Adopted from Petropavlavsk, Kazakhstan at Age 12, Born in 1992
Abigail, age 19
NEVER say “never!” When God first moved our hearts to start an orphan ministry at Brenham’s First Baptist Church, we had no idea of the magnitude of miracles He would perform in our lives and lives of so many others. Above all, it changed the lives of 29 precious orphaned children from Kazakhstan. The provision that God provided for this ministry was so abundant that you could not have experienced this and not been a believer!
As the coordinators for the Four Week Families program, we had made the commitment to host and advocate for a child from Almaty and a child from Petropavlovsk. The children came in two groups. The first 19 arrived on August 2, 2003. We hosted a very special little boy, who is now Carter Kitzman. It was a wonderful exper
ience to be an instrument in Carter’s finding his forever family. Throughout the four weeks the children from Almaty were here, we hosted several other children and advocated for them to find the family that God had intended for them. Each of the six boys that stayed with us during that time, touched our lives in a very profound way. We feel so blessed to be able to know each of them.
The second group of children arrived on September 23, 2003, from Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan. Abigail was our host child for the next four weeks. Abigail was one of the last children to find a host family. In her referral photo, her hair had been shaved off and she appeared to look like a little boy. Her eyes looked pink and puffy around the edges and you could clearly see the effects of orphanage life when you looked into her eyes. She was 11 ½ years old and weighed 70 pounds.
Because we were already in the process of adopting from China and had been for almost one year, we
knew that there was no way for us to adopt another child. We kept reminding ourselves that “we were only hosting Abigail!” As the time grew closer for her arrival, we searched hard for a family for her. We felt that it would be best for her to go directly into the family who would be adopting her, if possible. We were also protecting our own hearts as we knew how difficult it was when each of the boys that stayed with us went to their families. We were very happy for them, but it was an adjustment each time. Our children had many questions too. We had always said, “We are not cut out to be foster parents,” but yet that’s what we were doing, foster parenting a child while we advocated for them to find a forever family.
We are so thankful for the opportunity that we had to be host parents. We feel that God has grown us in an area we did not feel we could do. We also feel that it gave us an opportunity to truly understand the grief that some host families experience when their child goes to their forever family. We are so grateful to those families who are willing to give love to these children, knowing they are a vessel through which God guides these children to their forever families. Without those loving host families, many of these children would not have had the opportunity to meet their adoptive
When Abigail first arrived, I must admit that there was a side of me who was “scared” to even look at her. I felt that every time I looked into her eyes, we were bonding. I did not know how to handle what was taking place. Through our conversations with the help of an on-line translator, we learned that our pasts were very similar. She had experienced much of the same loss that I had experienced as a child. With each of our conversations, we grew closer and closer to becoming a mother and daughter. If you know Jay, you know that it doesn’t take him long to fall in love with children in need. His heart is so good and I feel so blessed to have him as my husband.
It was not long before all the children were asking whether we could adopt Abigail. Jay and I have adopted older children before, but we had never planned on adopting a child older than Jacob, our oldest. It was one of those, “we would never….” things. You would think that after all the lessons the Lord has taught us about saying “never” that we would have learned by now. It didn’t help the decision making process when Jacob said, “you know, I have always wanted an older sister.” Abigail seemed to fit into our family perfectly. She thoroughly enjoyed being part of a large family and the love she had for us was evident. She brought us so much joy during her stay with us and we miss her greatly. It is clear why God placed her in our family.
As I was originally writing this story, our precious little girl is in the hospital in Kazakhstan. She was hospitalized because of a cold and poor nutrition. In November of 2004, Abigail came home to the United States and joined her forever family. We have a few adjustments those first few weeks, but since then she has done well in our family.
Abigail had a passion for dance
and became actively involved in several forms of dance, including: ballet, tap, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop, country and western swing, musical theater and pointe.
She danced with the Center Stage Productions Ballet Company from age14 to age 17. She was also involved in the Senior Gold Dance Team, Tap II and Street Crew. She danced in several ballets including “Wizard of Oz,” “Cracked Nuts,” “Carnival of the Animals,” “A Christmas Carol”, “Jungle Book,” “Barn Dance” and “Peter and the Wolf.” As a member of the Lil’ Wranglers Country and Western Swing Team, patterned after the Aggie Wranglers, Abigail performed during the half-time at the San Antonio Spurs games and the Texas A&M Men’s Basketball games. In 2009, Abigail was presented the “Unsung Heroes Award” by Center Stage Productions. When Abigail was 17, she decided to leave the sport of dance to pursue her other interests, horse and cattle.
Abigail has shown Texas Longhorn Cattle since 2005. In 2008, Abigail was a recipient of the TLBT Gold Merit award, 2nd place. She was also second place in the Quiz Bowl that year. She has been involved with the Texas Longhorn Breeders of Tomorrow and served as their senior director during 2008-2009. In 2009, Abigail was elected Secretary of the TLBT. She currently serves in this national position and works hard to fulfill her duties at secretary. She was the 2nd place winner of the Autobahn Senior Division All-Around Competitor for her success in showmanship, speech contests, essay contest, cattle judging and more. She was also the first place winner of the 2009 TLBT Gold Merit Award. She was the 3rd place winner of the Quiz Bowl at the 2009 TLBT World Show.
In 2010, Abigail was re-elected as the TLBT Secretary. She served until she graduated in May of 2011. She is attending Blinn College where she is seeking an Associates Degree in Business with plans to transfer to Texas A&M University to earn a Bachelors Degree in Business. She has been working with her father in his business since she was sixteen years old. After graduating from college, Abigail hopes to one day own a business of her own.
Even though she's graduated from high school and cannot participate in the TLBT anymore, she's still actively involved with Texas Longhorns and has a small herd of her own.
Abigail loves horses! Like most of our children, Abigail is usually in the saddle when out at the ranch. It's a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of God's creation.
The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear. The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid. --- Psalms 27:1
May 2013 Update –
Abigail left home last August (2012) after an argument with her siblings. When we tried to intervene, the situation went from bad to worse. Looking back, I think she was probably looking for a reason to leave home and experience life as a young adult with no rules. It has been nine months now, and we have had very minimal contact with Abigail. It has been absolutely heart wrenching to see what a mess she has made of her life. We had so much hope for Abigail and she was a girl who was well on her way to making her dreams come true. Sometimes our quest for complete freedom leads us into a path of deception and robs us of the blessings we’ve been given. We pray for a hedge of protection around Abigail and that God will touch her heart and draw her close to Him again.