Testimonials Thomas & Kathy
As a Father and Mother of five children, life can be very busy. Between Swim Lessons, Football practice, and youth group, there is a constant stream of activities. There is nothing, though, that would stop us from sharing the fantastic blessing that Hope International has been to us.
In 2002 we had three children, most people would deem that “enough”, but then our family has never been “most people”. We were missing a little boy, a little boy that would turn out to be such an amazing blessing and an amazing challenge (aren’t all boys J). This little boy sat in a Moscow orphanage, his body slowly deteriorating and the neglect clearly showing in his eyes. Yet a glimmer of hope, arranged by God, and facilitated by Hope International lay in our small sons future.
When we arrived in Moscow, our arms aching to hold Max for the first time, we didn’t understand…not really, the extent of the starvation our son was experiencing. He was starved for food, but he had another immediate need. He was starved for attention, love. The first time we saw him his eyes looked empty, like he had learned not to expect anything of this world. We had been prepared by Hope and told what to expect, but there was nothing like seeing our son experience a tree for the first time (he hadn’t been outside, except to get visa pictures taken) or to look at his body’s skeletal frame. Max was in the 90th percentile in height, but not on the weight chart.
Max changed our lives. He is smart, energetic, and full of that little glimmer that makes you wonder what he is going to do next. Our lives took a turn during that momentous time, a turn that was blessed by, coordinated by, and was given an amazing boost by Hope International.
We’ve heard the saying that the adoption process can make the most sane person, insane. We had to laugh at this, since we’ve been there ourselves.
You know your child is out there and you almost hurt to hold them in your arms. The process is a little unnerving, your life is invaded like never before. You have this home study to evaluate your family and ability to parent. Your finances are taken apart. Your past, present, and future are scrutinized. It’s can be intimidating. Yet, when Dawn (now executive director of Hope International) arrived at our home she made us realize that this was just one step in such a wonderful journey, not one to be feared, but one to be held as treasured memory.
Through the whole process all those at Hope gave us just that…hope. They walked us through the insanity created by the adoption process. They helped us as we waded through the paperwork and they rejoiced with us as we held Max for the first time. We had the home phone numbers of both Dawn and others from the agency in Moscow. We were not left alone, to sift through a foreign culture with no aid. We felt we had a cherished friend, not just an agency.
In 2006 we were at it again, we had a daughter in Ethiopia. She had such a joyous glimmer in her eyes, right from the beginning. Yet she was in 3 to 6 month clothes at a year old. Bekah had a lump on her neck when we looked at her on the “waiting child” list. They didn’t know what caused it, but active TB seemed likely and we KNEW she was our daughter. The situation for many families in Ethiopia is dire. Yet Hope International could not sit by and do nothing. They created an interagency program with Wide Horizons enabling us to join our family with another culture and the sweet joy of our daughter Bekah. Dawn walked us through the roller coaster of decisions that had to be made and helped us bring a beautiful new angel into our fold.
Yet Hope International does so much more. We know we are probably writing too much, but we feel the need to share with you the heart of this agency.
When you initially join with an agency you assume that they are creating families and that is their sole purpose. We learned different with Hope though. They create families, but their priority is the children. The precious little ones in extreme situations around the world. Their humanitarian efforts just expand monthly, yearly, to where they see there is need. They partner with a Church of Christ sponsored mission, Jeremiah's Hope, in the Ukraine. They have been working on creating sponsorship for and orphanage (as well as an adoption program) and sponsorship of individual orphans in war torn Liberia. They create humanitarian trips where the needs are obvious. Hope does not just feel satisfied with creating less orphans in the world, but feels drawn to improving conditions of babies, youth, and teenagers until they can be brought into their “Forever Family”.
Hope International has a passion that is obvious. Their desire to create families is amazing. Most importantly though, their love for children is overwhelming. They are not an organization whose goal it is to self promote and make money. Hope International is a blessing to every child, every family out there that they have touched (which is many).
There is no way for our family to truly express the gift that Hope International helped us to unwrap. A gift of two beautiful children and a world full of hope.
It is a privilege for us to share this walk that invites the young and old alike to journey into the new world of love, joy, and kindness that we found DOES exist in this world. Thank you.
Sincerely, In Christ,
Thomas and Kathy Marr
(and Tom, Sarah, Anna, Max, and Bekah)