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the hendershott family: God’s love story

I am thrilled to be able to introduce you all to a very special family today.  Dardi and I met via our blogs several years ago.  I have been so encouraged by their hearts which are so yielded to God’s plans and purposes for their lives.  I know that you too will be so blessed by their story–the one where God brought sweet Kendi home–right from their hometown.


An interesting thing happened in the midst of our wait for K’Tyo, our son from Ethiopia. I got that very antsy feeling in my heart about another child. Say what? I began wondering if we were supposed to be bringing home two children from Ethiopia. Finally, I contacted our awesome coordinator and began doing some processing about my feelings. At that point, there was still a possibility to receive another referral, but as time went on, it became apparent that getting another referral was not going to happen. However, THAT feeling was still there. After some further discussion with our coordinator, we opted to be put on the waiting lists (at the time, the agency we were with allowed for this). We did not share this information with anyone because we just really wanted to focus on K’Tyo’s homecoming and not take away from that.

I fell hard for Ethiopia. I love the people. I love my son from there. I was very excited to be going back for another child and we were steadily moving toward the top of the lists. And then Joe dropped a bomb. This man of mine has never been one to flex his “head of the household” muscles, but he informed me that deep down, he was feeling that our child was here and he really felt like we should remove ourselves from the wait lists. I believe God calls us to love…here, there, and everywhere. My heart was “there,” but Joe was saying “here.” Huh? I must admit I was more than a little ticked that God was talking to Joe about these matters! 😉

It has been my experience that adoption is never just about adoption. There is much learning along the way about everything from faith to relationships. The journey to Kendi was no exception. It was a HUGE time of growth in our marriage. After some prayer, I realized I had a choice to make. I could pitch a fit and get my way (I can pitch a pretty good fit), or I could take a step back and let my husband take the lead. The truth suddenly hit me hard…why would I not trust my husband? His heart is just as invested in following the Lord in this passion for children as my own. And not only that, he is always doing things to make me happy, so why would he come up with some idea of changing direction if he didn’t feel strongly that that’s what God was calling us to? So, I removed our names from the wait lists and we began working with a private agency in our state.

There were still moments I struggled with not going back to Ethiopia. I struggled with waiting for someone to “choose” our big family with “mature” parents. But God.

In church one Sunday, this verse was part of the sermon:

“The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.” ~1 Timothy 5:5

Light bulb…I had just read something that referenced today’s single mother as the modern-day widow. I began praying in earnest, wondering if this was what God had been breaking Joe’s heart for. In less than a week, the answer was yes. Have you ever noticed, though, that God tends to go above and beyond as He answers prayers? This time was no exception. Not only did He bring our hearts as one for this birth mother and her child that was also to be our child, but He used this birth mother to convict me of another truth. I had been convinced that no birth mother would choose our family due to its size (I mean, that’s what all the adoption experts say…birth mothers typically want smaller families) and the fact that we are older and more mature, so I figured we were waiting for an emergency situation where the birth mother would leave the choice of families to the agency. We were open to a variety of needs, so sooner or later we would be next in line. But God.

Within two weeks of our profile becoming active, a birth mother CHOSE us out of several profiles. I do not say this boastfully. As a matter of fact, I am still quite humbled. Through this birth mother, God reminded me that our family is just the way HE intended for it to be. I love this big, beautiful family the Lord has blessed me with and there is to be NO shame in that! But that’s not the end of this birth mother blessing us… we had the opportunity to meet and she proceeded to tell us, “I did not know what I was going to do. I was praying to God every night.” Just like the verse He gave me. Beyond humbling.

And even more humbling? Even after all of these things, I was still anxious because all of this transpired over a period of a week. We had not anticipated any of it, so we thought we still had time to scrape together the last of the funds we needed. Instead, we needed them within days. But God.

I admit it. I was downright grumpy, but my husband had faith. He knew that he knew that he knew that God had brought us to this place and this time with this birth mother and this child. And when the mailman came on Saturday, there was a royalty check from Joe’s book (they had changed their accounting system, so it came at a different time than we normally expect). It was his largest to date, and it was for EXACTLY what we needed.

Two days later, Kendi Hope was born and came home at one week old. While I would have traveled around the world for her, Joe was right. She was right here.

Yes, indeed, this journey to Kendi was very much a love story, but not just Joe and Dardi’s love story. It’s God’s love story. God loves His children so much that He never leaves them where they are. Status quo can be good, but He used an adoption journey to teach us about trusting Him in the details and to show us that as our capacity to love more children can grow, so can the love and trust we have for each other in our marriage grow. Our strong marriage got stronger. God is just cool like that.

You can follow Dardi’s blog right here as they head to China for their newest blessing. 

Is obedience completely insanity?  I loved what Anthony shared on his blog about his own journey in learning to surrender completely.