By Bruce Stambaugh
Joe and Amy Yoder of rural Sugarcreek, Ohio wanted to start a family. When they were advised that pregnancy might be a questionable option for them, they had a lot to think about.
In the fall of 2003, they chose adoption. They could not know how much that decision would positively impact their lives and the lives of others. All the way, they sensed God’s leading.
Joe and Amy had decided on an international adoption. Only two months later, little Matthew in Guatemala entered their lives.
“The entire process was tedious,” Amy said. “There was major paperwork, and lots of bureaucracy to work through there.”
They applied in January and were approved in April. But they still couldn’t get custody of Matthew until October.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support of Millersburg Mennonite Church,” Amy said of the church they attended then. “They really chipped in and helped us raise funds to defer expensive adoption.”
That was eight years ago. Matthew is a growing boy and enjoying being in third grade. He also watches over his brother and sisters.
That’s right. The Yoders have adopted three other children, all from Ohio, in the last three years.
Cameron is three. Hayley is two, and the latest addition to their family, Sophia, is 3 months old. If there is such a thing, she was a surprise adoption.
When Matthew was three, Joe and Amy decided to move ahead with adopting another child, only this time doing a domestic adoption. After interviewing several adoption agencies, Just three months after applying they received a call to adopt Cameron. That was 2009. A little more than 10 months later, the adoption agency called about Hayley.
Even after the first three adoptions, Joe and Amy said they felt like God was leading them to being foster parents. On June 28, that changed. Their social worker called. Amy said she thought the call was for an Amish neighbor couple that they were helping with the adoption process.
But no, the social worker told them they had another baby if they wanted it.
“Sophia was ready to leave the hospital,” Amy said, “and they didn’t have a placement for her yet.”
Knowing that each adoption, whether foreign or domestic, is costly, the Yoders hesitated, too.
“I asked the social worker how much money and how soon they needed it?” Amy shared. Having already adopted through the agency, Amy really knew the answer to the money question.
“She told us we needed $20,000 by Saturday,” Amy said, “and this was Friday afternoon.”
The Yoders said that they prayed about it all night. By morning they had their answer.
“For some reason, we had a real peace about the decision,” Amy said, although they had no idea how they would come up with that much money on such short notice.They agreed to take Sophia on the condition that they would pay half of the money up front, and the other half in a week. The social worker agreed.
On Monday Amy was sitting on the front porch with the four children when she received another call from the social worker. It was more good news. But Amy couldn’t believe the message.
“Don’t send us anymore money,” the social worker said. “It’s all taken care of.”
Joe and Amy had no idea what had happened. The agency wouldn’t say. The Yoders simply consider it all a miracle, the process, the money, and of course Sophia.
But wait. There is yet one more miracle, according to Amy. The final adoption always takes place exactly six months after receiving the baby, which would be Dec. 31, when the courthouse in Columbus would be closed.
“Somehow,” Amy said, “we were told that the courthouse would be open for us.”
Their appointment to officially adopt Sophia is 3 p.m., New Year’s Eve. It will likely be one more joyous celebration in the Yoder household.
This article appeared in The Bargain Hunter, Millersburg, OH.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2012