Tag Archives: Sugarcreek Ohio

Adoptions bring joy and miracles

Yoder family by Bruce Stambaugh

Amy and Joe Yoder with their four adopted children, Hayley, Sophia, Matthew and Cameron.

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.

Yoder children by Bruce Stambaugh

Hayley, 2, Sophia, 3 months, Matthew, 8, and Cameron, 3, gathered on the living room couch long enough for a photograph before running off to play.

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

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Make shopping thrifty in Ohio’s Amish Country

Thrift store shopper by Bruce Stambaugh

Marlene Burrell of Mineral City, OH shops regularly at the Harvest Thrift Store in Sugarcreek, OH.

By Bruce Stambaugh

Frugal shoppers will find a bonanza in Ohio’s Amish Country. The area is abundant with several well-stocked thrift stores, which is a reflection of Amish and Mennonite values.

The Amish and Mennonite cultures have a reputation for being thrifty. Recycling clothing, house wares and other household items and much more not only fits that image but their theology of service as well. Accordingly, profits from all the area’s thrift stores go to various charities.

Great bargains covering a wide range of items can be found in each thrift store. All resell clean, functional and stylish merchandise for the entire family.

On the eastern edge of Amish Country is the Harvest Thrift Store in Sugarcreek, Ohio. Located at 1019 West Main Street, the Harvest Thrift Store has been in operation for four years. A second store at 102 East Main Street in Wilmot opened last May.

All proceeds go to youth ministries and to local non-profit organizations like Every Women’s House in Wooster. According to store manager Holly Lehigh, 30 to 40 percent of her customers are from out of the area.

“We have some people from out of state who come back three or four times every year,” she said. “They tell me that what they spend on gas they more than make up in the savings of what they buy.”

In Wayne County’s Kidron, MCC Connections offers its items in a pleasant and well-organized atmosphere. Store manager, Bill Ressler, said that a number of tour buses stop at the store on occasion, the most recent from North Carolina. He attributes those visits to the promotion of the store by the Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

According to Ressler, all proceeds from sales at MCC Connections go to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Akron, Pennsylvania. MCC assists peoples around the globe in education, water projects and agricultural initiates, encouraging health, hygiene and sustainability. MCC Connections is located at 4080 Kidron Road, Kidron.

Back in Holmes County in the hub of Amish Country is Berlin, where Share and Care Thrift Store operates on U.S. 62. Share and Care sends 80 percent of its profits to Haiti missions and uses the balance for local needs, such as fire victims and personal disasters.

Day manager Noah Troyer estimated that at least 50 percent of the store’s business is from tourists. He said that amount increases during peak tourist time.

“We have had people here from Arizona and California,” Troyer said.

Millersburg, the county seat, hosts two thriving thrift shops, the internationally known Goodwill Industries, and Save and Serve Thrift Shop. They just happen to be catty corner from one another on South Washington Street at Rodhe Drive.

Like it’s international corporation goals, Goodwill’s objective is to finance the employment of those who need jobs. Store manager, Josh McWilliams, said most of his customers are local residents, though the number of tourists who frequent the store increases seasonally.

“They are mostly looking for down home, Amish-made items,” McWilliams said.

According to Helen Glick, co-manager at Save and Serve, about 25 percent of their customers are from outside the immediate area.

“Our on-going silent auctions seem to attract collectors and others interested in unusual pieces and antiques,” Glick said. A look at the silent auction bid book indicated customers from all across Ohio as well as several from other states.

Eric Raber, co-manager at Save and Serve, credits the community’s continued support for the long-term success of his store. Save and Serve was founded in 1975.

“Even in a down economy, the local people continue to provide us with amazing amounts and quality items to offer at reasonable prices,” Raber said. Like MCC Connections, all of the profits at Save and Serve are sent to MCC. In its 35 years of operation, Save and Serve has sent $3.3 million to MCC to help fund its global projects.

Whether from near or far, bargains galore are sure to be found in the thrift stores in Ohio’s Amish Country. And emblematic of the holiday spirit, all of the profits from sales go to those in need.

Thrifty shoppers by Bruce Stambaugh

Kay Schrock, Mary Hoefer, and Jo Troyer, all of Goshen, IN, and Becky Christophel of Harrisonburg, VA, shopped several Amish Country thrift stores, including Share and Care in Berlin. The three sisters and their mother, Troyer, enjoy their frequent rendezvous' in Ohio's Amish country.

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