing so.
This article was submitted to Liftable, a brand of The Western Journal, by Lois Schaefer. She resides in Jacksonville, Florida, in the same home where she raised her nine adoptive children.
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