Peter and JoAnne did not set out to adopt nine children. They had been married less than a year. It was their second marriage. JoAnne had three birth children and Peter had four children. Six children still at home made a full house. When they received a phone call from a relative of a relative in Washington, asking that they consider adopting a beautiful little four year old girl, Olivia became their first adopted child.
When Olivia would pray at bedtime, she would always end her prayer “And please, God, bring my little sister to live here, too”. The year long process started enabling Olivia’s half birth sister to become her fully adopted sister. Two year old Gabrielle was home at last.
About a year and a half later, a young man saw the church sign and came to youth group. He met the Peter and JoAnne’s teenagers and started “hanging out” at their house with his baby boy…a baby who would soon become their little Noah.
It’s interesting to note that about nine months prior to this, JoAnne had the strongest desire to adopt a baby boy. Several times she picked up the phone to call their social worker to see if he had any baby boys. Each time she felt like God was saying, “I’ll bring him to you!” God did, indeed, bring Noah to their door!
Soon Peter and JoAnne’s family had a visit from their social worker. She told them about a biracial boy who seemed a perfect fit for their family. It took nine long months for the call that Isaiah was finally legally free for adoption, but there was also new information… Isaiah tested positive for Hepatitis C. After talking with his pediatrician, they heard the worst case scenario. There was so much to consider.
After much prayer, they came to the realization that had Isaiah been a birth child carried in the womb for nine months and they learned he had a medical condition, they would never consider abortion. They, of course, would not “abort” their plans for adoption. About a year later, that same pediatrician joyfully informed that Isaiah tested negative for Hepatitis C!
Peter and JoAnne were inspired by Olivia and Gabrielle’s close relationship, realizing that it was so very important to keep siblings together, so they shared their desire to adopt a sibling group with their social worker at Clermont County.
Overnight, the family doubled from four children to eight! Jonas, Zoe, Christian and Levi (ages 2, 3, 5 and 7). They opened the doors to a whole new life, and a twelve passenger van!
A couple of years ago, Peter and JoAnne learned about a beautiful, intelligent twelve year old red-headed girl who needed a family. Grace was adopted about a year ago. Since she has found her place in this forever family, she is a new person. She is emotionally stable and enjoying restful sleep, and free from all medications, free to be all she can be.
With nine adopted children, the most frequently asked question is “Are you done yet?” With three more beds, who knows…?
Each precious child has their own story of how God brought them to Peter and JoAnne’s family. Home schooling has aided in forging unity.
One day, at the dentist office, the receptionist said, “Are some of you real brothers and sisters?” Eight year old Gabrielle replied, “We’re all brothers and sisters.” The receptionist, noticing the physical resemblance of the sibling group of four, asked again, “Yeah, but are some of you real brothers and sisters?” Gabrielle replied, “We’re all real brothers and sisters.”
Persistently, the receptionist asked again, “I know…I know…but are some of you Real brothers and sisters?” Gabrielle is a smart girl. She knew the lady meant, “Are some of you “birth siblings”, but she would not let her off the hook. With hands on her hips and a determination in her voice, Gabrielle replied for the third time, “Ma’am, we are all…real … brothers and sisters!!!”