From Lonely to Loved

Jan Baumgartner Profile
Article by Jan Baumgartner
Adoption Program Manager

November is National Adoption Month so I would like to share the true story of Lovena with you. The sad part is that there are thousands - if not millions - of children across the world just like Lovena who are dying from starvation, don’t have a family to love them, and have never heard about the love of Jesus. Now with international travel limited because of COVID-19, many children already matched with adoptive parents are still waiting to come home to their adoptive family.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:10

Rick and Kim first met Lovena in Canaan, Haiti. Unlike the Biblical village of Canaan, no milk or honey flows here. It is a barren land where people migrated to after losing their homes in the earthquake. Kim noticed a little girl standing alone, crying in the middle of the street. There were other children wandering the streets but somehow, Lovena really touched both Rick and Kim’s hearts.

They inquired about her and found out Lovena was three years old, her mother died, her father was in prison, and there was no one who had the means to care for her. Lovena was suffering from malnutrition as evidenced by her big, round belly, yellow-orange hair, and lethargic state. Rick and Kim sincerely prayed for Lovena and Rick felt that God spoke to him, "this little girl is to be your daughter."

Rick and Kim were in Canaan to plant a church as part of a mission trip. The pastor of this new church offered to take in Lovena during the adoption process, along with caring for seven other needy children.

It has been a long journey to adoption with many bumps in the road, but Lovena is now home with her loving, Christian adoptive family and is being taught the love of Jesus. Also, Lovena has welcomed two more little girls from Haiti as her sisters. With Americans traveling to Haiti being currently prohibited, Rick and Kim had to get creative in how they brought their daughters home.

I have two pictures of Lovena on my desk. One from when they found her and another of Lovena today. In the former, Lovena has her orange-yellow hair from malnutrition, was dressed in rags, and looks very sad. In today’s photo Lovena looks healthy with dark brown hair, beautifully dressed with a bow in her hair, and smiling ear-to-ear. She not only is physically well but her spiritually health is growing as she talks about Jesus’ love for her.

This is just one story of a miracle from God in providing the perfect adoptive family for Lovena. In my decades of working with adoption, I have seen so many miracles from God in providing just the right home for an orphan child – from right across town or from across the world.

God loves Lovena and every child is precious in His sight. I pray that somehow these children will be protected and feel the love of God.

Jan served as the Adoption Program Manager at Gateway Woods. She has also worked as a Foster Care Manager and a Houseparent.