A little prayer and trust in a child can go a long way. That was the case for Ivanka, Paul and their family. With three little girls all under the age of five, the couple was ready to invite another child into their home–to give a forever home to a child who needed one. But what they had planned took some patience and some willingness to adapt.
When Paul and Ivanka first considered getting married, Ivanka made clear to Paul why adoption is good. She told him that no matter if they were able to have their own biological children, she wanted to adopt. And that wasn’t up for debate. Adoption, for her, is a calling. He readily agreed. But for a while, after they wed, adoption remained just an idea, an unspoken future. Here’s how that changed.
At first, adoption fell through.
In 2012, with three biological children, the couple started preparing their home and their lives for an adoption. Three failed birth adoptions wore Paul and Ivanka out. The unfulfilled growth of their family disappointed them. Their desire to welcome a young child who would fit neatly into their familial line wasn’t happening. They were invited to attend a foster care event to explore the option of fostering instead of adopting and still hoped to provide a home, even if temporarily, to a young child. The event, though, would connect the couple primarily to older children. Despite that, the family still attended, to engage with more families and kids, and at least meet some new people and socialize.
Then, the couple found hope.
Not a week later, Ivanka got a phone call from a social worker. The social worker mentioned Zaniya, a 13-year-old the couple had met and spent maybe 20 minutes with at the event. Through the screen door at her then-foster family’s house, Zaniya had desperately requested that the social worker ask Ivanka and Paul if they’d adopt her. Ivanka, a bit shell-shocked, hung up to speak with her husband. When she told Paul, he said yes without hesitation. No questions asked. He had a feeling this was right. Within three months, the family grew by one with the addition of their now-eldest daughter, Zaniya.
And a child found a forever home.
Now, five years later, Zaniya advocates routinely for fostering and adopting older kids and shares with others why adoption is good, all while applying to colleges. Though her road was troubled for the first 13 years, Ivanka and Paul welcomed her with open arms. Since adopting Zaniya, not only have Paul and Ivanka added another little boy to their family biologically, but they have fostered teenage girls as well. For many, the idea of adopting or fostering an older child can be intimidating—a child being brought in with so much experience can challenge your own lifestyle. But Zaniya’s family reminds people that your family grows exactly as it is meant to.
Caring parents are needed every day for foster children as well as for children who need permanent homes. Learn more about the need in Florida by visiting allprodad.com/onemore.
Has your family adopted or helped support a family that has? In what ways?