International Adoption Tops Kiwanis Meeting
Bart and Megan King presented the program for Kiwanis March 14, 2019. They shared the details of their multi-year journey to adopt their sweet little girl, Esther. Bart began their presentation by explaining that there was no way that he could separate their adoption journey from his and Megan’s faith journey. Unbeknownst to either of them, their journey began while they were dating in the early 2000’s. They went on a mission trip and both of them discovered they had a heart for those who were suffering.
In 2009 Bart went on another mission trip to Ethiopia that confirmed his desire to help those in need. He and Megan were convinced that they wanted to help children in need. They started by sponsoring children and donating to special causes and trying to meet the immediate needs of children in their community.
Then in 2016-2017 the urge to do more became stronger. They discovered that there are 153 million orphans around the world. They knew they wanted to adopt, so they sat down with their three biological children and explained how the process might impact their family. Their kids were on board.
In May of 2017, Bart and Megan met with an adoption agency in St. Louis, MO. Their intent was to adopt an infant in the U.S. The St. Louis agency had several programs for both domestic and international adoption. The presentation on China just felt right to Bart and Megan. The agency was up front, the process is longer, more expensive and more complicated. Plus, orphans available for adoption in China are only special needs at this point. Bart and Megan were undeterred and after much discussion and prayer, they told the agency they wanted to move forward.
From June – October 2017 they started the paperwork process. This led to interviews by social workers and a complete home study. In November 2017 they went public with their decision. From January – March 2018 they completed the paperwork for the Chinese government. Finally in June of 2018 they were notified that all their paperwork had been received and approved. Now the wait for a child began.
On October 1, 2018, the agency case worker contacted Megan by email at school and said they had a child, but she had much more complex medical issues than Bart and Megan were anticipating, a single ventricle heart defect that would require open heart surgery. To further complicate issues, Bart and Megan only had 48 hours to make their decision.
It was not a difficult decision for the King family. They knew God had chosen them to take care of Esther. They said yes. Normally, it is another five or more months before the process is completed and the family can travel to meet their new son or daughter. However, because of Esther’s heart condition and the help of U.S. Representative John Shimkus, the process was expedited.
On December 5, 2018, the King family of five boarded a plane to travel to meet their newest family member and become a family of six. After a few more days it was finally time to meet their little girl. A knock on their hotel room door and their world was positively changed. Before returning to the states, the King family was able to visit the orphanage where Esther had lived. They also were able to visit the site where Esther had been abandoned as an infant.
Bart and Megan shared that as difficult as it was to imagine abandoning your child, they are convinced it was an act of love. Esther’s biological parents must have known their daughter’s medical needs and were aware that they could never meet those needs. Esther’s original family’s sacrifice was the King family’s gain.