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I'm Tammy and this is my story.

Adoption. It was something that had been on our hearts for awhile. However, we didn’t start our marriage back in 1994 by saying, “Let’s adopt three kids from another country.” But God kept putting people in our path to lead us and turn our hearts towards the orphan. It was an undeniable pull…but not without doubts, fears and uncertainties. It was a leap of faith. We started this journey in 2012 by hosting orphans in our home for a month at a time through a Christian hosting program. During hosting, God opened our hearts and our eyes to the great need for these kids to have loving, forever families. When we put our mustard seed faith into action, God changed our doubts and fears into big faith. We watched him do the impossible to bring our kids home to us.

The Bible speaks about orphan care. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27) “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless...” (Isaiah 1:17) After all, adoption is a perfect picture of what Jesus Christ did for us. We were all once orphans, separated from our Heavenly Father by sin. But God extended his love and grace to us –
unexpected, immeasurable love and grace. He sent Jesus as our rescue. He loved us enough to not leave us as orphans (John 14:18). Instead, he made a way for us through his death on the cross so that we could be adopted into his family.

In December of 2013, my husband Chris, myself, and our three biological kids – Caleb, Emily and Brooke, waited at the Atlanta airport with dozens of other host families from Georgia and surrounding states. A plane would be arriving soon bringing children from orphanages across the ocean for the month-long hosting program in the states. Kids from Latvia and Ukraine would become part of a family for a few precious weeks…or just maybe forever. We had completed all the paperwork and raised the funds to host two sisters. Sintija was 16 and Aija was 12. They were from the small country of Latvia, nestled between Russia and the Baltic Sea. It’s a beautiful country filled with cobblestone streets, amazing, age-old architecture, and rich in culture and history. The girls had been in an orphanage most of their childhood years, yet they were sweet, smiling and happy. We would soon learn that behind their smiles they had experienced a life filled with disappointments, pain and rejection. They were resilient, yet not without scars.

We loved them immediately. God whispered to mine and Chris’s hearts to pursue their adoption when

the hosting time was over. Then, Caleb, Emily and Brooke unanimously decided Sintija and Aija

were meant to be ours. We all knew it in the depths of our souls. We were willing to join them in their place

of brokenness and love them back to wholeness – the way Jesus loved us.


Would it be simple? It would be great to say, yes! But is life really supposed to be easy and simple? Are relationships where there is love involved ever simple? John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The book of Corinthians says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” Maybe it tells us this because love will not always be easy. It will be tested. It will have to endure. It will have to hope. And it’s because of God’s perfect, unconditional love that we have hope. Hope for the orphan, the broken, the hurting and wounded. Hope in the God who triumphs over our brokenness. Hope in him who made us and created us for a purpose! Sintija and Aija’s life had purpose. They just needed someone to show them the love of Jesus and the hope found in him. 


Throughout the adoption process, many people asked us about the cost. We considered the cost…the time, the effort, the mountains of paperwork, and yes, even the money. We had to fill out paperwork and get clearance on local, state and federal levels. We submitted documents to the United States as well as Latvia - background checks, fingerprints, references, medical and financial reports, passports, visas, home studies, dossiers, USCIS approvals, etc. There were also legal and professional fees, document translation fees, as well as travel and accommodation costs in Latvia. There’s a quote that I referred to often during our adoptions.


“Don’t miss out on something that could be amazing just because it could also be difficult.”


It was all worth it because their lives are precious. Their lives matter to him. They have worth and value. Each of our children are priceless gifts from God. There were a lot of struggles and hard things throughout the adoption process, but there was also beauty. God is in the business of redeeming and restoring what was once broken. He can make beauty from ashes. We got a front row seat to see just what God will do when you give him your “YES”!

The total cost of the adoption was around $40,000. That may sound like an impossible amount for some. It seemed that way to us in the beginning – BUT GOD! We watched him provide every step of the way. Every penny of the cost was covered in some way or another. A check would come in the mail we weren’t expecting. A group of teens would have a bake sale and donate the funds to us. A spaghetti fundraiser at church and two restaurant fundraisers brought in crowds of people and donations beyond what we could have imagined. People gave anonymously. Family and friends supported financially and with their prayers. We learned what it means to “Walk by faith and not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Every time an adoption expense was due, God came through. He’s still in the miracle business. He still moves mountains. He makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the dessert. (Isaiah 43:19-21) His heart is for the
orphan, and he is a Father to the fatherless.

As I mentioned earlier, we hosted Sintija and Aija in December of 2013. When they returned to Latvia in January, we immediately started the adoption process of paperwork and fundraising. It was a journey in every sense of the word.


Our faith was stretched, our patience tested, our comfort zone pushed to the limit. Our family of five had to

step outside the bubble we often lived in, and take God outside of the box we so many times put him in.

We tend to put limits on what we think God can and will do. He is willing and able to do far more than we can

ask, think or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20).


He is there every step of the way, even when we don’t see him working. He leads and guides our paths when we put our trust in him. His way may not always be easy. It may not be the “frequently traveled” route, but it is always best and right. Psalm 37:23-24 says, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

There were many times along the way we stumbled. There were roadblocks and setbacks. The adoption agency we were using closed down during our adoption process, then we had to redo our home study. We were left with finding a new adoption agency and almost completely starting over. That was a big hurdle in our way and added expense. We definitely didn’t see that one coming, but God did! He wasn’t surprised or derailed. We leaned into him and he kept us
on course. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you.” (Psalm 121:1-4)


On April 9, 2014, Chris and I took a short trip to the Secretary of State office in Raleigh, NC and submitted all of our documents and paperwork to be apostilled. We had finished the paperwork part in record time with God’s help! That was the last step needed before everything could be sent off to Latvia. The day was significant because April 9th just happened to be our 20th wedding anniversary. What a way to celebrate! We could have never imagined twenty years before when we said “I do” that we would be submitting paperwork to adopt from a foreign country. It has been an experience to say the least, but we wouldn’t change a thing. We have learned a lot about ourselves, patience and trusting God, because who else can you turn to when faced with the impossible? You go to the One who cares about every detail of your life. The One who created the Universe and hung the moon and stars in the sky. The One who calls rain down at his command and calms the storm with his voice. He is the Way Maker!

We were one step closer to bringing our girls home to us.

In June of 2014, we received our travel dates. Our family was scheduled to fly out of the RDU airport on July 19th. If you know anything about the international adoption process, this time frame is unheard of!


We had completed all the paperwork and received approval to travel to Latvia in only 6 short months!

That alone was a miracle!


We had put in the work and were determined to bring our girls home as quickly as possible, but truly only God could have made it happen. We would have to live in Latvia for a month to satisfy the adoption requirements. We said our goodbyes to family and friends and made the 14 hour trip over the ocean to the beautiful country of Latvia. Life in Latvia had its ups and downs. We all had fun together as a family, but we also had challenges. Our days were filled with sightseeing, eating new foods, visiting the orphanage where Sintija and Aija grew up, meeting some of their friends, social worker visits, lawyers, court, U.S. Embassy appointments, and so on. We enjoyed learning about their country and their culture, but also longed to be back home to the familiar.


August 15. The day finally came. We packed our luggage and said goodbye to a country and friends we had grown to know and love. It was extra hard for Sintija and Aija. They were saying goodbye to all they had ever known and taking a chance on us as their family. We were back home in North Carolina for two months when Sintija decided to return to Latvia. Our hearts were broken with the reality of what it meant for us as a family and what it meant for Aija and Sintija. We tried to understand why. We were confused, frustrated, hurt and so sad. We cried many tears over our loss and over Aija’s loss. We had loved with all that we had in us, and still the answer had not been what we expected. But God always has a plan. We can only see the here and now, but he calls us to obey him, to walk where he asks us to walk, to go where he asks us to go. He calls us to love when it’s sometimes so hard to love because that’s what he did for us. He loved us when we didn’t deserve it.


Originally, the girls were only to be adopted together. Our lawyer had to petition the Orphan Court in Riga, Latvia to change the documents so we could continue with the process of adopting just Aija. Both girls then had to submit a written statement saying they were willing to be legally separated from each other. It broke our hearts and was the most difficult part of our family’s adoption journey. And so we had to learn to love Sintija from a distance. We checked in with her and sent birthday or Christmas gifts when we could. Most of all, we prayed for her. We wanted to love her, but also knew we had to give her the time and space she needed. Looking back, we see how God met us and held us through it all.

In November of 2019, God spoke to our hearts once again to adopt. So we traveled back to Latvia and brought Markuss and Krista home. We were now a family of eight. Fast forward to 2023. Life is crazy and busy, but our home is filled with love, lots of noise and laughter. Aija has been part of our family for nine years. Markuss and Krista have been with us almost four years, and our family continues to grow. We’ve added sons and daughters in love and  grandchildren. There’s 14 in all and still counting! We’ve had our highs and lows and hard stuff, but also more blessings than we can begin to count.


God has proven himself faithful and good so many times. Even as a little child growing up in the orphanage, Aija prayed and asked God for a family. She waited twelve years, but never lost hope that God had a plan, that he was for her, and that he would provide a way. That’s big faith. Faith is also Aija’s middle name. A name she chose when we adopted her. We have all learned a lot about faith since then. We’ve learned how big our God is, and that he is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine! He is a God of healing. He makes all things new. Only God could have orchestrated the events that brought Aija, Markuss and Krista into our family. We are grateful for the lessons learned along the way and thankful God chose us to be their family. Aija is married now. She and her husband, Jared live just up the road in the town of Roxboro. Her sister, Sintija still lives in Latvia, but we’ve been able to fly her back to North Carolina a couple of times to visit with all of us. Both times were sweet, happy reunions. Sintija recently had a beautiful baby girl named June. We can’t wait for her to come back again so we can meet her little one. We’ve seen God make all things beautiful in his time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

God puts opportunities in front of us every day. He has uniquely equipped each one of us to handle the challenges and opportunities that come our way if we put our trust in him. He created us “for such a time as this.” We simply need to trust him.


Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from stepping out in faith and doing what

God created and called you to do.


Know the power you walk in as a child of the Almighty God. Being obedient to God’s call will sometimes take you down the road less traveled. Wherever you go, God has already gone before you and prepared the way. Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us of this. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Being obedient may even take you outside your comfort zone. God doesn’t promise that a life lived for him will be easy, but he does promise to never leave you, and that you will find peace and joy in serving him. Being obedient may take you through some storms. I can tell you that for every amazing, miraculous story we have surrounding our adoptions and other things God has done in our family’s life, there were also storms. We have found that we are safer in the middle of a storm with God than anywhere else without him. We are still learning if we obey and trust him in every circumstance, our lives will be filled with more joy and purpose than our hearts can hold.

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