“Adoption has been on the table for my wife and I throughout our entire marriage. We both agreed and felt the call to be a forever family for an orphan,” said Schenck.
Well before the Schencks married, they agreed that at some point in their lives they would expand their family through adoption. Having three biological children has not dimmed that desire.
Although the Schencks agree that in the past the timing wasn’t right, they feel now is the right time for the season their family is in and as their youngest prepares to turn three, they are saying “yes!” to God and to adoption.
Facing the reality of how many children in the U.S. and around the world are transferred from foster home to foster home waiting to be chosen by families to love and provide for them was enough for the young, caring couple.
According to the adoption statistics by the U.S. Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs, there is a disproportionate amount of adoptions compared to the number of foster children in the system.
A mere 4,714 adoptions were finalized in the United States in 2017 while over 100,000 children entered or reentered the foster care system during that time. For many, the high cost of adoption prevents them from giving their foster child the security of adoption.
“One of the greatest concerns for families is the high cost of adoption; in fact, it’s often cited as the main reason for preventing them from moving forward,” said Schenck.
“The cost to bring a child home can sometimes seem outrageous and discouraging,” he continued.
Many challenges and difficulties may arise when attempting adoption but the Schencks agree that the burdens carried are worth the reward of a child in the end.
“I believe there is a spiritual warfare that uses obstacles like money to discourage and distract families from fulfilling their desire to adopt, however, there are many grants, fundraising opportunities, adoption tax credits and reimbursement programs that offset these costs,” said Schenck.
Proper research of these opportunities and discipline in spending and saving is key.
After much prayer and research, the Schencks partnered with Both Hands Foundation to begin to take steps toward their goal of adoption.
Both Hands, an organization that helps Christian adoptive families fundraise for their adoptions by serving orphans and widows, connects families with a team of volunteers and Both Hands coaches to assist in coordinating service projects to renovate widow’s homes.
The team sends letters to their contacts requesting sponsorship for their service day working on the widow’s home.
“It’s very similar to raising sponsorship for a 5K race or golf event, but instead of running or playing, we’re serving. All the money raised from sponsorships goes to help an orphan be adopted into a forever family,” said Schenck.
Both Hands’ vision is to see the day when finances aren’t obstacles for Christian families who are led to adopt and to serve widows in need of home repairs. The organization provides needed assistance to widows in areas that fail to get addressed because of the absence of a spouse while providing volunteers a sense of purpose.
“James 1:27 says, ‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.’ Both hands helps us do just that,” said Schenck.
Patricia Moore, a hard working widow and caretaker of her 7-year old grandson connected with the Schencks and Both Hands through their church’s involvement in the Backpack Buddies program where they provide school lunches for children in need.
“It has been such blessing what this family has done for me and my grandson, when my husband died a lot of the household fixes that he used to do fell on me, and I wasn’t able to do it myself” said Moore.
With the help of Both Hands, the Schencks and other volunteers, Moores’ house was renovated and refurbished in a matter of weeks. All of the furniture, equipment, and paint were 100% donated, a total of over 1,500 dollars in materials for the project were given.
“We painted almost the entire interior of the house, installed new vinyl flooring in the kitchen, replaced some rotted siding panels and trim, and painted the entire exterior of the home,” Schenck enthused.
“We cleared the overgrown backyard so her grandson would have more room to play and organized and transformed both Patricia’s and her grandson’s rooms with all new bedroom furniture,” he concluded.
“I just feel so blessed and to know that by blessing me they (the Schencks) will be blessed with their adoption puts much joy in my heart,” said Moore.
Because of the Schencks and volunteers hard work, call to care and determination they have achieved their goal to begin the process adoption, the family has been placed in the position to fully fund and become a forever family to an orphan through domestic adoption in only six months.
Schenck is committed to the perspective needed for adoption, realizing that it is not about the choices the birthparents made, nor is it simply the desire for the adoptive parents to find the right child for their home.
“The reality is that a child does not have a reliable, safe home with loving parents and I have room in my home and in my heart to provide that,“ he explained.