Making Amends: An Adoption Story

CBN.com Rob and Deborah Amend were happy with their two boys.  Then in 2002 they felt that God was telling them to add to their family through adoption.  At first, they weren’t too sure.

Deborah says, “It was a very foreign concept to us at first. What finally led us there was being open to listening to what God was saying and trusting that it could really be the voice of God that was talking to me -- mixed with researching it and finding out that there were children who did need families. We weren’t aware of the need when we first got in to this.” 

The Amends wanted to open their home to children, outside the United States with special needs.

“We evaluated what we were able to handle,” Rob says. “At that point, we prayed about it and thought [that] we’re kind of an artsy, bookish family and that physical special needs were something we felt God had prepared us to handle.”

After months of working with the adoption agency and visiting orphanages in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the Amends found the children they knew would be theirs.

“God just knows us that intimately to know which of these children belong with us,” Deborah recalls. “It’s an amazing miracle. Each time we met each of our daughters, the miracle of seeing them and pulling them out and realizing, ‘This is another one that’s mine.’”

There’s five-year-old Alyona from the Ukraine, seven-year-old Saya from Kazakhstan, and ten-year-old Anna also from the Ukraine.

Deborah says, “Anna is missing one arm completely. She has a leg and hip condition, which creates two different length legs. So she requires a prosthetic to walk. Saya has a condition called radio clubbed hand, which means she’s missing part of her forearms and some fingers and her hands are clubbed, similar to clubbed foot but with her hands. Ally has a condition called arthrogryposis, which is a joint and muscle disorder. Her legs are locked. Her elbows are locked, her shoulders…so she has very limited ability to move. They were facing a situation where they would basically be institutionalized to the end of their lives. If they were released, they’re facing a situation of life on the street.”

The Amends live on a modest income. Deborah home schools the children, and Rob works as a librarian. Funding the adoptions was no easy feat.

“Some funds we were able to provide,” Rob says, “but we really didn’t have that much. We prayed about it and stepped out, and people in the church, the Body of Christ in general, was obedient to what God led them to do. It was amazing how we saw needs met just in time.”

What does it feel like to open the front door and walk in with a new child?

Deborah says, “It feels amazing, knowing where they came from and knowing what they’re coming in to. It’s like there’s a different miraculous aspect to it. Birth is amazing and it’s a miracle, but to know that God can unite people from over the course of the whole world -- to see just how sovereign He is and how perfectly they fit in with us is just a whole different kind of miracle.”

When asked if they were open to adopt again, Rob says, “I won’t say no!” Deborah concurs, “I think the Bible is very clear about where the heart of God is. He’s the God of widows and orphans. This is beyond just ‘a nice thing to do.’ God expects us to care. We have those resources, and we need to be using them for what God wants us to use them for. I really believe that this is where His heart is.”

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