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12

M

arian

H

elper

 • W

inter

2015-16

 •

marian.org

M

y wife and I were happy with our lives. We had

good jobs. We traveled, helped with our church,

and volunteered in our community. We weren’t

looking for a “next big adventure.” But God had other plans.

One night, three years ago, my wife, Kimmie, had a

dream in which God told her of a baby girl who needed us

to adopt her. We would later come to learn it was the same

day our future daughter, Charlotte (“Lottie”), was born.

When Kimmie shared her dreamwith me that morn-

ing, I was shocked to say the least. I’m in my 50s and have

two children in their 30s frommy first marriage. Kimmie,

who I married in 2010, was unable to have children.

Starting a family wasn’t on our agenda.

Prompted by her dream that night, we prayed and

we researched, and then we took classes to become foster

parents with the goal of adopting. These classes exposed

us to a cold and painful reality in our society today. So

many parents are incapable of taking care of a child due

to poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic

violence. At the same time, there aren’t enough people

willing to step up and rescue these children. Our local

agency is constantly saving children like Lottie, but they

have nowhere for them to go.

What Kimmie and I have come to believe is that it’s

no longer enough for us all to simply declare ourselves

“pro-life.” One way or another, we — all of us — need

to be the answer to the question: “Who will love and

protect these children once they’re born?”

Days after finishing the mounds of paperwork and class-

es, we got the call to come get our foster child, a 6-month-

old girl. She was severely underweight, practically skin

and bones. She had gone through two foster families.

Neither wanted to keep her because, as her state-appoint-

ed attorney said, she was a “holy terror.” We were told

she wouldn’t sleep or eat and that she would cry non-stop.

Add to that, her motor skills had not yet developed as they

should have. She couldn’t even roll over.

When we were handed Lottie, she smiled at us. It was

love at first sight.

That evening, we sat her down in the highchair,

and so began our life together. We got her to eat. By

the second night, she slept for seven hours. She was

crawling within a few weeks.

Our excitement over her success was tempered by our

heartbreak every time we learned more about her past

and all she went through in utero and during her first six

months. She had no foundation of love. She would turn

anxious and fearful. The specialists advised us to hold her

as much as possible.

That was not a tough assignment.

Still, even with all her anxieties, we have never seen the

“holy terror.”

Then one day, after about amonth of Lottie being in our

care, we finally heard it—she laughed. Not just laughed; she

belly

laughed. Our hearts broke and soared at the same time.

At nine months, she was doing great. She had gained

weight. She was walking and talking. But nine months

was also when the roller coaster began in the court sys-

tem. Relatives of Lottie, including her biological parents,

stepped forward to reclaim her. But just as soon as they

stepped forward, they would disappear again. This went

on. Meanwhile, the thought of someone else raising Lottie

terrified us. We feared for her wellbeing. We despaired at

the thought of living without her. Over and over again, I

prayed, “Jesus, I trust in you.”

For two years this went on. For two years Kimmie and

I were legitimately fearful that Lottie would some day

be taken away — that we’d never see her again. We

reminded ourselves to focus on Lottie and

trust in Jesus.

A fewmonths ago, we were eating dinner and Lottie

looked at us, a twinkle in her eye, pointed to each of us and

said, “Daddy, Mommy, and Lottie. We are a family.” My

wife and I scooped her up and did a group hug. “Yes,” we

told her, “we are family.”

Then, a miracle. This August, out of the blue, we got

a phone call. The parents had finally signed their rights

away. Lottie was all ours to adopt! Within the year, we will

officially be a family, and nobody can take her away.

Lottie still battles with her anxieties, but they are dimin-

ishing. We are grateful to God for every moment with this

child. Our child.

Andrew Leeco is associate editor of

Marian Helper

magazine.

F

amily matters

the story of a

father

MH

OUR GIFT

FROM GOD

By Andrew Leeco