Meet the Heim Family!: Scott & Traci Heim, Biruk, Svetlana, Hanna, Andy, Mel and Dasha
Traci, what first tugged on your heart about the Fatherless?
The thing that made me most aware of the Fatherless’ need was really my own need. I was experiencing infertility. I did a summer full of research about the orphan and adoption just prior to my miscarriages. The doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “Traci, you need to decide how many of these you want to have.” At that point I could hear God whisper, “Traci, I have your children over here.” Two miscarriages were enough for me. I stopped pursuing fertility treatments, and we started our adoption in earnest.
Tell us one unique thing about your family/ministry.
I think there are many unique things about our family that I cherish. I often joke to my children that we went out of the gene pool in order to get some cute ones. Now that my children are taking high school biology, they get the joke and think that’s funny. They usually agree that Scott and I might have made some funny looking kids on our own. But all joking aside, we are a made up of people from 4 different countries. We have adopted infants, toddlers, sibling groups, HIV+, birth order bumped, and artificially twinned. We have taken all of this experience and poured it into our duties with Project HOPEFUL. I, Traci, am the FIG Program Director. In this capacity I assist people to advocate and raise funds for waiting child, help people raise their own grant funds to help pay for their own adoptions, and I enable people to support children and families in Awassa, Ethiopia as well as support the Ukraine Education Initiative, equipping families to care for their HIV+ children thereby keeping more children from becoming orphans in the first place.
What was one challenge either before, during or after your child(ren) came home?
Change, no matter how yearned for, is always a challenge. Any time the dynamic in your household shifts, there is an uncomfortable period of adjustment. If you are adopting older children, often they are cognizant of what they have lost or don’t have, but not mature enough to understand real life. They create a “dream” of what life is going to be like. Unfortunately, there is no way that reality can be lived up to. Think about it. Imagine your dream job. If and when you actually secure that job, there is always a significant amount of disappointment. Why? Well, in your dream you didn’t factor in do-less coworkers, horrible bosses, a long commute, or crappy hours. In much the same way they don’t think they will have to share a room, do chores, or think that they will be raised to one day care for themselves. “When I get a family I’m going to get everything I want” is really a let down when it turns out that they get what they need. The amount of time it takes for acceptance of what is real and true is different for every child. That time in between can be quite trying.
If you could tell a family that was considering adoption one bit of advice what would it be?
I wish to gently remind them that adopting a child in and of itself is not the only thing God is asking of you. This act of service, while a blessing to the child and to you, is not the finishing point. This transition is not just about the child. God uses our developing relationship with this new child as a refinement tool in our own lives. It is most often an opportunity for God to refine out of us those things that keep us from becoming more like Christ. It is not just our child that becomes something new, WE are also becoming new creatures. It can come as quite a shock, and if we don’t recognize that this is happening and submit to these changes, our lives can become rather uncomfortable.
What verse was especially encouraging to you during your adoption journey?
So many forces exist to battle against these Fatherless being set into families. Especially in foreign adoption, political winds can change process so fast that children you have spent weeks with are suddenly out of your reach, family members who do not plan to care for the child can still step in, oppose and stop an adoption leaving a child to languish in an orphanage and your arms empty. Death and disease also create havoc and destroy any hope for that child and family.
Through all of that I have clung to this verse:
Psalm 27:13 I would have despaired had I not believed I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.
Over and over I have been shown His goodness. I could not imagine living without the assurance that my Father loves me. His ways are perfect even when they don’t make any sense to my simple mind, and I know that His goodness will be revealed.
Share one blessing that has happened because you said YES and followed God on this journey.
If I had not said yes to my infertility, I would not have Svetlana.
If I had not said yes to possible Hep C, I would not have Andy. (he is negative)
If I had not said yes when God told me to let go of the American dream, I would not have Mel.
If I had not said yes to a boy older than any child already in my home, I would not have Biruk and Hanna.
If I had not let go of fear and stigma related to HIV, I would not have Dasha.
If I had not said yes to Masha, Sasha, Alina, and Vika because not only is Masha almost 17 and I would have 10 kids, I would not be on my way to Ukraine, where 4 children wait impatiently to become Heims.
Most of all, had I not said yes, I would miss out on the glorious life that God has planned for me. Who better to design my life than my perfect heavenly Father who has never failed me and who never will?
If you could share one other thing that is meaningful to you on the topic of adoption/orphan care, what would it be?
There comes a point when each believer needs to decide if they really believe God or not; If they trust God or not; If their lives are truly a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable or not. If you have determined that you believe, your only response to anything God asks of you must be YES. There is nothing else we can give to the father except our obedience through our faith, so we must SAY YES. SAY YES TO WHATEVER IT IS.
Thank you, Heim Family, for sharing HOPE with us here at Reaching Hearts! I can't wait to see a FAMILY pic of ALL of your precious ones together at last! Be sure to check out their family blog and follow the rest of their journey to bring home their FOUR amazing waiting kiddos! Lord willing, they'll be traveling SOON! Also, spend some time over at the Project Hopeful site to learn about some incredible opportunities!
You can also find info about a new devotional for adoptive/fostering mommas at 31nuggetsofhope.com.
Be sure not to miss the rest of the "31 Families of HOPE" series: