Story by Verna Stutzman

Cedar Hill, TX
Oct 31, 2000


“What if no child becomes available for adoption before you leave Manitoba, Canada?” the adoption social worker asked us. “Once you leave the province, you can’t get a child from Manitoba.” It was April 1979 and we were due to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma for Bible School at the end of August.

“There will be”, I answered confidently.

A month later, the telephone rang and I rushed to answer it. “Hello. Is this Mrs. Stutzman?”

“Yes.” I answered.

“We have a child for you. Are you still interested?”

“Oh, yes. What is it – a boy or a girl?”

“It’s a boy.”

“How old is he?”

“He’s fifteen months old. He’s had some medical problems in the past, but he’s just been cleared for adoption. His name is Brian, but you can change his name.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s in Thompson.”

“Thompson? That’s a long way off. How do we get him?”

“Well, I suggest that you drive up there and plan to spend a few days. It’s 500 miles one-way. I can tell the social worker there to book a motel room for you. When you arrive, give her a call and she’ll make the arrangements to bring Brian over to the motel.”

“Okay. Thanks.” I couldn’t wait to get off the phone and call Robert at work. He picked up the phone on the first ring. “Honey. Guess what?”

“What?” he asked.

“The social worker called and they have a fifteen month-old boy for us and we can go get him next Thursday and we have to drive to Thompson, but that’s only 500 miles and isn’t this wonderful?” I rambled on in excitement.

The next Thursday, Robert, four year-old Jason, and I packed our car early in the morning and headed up to Thompson in Northern Manitoba. After a long day on that dusty, bumpy, gravel road, we arrived at the motel in Thompson just before it got dark. We immediately called the local social worker. She agreed to pick up Brian and his foster mother and bring them to the motel, but she warned us, “Brian has a problem with stranger-anxiety. He won’t let you hold him. I suggest that you spend a few days here and I’ll bring him over every day and then in a few days, if he gets comfortable enough with you, you may leave with him.”

We nervously waited in the motel lobby to meet our new son. Finally, two women came through the door – one of them was holding a young child. Shyly, we went to meet them. After introductions, I asked, “May I hold him?”

“You may try.” I lifted up my hands to take Brian and he came right to me. I sat down on the sofa and held him. He didn’t cry at all. Then Robert held out his arms to pick him up and Brian actually lifted his arms in order to be picked up.

Since Brian wasn’t displaying any stranger-anxiety at all, I asked the social worker, “Would it be possible for him to stay with us in our motel room for the night?”

“Are you sure you want to do that? What if he begins to cry and you can’t console him?” she inquired.

“Then we’ll pray”, I said. So the arrangements were made and finally the four of us were in our room by ourselves. Brian still hadn’t shown any signs of stranger-anxiety toward us. I got him ready for bed and put him in the crib. He started to cry a little, but the three of us gathered around his crib and prayed softly. Soon he relaxed and fell asleep.

In the morning, we called the social worker and told her that we wanted to sign the papers, so that we could leave and go back home. She was shocked and didn’t want us to leave so quickly, but we were determined and since Brian showed no signs of stranger-anxiety, she reluctantly agreed.
We stopped at his foster home on the way out of town, signed the papers, picked up Brian’s toys and clothing and then we were off.

And that’s how the Lord brought Jeremy Ryan into our family! When I look deep into my heart of ‘mother’s’ love for him, I realize that I can no more disown him from our family, than I could cut out my heart. Just as surely, when our Heavenly Father adopts us as His children, nothing can ever separate us from His love either.

PS Thank you for praying for Jeremy. His preliminary trial is set for Nov 8th at 9:30am. He is very depressed. He has a broken finger and a damaged knee, which forces him to hobble with a cane.