Gifts from God: Building Families Through International Adoption

by Laura Christianson

Today we’ll hear from my good friend and guest writer, Janet McElvaine. Janet was inspired to write this story when several families from the school her son attends adopted internationally. This story originally appeared in the December 2005 issue of Pawprints, a publication of Zion Lutheran School, Everett, Washington.

By Janet McElvaine

Julie Knaub had felt a second beat in her heart for some time and only until recently did she recognize to whom it belonged. God is blessing Julie and her husband, Jon, with a daughter through adoption. They now know the heartbeat belongs to their one year old daughter, Jada, born October 1, 2004 in southern China.

Adopted by God
“I am learning so much about trusting God. We are just scratching the surface of His plan for us, for Jada and His greater purpose in building His family,” shared Julie. She continued by weaving the Gospel and her faith walk through this intimate story of how God was building their family. “We are all adopted by God into his family and now God is bringing Jada from a place of spiritual darkness into His light. Her salvation is in His hands.”

The Knaubs received pictures of Jada with minimal information on her first birthday. Now they wait for a phone call from New Hope Child and Family Agency for the green light to travel to China to receive her into their arms and complete the adoption that has been so long in their hearts. The legal part will take a couple of weeks to complete in China. Theirs will be one of approximately 8,000 adoptions the United States consulate processes for U.S. families each year.

“Kinsey and Katie are confused about why it is taking so long to get their sister and why she was born so far away,” explained Julie with twinkling eyes. “I tell them this is all part of God’s plan.”

Multi-ethnic Families
Mark and Jennean Hallerman returned euphoric from China last month with their new son, 2-year-old Benjamin. “We’ve always been open to adoption,” shared Mark. “Having a multi-ethnic family is very normal for us.” The Hallerman kids, Adam, Jordan, Hailey and Benjamin have African American, Nepalese, and East Indian cousins. “We marvel at how God continues to bless our family.”

International adoption is a long process and steeped in paperwork. But Mark Hallerman quickly encourages prospective parents, “Pray and surrender yourself to the process. You’re not going to change the Chinese government, or how the U.S. lets children in. But it’s worth it!” The Hallermans felt the Holy Spirit’s affirmation all along. Guided by their faith, they became more at peace and confident with their love decision for Benjamin as the weeks turned to months.

Support Systems
The Hallermans, like the Knaubs, will broaden their circle of support to include people from their kids’ birth region in China. They’ll also model language that upholds their children’s self-esteem. Although the Knaubs admit to a long “pregnancy” with Jada, they’ve taken the time to prepare their extended family and answer many questions. This has been an avenue to teach people about adoption, prepare answers to difficult questions and to learn to choose their words carefully.

One of the hardest perceptions to overcome is that adoption is a second choice. Both the Knaubs and Hallermans are confident that their adoption decisions and their children are gifts from God.

Mark Hallerman readily shares his longtime passion for adoption, “Maybe our story will be encouragement for those waiting, those considering adoption, and possibly those who were in our shoes 30 years ago to remember the joy.”

For more articles about adoption, visit my Web site,

Previous post:

Next post: