When Loren and Kristen began the adoption process 14 years ago,
they believed their adoption story would include opening their hearts and home to a baby girl. They were already parents to four biological daughters, so they thought adopting another little girl just made sense.
As it turns out, the plan God had for their family was far different and much better than anything they imagined.
Watch their family’s impactful story here:
God first began working in Kristen’s heart to adopt 26 years ago.
As is often the case, her desire began long before first steps were taken to begin the adoption process.
Even before Loren and Kristen brought their first baby home from the hospital, Kristen was already thinking about adoption. She was praying it would be part of their family’s story.
In Kristen’s words—
“I had seen a video about international adoption, and it really touched my heart. God started using those images to prompt me towards thinking about adoption. I just knew it was something I wanted to do someday.”
But Loren and Kristen’s decision to adopt wasn’t quick or easy.
Loren and Kristen were already raising four daughters—which some of their friends considered to be a large family. Well-meaning members of Loren and Kristen’s community wondered if the decision to adopt was irrational.
One of Loren and Kristen’s early concerns when considering adoption was that it might have a negative impact on their family, especially their four girls.
What if by adding to their family, everything changed?
“We decided that we were feeling the call to take that risk, trusting that God was going to work it out and that our family was going to be different for sure, but better as well.”
And so they stepped out in faith, confident God would provide for their adoption story as they followed Him in humble obedience.
One of their biggest challenges was adoption funding.
Very few people can pursue the adoption process without receiving help through adoption funding.
But in the unique way that God takes what is difficult and uses it for good—adoption funding can become a collective effort where the Christian community comes together for a cause greater than themselves. Specifically, adoption funding can become a tangible expression of the Church being the Church.
When Loren and Kristen officially began the adoption process, they had about half the money they needed to complete their adoption. They knew they needed to fundraise for the second half and came to Lifesong to learn more about adoption grants.
Their friends, family, and community rallied to help raise the money necessary to adopt. Their church matched donations made available to them through a Lifesong church fund partnership.
How important was this financial assistance?
In Loren’s words—
“Without [Lifesong’s financial assistance], our adoption story just wouldn’t have happened.”
During this time, Loren and Kristen learned about the need for families to adopt sibling groups.
Though they had originally planned to adopt a baby girl, they learned sibling groups are harder to place.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Many children waiting for adoption are members of sibling groups. Research has shown that most children have better outcomes when they are able to maintain ties with their brothers and sisters.”
So, watching the list of children in need of families, Loren and Kristen saw that the need existed for families to take more than one child, and they believed God was leading them in this direction.
This decision was confirmed when they received a referral for three children: Olivia, Samuel, and Naomi.
“God ended up placing two girls and a boy into our family. It was His plan and so much better than ours.”
On Christmas Day 2009, Loren and Kristen and their children became a family of nine.
After a 20-hour flight from Ethiopia, the family reunited in the airport, along with friends who came to meet them and help them make the transition home.
Since that time, their family has continued to grow in love, understanding, and resilience.
Like any adoptive family, their journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has undeniably been worth it. They’ve discovered again and again that family isn’t defined by the circumstances of their beginning, but by the intentional choices they make to trust God and grow together.
Loren and Kristen met in a music program and thought it would be fun to learn to play music together as a family. They also knew music would give them opportunities to minister together as a family.
In addition to providing music for people in their community, in 2019, the family traveled together, worshiping in churches across the country.
“Each person has a different life story, hoping to make something beautiful out of it. And just like in a band, everybody plays a different part—as you play together, you start making beautiful music together. That’s where we are now with our family. We have made some beautiful music together, not just metaphorically, but literally.”
When Loren and Kristen began the adoption process 14 years ago, they had no idea the story God was writing for their family. They stepped out in faith with no roadmap and no guarantees, just a willingness to obey.
“Looking back now, 14 years after we brought these three beautiful children home, what I see mostly is just God’s faithfulness through a process that can be messy and challenging. A family formed through adversity and hardship—and adoption has those—is stronger at the end.”
Give to help orphaned and vulnerable children know they are seen, known, and loved.
100% of your gift to Lifesong directly helps children in need. TMG Foundation and key partners cover our fundraising and administrative costs, so your entire gift goes where you want it to go.