The article below is written by the Anderson family. Connected Hearts Ministry had the pleasure of working with the Andersons to raise funds to adopt their 8th child. Thanks to your support, the Andersons raised over $22,000! They are currently fully funded, and waiting to travel to officially adopt their daughter.
Special thanks to our monthly partners and the Give 1 Help One Community who have made it possible for us to help families like the Andersons during the pandemic. If you would like partner with us to help more children have a family, please consider joining our Give 1 Help One Community by clicking here.
Why did you decide to adopt?
Where to begin this adoption story? That is such a tough question! As I wrestled with this, I began to see how God has woven the story of our family together and all the ends are tangled up into a beautiful work of art. It is hard to define where one part ends and the next begins. I will dive in and attempt to start somewhere between here and there (wherever those may be).
We adopted our first child, Kaitlyn, in September 2010 from China and she joined our two biological sons. That journey changed our lives forever. We continued to adopt traveling to China in 2011 for Meilynn, 2013 for Addisyn and Ryan, 2015 for Greyson and Kristyn, and finally in 2016 for Emilyn. It has been a long time since we have been in the process to adopt. When I came home with our Emilyn in October 2016, I knew that we had one more spot. There was one more spot at the table, one more spot in the van, and one more empty bed in a bedroom. My heart was forever changed as I entered the orphanages and saw the children left waiting there. I have been a persistent advocate for children from China since 2010, when we adopted our first child.
The child of my heart lives in China. I spent years advocating for her and was determined to bring her home after settling in with Emilyn. When we were ready to begin, we were blindsided by new regulations that halted our process due to family size. I fought fiercely and faithfully prayed harder for mountains to move for more than 2 years. The beauty from these ashes was my deepening faith in the Father and the deepening belief I had that our family was not done growing.
For a year, we talked about other programs. We researched which countries we still qualified for, what the travel times were, and compared costs to our previous adoptions. We determined that the length of time for these adoption trips and costs would be considerably higher than our China adoptions. However, we were also confident that there was a child that needed our family and that our family needed another child. We requested files and prayed a lot, but we couldn’t seem to commit to a child or country. Then, one day, I saw her face.
Tell us a little about your adoption/ adoption journey.
The instant I saw her face, I knew. I asked Mark if I could request more information. As soon as he said sure, I sent the email I had already written.
I held the photos of our sweet girl for 2 weeks. I had prayed and talked at length with Mark. We weren’t ready to fully sign on just yet. In the time it took us to commit, another family had put her on hold and was filling out an application. Although I was happy for her, I would be lying not to say I was devastated. I knew that He had a plan. I knew there was a child for us. I knew that I should be thrilled she had a family (and I was thankful for that). Still, it looked like the end of our story.
But God. Three weeks later everything changed.
I searched every couple days to make sure the post of the little girl that grabbed my heart was changed to “found a family”. When it hadn’t changed after 3 weeks, I decided to reach out to the agency again. I found out that the family wasn’t sure they were ready to continue. They had one week left of the month-long hold to complete their application. I let the case worker know that we were definitely still interested if they decided not to proceed. That was the moment I started to hold my breath.
It was May 1, 2020 that I received the message that they decided not to move forward and that sweet face was once again available. This began the longest week of my life, while I waited for Mark to catch up and get on board with the path I just knew we would take. Running to our precious girl!
After a week, I approached Mark looking for a “yes”. I had presented options of how we could finance another adoption. We had poured over videos and the little medical info we had in order to assess where this sweet girl was at, what her future might hold, and possible limitations. I had been praying for over a month. So, knowing the next day was Friday and we had officially been looking at her file for a week, it was time to move.
He told me he needed a week to pray about it...
I was, ummm, a little miffed. To be honest, I was quite upset and didn’t hide it. Another week??? What had he been doing? I had presented all of the information I had. I had made a very good case. We had decided we would adopt another child. But, how does one argue with “I’ll pray about it”? So, I gave him the quiet treatment (to let him pray), probably closed a few doors and cupboards with a little extra force, and cried in the bathroom more than once that evening. Fairly certain I was pretty miserable to be around.
I wasn't aware that he was actually planning the biggest Mother’s Day surprise ever in just 2 days. Mark worked frantically in the 2.5 hours that I was downstairs online teaching (since we were all at home every minute of every day together) that Friday afternoon to put it all together. He videoed each of the children telling me something they wanted to thank me for and a reason they loved me. He called our agency, put our sweet daughter on hold, started all the paperwork, and got it all sent to his church email (since we share everything and there are no secrets in this marriage).
Then, Sunday morning before the online service he sat all of us down (the kids were giddy with excitement) and played the video. There they all were and I watched through tears. However, the best part was the end when he came on and told me there was one more that wanted to say something... then I saw her precious face.
I spent the rest of that evening with him, filling out the remaining paperwork and emailing about a Homestudy to get started on our journey!
How much have you raised on the Connected Hearts site, and how was Connected Hearts beneficial in helping you raise funds?
This is such a testament to how God provides more than we could ever imagine, far beyond what we would believe. When we started this journey, we were sure that most of our expenses would be covered by a loan. We have completed 7 international adoptions and have found that it is increasingly difficult to fundraise for each subsequent adoption. However, we had a couple of people approach us wondering about giving a donation after we announced we were adopting again. We knew that we needed to start raising funds right away but were concerned to do so.
It is tough since the initial excitement yields the most interest. However, matching grants can only be applied for after a homestudy is completed. This makes it difficult, because if you begin raising funds early on your own, they won’t be applied to the matching grant. If you wait until you complete a homestudy, you miss out on the initial excitement.
Connected Hearts bridged that gap beautifully! We were able to begin raising funds and then use them later on when we were awarded matching grants! We originally had our goal set at $34,000. I doubted God (yup, I did). So, I requested to have it lowered to $15,000. I figured this was a more “reasonable/attainable” goal. Well, God did what He always does. Laughed at my lack of faith. We were blessed with $22,800. But, He wasn’t finished. We were also awarded a $4500 matching grant and a $2500 matching grant. This meant that our grand total came to $29,800! Thanks to other blessings and stimulus monies we are FULLY FUNDED! We have NEVER had an adoption that was fully funded. We have always covered the majority of the costs with loans. God is so good!
Why do you think it's important for people to support adopting families and the ministry of Connected Hearts? (How did the support of others impact your adoption.)
Adoption is difficult. It takes a great leap of faith. There are many sacrifices you make beyond the financial ones. However, it is so very rewarding. It is impossible to describe the feeling when you finally hold the child that has taken up residence in your heart, when you watch them singing out praises, when you hear them praying to their Heavenly Father, when you snuggle in to read a book together. Taking away the pressures of financing allows more focus to be given to the ultimate task of forming attachments. It allows a less stressed parent to engage in bonding.