Meet the Van-Strahlen Family!: Chris & Jenny, and Savannah
Jenny, what first tugged on your heart about the Fatherless?
My husband and I both came from a childhood of loss. Having our own dealings with be raised by those who were not our biological parents we have a deep longing to provide a loving and supportive home to those who would otherwise be left behind. This is why we chose to adopt an older child and one with such needs that most families would not even consider looking at.
Tell us one unique thing about your family/ministry.
Savannah has severe emotional and psychological needs. She has been diagnosed with Diagnosed with Bipolar, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADD/ADHD, Conduct Disorder.
I am involved with the Jr. High Group ministry at Warehouse 242 in Charlotte, NC.
I am also the president of SPAFA (Sothern Piedmont Adoptive Families of America).
What was one challenge either before, during or after your child(ren) came home?
Our whole journey has been a challenge. But our largest challenge has been learning to live with a child who may never be capable of returning love. Learning that I cannot do this alone and that God is the only one who can heal her. That all of my love cannot do it.
If you could tell a family that was considering adoption one bit of advice what would it be?
Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! Do your research on dealing with trauma and loss. Adoption by nature is trauma. Everything about it… the loss of the ability to have biological children for the parents, the loss of everything for the child. You need to be a loss expert.
What verse was especially encouraging to you during your adoption journey?
Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
My greatest joy has been watching our daughter become a kid. To see her hyper vigilance slowly disappear and watch her play with no worries touches my heart so deeply.
If you could share one other thing that is meaningful to you on the topic of adoption/orphan care, what would it be?
I have a special place in my heart for adopting the abused and the neglected. The children who others see as hopeless. The children who mask their fears and loss with anger. These are the most wounded of souls and the ones who need us the most. God has really put upon my heart the need to help these kids.
Thank you, Van-Strahlen Family, for sharing HOPE with us here at Reaching Hearts! Be sure to check out their family blog for more information about their adoption journey.