Following God and listening to their hearts has led one Newcomerstown family to not only become foster parents but they also adopted an orphan boy from Haiti.
Tim and Danelle Kilpatrick said they were inspired and determined to help children after attending a Steven Curtis Chapman concert in January 2007. At the concert, they discussed orphan nurseries in China. Tim said the nurseries are quiet because the babies know that no one will come when they cry so they don't cry. That moved the Kilpatricks.
From that moment on, they knew they wanted to help children in any way possible.
At first, the couple, which has three biological children (ages 16, 14 and 10), decided they wanted to be a foster parent to an international child.
"We wanted to go where the need was," Tim said.
However, the program requires the foster parents to return the child when the biological parent(s) is able to safely take the child back. But, that made the Kilpatricks think twice.
Tim said he couldn't deal with it if the child was returned back to the biological parents and the child was put in danger. He said they just couldn't do it.
That's when the couple looked into adoption of an international child. It was in the fall of 2007 that the paperwork was put into place to adopt a child from an orphanage in Haiti. That orphanage, His Step Home School, was managed by a couple from Lima, Ohio. The couple suggested that they meet and visit with a boy named Charlie.
Finally in March 2008, they met Charlie for the first time. The Kilpatricks were able to spend a week visiting him in Haiti.
It would be another 1-1/2 years and an act of God, to speed up the adoption process and bring Charlie home to Newcomerstown.
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on Jan. 12 attributed to the speedy adoption of Charlie.
On Jan. 27, six-year-old Charlie became an official part of the Kilpatrick family and took his rightful place in their Newcomerstown home.
"He's adjusted so well," Danelle said. "It's working out great!"
Besides seeking the help of a translation book because Charlie speaks Creole, the entire Kilpatrick family is adjusting well.
Danelle said Charlie has had to learn to slow down when eating because it was always a rush to eat at the orphanage; one, not knowing if there will be any additional food and, two, wondering if someone would steal their food.
She said his main diet was rice but he has adjusted very well to many new types of food.
The cold temperatures have also been an adjustment. When Charlie would go outside, he said, "Ouch, ouch, ouch!" But the snow and cold temperatures have now become an enjoyment. He spent almost two hours outside sled-riding the other day, Tim said.
As far as Charlie's domestic adoption in the United States, the Kilpatricks do not know what that will entail since there are no guidelines for this situation. But, they hope to start the process soon.
Tim said there were some 900 children waiting to be adopted from Haiti when they first started the adoption process for Charlie. Now, 890 children are now on humanitarian parole in America. (That is the same status that Charlie is considered.)
"When God wants you to do something, then God supplies it," the Kilpatricks said.
Tim and Danelle are also foster parents. After becoming certified, they wanted only two foster children to be placed in their home. However, a death of another foster parent and the hope of reuniting a family of three children, led the Kilpatricks to be foster parents to three children.
Danelle said if you would have told her that there would have been seven children in a four-bedroom house, she wouldn't have believed it. Now, they said they couldn't see their life any other way.
Danelle and Tim said the spiritual and financial support they've received has been overwhelming. The Kilpatricks are members of the First Baptist Church of Newcomerstown.
"Our church family has been very supportive with praying, being excited and sending clothes (for Charlie)," Danelle said. "Its been nice having the people excited with us."
The Kilpatricks are also very willing to provide guidance for anyone else seeking international adoption. They said they would love to help any family wanting to bring a needy child home to the United States.
Basically, the Kilpatricks just want to help children in any way possible and they are doing just that.