By Michele Kappas
The overwhelming feeling of bringing home an adopted child for the first time is so surreal, but also extremely complicated.
Nathan Lane, assistant professor of biblical studies, and his wife have been able to experience this feeling firsthand along with other professors at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Christ Fellowship has a support group for adoptive parents and those who are currently in the process of adopting that meets once a month.
Lane and his wife attend the meetings, where adoptive parents talk about their experiences and ask questions. They also have special speakers such as students who are adopted. This support group is not exclusive to members of Christ Fellowship.
“We know it can be tough for parents who are looking to adopt or foster a child so this support group is meant to encourage,” Lane said. The adoption group was started a year and a half ago and is a support mechanism for Place of Hope, a children’s home off of Northlake.
Lane and his wife have adopted two boys, Kolton, 4, and Trey, 2; both were private domestic adoptions and they were able to take each of the boys home shortly after birth.
Although the boys were brought home early, the Lanes decided to make both adoptions open where there is contact with the birth parents.
“We always imagined we would adopt and things really fell into place about five years ago,” Lane said. His son, Kolton is Haitian and fairly laid back. On the contrary, Trey is half African American and half Caucasian and always very energetic.
“It was a pretty dark time before we adopted Trey so when he came home he was an explosion of God’s graciousness,” Lane said. “The boys respond very well to each other and act like any other two brothers do.”
Lane is not the only professor at PBA who has been able to rejoice in the adoption experience.
“I used to think it was easy to pray that ‘Thy will be done’ until I learned how hard ‘Thy will’ can be to live with,” said Tom St. Antoine, associate professor of communication.
St. Antoine and his wife adopted Olivia, a girl from China, in January of 2008. She is stubborn, happy and funny. Olivia turns three on Christmas day.
The adoption process took the St. Antoine family a total of four years, so when Olivia first came home they were very relieved and happy.
“We had anticipated that day for years, and it was just as good as we hoped to be,” Antoine said.
Throughout the process he and his wife have learned to be patient more than anything. Antoine’s wife recently gave birth to their second daughter last week.
Karelynne Ayayo, associate professor of biblical studies, and her husband have a unique adoption story. After two failed attempts and an incredible amount of suffering, God finally came through.
Their pastor shared their story at a gathering of local pastors where a representative from Florida Baptist Children’s Home shared that there was a 5-month-old African American boy up for adoption.
The Ayayo family was able to bring little Zachary home at 5 and a half months old.
However, a phone call soon brought exciting news. “I guess it’s true when they say, ‘When it rains it pours,’” Ayayo said.
Another agency called a week after they brought Zachary home explaining there was a woman who was four months pregnant and wanted to place the baby up for adoption.
Megan was born January 10, 2008, and came home with the Ayayos two days later.
“It had been nearly six years after our attempts to have a family began and we found ourselves with two sweet infants, a boy and a girl, the most incredible gifts from God,” she said.
Angie McDonald, associate professor of psychology, is currently in the process of adopting a girl from Vietnam. She had the opportunity to go and meet her daughter and work in her orphanage this summer.
“I’m looking forward to having my girl home,” McDonald said. The process has been rough and started over three and a half years ago, but she is hoping that the remaining cases will be resolved soon.
Beth Hallquist, assistant professor of communication, and her husband adopted Leslie from Korea.
Though it was 23 years ago, Hallquist lights up when she talks about her daughter as if she were born yesterday.
“She is truly a delight,” Hallquist said. “My husband and I knew that there were unwanted children in the world who might not have the chance to have families of their own, and we believed we could provide a home for at least one of them.”
Adoption has opened doors and changed the lives of these professors and others at PBA. “It doesn’t matter where they come from, you love them all the same,” Hallquist said.
“I never imagined the journey to parenthood would take so long and be so complicated,” Ayayo said.
“I never imagined I could hurt as much as I did, and I never imagined the end result would be so sweet. I can’t imagine going through what I did without knowing that somehow, in some way, God would grant me the desires of my heart and He would glorify himself.”