Sanford and Sons…and Daughters

SanfordFamily2006

I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west…bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name for I have created him for my glory. Isaiah 43:5-7

Our family began in the usual way. On December 13, 1986, we were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Sanford, Jr. The children came along right away. Our first born was Joshua, and then came another strapping boy, Garrison, followed by their auburn- haired sister, Melinda. We were a happy little homeschooling family seeking to serve the Lord. It was never our intent to have a super-size family or to have our one family represent four different nationalities. It was our desire however to respond to the Lord’s call to adopt. We had hoped and prayed for a little sister for Melinda. What we did not know was God had even bigger plans!

It was on September 30, 1999 when a chubby, curly-haired two and a half year old little girl was placed in our home. She was the direct answer to prayer and fulfillment of our dreams. There was a six year gap between Rebecca and Melinda. So we began to pray for another 2-3 year old to be placed in our home through DCFS, so that this ‘child of our heart’ would not grow up to be a spoiled brat!

Rebecca

Three weeks later, we received the call that three sisters, 10, 8, and 3 needed an immediate adoptive home and “by the way, we need your answer within the hour!” After a quick family prayer meeting, unanimous vote, and a two-day wait, we became the proud parents of Victoria, Susanna, and Cassandra.

CSV

Three years later on April 7, 2003 we saw pictures of four siblings ages 11, 9 and twins 8. The Lord spoke to Bob’s heart, “If you do not adopt these children, no one will.” So in November the Lord sent us to Russia to bring home our three sons and daughter whom three months earlier we had hosted for ten-days in our home. During our 10 day stay in Moscow and Cheboksary, one and a half of those days was spent in a Russian court finalizing our adoption. We learned later that the judge was so intrigued with questioning us about our homeschool, large family, and USA foster care system that she did not watch the time. Typically court last 2-4 hours depending on the judge, ours was 10 hours! Yet William, Peter, Zachary, and Adrianna where officially ours and finally in their forever family!

Russians
But wait, there is one more story to share. In October 2003, the Lord spoke to Katherine’s heart, “Go to the Philippines, and name the boy Nathan.” (Our four children were not even ‘home’ from Russia yet!) Our social worker, upon hearing this news on February 20, 2004 after visiting our family of 13 for over an hour, said, “If it was anyone else I would say no, but because it is you guys I will talk to our Philippine adoption coordinator.” To make a very long story short, we received the referral of two boys and a girl, ages 11, 9, and 7, in July 2004, but it was May 17, 2005 before we were able to hug our children in the Philippines for the first time. Three days later, including a 24- hour plane ride, Derick, Nathan, and Elaina were home!

Philipinos

Needless to say adoption is our heart and we are big advocates of large homeschooling families. Are there challenges and struggles? Yes, every day, not only financially, but physically and emotionally. Yet, we have truly learned how faithful the Lord is when he says ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ or ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding’ or ‘I know the plans I have for you…’ or ‘We know that all things work together for good to them that love God…’ or ‘Though it tarry wait…’ or ‘Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the LORD thy God is with thee’

The Sanfords to-date: Bob, Katherine, Josh, Cassandra, Garrison, Melinda, William, Susanna, Derick, Peter, Zachary, Adrianna, Nathan, Victoria, Rebecca, and Elaina.

Sanford Family 2013

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Psalm 126:3

When we first began Adoption Heart Ministries in 2006, we shared with the world via the internet how the Lord had given us our children by birth and adoption. Now 7 years later in ministry, and 14 years later as an adoptive family, we would like to give an ‘update’ on who we are in 2013.

The numbers of children in our home have fluctuated with sons going in the military then coming home, to adult children moving out, to then adopting more from the Philippines in February of this year. The Lord has filled the home with love and laughter, but we have also experienced the deep sorrow of rejection and watching children make poor life choices. Bob continues at State Farm and is often able to work from home which we all enjoy. He is also still Deacon-Chair and treasurer at Providence Church. I, Katherine, continue to home school our 9 children which I love. Dad and the boys have their own woodworking business appropriately called, ‘Sanford and Sons’. And I enjoy helping my daughters with their ‘Virtuous Adornments’ business. We are also enjoying the new stage in our life of being grandparents; sadly, of the eight here/soon to be here, we are only ‘allowed’ to invest in three of our grandchildren.

Joshua is happily married to his bride of five and a half years, Jennifer, whom he meet while serving six years in the US Air Force in Italy. He also served in S. Korea, and was deployed to Qatar. In 2011, their little girl, Jael Mercy, was born and in 2013, their second daughter, Hadassah Evangeline, join the family. Jennifer has the joy of being a homemaker and loves homeschooling their eldest daughter. They are living in an adorable little house they purchased near Josh’s work at Samaritan Ministries International where he is a Network Security Administrator. He and his family attend Providence Church.

Garrison enjoyed four years of serving in the US Marine Corp. He has been stationed in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton, CA with a tour of duty in Afghanistan in between. He is now going to school in Indianapolis to become a Diesel Mechanic. He was married in April to his first love, Melissa, who is also the Pastor’s daughter. They are expecting their first child in March 2014. While away at school, they are attending a PCA church in the area, but are active members of Providence Church.

Melinda married the love of her life, Justin, in the fall of 2011 and enjoys caring for him and their little dog, Pip. She fills her day with homemaking projects, fun with her sisters, and helping other families with small children. They are prayerfully awaiting the Lord to bless them with a child. Justin and Melinda also attend Providence Church where both of their families attend.

Rebecca is a 16 year old high school student still living at home. She enjoys cooking and baking, and will make entire meals for the family (with her sisters’ help) from scratch just for fun. She also enjoys making jewelry and with her sister Elaina which they sell at conferences and on Etsy. Rebecca wants to be a wife and mother like her mom and sisters.

Cassandra is working for with a moving company based in Bloomington, IL. She enjoys this opportunity to travel all over the country seeing the new sights. Cassandra is also the mother of two very cute daughters, Jazlyne (5 years old) and Julianna (3 years old).

Susanna is employed with TGI Fridays as a hostess and lives with her boyfriend in Bloomington, IL. They are presently expecting their first child together, a boy. She also has a daughter, Athena (2 years old) who looks just like her.

Victoria is a 16 year old high school student at home. She loves learning and is a voracious reader. She enjoys writing stories of fiction as well. She wants to be like her mom and sisters.

William lives in Pontiac, IL with his girlfriend. He worked for TechniSource at State Farm for one year and is now employed with Country Financial.

Peter is working for a construction company that builds modular homes. He is living on his own and likes to hang out with friends. He enjoys playing on an Ultimate Frisbee team once a week for fun.

Zachary lives at home and will be graduating from high school in 2014. He enjoys working on machines of all kinds figuring out how they work and fixing them. Zach is hoping to get an intern job at a local machine repair company.

Adrianna is living with her grandparents and working on getting a GED. She is employed as a part-time maid to a wealthy family. She also mucks the horse barns of her aunt which she really enjoys.

Derick went to a special school in Oklahoma to learn the trade of being a welder (metal worker). He is now working in the construction of pole-barns. Derick and his girlfriend are awaiting the birth of their daughter in October.

Nathan, who lives at home, will be graduating from high school in 2014 like his brother. He likes to learn by reading and really enjoys working in the garden. Nathan is planning to become a police officer when he is 21, but in the meantime, he is looking to work for a nursery & landscaping company.

Elaina is also 16 years old and a high school student living at home. She enjoys working in the kitchen, in the garden, and creating jewelry and stationary with her sister Rebecca to sell. Elaina wants to be a wife and mother like her mom and sisters.

Our family was complete…or so we thought! Then in February, the Lord gave us four more:

Isaiah has started high school and will be 16 years old at the end of October. He enjoys computers and playing with his new siblings. He loves having older brothers to do everything with.

Brianna is a vivacious 12 year old. She loves doing anything her big sisters are doing and is a great help. But she also enjoys playing with her two little siblings creating worlds of make-believe to their delight.

Olivia is 6 years old and all girl. She enjoys dresses, dolls, and horses. She is all dainty and cute. Luke is 6 years old and all boy. He loves guns, trucks, and wrestling. He is all energy and wildness. As twins they are inseparable and have a very special bond.

Are there more to come? Only the Lord knows. But we are thankful for the 18 children He has given us and all that we learn by being a family.

In Christ,
Bob and Katherine Sanford

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