The Wikes always wanted a big family, but they didn’t imagine adoption, orphans, and birth families would be part of their regular dinner table conversations. But the Father had other plans He would carry out in their lives.
Jeremy Wike, lead pastor of Community of Hope, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Columbia City, Ind., and his wife, Tonya, had to rely on God when their dreams of a big family were challenged as they began to deal with infertility. They had to rely on His ability to heal broken hearts and direct their passion toward those who needed two loving parents.
“Along the journey, it became very clear to us that the children who were most in need were those we previously overlooked: older, part of a sibling group, or diagnosed with special needs,” says Tonya. “The roadblocks, disappointments, and endless waiting allowed us to realize that we were called to be a family for a child – not to find a child for our family. God changed both of our hearts and made it very clear that He was leading us to special needs adoption.”
By God’s grace, Jeremy and Tonya have been able to adopt six children over the last six years, most of them through the China Special Needs program.
“Since all our children joined our family through adoption, topics like adoption, orphans, and birth families regularly pop up in family discussions,” explains Tonya. “Conversations like these weren’t something I pictured as a younger woman when I envisioned my future family. International adoption, especially special needs adoption, wasn’t part of my plan; it has been a gift that has taken me by surprise.”
At first, some of their children’s diagnoses may have seemed scary or unfamiliar to Tonya and Jeremy, but lately, those are no longer concerns.
“We’re too busy wrestling, tickling, and trying to help our kids develop the heart of their Father,” says Tonya.
Last year, before the twins were adopted, Evie, their soon-to-be older sister, was quick to explain to anyone who would listen, “Our twins need a mommy and a daddy. Mommy will be their mommy, and Daddy will be their daddy.” Usually, she added, “Forever.”
“The children have been excited with each adoption to add to our family, and that has been a joy to watch,” says Tonya. “In fact, in the middle of the chaotic first few months after bringing the twins home, Hudson asked Jeremy and me if we could have ‘just one more baby, please?'”
“When I look at the family God has given us, I stand in awe of His gifts. He has done something beautiful and precious in my life that I would never have imagined or planned for myself. In knitting our family together, the One who is close to the brokenhearted has become our Healer, Redeemer, and Friend in a very personal way,” says Tonya.
Click here to send a note of encouragement to the Wikes.
Feature photo: Jeremy and Tonya Wike enjoy their children Emma (9), Isaiah (7), Hudson (7), Evie (4), Ruby (1), and Elliott (1).
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.