Crazy June Adoption Family + Van Druffs

By June 1, 2010 Adoption 2 Comments

I had the crazy honor of meeting this amazing family last year.  They opened their hearts and welcomed adoption into their family.  When I heard about their home being destroyed by a tornado last month, I just had to ask them to share the miracle of adoption and survival!  Please take the time to read their story and leave them encouraging words in the comments this week!


A testimony of God’s faithfulness:
The seeds of adoption were planted in our hearts during the early years of our marriage, but it took nearly 18 years before we would actually pursue what God had planted long before.  In March of 2008 we made the decision to adopt.  One child. An infant.  When we called on a social worker to do our home study, the first question he asked me when he learned we wanted to adopt from Ethiopia was “Have you given any consideration to adopting TWO children?”  I told him that I had given it passing thought, but was sure my husband would never go for it!   I mentioned it to Mark half expecting him to laugh, but instead he came to me just a few days later and said that if that was the plan God had for us, he would be open to it.   When we turned in our dossier we left our request open to adopt one or two children, but asked for an infant and an older girl.  In January 2009, God was working on my heart and He brought me to a place where I was completely open to adopting whatever children He had for us, regardless of age or gender, and I promised to trust Him to guide those who were making referrals.  A few days later we received our referral. A brother and sister (aged 8 and 5) from the Sidama region with the most beautiful smiles one could possibly imagine.  We accepted our referral without hesitation and lived on cloud nine for the next 3 months.  On April Fool’s day 2009, after our third attempt, we passed court and Bereket (Jordan) and Burtu (Kloe) legally became part of the Van Clan. During the whole paper chase, waiting for referral, waiting for court, waiting to pass court phase, our AWAA yahoo group would often hold prayer and praise nights.  “Our God is Mighty to Save” became a theme song for many as God performed miracle after miracle to bring children home.    Little did I know that one year to the very weekend of bringing Jordan and Kloe home, God would show Himself “Mighty to Save” in a very different way.
Unlike many families our adoption process actually went quite smoothly and we didn’t have much in the way of problems or obstacles along the way.  Our biggest challenges were yet to come.  Three weeks after arriving home, just as we were settling in as a new family of 7, I discovered that I was pregnant. Not only was I a crazy hormonal woman, but I suffered for 3 full months with all day sickness.  So many times I asked God if He was sure He knew what He was doing!  I mean, it just didn’t make sense that at a time when Jordan and Kloe needed a mom the most, I could not be that mom I thought they needed.  As He has done many times before, the Lord reminded me that He rarely “makes sense”.  It didn’t “make sense” to Noah when God told him to build an ark.  It didn’t “make sense” to Abraham when God said to sacrifice his son on an altar.  It didn’t “make sense” to Gideon that God would ask Him to fight an entire army with only 300 men.  Yet these men kept going in faith and walked the road that God asked them to walk!  In January 2010, after a very difficult pregnancy (debilitating nausea, heart palpitations,  kidney stones, getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes) our beautiful promised son, Nathan James was born.

The one year anniversary of bringing Kloe and Jordan home was approaching and we had made plans to go camping in Memphis and make a visit to an Ethiopian restaurant.  It would be the kids’ first taste of injera in over a year!  But once again, the Lord had a different path for us.  On Friday April 30th at around 9:15 PM I was taking an online test when the internet went out.  A moment later my cell phone rang and it was my oldest daughter.  She said “Mom we are watching the news and there is a tornado and it is heading right for our street.”  The younger kids were in bed but I immediately ran to grab Nikki, while Luke got Kloe out of the top bunk and Jordan from his bed.  The guys moved the dining room table to the hallway of and we all got under.  We heard the radio say that it would be in our area in just about two minutes.  You never really think that it will hit YOU, but thank God we took the possibility seriously and got into the hallway.  We heard the tornado approaching and I knew we were in trouble.  Mark yelled “pressure” as our ears popped, and Luke yelled “PRAY” and we all did.  The house began to shake and the sound of breaking glass was everywhere.  I heard a loud explosion which later turned out to be the roof coming off our house.  The house picked up and we were in the air.  At that moment we had no idea if we would live or die.  I held my precious 3 month old in my arms and prayed to God I wouldn’t see my children die.  After only a few seconds we “landed” back on the ground.  There was insulation everywhere.  Dishes from the kitchen were in my lap.  Picture frames were over Jordan and Nikki’s head and Jordan’s shirt was somehow trapped between a wall and the floor.  BUT WE WERE ALL OK!!!  The table that was over our heads was gone but we remained.  Sheltered in the arms of the Almighty.  We walked straight down the hallway through broken glass and climbed out a broken window into the pouring rain.  Kloe kept crying “OUR HOUSE IS BROOOOKEN”.  We could smell gas from the neighbors house and I was so scared that some downed power lines might cause an explosion.  We decided to make our way to our van and get inside.  The windshield was broken and there was glass all over the front seats so we climbed in the back.  Nikki got in her car seat and was furiously trying to buckle herself in.  “Buckle me!” she kept saying, and so I did.  Luke began to pray with the kids and praise God for the miracle of saving us all.  The kids went from terrified to almost happy.  It was raining so hard and still storming, but every time the fear would come we would just pray.   I had Mark’s cell phone so I texted our status to his facebook “Van Druff house destroyed by tornado, but our AMAZING God has saved each and every one of us!”.  We had gotten text message out to some friends and they were trying to get to us and get us out.  At one point we tried to run to the road but were shouted back by our neighbors because of downed power lines.
In the days and weeks following the tornado we experienced the hands on practical love of Jesus through His children in so many ways.  People sorted through the debris to save what little was left of our belongings.  People offered their home for us to stay in.  People we have never met gave us financial and prayer support.  God has been faithful to provide us with a temporary home to rent, a “new to us” van (that seats 8, so now our whole family can ride together!) and now we are praying and asking the Lord to help us decide what to do as far as rebuilding.  Because we have a desire to go into full time missions in the future, we feel very strongly that we are not to get into something that we cannot manage with ease, financially, and yet our large family requires quite a bit of space in a home.  We also feel strongly not to get another mobile home!  The kids need to feel safe. (Mom needs to feel safe too!)  I loved my home.  It was big enough for us and everything about it was perfect to me, right down to our low mortgage payment!  So we are asking God to show us what He has for us and we would be honored if you would all  pray with us that God would make our path straight, and we would follow His leading, even if it doesn’t “make sense” to our human minds!  Pray for the peace of our children who are now very fearful during storms.  Pray for some sense of normal and routine to be restored to our family.   I know God will answer.  He has proven over and over and over again that “He is Mighty to Save.”
This is the hallway where we rode out the storm


Amazingly enough, their mailbox is still standing. Let’s give generously to bless this amazing and humble family.

“If people would like to give, every gift will put us closer to being able to rebuild without financial hardship, and we are really praying that God will make a way for that.  (Our mobile home was insured at 85K, but to rebuild will cost more like 130K because we don’t feel right getting another mobile home.)  It is so hard when you have a big family as you can’t live comfortably in the typical 3 bedroom 2 bathroom 1400 sq. ft. home that is the norm!! LOL.  I constantly remind myself that this is no surprise to God!  HA.” (mom, Renee)

Our paypal is

and our mailing address is:

Mark and Renee Van Druff
50 Rockefeller Blvd
Ward, AR 72176

What adoption means to me….

Since we adopted I have come to a deeper understanding of how my heavenly Father loves me.  I rejected Him and yet He loved me.  I had nothing to offer Him and yet He loved me.   What a beautiful, perfect, unconditional love.  Our adoption has not only revealed the Father’s love for me, but it has given me ample opportunity to practice giving this kind of love to my children. (adoptive mom, Renee)

Sharing is caring!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Are you ready to fundraise with Simply Love?
Buy the Kit Today