How God Divinely Provided for Her Adopted Children

Preparing to adopt four children, she was anxious about her family’s changing dynamic, until the miracles started rolling in.

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Posted in , Nov 24, 2021

Cheryl and her family; Photo credit: NIK LINDE

I sat at our small kitchen table, working on a list of the things we’d need for the adoption of four children from the Philippines. Our family was about to double in size. Prioritize! I told myself.

A larger kitchen table was definitely a priority. Unless we were planning to eat in shifts, we’d need to find seating for eight. I penciled that in, under my note for the extra freezer we’d need to store the massive amounts of food we somehow had to buy. We needed bunk beds, a minivan so we could fit the whole family in one car. The list seemed endless. How would we ever manage?

I’d started praying about adoption almost three years earlier, after a miscarriage. Our children, Amy and Matthew, were 10 and 7. I couldn’t shake the feeling that Jeff and I were meant to bring another child into our family. And finally, earlier this year, I felt a conviction that now was the time. I’d written in my journal the letters “p.a.” for pursue adoption, because adopting even one child seemed so overwhelming that I couldn’t bring myself to write out the actual words. But I did tell a few friends what was on my heart.

One friend had recently been to the Philippines to visit her sister, who was working in an orphanage.

“There is a wonderful little girl there who is up for adoption,” she told me. “Her name is Annabel.”

Perfect, a little girl! I thought.

“And she has three older brothers,” she added.

“Four kids! We can’t adopt four kids.”

“They’re so sweet,” she said. “Their mother died when Annabel was just a year old. Their father was disabled and felt they’d be best cared for at the orphanage.” She showed me a newsletter that had photos of the children. As I stared at the photo, time seemed to stand still. I knew that God meant for these children to join our family.

How exactly we were going to make that happen was unclear. My husband, Jeff , worked as a youth minister and was studying at seminary at night. Our family budget was stretched to the max. Plus, how would the family dynamic change? Could we meet the needs of not just one child who’d lost their birth parents but four? How would Amy and Matthew adjust?

That night, I told Jeff about the four siblings in the Philippines who needed a home. No, not just a home. A family. We discussed it over the weekend. He was having the same concerns I was. But that Monday night, he returned home from school with confidence.

“I was praying about the adoption,” he said. “And I heard God speak to me. He said: ‘Haven’t I always provided?’ I think we should do this.”

We dove right in. First, we told our kids, who were thrilled. We applied for the adoption and filled out reams of forms required by the state of Minnesota and the Philippine government. Jeff and I were fingerprinted for a background check, and we scheduled a home visit to be interviewed. We attended a seminar on parenting adopted children. We talked about how we’d organize the kids’ bedrooms: one for the boys, one for the girls.

Now, seven months after we started the process, we’d just been approved! It was September, and we’d be going to the Philippines in November to bring our four new additions home. I was over the moon—and completely overwhelmed.

I stared at the too-small kitchen table again. It had been in Jeff’s family since he was a kid. But it would fit only six at the most. It just wouldn’t work. To me, it symbolized this whole crazy notion. I wanted to trust in those words that God had told Jeff, but with this unfinished list in front of me, I was finding that difficult.

A few days later, my mother called. “The neighbors are selling their freezer. I’ll buy it for you if you want.”

“Yes, that is one thing I’ve been praying for,” I said. I was grateful, but I didn’t think too much about it, until the next call. A mother I knew.

“Do you like beef?”

“Sure we do,” I said. It seemed like such an odd question.

“Do you have a big freezer?”

“Well,” I said, “we will soon.”

“Oh good,” she said. “Because I felt led to buy you 250 pounds of beef.”

Haven’t I always provided? The words echoed in my mind. I had wanted a freezer. But the meat to fill it? That wasn’t even on my list.

A day later, my phone rang again. A friend I’d worked with years before. “Do you need a big table? My husband found one at an estate sale, but it’s too big for our dining room.”

Calls and offers kept coming in. An older minivan we could afford. Three sets of bunk beds. By November, every item on my list was accounted for. We flew to the Philippines and after four days came home to frigid Minnesota, a family of eight.

The first night back, we sat down at the table big enough for all of us. The kids talked and laughed over pizza. I glanced at Jeff and squeezed his hand. It was clear. This was going to work out just fine. God always provides.

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