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Adoption changed their lives N

atalia Parker, 36, was 7 days old when she was adopted. Since her youth, she has known she wanted to adopt children. Aſter Parker and her

husband, Ron, had two children, a boy, 5, and girl, 3, she felt called to complete their family through adoption. Tey became licensed foster parents through Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains and “our lives forever changed,” she said. Bob Higgs, a Presbyterian minister, married a widow

with three children in 1998. Tough the marriage didn’t last, he discovered something about himself. “I liked the stepdad thing and thought I was pretty good at it,” he said. “So when I lost my family through divorce, I began to think about what I wanted for my life.” Neither Parker nor Higgs is Lutheran, but they both

turned to Lutheran social service agencies when they were ready to expand their families.

Legacy of love More than 300 Lutheran social ministry organizations in the country are part of a larger network called Lutheran Services in America. More than 100 of these agencies serve children, youth and families, with 33 provid- ing foster care services and 23 offering adoption assistance. For more than 150 years, Lutheran social ministry has helped pro- vide children with families and homes. Today, Lutheran

Services Society of West- ern Pennsylvania, which assisted Higgs, works to

Natalia and Ron Parker and

their eight children form a family of 10. After having two children, the couple felt called to adopt. They started out by becoming

foster parents for Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains.


Lutheran agencies match children in need with loving families By Laurel Hensel

find families for the more than 101,000 children waiting nationwide. Many of these children are siblings who hope to be adopted together, staff report. Tree months aſter the Parkers became licensed fos-

They both turned to

Lutheran social service agencies when they

were ready to expand their families.

ter parents, 15-month-old Jenna joined the family. “Just a few days aſter [Jenna] came into our home, we found out her birth mother was expecting another baby (who also became their foster child),” she said. “We had gone from having two children to having four children in just five months.” Andrew was almost 13 when he arrived at Higgs’

home just before Christmas. He had been in the foster care system for four years. “I had purchased a Christmas tree, but it was still

in the box,” Higgs said. “When I came down the next morning, Andrew had assembled the entire tree.”

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