The Roark’s and our adoption story!
Ephesians 1:5 ”He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will. ”
James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
God has given our family a heart for adoption. In December 2003, my husband received a job offer in New Orleans. We did not know why God was pulling us towards New Orleans, but He did. One day my daughter came to us before we made the decision about moving and told us how she was truly feeling. She went on to tell us that she did not want to move and listed many reasons why. She also said that she felt like God was calling us to New Orleans so that she could get a little sister. We laughed and laughed. We told her not to get her hopes up because we were not getting another child. After Carly left, her dad and I remembered how we got our boys. We really believe that it was Carly’s faith and persistence with her prayers to God that got the twins here. We looked at each other and asked if we thought God was using her again to change our lives.
We moved to Mandeville, Louisiana, which is 27 miles north of New Orleans. The first time we visited a church there, we met a wonderful family with five children. We soon found out that their three middle children had been adopted from Eastern Europe.
I immediately told God what I thought. Lord, you know that I have my hands full with three children. You also know that one of my boys has special needs. He has a shunt that keeps him alive and has had sixteen brain surgeries. How can I handle another child? Especially, a child that does not even speak English and lives half way across the world. How can I ever leave Caleb for that long? Lord, you know that my husband’s job requires him to work several nights a week out of town. How can I handle another child with little help during the week? I went on and on and then I said “If you are sending us to Louisiana to adopt, let us all be on the same page with your plan, especially me.”
Months went by and in April 2005, the same lady with the five children asked Jerry and I if we would like to host an orphan from Eastern Europe for two weeks during the summer. I forgot to tell you that this lady was not just an adoptive mother. She was the founder of a group called LEEAF. It is a group that has grown to about 100 families from the area that all have adopted at least one child. We were living right in the middle of a huge area of adopted families. I thought why not host a child. We were not adopting. We were just hosting for two weeks.
We told her that we would indeed host a child. In preparation for hosting a child, I started reading every Christian book I could find on orphans and adoption. I discovered how truly important orphans are to God. We are commanded to take care of the orphans.
James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows.” I studied how I too had been adopted by God. He adopted us as a part of his family through the blood of Jesus. Adopting a child, and giving him a future and a hope, paints a beautiful picture of what the Lord does for us in welcoming us into His family. He gives us hope of a future with Him. I found out how many millions of children do not have a chance to grow up in a Christian home and may not ever know God. Knowing this, I knew that our family had been called to make a difference in at least one child. I also learned that if we are doing something that God has told us to do that He will take care of us. I have to trust God that He can use me and my family to make a difference in the world. Adoption was not part of my plans in life, but they were God’s plans. God was already at work. He was working out all the details of the entire adoption. He was waiting for me to join Him where He was already working. My husband and my daughter already understood that God was calling us to adopt.
The LEEAF organization worked really hard with a Christian Adoption agency to bring ten orphans to Louisiana, in July 2005. God did amazing things to raise $15,000 to pay for their travel and insurance. We got the message a couple of hours before the children were arriving at the airport that our child did not get on the plane. He woke up with chicken pox that morning. We were crushed. After every one of us had a good cry, we made it to the airport at midnight anyway to greet the other orphans. They all had their heads down and were scared. One by one they were introduced to their host families. We had volunteered the following evening to host the two adult chaperones for dinner. They were very concerned about the children being scattered all over the New Orleans area with a hurricane brewing in the gulf. Jerry and I quickly volunteered our home for all of the children to stay together. We lived north of New Orleans. It would be easier to evacuate, if the need came, since everyone could evacuate together. God blessed us with all of the children for two days. It was truly a blessing to be able to love on all of God’s amazing children.
Our encounter with these children changed our lives forever. We had a family meeting about adopting and decided to start the process. We even decided that if we were going to do this we should try and adopt two older siblings. Most families only want a baby or one child. To adopt would require us to make several overseas trips. Leaving Caleb for that long would require us to truly put our faith in God. We prayed that God would allow us to make those many trips if it was His will.
In August 29, 2005, we were hit by Hurricane Katrina. For many reasons, the adoption was put on hold. Eastern Europe was uncertain if they would allow orphans into the area hit by Katrina. We also found out that they had shut down adoptions until December of that year. They were not accepting any dossiers. Carly had always wanted a little sister. We were told that we would not be able to adopt for about a year. We knew that because of Carly’s age we were running out of time. She would be leaving home for college in just a few years. We talked and prayed about what to do. We decided to continue with our process. If God put this dream in our hearts, we were not going to let Hurricane Katrina, or anything else, stop us.
Because of Hurricane Katrina flooding the Homeland Security building, it took us over a year to get approval to adopt children. On our official approval form, they misspelled my name. They spelled my name as one word, DENISDIANA ROARK instead of Diane Roark. At this time we had not received a referral from our adoptive country. We had no idea who we were adopting. In March of 2006, we did receive a referral for two children, a brother and sister. We received very little information about them but we knew their names were DENIS and DIANA. My husband caught this right away. He knew God was trying to tell us that these were the children that He wanted us to have. After several trips overseas, we finally came home with a wonderful new son who was 7 ½ and a daughter who was 4 years old. They were officially adopted in July of 2006 and became a part of the Roark family forever.