November is National Adoption Month. A time that has been dedicated to raise awareness and celebrate adoption. What started as a week of recognition has grown leaps and bounds. People have stepped out in faith, growing their families through the various facets of adoption.
Adoption is not a new concept. Long ago, King David shared the truth, “God sets the lonely in families” (ESV). These words became a scripture that has inspired families, churches, movements, and more. Inspiration can also be the sharing of a story. A story that conveys, “you are not alone.” Or a message of better understanding into a journey. It is one of these stories that is shared today.
Christine and Wayne Mans have been married for 47 years and South Dakota, where they spent 35 years as dairy farmers, and Christine worked as a printer. They had what they like to refer to as an arranged marriage. They were introduced by Wayne’s cousin and Chris’s co-worker in Michigan. Chris had recently moved from Utah to work for her uncle. They met and were engaged after two dates. When they married, they knew they wanted a family. They had plans, they had ideas, but along the way, things changed. Christine shared their family’s journey with us.
Did you always plan to adopt?
I had not planned to adopt. I have five older sisters who did not have trouble conceiving, but the idea wasn’t completely foreign to me. My parents tried to adopt a Korean girl after that war ended, but it didn’t work out. She would have been my age, and I often wonder what that would have been like.
I never imagined having the family that God had in mind for us. I expected to marry and have children like most of my friends and family. We were not blessed in that way. Instead, after six years, we decided we would adopt. I knew I would love an adopted child, but I wanted to experience childbirth.
So, you adopted and had a biological child?
As it turned out, I got to do both. Our daughter and oldest son are two years apart. He was 11 months old when we first met. After several sessions with three other couples on what to expect when adopting through the state of South Dakota and about a year’s wait, we were able to meet our soon to be our son. He was living in a foster home in Rapid City with a wonderful family that made us feel welcome, and we even stayed in their home for a couple of days while the paperwork was completed.
What were you guys feeling during this time?
I remember feeling a heavyweight had been laid on my shoulders. We prayed through the night for guidance in deciding to claim this boy as our own. I can’t say that I received any divine message, but I feel since we were given this opportunity, God would help us see it through. Travis was a very energetic boy. So much fun!
What came next?
Six months later, as we were finalizing the adoption, I got pregnant with our daughter. Life was good. We were busy with farming, active in church, working in town to help with the bills. Our family seemed complete. We had just enrolled our son in a Christian School, and I was ready to go back to work full time.
Six years later, while at work, I received a call from the social worker that our names came up for adoption, and our son was waiting for us. Surprise! What to do again? Once they contact you, it is hard to say no. What will happen to this boy if we don’t take him plagued me the most? We can do this, right? Well, we did. And on a cold trip to the middle of the state, we were introduced to our second son. He was six months old when he joined our family.
What would you share with other families considering adoption?
Adopting is an exciting way to grow a family. Our children are very different from each other, but their unique personalities and life experiences helped us all to grow to be more loving and forgiving than I could have envisioned when we first started this journey.
Not everyone has it in their heart to adopt, and I would not suggest it is an easy decision. We had a lot of unique challenges and more than a few heartaches. Not to discourage anyone from adopting, you need to keep in mind that most children do not feel connected. They need to know their history. It’s important to accept that and encourage them to learn what they need to know so they can adapt to their new home. Both of my boys are part Native American and have contacted some members of their biological families, which has helped them feel more grounded.
Through all the ups and downs, we have felt the leading of our Lord. We are often brought to our knees, asking for guidance, but that is the best place. God is good and faithful, and we have been blessed with this special family.
Everyone Can Do Something
The Mans’ family is one of countless, growing through adoption. If you are interested in learning more about foster care or adoption, we invite you to visit Wait No More. You may not be called to foster or adopt, but everyone can do something. Maybe you are called to pray? Perhaps you are called to volunteer? Wherever you are in the journey, we would be honored to join you on your journey.