16 December 2008 ~ 8 Comments

A Baby From Heaven!

Yesterday (Dec. 14) was Jonathan’s birthday. He is 13, and his story is fascinating. A true God-thing. Not that every person’s story isn’t a God-thing, but the circumstances around Jonathan’s are truly mind-boggling.

On Wednesday, December 13, 1995, Colleen and I had come home from church, put 10-month-old Joshua to bed and had a “lovely” discussion about our finances. You know how encouraging those can be!

One month previous, we were at the Ventura County Courthouse finalizing Joshua’s adoption. On the way out the door, our attorney said, “So, when are we going to do this again?”

We laughed, and asked how often an adoption goes as flawlessly as Joshua’s did. He admitted Joshua’s was pretty rare, but made the comment that they often come in pairs.

When Colleen went to bed that Wednesday night, unbeknownst to me, she was frustrated enough with the state of our finances to actually pray, “Lord, even if we wanted to have another child right now, there’s no way we could afford it.”

She opened her Bible to Psalm 13, figuring it was December 13 and she could read the Psalm corresponding to the date. She quickly opened to Psalm 113 instead. Verse 9, the last verse in that chapter, says that “God will make the barren woman the happy mother of children in her home.”

Having endured years of infertility, she noted that the verse spoke specifically of more than one child, thanked the Lord for that, and drifted quickly off to sleep.

The next morning (Thursday, December 14, 1995), she left for work early. A nurse at Simi Valley Hospital, she had been working in the Nursery for some time, taking care of newborns. Her schedule had her working 2 weekends, 2 Thursdays and 2 Mondays each month. This was one of only 2 Thursdays a month she would work.

I got Joshua up, fed and dropped off at the babysitter’s on my way to the office. When I arrived, the Pastor I was working with at the time came into my office and said there were 3 messages for me from 3 different people all talking about a baby about to be born at Simi Valley Hospital.

Of the 3 phone messages, I only knew one of the callers. However, it wasn’t someone that I spoke with very often at all. But since she was the only one I knew, she was the first call I returned.

Having navigated a successful adoption already, we would often be asked if we knew of anyone else who was looking to adopt. As my friend was telling me the story of a baby about to be born at Simi Valley Hospital, I anticipated being asked the same question. Do we know of a couple who would want to adopt this baby?

I was stunned when she asked, “Paul, are you and Colleen ready to adopt another baby?” I stammered through my answer, “Well, uh, um, no, not really, I don’t think so.”

She interrupted me with, “Paul, you don’t understand. This lady is LOOKING YOU AND COLLEEN. She wants YOU to adopt her baby!” I was flabbergasted, and wasn’t sure I heard her correctly.

She went on to relate the rest of the story. This lady had been in a Pastor’s office in Simi Valley just two months before. She wasn’t sure if she would keep this baby or give it up for adoption. She was adopted herself and didn’t know if she could raise the baby. She was in a relationship with a man who was not the baby’s father, and was hoping the relationship would work. She wanted options just in case.

Sitting on this Pastor’s desk was a profile letter that Colleen and I had written over a year previous. We were seeking to adopt at the time, but had already done so by the time he was meeting with Jonathan’s birthmother. He showed her our letter anyway.

When she went into labor on Wednesday, December 13, the same night Colleen had read Psalm 113:9, she told her aunt (whom she had been raised by and was living with), “Find that Foursquare Pastor and his wife! I don’t want this baby to go to Social Services.” The search commenced as we were sleeping!

I called Colleen at work immediately following that first phone call. I said, “Honey, there’s a lady there who is about to give birth. Her name is Colleen (same name as my wife) and she is 31 years old (same age as my wife at the time).”

Colleen said, “I know that. How do you know that?”

I said, “She is going to give the baby up for adoption.”

Colleen said, “I know that too. How do you know that?”

I told her she’d better sit down for the next piece of information that I knew. “Not only is she giving this baby up for adoption, but she is LOOKING FOR US! She wants to give this baby to us!”

Labor & Delivery Nurses already knew that the birthmother was looking for “someone at the Foursquare Church.” Knowing that I was a Pastor at the Foursquare Church, one of the Nurses had already said to my wife that morning, “Colleen, someone at your church is about to get the greatest Christmas present!”

Right after getting off the phone with me, Colleen found that nurse and told her, “The people she is looking for … it’s us!”

Right after hanging up with Colleen, I contacted our attorney. “David, remember what you asked a month ago about when we would do this again? Wellll……”

He laughed on the other end of the phone, and stated that he vividly remembered saying that, but that he had never done two adoptions for a couple so close to one another. He said he “just so happened” to have the morning open, and would come out to the Hospital. He could get done in a couple of hours in person what would take a few weeks to accomplish by mail.

That alone was providential, as the birthmother checked out of the Hospital right after our meeting against medical advice. We later found out that she had tested positive for drug use, which had to have been her reason for leaving.

Because she had signed appropriate paperwork before leaving, Jonathan was able to be placed in our custody rather than having to be turned over to Children & Family Services for foster care.

He was covered by Medicare because the birthmother had no insurance. The Medicare Pediatrician at the Hospital happened to be the most thorough Pediatrician on staff. He ordered a whole slew of tests to be run since we had no medical history on the birthmother or birthfather.

Suffice it to say that since Colleen was well-known and well-loved by the entire Hospital staff, Jonathan received top-rate care. And we received 5 days with him in the Hospital to absorb the shock of what had just happened only 11 days before Christmas, which was being held at OUR house with numbers of people from both of our families!

We were able to truly release him into their care when nightfall came, knowing he’d be coddled and looked after just as if we were there!

So when his birthday rolls around, it moves me very deeply. Yesterday, I could hardly keep my mind on my message at church, and admitted that at the beginning of our second service.

When the tough times of parenting roll around, I think of Jonathan’s story. It reminds me of how truly conscious and caring God is about where He places us and when.

  • http://living-in-grace.net kelli

    Amazing … thanks for sharing! and happy birthday Jonathan

  • tim & deb

    That’s the 1st time I’ve heard All the details and it is truly Amazing.
    He is a very special and unique boy and the Lord gave him just the right parents.
    He’s got a big HUG coming.

    Love,
    Mom

  • Margaret Ney

    Paul Colleen,

    I remember being at the hospital that very night if I am not mistaken. It was late in the evening, after a staff get together at Dan M.house. Danny and I, went along up to see wee Jonathan in the Nursery.

    Watching you hold your son with the greatest look of admiration, truly a fathers look on your face with a pure fathers heart. It was an awesome moment & the feelings are still in place as I read this story and experience those exact same feelings over again.

    I shall never forget it, it was most lovely.

    You have two great boys!
    You guys are an awesome family.

  • Paul Kuzma

    Kelli….Thanks for the birthday greeting (from Jonathan).

    Mom Flanagan…that’s REALLY the 1st time you’ve heard all these details? I could swear we’ve talked about it all before. Probably at that Christmas get-together, but it’s been 13 years!

    Margaret…thanks for sharing here, and for the love and support you so powerfully gave to Jonathan & Joshua. For anyone reading, Margaret literally gave her care to our boys for several months, babysitting on work days and refusing to take payment.

    You are ALL loved and appreciated!

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  • Laurel

    Wonderful….absolutely wonderful!!! I so appreciated reading your story and the fantastic way God placed Johnathan in your home. Thanks for sharing Paul. Merry Christmas! (and Happy Birthday Johnathan!!!)

  • Kim Ackerman

    Hi Paul! (and Colleen, Joshua and Johnathan!)

    Well…that sure brought about tears here! I was poking around online, looking for possible sources for food assistance, because we are nearing a possible crisis. And I remembered Steve Harper telling me to look into what is provided at New Heart. I wasn’t expecting to get heart-sunk(in a good way, that is!) with a reminder of God’s miracles and devine plan in bringing your wonderful boys into your life! Maybe that was the food that I really needed!!!

    I hope all is well with all of you! Please pass on my love and best wishes to your whole family!

    Happy Belated Birthday to Johnathan!

    Happy New Year to all of you!

    Love, Kim Ackerman

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