3 kids, 2 years, one happy family [UPDATED]Published 10:58am Thursday, July 19, 2012 Updated 10:58am Thursday, July 19, 2012
James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This verse was First Church of the Nazarene pastor Steve Hoffman’s continuing motivation as he and his wife, Jeanna, fought through a long, trying process of adopting three girls from Haiti.
It was a slower journey than expected, but finally after more than two years of waiting and wondering, Richelande, 12, Miranda, 13, and Rosemilove, 15, can now call Fergus Falls home after the Hoffmans finished the adoption process and picked up the girls on June 24.
The night before Jeanna went to Haiti to volunteer at an orphanage in January of 2010, she and Steve had a conversation about how they were not going to adopt any children. When she returned, however, they looked at photos and began to wonder what would happen to a the 13-year-old girl who would soon be too old to stay at the orphanage.
“We had three empty bedrooms, and we felt like God was placing it on our hearts that we had room,” Steve said.
They began the adoption process with the intent of taking in two girls, but when Steve made the trip to Haiti in October 2010 to meet them, he found out they had another sister. Upon making this discovery, Steve and Jeanna changed all of the paperwork to include the third girl.
After the paperwork was finished, it became a waiting game for the Hoffmans.
“The hardest part was knowing that there was always a possibility it wouldn’t actually happen,” Steve said.
The couple visited the girls several times while waiting for the adoption process to be completed.
“We had developed a relationship with them,” said Steve. “It was difficult, but God gave us the grace to deal with the process. We were concerned with the instability in Haiti.”
Two years was a long wait, but some in the area have had to deal with even longer delays. Another family at the church began their adoption process before the Hoffmans, and they are still waiting to bring their kids home, Steve said.
Now that the girls have been in Fergus Falls for a few weeks, they are doing a great job of adapting to the new culture. They have all learned how to swim and they love being on the lake, he said.
“They still have the language to learn yet, but the more they are immersed in it, the better they will get,” said Steve.
Richelande and Miranda will attend Morning Son school in the fall, and Rosemilove will go to Hillcrest.
The Hoffmans have adopted children in the past, but Steve said that doesn’t mean he knows what to expect.
“The one thing we know for sure is that we don’t know for sure what we’re getting into,” Steve said.