Pictured Above: The Bertholic and Brooks kids with Andris and Angel.
The Adoption Story
THE STORY OF ANDRIS AND ANGEL
If you would’ve told me 11 months ago, that our family would be on the verge of adopting a teenage boy from Eastern Europe, I’m not quite sure I would’ve believed you! However, when you walk with the Lord, allow Him to grow and stretch you, and seek to join Him where He is working, anything can happen! So, here we are…on an adventure to hopefully see two beautiful teenaged orphans rescued from a future with very little hope. From a human perspective, the reality of this happening has been a total long-shot, at best, from the beginning. However, we serve a God who is more than capable of accomplishing His purposes in these kids’ lives, and He is moving mountains on their behalf. The miracles of timing, favorable people in the right place at the right time, and downright crazy ‘coincidences’ just keep mounting up, and we know that God is at work and it is amazing to behold! Here is the back story.
A DIVINE INTERRUPTION
It was November 2, last year. The Christmas Season was just beginning to ramp up for me at church. We were in the final 2 weeks of preparation to be in the studio for our first ever recording project. Staff retreat, the Thanksgiving and Living Nativity weekends, and the very full month of December were bearing down. Mid-afternoon in my office I get the following text from Carrie:
C: Total out of the blue question. Just saw the face of this sweet 16 year old developmentally delayed boy who is hoping for a host family for 4 to 6 weeks over Christmas and wondering what you would think? I spoke to a woman already about him he sounds perfect for our family. He loves music loves animals loves being outside loves sports has a low self-esteem and could really use encouragement. He is not adoptable , But I wonder if him catching my eye is something from the Lord.
For those of you that know me well, I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t particularly like being blindsided with major issues that require a decision on my part, especially in the middle of my work day. 🙂 So, the following recorded conversation, as I look back on it now, is quite miraculous!
D: Hmm. I’m open to talking about it and praying about it. How did you find this out?
C: On Facebook. Mindy Wall and Alan Badgely from Moses Lake both did this and then adopted.
D: His picture just made me cry, so what does that tell you?!? Ok. Let’s talk about it tonight. I’ve got to get some work done now. We would have to have safeguards for the girls, of course.
C: Yes, but they have to know today…it is their last day to assign kids and I just saw it.
D: Oh wow…give me a call.
C: K. Let me get home after picking up Lyndee. Mason is open to it, too. Crazy, I know!
D: Ok. Do you know his name?
TWO AMAZING VISITS
Everything fell into place rather quickly, and we were suddenly making preparations to host an unknown 16 year old orphan boy who could speak very little English. We picked him up in mid-December and he stayed with us for the next 4 weeks through the Christmas Season and into the new year. Everyone in our family sensed an immediate bond with him and we knew we were forever changed. During his time with us, Andris came to church every time we did, and was welcomed and received warmly by our dear church family. He soon came to love coming to church, and we know the Lord was at work in his life on many fronts. We were also able to watch the Jesus Film in his heart language and I’ll never forget how he watched the film intently and afterward clearly told me, “I understand, and I prayed!” Andris received Jesus as his Lord and Savior and we had the privilege of baptizing him at our church before he returned home. There was an obvious hole in all of our hearts as we put him back on the plane in mid-January.
We knew we wanted to try and bring him back for a longer visit in the summer and began to make plans to do so. We also found out he had a younger sister, Angel, and through a series of inquiries and the Lord’s help, both Andris and Angel were able to come to Spokane for a good chunk of the summer. Angel was hosted by our dear friends the Bertholics. Angel connected and bonded very deeply with the entire Bertholic family, and changed the dynamics of their family, forever, as well. Like her brother, Angel also was welcomed into our church family and loved on by many. She also had the opportunity to view the Jesus film, and through the course of conversations with the Bertholic family, also received Jesus as her Lord and Savior, just days before she returned home, as well.
THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE STEP OF FAITH
Both Andy and Angel do not have bright futures ahead of them in their country of origin. Andris lives in a foster home with several other boys, and has been in the care of a wonderful foster mother who loves him and seeks his best. However, he is months away from aging out of the foster system. He will then have few options as he suffers from the effects of fetal alcohol exposure, trauma and neglect as a young boy. Angel lives in another foster situation that is less desirable than Andris’ situation.
We, along with the Bertholics, began to pray and ask the Lord what He would have us do. We love these children dearly and they both fit into our families in significant and profound ways that is unexplainable. The Lord encouraged both of us to work toward finding a way to add them to our families whatever it took. Because of his age, Andris can only be adopted along with his younger sister, Angel. And, because of his disabilities and emotional and intellectual challenges, a student or work VISA would be impossible. So, since the Bertholics have been through adoption before, and deeply desire to adopt Angel, they have agreed to pursue adopting both Angel and Andris with full-tilt abandonment, and we are partnering with them to help bring both of these kids permanently to the United States.