Faculty adopt from abroad

Two members of the John Brown University family are welcoming additions to their families from overseas.

Mandy Moore, assistant professor of business, and Nathan Jacobs, assistant professor of religion and philosophy, are growing their families through adoption.

Moore and her husband have been married for 12 years, and have discussed adoption since they were seriously dating. Bryson Moore came from a family of 12 foster siblings, and Mandy Moore worked in an orphanage in Southeast Asia as a student, which gave them both a “heart for adoption.”

“Our prayer was that God would show us that we should have children,” Mandy Moore said. “We want the Lord to slam doors. I want it to knock me down.”

Knock them down it did. Both the Moores tested positive for infertility issues, effectively giving them no chance to have biological children.

Moore was devastated, but she also saw it as an opportunity. She and her husband began looking into adoption.

They considered domestic and international adoption at first, but eventually felt called to China.

“Both Bryson and I started having dreams about a Chinese daughter,” Moore said.

China made a lot of sense for the Moores.

Both had been to China before and planned to go again, even before considering adoption. It was important to the Moores their daughter have a strong sense of her heritage. More than that, though, they felt called by God to China.

“Why China? Because that’s where my daughter was born,” Moore said.

The Moores began the long process of working with the governments of both nations as well as the adoption agency. Soon they determined who their daughter was: a toddler named Qi.

The Moores chose the name Lydia Grace for their new daughter, but are going to let her go by the name she chooses as she gets older. Moore describes her as a feisty and fearless.

Like many children up for adoption, she has a disability. The girl was born without her left hand, but “it does not slow her down at all.”

The Moores left for China on Feb. 25 to meet Lydia for the first time, and the adoption was made official on Tuesday. They’ll be bringing her home on March 13.

Professor Nathan Jacobs and his family are now in the final stages of the adoptive process to bring home a six year old special needs boy from Eastern Europe.

Jacobs’ wife Heather, who homeschools their four children, says adoption was always something they always anticipated eventually doing.

Three years ago, their adoption consideration became more serious when Heather began following a blog that featured older developmentally handicapped orphans, a group statistically the least likely of children to be adopted.

Upon both seeing his picture, they felt he was the one for their family, and last year in a step of faith they began the application and fundraising to legally adopt him.

Last October, the Jacobs’ St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church congregation in Springdale put on a fall festival fundraiser and contributed all proceeds toward the support of their new anticipated family member. This, in addition to donations from church members and various friends has raised about 70 percent of the funds needed for his adoption.

During Thanksgiving break, Jacobs and his wife had the opportunity to fly overseas and visit their son’s orphanage. There they were confronted by the reality of his disabilities and the heartbreaking depth of poverty and starvation within his home country, spurring an eagerness to bring him home as soon as possible.

After completion of paperwork and home studies, they pray toward a notification of his official court date, which they now anticipate any day. Heather, accompanied by her mom, will then fly over. After medical testing and evaluations declare him clear to immigrate, they will take him home.

The Jacobs children, a boy and three girls between ages 3-11, talk about the arrival of their new brother with anticipation and adoration. They intend to keep his original name Bozhidar and give him the middle name Gabriel in recognition of all St. Gabriel’s has done in support of his adoption.

Moore and Jacobs are only the most recent faculty to grow their families by adoption, continuing a long tradition represented here at JBU within the faculty, staff and students on campus