It came up early in our dating relationship. Tamara had always dreamt of adopting. In fact she seemed to have it all planned out. We would have two boys and then adopt a girl from China. Sounded okay to me. I always thought I would have two kids. Close enough. By the time we’d been married eight years we had three children, all girls!

At this point, we both agreed that our bio family was complete, and I felt that a family of five was big enough. We had the right amount of bedrooms in our house, and the right amount of seatbelts in our car. However, Tamara started to talk more about adoption. And I started to dig in my heels.


After our third daughter was born my passion to adopt grew exponentially.  I called agencies and social workers, checked books out of the library and just kept researching. But whenever I brought it up with Kendall he became more resistant. This was so frustrating! My efforts to partner with Kendall were pushing him away! We were at an impasse.

I finally decided not to talk about it anymore and instead to pray about the decision.  My prayer: ‘Lord, if you are truly calling us to adopt, you’ll have to change Kendall’s heart. Otherwise, you have to remove my desire for adoption; I can’t continue like this if it’s not meant to be.’  Every time I felt overwhelmed, I prayed. . . I prayed a lot!

It took a year. A painfully loooong year. Although my passion grew there seemingly was corresponding movement in Kendall’s heart.  Then one evening while revisiting an agency website focused on Asian countries, Kendall stopped and stood behind me. I turned around to see tears running down his face!


I’ve heard people describe flashbacks; vivid memories that come flooding back after being triggered by a sound or a smell. That’s what happened. A picture on the computer screen arrested me. It was of an orphanage in Southeast Asia. More like a warehouse filled with long rows of cribs. And suddenly, I remembered the orphanage that I visited in Thailand when I was 16. They taught us that even if the children were clothed and fed they would fail to thrive unless they had human contact. Our job in the orphanage that day was simple. Start at the end of a row of cribs, pick up the child in the first crib and hold it against your skin, sing to it, breath on it and after ten minutes a bell would ring and we would move to the next crib and do it again.

I had dim recollections of that day in the orphanage but the picture on the computer screen awakened a latent memory. I was suddenly filled with all the emotions of that day, and I heard myself making a vow to God. That day in Thailand, holding an unnamed orphan in my arms, I vowed, If there is ever anything I can do about this, call on me. I had forgotten until that moment. Suddenly I knew that I had a fourth child out there somewhere in the world. I had to go find them!


I was speechless, and let’s just say that’s not my norm! I was suddenly filled with peace and purpose.  God had answered my prayers!  He brought us onto the same page and burdened Kendall’s heart just like mine. We got to work right away to figure out our next steps. Together, we could talk about the decision, research, and pray for our future child. I am so glad that I did not push my agenda and my timing. It was so important to be on the adoption page together, at a heart level. There were a lot of ups and downs, delays, costs and joys ahead of us. We needed a united front, and by the grace of God we had it!

Read more related topics:

Lessons Learned Through Pursuing Adoption

Practicing Patience When God Has You Waiting

Written by Kendall and Tamara Schmitke

Kendall and Tamara Schmitke

Kendall and Tamara Schmitke had three beautiful daughters when they fulfilled their lifelong dream of adopting. In 2010 their entire family travelled to China to adopt their wonderful son, Donovan. Inspired by the sacrificial love of Donovan’s birth mom, they recently published a children’s book about adoption called Twice as Tight. Interact with them at the book’s Facebook page.