Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.[i]
My husband and I had been married nine years all the while praying and believing God for children. The Lord encouraged us many times through His Word and through brothers and sisters in Christ that we would have children. We learned during that time that Jesus, not children, must be the most important person in our life—that if we would delight ourselves in the Him, He would give us the desires of our heart. So we committed our future to the Lord and trusted in Him knowing that our steps were ordered by Him and He would bring the desires to pass even though we knew not how.[ii]
During the winter of 1988, God sent a fourteen year old girl across our path who was pregnant and planning to give up her baby for adoption. While investigating ways to help her, the Lord began to birth a vision in our hearts about foster care. Scriptures we had meditated on many times before now began to have new meaning for us. We remembered how Pharaoh’s daughter had adopted Moses and reared him in her palace. Now we just needed to trust, rest, and wait patiently for Him[iii]
In February 1989 we began our eight weeks of training and became licensed as foster parents in mid-April. Six weeks later. I received a call from the agency saying only that they wanted to place a four month old baby named Maria in our home. I arrived at the agency eager to meet her. After an hour delay, the long awaited moment arrived. They brought to me a tiny baby girl with dark brown wavy hair and blue eyes—just like the little girl I had dreamed to have.
I wasn’t prepared for a baby with so many special needs. Maria was born three months premature, weighed two pounds and four ounces, was drug addicted, had a large growth on her ear, and was both blind and deaf! Nevertheless, she was beautiful and needed to be loved, nurtured and healed. Part of me wanted to get up and leave her there, but I knew deep inside myself that she was a gift from the Lord even with all her imperfections.
From that very first day the Lord gave us a vision for Maria, and we began by faith to see her completely whole and healed even though we had to keep her on an apnea monitor for several weeks. My husband and I prayed over her every night—and often many times during the day. On her very first Sunday in our home, we dedicated her to the Lord at our church. All of our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our natural family fell in love with Maria.
On Father’s Day, only a few weeks after she came to us, we could already see the healing process beginning as she was following us with her eyes. Near the end of June our church family gave us a surprise baby shower, and Mrs. Karl’s Bible study was about adoption: specifically how as believers we are adopted into the family of God. Even though we had taken Maria as a foster child, there was strong faith among the people at the shower that Maria had come to our home to stay.
Over the next three months we continued to love, care for, and most of all, pray for our baby girl. In late September 1989, she had surgery to remove the growth from her ear. During the pre-operative exams we were told that Maria showed no side effects of her premature birth, and her vision and hearing appeared to be normal. Her healing was being made obvious to all. We were confident that the Lord was completing the word He had began in her.[iv]
The next four months were a very difficult time as the Lord reminded us that Maria was not ours but His, yet our desire to adopt her was intense. Just as Abraham had to be willing to give up Isaac, we had to be willing to give up Maria. Both our church family and our natural family were a great source of comfort during this time, and they will never know what a blessing they were to us as they prayed and believed God that the decision made concerning Maria and her future would be His best for all concerned.
At the beginning of February 1990, we received the news that we may be able to adopt Maria who was now one year old and had been in our home for almost nine months. At her one year checkup with the pediatrician she was considered to be a normal one year old with no delays. She walked at fourteen months and began to say words shortly thereafter. What a miracle had taken place before our very eyes! Initial medical reports said she was blind—but now she could see! They said she was deaf—but now she could hear! They said she may not be able to take steps—but now she was walking! So great was our rejoicing and thanksgiving to God.
We were then faced with another challenge: we really wanted to foster more children, but we lived in a mobile home and the room Maria slept in was not large enough for two. Then it occurred to us, why not switch her to the master bedroom? We did, and on March 7, 1990, our capacity was increased to two children.
Our first home visit for Maria’s adoption was scheduled on April 5, 1990. At 9:45 a.m. that day, the agency called asking if they could place a healthy two-day old baby girl in our home. The following day, I brought Ashley home from the hospital—a beautiful little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. What a blessing she was—a perfect picture of health.
Later that month, during a visit with our adoption worker, I asked if she thought we might be permitted to adopt Ashley as well as Maria. She said she would not recommend us because we were already adopting one child, and they had several couples waiting for healthy white babies. We were disappointed but thankful to have Ashley even for a short time. Again we prayed. We were blessed to have Maria and didn’t want to be selfish. We knew the Lord would prepare us if Ashley came up for adoption and we had to send her to another home.
When Ashley was two and one-half months old, she appeared to have a typical attack of fever. I took her to Dr. Luttmann—a wise and concerned pediatrician—who immediately ordered more detailed tests on her. The diagnosis was a total shock: spinal meningitis. He sent her by helicopter to The University of Michigan Children’s Hospital where a team of medical experts fought to save her life. My husband and I sat by her bedside and prayed. God intervened!
With all glory to our wonderful God, after ten days Ashley was released from the hospital to our care. She was tested for any side effects of the illness and had none. She was completely healed from a disease that continues to kill children every year.
About this time, we were assigned a new adoption worker, and she continued the home studies to finalize Maria’s adoption. She had the report of our relationship with Ashley while she was in the hospital, and in our home she observed the tie between Ashley and Maria who already related as sisters. As a result, in late September 1990, the worker came with the tremendous news that we would be allowed to adopt Ashley because of the severe illness she had suffered and the bond that was established between Ashley and our family.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose…Jesus…said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.[v]
Maria’s adoption was final on October 4, 1990, and we began the proceedings for Ashley whose adoption was final a year later, October 27, 1991. We are truly blessed. Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.[vi]
Our daughters are now teenagers and continue to amaze us with their gifts and abilities as well as their deep respect and affection for one another and us—their parents. From the beginning we have let them know they are adopted and loved perhaps more than some children because they were chosen and did not arrive by accident.
Maria loves the Lord, is active in the high school youth group at our church, plays the keyboard for the high school praise team, plays piano and flute and has won a number of awards in local, state, and national competitions. She also works with special needs children in our church, is an avid tennis player, studies guitar, and writes original songs—both lyrics and music. It is no surprise that she wishes to be a music teacher one day.
Ashley is athletic and full of energy which helped her develop her skills and win several awards in gymnastics. She also plays tennis, is a gifted artist and very active in the junior high youth group at our church where she is part of the praise team. She loves music, plays the violin, and especially enjoyed being a part of a fiddling group. Her adventuresome spirit keeps us on our toes and she has become the family comedian. Butterflies, rabbits and our family pooch have found safe shelter under Ashley’s care. She dreams of one day working with animals.
As I look back over the years at our two blessings from the Lord, we stand in awe of what God has done in our lives. We are most grateful for their birth mothers who chose not to abort them but allowed them to be born. We are thankful to the Lord for bringing them into our lives and entrusting them to us for love, nurture, and care, and know that He will lead them, guide them, and keep them on the path He has chosen for them.
Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ name, we pray for the mothers who feel the need to give up their babies for adoption, and we pray that you would send the babies into the homes of loving, caring, Christian people. We are thankful that these mothers have chosen life and pray that both the mothers and fathers and the babies will come to experience the abundant New Life that comes through knowing Jesus Christ. Amen.
NOTE: This article was written in 2000. As of January 2018, Maria is a teaching working with special needs students.
Below you can read the speech Maria gave to a ProLife meeting when she was 18.
[i] Proverbs 3:5-6
[ii] Psalm 37:3-7
[iii] Exodus 2:10; Psalm 37:3-5
[iv] Philippians 1:6; 4:6-7
[v] Rom. 8:28 -John 11 :4, KJV
[vi] Ephesians. 3:20,21
CLICK BELOW TO READ MARIA’S ProLife speech at age 18.
Below: Maria and Ashley with their Kindergarten teacher, Bev Bettega.