Brave Motherhood

Angel moved to Wichita Falls with lots of problems, but few options. She was in a bad relationship and she was pregnant. When Angel found Inheritance Adoptions, she found support, help with food and a Christian family to give her baby a home.

Kilara was 14 when she came to Inheritance Adoptions, looking for a loving home for her baby who she knew she was too young to keep. She found herself pregnant again, but still not stable enough to care for a child, so she turned to Inheritance. Today, she is 19 and is planning to raise her third child. She is grateful to the agency that gave her counseling, transportation and food when she was hungry.

Amber knows it takes bravery and selflessness to be a birth mother in the adoption process. She found the support she needed at Inheritance.

Adriana, 21, has had one baby adopted into a loving family through Inheritance. She felt no one else could attempt to understand her. But the counselors at Inheritance did. The process was easy, but thorough.

Sherry (not her real name) found more than an adoption agency at Inheritance. It was the first place she didn’t feel judged.

These young women all had different stories, but they all found love, care and support at Inheritance Adoptions. They have been able to share those stories with each other at a new support group that meets once a month on Tuesdays at Inheritance, 1007 11 St. It’s been so successful that the group may start meeting every other week.

“We want to reach beyond the pregnancy to transform these girls’ lives,” Laura Bennett, birth counselor at Inheritance Adoptions, said. “We want to give them the worth we see in them.”

The girls meet and have dinner, while their kids are playing and eating pizza in a separate room. At a recent session, the girls opened gifts containing adult coloring books and devotionals. Then they shared their story of adoption – in a room full of people who understand.


“It lifts the shame and guilt that often comes with adoption,” Bennett said. “It shows redemption. They find freedom and they are forgiven. Their story is beautiful. We’re just looking at it with a different perspective.”

For more information about Inheritance Adoptions or the support group, please call (940) 322-3678.

-By Sarah Johnson

Is there such a thing as too much love?

Is there such a thing as too much love? The answer is no, especially if you ask Amanda Hansen.
As a teenager in high school, she found herself in an unplanned pregnancy. Her loving and supportive parents encouraged her to think about adoption and even gave her a video on the subject. She refused to watch it.
“In my mind, I made this ‘mistake’ and I had to face the consequences and to me that meant raising a child myself was the only way to make it right,” Amanda said. “I didn’t see any reason to pray about it, because I felt there was only one option – to keep the baby.”
Amanda was close to eight months pregnant when she started struggling with self-worth. One night, she watched the video and woke up the next morning with a sense of peace. She agreed to meet with Inheritance Adoptions.
“I will always remember my dad’s reaction learning about open adoption when we met with Inheritance and the comfort of knowing the baby was OK and seeing her grow up,” Amanda said. “He had only ever known of closed adoptions at that time.”
Little did anyone know how “open” Amanda’s adoption would be. After choosing Linda and Olaf Sakolevidis as the adoptive couple, the most amazing relationship began.
“On Jan. 31, 2000, we received the call that Amanda was in labor and were told to go to Wichita Falls,” Linda said. “We were there when our beautiful Destiny was born. We were able to be there with our birth family and their friends and family throughout the hospitalization. We had an amazing experience and were shown so much love and we were more than delighted to love them back and we wanted to be there for her. Upon discharge from the hospital, when Amanda lovingly placed Destiny in our arms, we had a hard time saying ‘thank you’ as it seemed completely inadequate. So, we told her the way we raised Destiny would be our ‘thank you’ to her.”
When the Sakolevidises returned home with Destiny, they thought of Amanda every day. They remained in touch through letters, phone calls and pictures, but it was more than the usual contact of an open adoption. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
“Amanda would come to our home and visit and at times would stay the weekend and we would just hangout and talk, have fun and make memories,” Linda said. “There were times when we would go to Wichita Falls to visit with her and her family. Later, with text and other social media, we were able to communicate even more. We would always try to get together for special occasions like Destiny’s birthday, Christmas, etc. We attended some of Amanda’s high school activities and later, when she married her precious husband, we were there for the wedding and have had the pleasure of watching their family grow by two sweet little girls. What a blessing.”
Amanda trusted that God always had a plan and was in control.
“I know, without a doubt, that God had me give birth to Destiny for Linda and Olaf,” Amanda said. “The worldly view of adoption can sometimes be negative, but adoption isn’t a negative. It is about love and one big, extended family. The love and respect didn’t just come from Linda and Olaf, but all their family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their friends. The admiration I have for them for loving Destiny and being her parents is unreal. There had never been a time that it felt awkward or not normal for us all to be together.”

Amanda remembers from the beginning, the Sakolevidises saying they would adopt her, too, because she was like a daughter to them.
“I was always part of their family,” Amanda said.
Throughout the years, Linda always called and shared with Amanda any milestones, special occasions and events like when Destiny started walking, made straight A’s, received an award or won a dance competition. A few months ago, Amanda and her husband drove to Dallas to attend an awards presentation at Destiny’s high school.
“It is strange and hard to explain, but I don’t think of Destiny as ‘mine’ so to speak,” Amanda said. “I absolutely love her, but there has never been one time that I have ever doubted this decision or wonder if I made the right choice. I know that Linda and Olaf are her mom and dad and I just helped make that happen.”

Finally a Family

By Sarah Johnson

Michelle and Scott McNary married young, in their 20s. Their plan was to wait five years before starting a family. When five years rolled around, they weren’t ready, so they waited anther five years. Two months shy of Michelle’s 30th birthday, the couple tried to get pregnant. It didn’t happen until nearly a year later and sadly, the pregnancy only lasted seven weeks. The couple went to the doctor for a routine ultrasound and there was no longer a heartbeat.

“We were devastated,” Michelle said. Little did the couple know it was only the beginning of a long and arduous journey to parenthood.

After months of countless rounds of hormones and fertility treatments, Michelle heard about Inheritance Adoptions at her Bible study.

“That night I told my husband about it and the next morning he called Inheritance and spoke with Leslie Howard,” Michelle said. “We were told not to fill out any paperwork or do anything yet because we were 28th on the waiting list. When he told me that I thought ‘so, basically, we’re going to die a childless couple.’ ”

It was October 2011. Two weeks later, Leslie called the McNarys and told them a birth mom they were working with only wanted to see profiles of couples that didn’t have children. Out of all the couples that were on that waiting list, there were only two couples that didn’t have children and the McNarys was one of them. They filled out the forms and made a profile book. A few days later they made the trip to Wichita Falls to meet with the birth mother.

“On our drive home, Leslie called and said she had selected us,” Michelle said. “The baby – a girl – was due around Thanksgiving, so Scott and I quickly started doing things to get our house in order. We bought a crib, a stroller and car seat. We sold the furniture that was in our guest bedroom to make a nursery for the little baby that was to be ours in just a few weeks.”

Two weeks before her due date, Leslie called Michelle at work and told her the birth mom had changed her mind and decided to parent that child.

“The child we had already picked out a name for, the child that felt like she was already ours had been ‘taken’ from us before we ever got to hold her,” Michelle said. “We, again, were devastated.”

Leslie told the McNarys not to lose hope. In January of 2012, Leslie called the couple with news that another birth mom had seen their profile and wanted to meet. At the end of the visit she told Michelle and Scott that they were “it” and she didn’t plan on meeting with anyone else. She wanted them to raise the little girl she was carrying.

“And then just a few weeks later, she disappeared and wouldn’t return phone calls or answer visits from staff of Inheritance,” Michelle said. “Clearly, she had changed her mind, too.”

It was almost too much to bear.

But the heartbreaking journey to parenthood wasn’t over yet. In March of 2012, the couple was picked by another birth mother.

“We loved her from the moment we met her,” Michelle said. “She seemed so young and sweet and wanted to do right by her child. By the end of the meal, she told us she wanted us to be the parents to her daughter.”

On June 21st, the McNarys celebrated their 15th anniversary. That night they got a phone call from the birth mother. A young man claiming to be the real birth father demanded a paternity test. She assured the couple that he was in fact not the father of her baby and there was nothing to worry about.

“We had been praying so hard for this baby, surely God wouldn’t allow us to come this far only to have us be devastated yet again,” Michelle said.

The baby was born on June 28th. Scott and Michelle took her home, strapped in the car seat the couple had bought so many months before when they were picked by the first birth mother. Two weeks later, a man showed up at their door with a DNA kit.

“I couldn’t stay in that room and watch this stranger swab the inside of my daughter’s mouth,” Michelle said. “It hurt too badly. I went back into her room and knelt down and cried out to God in a way I had never done before. Begging and pleading with Him so that the DNA wouldn’t be a match.”

A week later, Leslie called the couple in tears. It was, in fact, a match.

“We had to take our daughter back,” Michelle said. “My brother-in-law and sister drove us to meet Leslie with our baby. Scott and I sat in the back seat with the baby we called Lanie in between us and we just cried. The four of us drove silently as we met Leslie and her husband to hand Lanie back.”

On the way home that night, Michelle prayed over and over for God to remove the desire she had be a mother. She couldn’t handle the heartbreak anymore. They only had Lanie for two short weeks, but they were so in love with her already.

“I didn’t need to carry her in my womb to feel like her mother,” Michelle said.

After all the heartbreak, Scott and Michelle were finally about to experience joy.

About a week later, they were sitting on the floor making a fabric covered head board for the nursery they were converting back into a guest room. It was July 23 when Leslie called about a birth mother who had twin 13-month-old boys. The father had walked out on her and her kids and she couldn’t take care of them anymore.

“The next day we drove to a McDonalds in Wichita Falls to meet the birth mother, her mother and her twin boys,” Michelle said. “She handed us each one to hold. We spent two hours walking around the inside of this fast-food restaurant, holding our children. Our boys. She decided then that she wanted Scott and I to raise her boys and to be their parents.”

Turns out, the twins’ birth mother knew Lanie’s birth mother. When Leslie told her that the McNary’s had to give Lanie back, the twin’s birth mother said “that’s the couple I want to meet.”

Six years after trying to start a family, Scott and Michelle finally had one.

“We were holding the babies God had chosen for us all along,” Michelle said. “God blessed us so beyond my wildest dreams with these two little creatures and I am beyond humbled that He chose me to be their momma.”

As much as the adoption process was like an emotional roller coaster ride, the McNarys appreciated the personal attention of Inheritance Adoptions.

“It was nice to work with an agency that is truly there for the child,” Michelle said. “The welfare of the child always comes first with them. They are there as a ministry and it was because of that very thing that we chose to use them as our adoption agency. We could have chosen one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since that’s where we live. But instead we drove 2 ½ hours one way more times that I can count just to work with Leslie and Inheritance.”

Part II

By Sarah Johnson

Gavin was just four years old when he started asking questions about his birth mother. His adoptive mother, Alissa Perez, didn’t quite know how to answer them, but she knew she was ready to tell the stories of Gavin’s and her daughter, Annabella’s adoptions. One night while reading a book together, the little boy looked up and asked “what’s her name?”

“Laci,” Alissa answered. The floodgates were opened and Gavin asked all about his birth mother, the day he came home with his new family and whether or not he had toys in his crib as an infant.

The problem, however, was that unlike Annabella’s adoption through Inheritance Adoptions, which was an open adoption, Gavin was placed through Child Protective Services. Alissa did not know who Gavin’s birth mother was.

“I told him that I hoped someday soon he would get to meet her,” Alissa said, vowing to pray for a way for a relationship to open up.

That day would come sooner than the Perez family thought.

Two weeks later, Alissa received a call from Leslie Howard, executive director of Inheritance Adoptions. Leslie had some important news and asked Alissa if she was sitting down.

“Do you have a direct line to God?” Leslie said. “Because guess who just walked in my office?”

Alissa barely processed what she heard next: Laci had come to Inheritance Adoptions to place her baby girl for adoption. She told Leslie that she had previously placed a son named Gavin with CPS and did not know where he ended up. After Laci shared her story, Leslie realized the connection. It was verified when she checked Gavin’s birth date.

“I think I know where your son is,” Leslie told Laci, showing her a photo of Gavin. “I felt like I could see Jesus sitting in the seat next to me.”

Laci broke down in tears. She wasn’t ready to meet with Gavin right away. A few months later, though, Laci felt it was time. A meeting was set up with Laci, her own two children, Laci’s mother, the daughter she placed for adoption, the Perezes and, of course, Gavin.

“I prepared Gavin with some photos he could show her of his life and I wrote a letter to Laci,” Alissa said.

When he walked in, there were a lot of tears and smiles.

Alissa remembers what she said: “Gavin, remember when you asked about your birth mom? Well, this is her.”

He proudly shared his photos with Laci and he was reunited with his siblings.

“We are forever grateful for the Lord’s hand in all of this,” Alissa said.

The Perezes have not met with Laci again since that day.

“I assume it has been too hard for her to see him again, but we continue to pray that with time, he will get to see her again,” Alissa said. “As he gets older, there will be questions and stories only she will be able to share with him. We will continue to pass along photos of Gavin through Inheritance for when she is ready to see them.”

Part I

By Sarah Johnson

After meeting through a mutual friend, Alissa and Rafael Perez had their first date. Alissa decided to be honest from day one.
“On our first date I told him that the Lord had called me to adopt,” Alissa said.
That was July 2007 and the couple was married one year later in August of 2008.
“Over the first year of our marriage, the Lord worked on Rafael’s heart as well,” Alissa said.
The Perezes started the journey to begin their family in 2009. They had never heard of Inheritance Adoptions, but one of Rafael’s patients had adopted from the Christian adoption agency.
“We began to look into this option for our family,” Alissa said. “We always had intended to pursue adoption while having our own biological children. However, in the fall of 2009, in the midst of our excitement to start our own family, we found out we had some infertility issues. We continued on with the adoption plan and while we were dealing with our own personal issues, we finished our Inheritance Adoptions paperwork to become adoptive parents.”
To their surprise, the Perezes were chosen right away by a birth mother who was expecting a girl in August of 2010. They attended the prenatal visits and were busy getting the nursery ready. Their hopes were dashed, however, when the birth mother changed her mind. In December of the same year, another call from Inheritance Adoptions gave them renewed hope. The birth mother had again changed her mind and wanted to place her then three-month old daughter with the Perezes. The couple met the sweet little girl and they made plans once again to bring the baby home.
One month later, the birth mother ceased communication and had obviously changed her mind once again.
“Needless to say, we – especially me – were devastated,” Alissa said. “This was definitely not the plan we had, yet it was perfectly in line with what God had intended for us. We remained in the waiting period – a very difficult place to be – but a necessary place.”
By March of 2011, Alissa said the Lord had been working in her heart toward a new direction – adopting though Child Protective Services.
“My husband and I went to an informational meeting and left it in Gods’ hands,” Alissa said. “On a Monday, May 2011, we received a call from a from a friend that there was a boy who was in CPS and would be up for adoption. Two days later, we received a call from Inheritance that we had been chosen by a birth mom who was expecting a little girl in June 2011. We met her that Friday and the next week began our certification for CPS adoption.”
Annabella was born June 24, 2011. Gavin came into their home Sept.8 of the same year.
“Our family was complete,” Alissa said.
Or was it? Perhaps the Lord had different plans.
Alissa planned to have a hysterectomy in November of 2011. Her clinic quit taking her insurance, so the couple decided to switch insurance carriers in January and then have the hysterectomy afterwards.
“We changed our insurance the end of January 2012 and two weeks later, on Feb.12, 2012, we found out we were pregnant,” Alissa said. “Shortly before, I had told my husband I felt like the Lord was telling me we weren’t done yet with our family.”
And they weren’t. Cruz was born Oct. 1, 2012.
Leslie Howard, executive director of Inheritance Adoptions, remembers Alissa’s initial struggles.
“I can vividly remember Alissa thinking she would never have children and the agony she felt,” Howard said. “Now she is a witness to God’s power and perfect timing. Only God knows when and how to bless you with a child. Inheritance Adoptions is here to enable God’s work to be completed.”
The Perez children are now 7, 6 and 5.
“We have three precious children, as any mother would say,” Alissa said. “Gavin is smart and detailed. He loves crystals and boxers and King Tut and anything Egypt right now. He is a natural born leader and loves taking command of any situation. And occasionally has to be reminded he is not in charge. Annabella loves to just spend time with people, she loves her Bitty Baby and helping mama cook/bake. She loves to help her brothers. She has a servant’s heart and thinks of others often. She currently wants to go to Faith Refuge to read books and give Bibles to the children there. I prayed for Cruz to be a happy child, the desperate cry of a mother with two infants with a third on the way. And the Lord fulfilled this prayer to overflowing. He is naturally joyful and full of energy. He does everything with a smile on his face and can err to the side of mischievous. He loves to make people laugh and is a passionate, energetic child who loves to love. He gives the best kisses and provides the best stories for these parents to share with others!”

About Inheritance Adoptions

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