Children in need of a loving family hit me at the young age of six, while watching “Little Orphan Annie.” It stirred my heart and tears rolled down my cheeks. Any chance I got to watch the movie, I would. Soon after, I asked Jesus into my heart and he took hold of my life and this desire.
From there, I had the opportunity to mentor a teen girl in the inner city of Youngstown who was pulled away from her family at the age of ten and when I met her she was fifteen. Getting her to speak or give eye contact took several meetings. As time went on, she slowly began to warm up, but unfortunately, at sixteen, they had to relocate her to a facility in Indiana. My husband and I were able to visit her over the holidays and she shared with us that because we had come, she received the “family” piece to her pie chart, a rating system they used to track progress at her group home. We were really touched to help her in that way and we learned a great deal from her and she’ll always be someone we care about.
One day, early on in our marriage, my husband said, wouldn’t that be so rewarding to help a child, give them a good life and love them and I couldn’t have agreed more. See, I believed that God had placed adoption on my heart at a young age, but I didn’t analyze or plan out every detail of my life. I just had faith that if it was God’s will, it would happen! This is my example to that. There was no convincing my husband. We did however; have to plan finically for our goal of welcoming our child and that took time. We knew God had a special plan for us, but the rest was unknown. But, we serve an all knowing God, and we trusted in His plans and will for our lives. After a ton of research on fostering, domestic and international programs, we choose South Korea to be the best for our family. I made completing the adoption process my full time job, beginning in February 2016 with the registration packet and by late spring completing our home study. Now, we waited to be matched with a child. On September 12, 2016 in the evening, I can still remember our family being out by the playset and we received a call from Cleveland, our social worker, who couldn’t wait until morning to let us know we had been matched! Interesting enough, there are a lot more boys waiting for homes in South Korea than girls, so the organization told us we would be welcoming a son. Honestly, it didn’t matter to us and I was rather excited to have a son and a daughter, but when our social worker said you’ve been matched with a baby girl who is ten months old, we were floored! I immediately downloaded the entire file and got to lay eyes on my daughter who didn’t know yet that we were called to be her forever family!
The waiting period from that point to travel was quite hard. Missing your child’s first birthday and not having your complete family together for holidays was difficult. To fill in the gap, we showered her with toys and photo albums. Our foster family did a great job showing her these albums as upon travel, minutes after our initial meeting; she let my husband pick her up. I would sing twinkle twinkle as the song was recorded inside a stuffed animal to my voice and the interpreter told me foster mom says baby knows her mommy’s voice. Leaving Korea was hard and we had to wait at least another month to return for the adoption process to be final. But, knowing a bond had already begun and her foster family loved her, made me hurt for them as well.
On September 13, 2017, we welcomed Mariel Ha-yul Hasson into our arms! The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:3) I was asked to write this piece a little over a year ago, but didn’t feel it was the right time. Several months after returning, our family began going through some rather challenging times and I didn’t understand God’s timing or the attack I felt and I still don’t know. But, what I do know is that this little girl is the strongest most resilient child. Daily, she teaches me to live in the moment and to always choose joy! God truly choose her for us! It’s an honor to be her parents.
If you feel God pulling at your heart for children in need of a loving home, go to him in prayer and get resources. There are many needs for foster children, foster families and those considering adoption and many ways you can help. If you should have any questions for me, I’d be happy to help and can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.