Bridge the Gap - Henriksen Family Adoption #5426miles
Start: Jun 12, 2018 - End: Jul 31, 2018
The Henriksen Family adoption journey begins with a family in Ukraine – another set of parents who dearly loved their children but because of situations and reasons not fully in their control they were not able to. Ryan & Jennifer learned about this sibling set of 7 children from another set of adoptive parents that were advocating for a family for them.
Ryan and I would meet in 2006, thanks to the help of Neil Clark Warren and his Christian matchmaking website, E-harmony. A rather comical, long distance dating relationship ensued for the next few years as we got to know each other. Jennifer, already knew he was the one…but Ryan Dean Henriksen needed a little more time to be convinced! On December 24, 2007 (ironically the eve of the oldest child’s birthday), it became official that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together when he asked me to marry him! We were married on May 24, 2008. Children were always a part of our plan for our lives together. I gave up my teaching license so that I could stay home and eventually raise and teach our family. It wasn’t an easy path, because as much as we wanted a family it definitely didn’t happen on our timeline. Months went by…even years…as we watched friend after friend announce pregnancies and births. It was extremely hard and there were many tears cried on both of our parts as we tried to wait patiently and trust God’s timing. Finally, two years into our marriage we received the best news ever when we discovered we were expecting our first baby! August 31, 2010 – Rebekah Lynn Henriksen was born…ironically just 6 months before another little baby was born to that mom in Ukraine. That baby would be the yongest in the sibling set- otherwise known as Rebekah’s Ukrainian twin! Ryan and I were thrilled and loved our little bundle so much! Parenthood was amazing, we again hoped to add siblings to our family but God’s plan was not what we planned and there was more years of waiting – albeit not as patiently as we probably should have. We hadn’t learned God’s lesson on HIS timing well enough yet, I suppose!
2013 – We again were thrilled to find out we were expecting Baby #2 and excited to give three year old Rebekah a sibling finally! However, at 5 weeks (before we could even have had the first doctor visit) our little one passed on. I discovered after testing that I had a condition known as MTHFR which means I basically do not detox well so my body gets overloaded with toxins which is likely part of the reason for our trouble conceiving and my miscarriage. More pain, more tears….it was hard to go on. We continued trusting God and leaning on each other, but it was hard to watch most of our friends who by this point were almost finished having babies and growing their families. Rebekah prayed each night for a brother AND sister!
2015 This year our ukrainian siblings become officially available for international adoption. We spent lots of money on doctors visits, supplements, and lifestyle changes that would hopefully help Jennifer’s body handle the MTHFR. At this point we were starting to reach the point of thinking maybe God was pointing us towards adoption. Adoption was easy for me to consider because I’d always wanted to adopt. China had actually always been close to my heart. I wanted a little Chinese girl! Ryan was not ready to consider adoption though, so Jennifer prayed and we continued waiting. In November 2015, we learned about orphan hosting. We had no idea this was a thing! Jennifer read a post about an organization that brought kids here from Columbia. Ryan wasn’t ready…he kinda thought Jennifer was crazy! In December, we were presented with the idea of hosting a foreign exchange student. There were several kids waiting to find a family to host them for the Spring 2016 semester. Both of decided this would be fun! We started the process….quickly…and were matched with a young lady named Helen Curts. We only planned to host one student, but God brought another young lady, Lilia Nangong, into our lives when her Fall Host Family situation needed to come to an end. Our experience that spring with Helen & Lilia is really what brought us both back to adoption. Ryan saw that he could love and parent someone that wasn’t biological and didn’t start with us as a baby! He made an excellent dad for teens!
We hosted three of the siblings during the summer of 2016 and also Winter 2016. During hosting we learned that we were expecting our 2nd biological daughter. Hosting was an amazing experience and we were able to bond very closely with three of the siblings. They wanted to come live in our family forever. This was no small feat, because we needed $8,700 ($2,900/girl) in order to host them each time plus all of the challenges of Jennifer’s pregnancy! God provided everything we needed financially and emotionally and both hostings were very successful! Our 2nd bio daughter was born when we took the girls back to TX to fly to Ukraine at the end of 2nd hosting. That was definitely an exciting time! Since then we have been staying in contact with the kids, raising funds, completing paperwork and waiting on God’s timing. It’s been a long, draining journey but through it all our faith has been tested and grown. We have seen what God can do when we give him our lives! We are now on the downward slope….with Court date of May 17 and final trip about June 17. We would love your prayers and support as we strive to finish up the race well!
Fund Leader: Jennifer Henriksen
Fund Type: Adoptive Parents