Today’s story comes from Tonya Wike, wife of Jeremy Wike, pastor of Community of Hope Grace Brethren Church in Columbia City, Ind. You can read more about their past adoptions on Tonya’s blog, whatitmeans2beheld.blogspot.com.
My daughter, Evie, is like most four-year-olds when it comes to her love of electronic devices. She’s quick to cuddle up next to me anytime I’m holding my phone or a laptop. The comments she makes as she leans over my shoulder, however, are not normal preschool chatter. Whether I’m looking at a picture of a friend’s kids on Facebook or watching a video on YouTube, she often says something like, “That little boy need a family?”
Evie’s comments aren’t unusual in our home. Since all four of our children joined our family through adoption, topics like adoption, orphans, and birth families regularly pop up in family discussions. Dinner table 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.
My husband, Jeremy, and I always wanted a big family. However part of our faith journey has been God healing our broken hearts as we struggled with infertility, while opening our eyes to the reality that there are millions of kids around the globe without a mom or dad.
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. God wanted to expand our vision.
In His grace, God used the three years it took to complete our second adoption to help us let go of our preconceived notions about family. 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.
Over the past five years, we’ve been blessed with three children—Isaiah, Hudson, and Evie—through the China Special Needs program. We’re currently in process of adopting from China again, and God has given us the surprise blessing of twins! We can’t wait to welcome our babies home later this summer.
When we got married, we never imagined all our children would come into our family through adoption or that we’d parent five children with special needs. It’s true that some of our kids have diagnoses that once seemed unfamiliar or scary, but we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them these days. We’re too busy wrestling, tickling, and trying to help our kids develop the heart of their Father.
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 never would 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. Even our four-year-old has been given a glimpse into the heart of the One who defends the fatherless.
Evie is very excited to be a big sister to our twins. When we talk about them joining our family, she is quick to explain to anyone who will listen, “Our twins need a mommy and a daddy. Mommy will be their mommy, and Daddy will be their daddy.” She usually adds, “Forever.”
Yes, my beautiful child, you are teaching us the heart of our Heavenly Father:
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.”
Click here to send a note of encouragement to the Wike family.
Feature photo: Jeremy and Tonya Wike of Community of Hope Grace Brethren Church in Columbia City, Ind., have adopted four children, pictured above, and are currently in the process of adopting twins from China.