Rick and Heather Hanna have five children—three biological children and two children through adoption. Rick is a pastor and Heather is a homemaker / homeschooling mom. They love the gospel and care deeply about adoption. They live in Columbus, OH.
Here is their transethnic adoption story:
1. What initially motivated you to adopt?
Heather has encouraged others to adopt for many years and prayed for six years that God would show Rick that we were to add more children to our family through adoption. For several years, we prayed together about whether God wanted us to consider adoption. Through God’s direction in a variety of ways, we eventually sensed that God was moving in our lives to take a step of faith and knew that we had more love to give. We wanted to be parents to more children and God began to open doors that brought us our two sweet babies in one year’s time!
2. What kind of responses have you received from extended family and friends about your decision to adopt?
Initially it seemed that some people were shocked. Honestly most people could not understand why a family who already had three biological children would even consider adopting. In time, we were able to talk more about adoption and our family and friends began to understand and to pray for all the steps to happen to bring about these miracles in our lives. Once our children were home, our family and friends lovingly accepted them just as they had all of our children.
3. How do you think the gospel should influence the decision to pursue adoption?
The gospel is all about adoption. If God had not reached out in love and brought us into his family, we would be lost both in this life and in the life to come. In Heather’s words: “I remember one of the Christmases I spent longing for our sweet daughter to be in our arms. It was in those deep moments of sadness and yet faith that God showed me that His love for me was much deeper than my love for my daughter. I am adopted by God – through our adoptions for the first time I began to see God as my Abba Father instead of One who passes judgment. Our adoptions of our children were a beautiful portrayal of all that God had done for me in saving me and I will never be the same because of the things God taught me in this process.” God’s adoption of us should motivate us to consider adoption.
4. How is the gospel shaping your relationship with your adopted children?
Our children are still very young and have only been home a short period of time. We rest in knowing that before time began, God had a plan for our children to be in our home. The gospel message is all about people, who were not a part of God’s family, becoming a part of His family. In a similar way, a miracle happens that transforms a picture and a referral into your own child. The love that God has for us as His adopted children has shaped the love we have for our children. We love all of our children and it does not matter to us how they were added to the family, according to God’s plan for us and the children. His sovereignty, as described in Scripture, and His compassion to call us to be in His family is what makes adoption “make sense”. We have seen many people without Christ attempt to explain adoption and the answers are not enough. We are so thankful to find in this blog a Christian perspective on adoption – what a blessing for so many families!
5. How have you sought to help your adopted children understand the gospel better through their adoption?
We look forward to the many conversations we will have with our children as they grow in understanding. Mostly we want to point them to God, their Abba Father who loved them and had a plan for their life. We pray that they can see His love in us and that they are drawn by the Holy Spirit into a relationship with Him. We pray for them that they will rest in His sovereignty and love even when the questions seem hard to answer. We pray that as they search for answers that they will realize that there is a “God-shaped hole” inside of each of them that only God can fill.
6. Did you or do you have any fears related to your adopted children’s future as members of your family? If so, what are they and how have you sought to apply the gospel to those fears?
In adoption there are many risks and unknowns – some of those are resolved over time as you watch God answer prayers. Others remain unresolved. One of our children was adopted with a few unknowns. Some days we struggle with worry, but we pray often and remember the wonderful God who has never left us nor forsaken us. He is the only One who could have miraculously provided for our finances and for the faith to step out and adopt our two blessings. Our lives will never be the same and we are so grateful!