Family Stories

The Nauss Family

"Ok, Lord. I surrender to you," was my prayer in our Portland, Maine, hotel room that night. "But you realize, God, that you have to provide the funds since we live on a minister's salary and we don't even qualify for the minimum income guidelines for adopting a child from China." God was about to miraculously answer the prayer of an obedient heart. Within a week, my wife Holly had a part-time job in a nursing home only three miles from our home, a job she would have until we completed the adoption process.

The seed for adoption began logng ago in Holly's fertile heart since she was adopted by her parents as a six-month-old baby. However, my heart was fearful. I was often teased by my family that I was adopted and not a biological part of the family - not that I had a problem with other people's adoption, but I felt it wasn't for my family.

As my wife and I raised our two daughters, I began to yearn for the day when our child-rearing responsiblities end and we could travel and do some fun things together. After all, at 47 and 44 years of age, we were no longer "spring chickens," I surmised. Why should we have to once again experience the terrible twos and the traumatic thirteens?

One day in spring of 2005, Holly read an article in Today's Christian magazine featuring Steven Curtis Chapman's family. The Chapmans told about the wonderful experience and joy of adopting three children from China and urged older parents to consider providing a loving home to an orphaned child. Through the Shaohannah's Hope website, Holly discovered a link for America World Adoption Association. Holly browsed the site, clicked the button for seminars, and, to her surprise, discovered that AWAA was hosting a Spirit of Adoption event in Maine! Timidly, she asked if I was interested in attending a seminar. I responded that I would only consider adopting through a distinctly Christian organization that shared the same values that we hold dear.

During the seminar, AWAA's first held in Maine, the representative shared from the Bible God's loving heart for orphans. I began to sense God's warmth in my soul. God had reached out and adopted me into His forever family. Now He reasoned with me in my spirit: "Are you so selfish that you are not willing to provide a loving home for one of My little children just so that you can have your wife all to yourself? Is that why I saved you? Give me the strength of your years and raise a child for My glory. I'll take care of your daughters and their personal needs."

Some people felt that our timing to adopt was bad. We had a daughter struggling in college and a young teenager experiencing an emotional crisis. A few brazen critics dared to voice their negative opinions in an attempt to discourage, dissuade, even derail us from obeying God. But our daughters cheered us on and we began to see God perform miracles! HE was the One orchestrating our adoption and its timing and provision.

Though we pursued the adoption of a healthy child, we were open to consider a child with Special Needs. When the March AWAA newsletter arrived, we responded to the plea for families interested in Special Needs boys. Browsing through the medical papers on 16-month-old Wei Hai, a child with a missing arm, we turned to each other and said, "Is that all? We can handle that." God had previously taught us how to care for an elderly, stroke-affected parent with limited mobility.

The adoption process accelerated into high gear as soon as we sent our "Letter of Intent" for Wei Hai. It also hastened when the bills came due. God knew all along how He was going to provide for our child's homecoming. This "fast track" shortened the timetable for our adoption fundraising expenses to three months! In our own strength, it was impossible, but God is the God of the unachievable. Additional financial help poured in from family and friends, including many unexpected sources. God miraculously provided grants through Shaohannah's Hope and A Child Waits. God wonderfully orchestrated all of the particulars of the adoption. Capable and compassionate AWAA staff helped us wade through the minutiae of documents and last-minute preparations. We thank everyone who participated in our "Miracle of Adoption."

We name our child "Samuel" (God has heard) after the Old Testament prophet who was the answer to Hannah's prayer. Sammy is a true joy to have in our home. Our active, vivacious, and inquisitive little boy is quickly bonding and attaching to each member of the family. He loves swaying to music and likes to help dad play his guitar. His disability doesn't slow him down. He likes to climb, toss balls, play with the family pets, and is, in every respect, a normal, energetic toddler.

Please consider adopting a Special Needs boy or girl; they need a loving and caring family too.