Our Story

The theme of this Hamstra family is “never say never” and no we’re not Justin Bieber fans ;) We have found that no matter what plan we place in our lives, God loves to laugh at us and show His plan that is more than we could ever ask or imagine. Here’s how the newest chapter came about…

After marrying in 2000 Jack and I were living in Michigan and decided to start a family. We had no trouble conceiving our first daughter Emma in 2002 and then our son Jackson in 2005. We had always said that we would have four or five children but after Jackson came along we had a peace and decided he was completing our family. That peace must’ve just meant biologically.

A year and a half later we got a call from Jack’s former Youth leader John that he had a job opening back in our home area. John and his wife had been missionaries in Nigeria for seven years before starting an aircraft maintenance business in the 1970’s and the business was growing rapidly and he needed another man. We prayed about this move as it would be a cut in pay and no benefits but we felt so heavy the call of God on us to make this move that we physically felt a weight lifted from us when we accepted. This is a strongly Christian business which is such a blessing to Jack and we now have about double what we did in MI with less money. Praise God! In this process, Jack’s parents ended up selling us their house so we’d have plenty of room for our family.

In March of 2009 I had a little troubled boy that I grew a very strong attachment with that I was working with in the church’s children’s choir. I had heard that he may be put into foster care and Jack and I immediately prayed about what to do and then started our foster care training. In July 2009 we received our license. This boy was never placed in foster care but we knew God had been leading us to this so we figured we would continue and help whatever children God gave us to care for. We said over and over “we are not in this to adopt.” We only wanted to foster because we knew how great the need was for foster homes and we really wanted to give children a glimpse of support and unconditional love and to mentor birth parents.

After several respite placements and many months of training and preparing, we got a call in April of 2010 about possibly accepting a foster-to-adopt placement of a special and medically needy two year old little girl. We prayed and met her and fell in love and Laila came to live with us permanently in July 2010 and her adoption was final in December 2010.

So, our family was complete and crazy and busy and we just knew this was it for us. Boy, what do we know!?! It was time to renew our foster license in July 2011 and we had thought we would close our home but then found out we only needed our CPR training renewed to keep our home open so we figured why not keep it. That got us starting to think about whether or not our family was really complete. We talked about all of this medical knowledge that we have gained from Laila and how many people are scared away by things that don’t even phase us anymore. We looked into some domestic children but nothing seemed quite right. On Oct 14, 2011 we attended a Steven Curtis Chapman concert for Emma’s ninth birthday and in the middle of the concert Jack leaned over to me and said “I think our son is in Africa.”  We found a little boy in Ethiopia and just knew he was the one.  God lined everything up gave us confirmation upon confirmation and so we jumped in.  We spent 4 months praying and working and asking God to bring him home.  On Feb 14 our world came crashing down.  God had answered our prayers but just not in the way we had planned.  Ashenafi’s parents decided to come and take him back.  They were in a better place and could care for him again.  While devastating for us, we knew this was the absolute best place for him to be.  But what was God doing with us?!?

After a couple weeks Holt sent us a referral of another little boy in Africa but he just wasn’t ours.  I can’t explain it to you, he just wasn’t.  We re-examined what we felt God calling us to and told them that we did not want to take a healthy younger child from another family who had probably been waiting for years for a referral.  We felt God calling us to take the child that truly had no chance without us.  They asked if we’d be willing to change to India for a little boy named Ranjit who had been in his orphanage for several years and desperately needed a family.  We prayed and just knew this was our son.

While it came as a shock to us too, this is where God is leading us and we couldn’t be happier.  God used Ashenafi to lead us to Ranjit and in the process Ashenafi received hundreds of prayers that he never would have otherwise and we prayed his family back together.  He was our foster son we never met :)  We’ve grown a love for India in a way we didn’t know possible.   Please continue to read the blog updates for the latest information.