La Familia de Matthews
By Melanie Matthews
The article was originally published in the September 2012 Issue of Adoption Today. Melanie and Jim Matthews are two of CCAI’s 2012 Angels in Adoption.
“We have four kids for you, and we need to know tonight if you are interested, so please let us know in the next hour.” This is it! Our jaws are dropped, there are hugs, kisses and tears. We don’t know if we should stand, sit or call everyone we know. We are staring at each other, hearts racing, hands trembling. We are speechless, and there are no words. Within five minutes, we find our voice, one word, we call our agency back, “Yes!” our word is yes. Praise to God, yes!
We were married in December 2000, and that is when our adoption journey started. While discussing our future family, adoption was always a part of our vocabulary. We always knew we wanted a large family and felt in our hearts that all of our children would be adopted. In 2006, we started our paperwork for the adoption process. We were initially approved for one infant, and waited for our referral from Colombia. We were put on a wait list, so we waited, patiently, for years.
Our time was filled with work and hobbies. Running marathons, starting a photography business, finishing nursing school, running the youth ministry at the church, and learning Spanish occupied our wait time. As our wait time was being increased every year, we started talking again about the large family we had wanted. We started asking each other why we are on a wait list for one child, when there are groups of children who need a home? We started praying about a sibling group, praying if that is what was in store for us. We prayed that God would keep them safe, warm and loved. In November 2009, we started updating our paperwork, sure that this is what God had been planning for us. Our call was received in July 2010. It would be only three more months until we met our children!
November 2 is our family’s “special day,” as we like to call it. This is the day we met our children for the first time. We met in a room with the social worker, lawyer and translator. We couldn’t concentrate, we could hear our kids in the other room during our meeting, laughing and playing. They were just one room away. Our tears of joy were flowing before we even saw them! That day we met our children 8-year-old Derly, 6-year-old Estefania, 5-year-old Jesus and 2-year-old Prospero. Our next four weeks were spent in Colombia, bonding and connecting as a new family, we could not wait to bring them to their new home.
Bringing the kids home and watching them experience new things was such a joy. Moving from Colombia to Minnesota was a culture change. Experiencing cold on their faces, and playing in the snow was new and amazing to them. Every day is an adventure in itself. Elevators, escalators, eating at McDonalds and swimming were all new to them. Just learning a new language from both sides has been a great and sometimes funny way of getting to know each other. Favorite colors, foods and stories, all the wonderful small details we get to learn from each other. We have had a fantastic year, with so much support from our family and friends. This is God’s plan and design for all of our lives.
In February 2011, just three months after being home, something did not feel right. I was looking at our family while cooking dinner. I said to my husband, “We are not all here, we are missing something.” After a night of prayer, we were felt led to write a letter to our agency which stated: “If our children have any more siblings, we would like to adopt them as well. We strongly believe in keeping siblings together.”
Only a month after sending this letter, we received a call from our agency. “Your children have an older brother and Colombia is requesting you consider adopting him.” Meet Jhon, age 10. Our call back “Yes, of course, yes.” In June, we traveled to Colombia to meet Jhon for the first time and reunite him with his siblings.
God works in mysterious ways. Our family started 10 years ago when we began thinking of adoption. At the time we changed our paperwork from a single child to a sibling group, all of our children had been born and were placed in the adoption agency, waiting, for us to bring them home.
If you are thinking of adoption and have any questions you can connect with us through our blog at www.matthewsadoption.blogspot.com.
Melanie Matthews has been married to her husband, Jim, for 11 years. The couple has been blessed with five children, 11-year-old Jhon, 9-year-old Derly, 7-year-old Estefania, 5-year-old Jesus and 2-year-old Prospero. The couple lives in Minnesota and Jim is a youth pastor and Melanie is a registered nurse. Melanie also enjoys photography on the side. Jim and Melanie always knew they wanted to adopt from the beginning of their marriage. Two trips to Colombia later, their journey to their children and becoming a forever family are complete. To read more about their journey, visit www.matthewsadoption.blogspot.com.