Angela Spier’s story is one only God could write. How else to explain the dreams and signs that compelled this mother to dramatically alter her life, her husband’s, and the lives of their children and grandchildren?
No other explanation comes to mind.
She told her story over dinner one night. I sat in amazed silence as this native of Indiana revealed the signs and dreams that compelled her and her husband, Roger, to adopt four children—two girls from a severely dysfunctional family and a baby boy and girl, both born with genetic disorders.
“This is the hardest thing we’ve ever done in our lives,” Angela said. “You don’t go into this knowing everything, including the sacrifices you need to make.”
The Story Begins
Sacrifices, indeed. She and her husband had nearly finished raising their four biological children when they opened their home to one foster child. Then another. Before too long, their brood had doubled through adoption.
As Angela explained, “I’m the mother of eight kids—four from the womb and four from the heart. I love our story. It’s one only God could write.”
What struck me were the heavenly signs that guided Angela throughout her journey, which began at a pro-life fasting and prayer meeting she attended more than 13 years ago, long before she moved to Tennessee because of a special-needs ministry offered by the church she now attends.
Although her husband suggested they foster a child, she initially said no. “Our family needs to be stable first,” she remembered saying. At the meeting, though, God used one of the speakers to open her eyes. “I knew then we were supposed to foster.”
First Comes Stephanie
Stephanie, Angela’s second foster placement, arrived in 2008 just eight days after her birth, addicted to cocaine. Because her birth parents struggled with addiction and other issues, the family ended up adopting her two-and-a-half years later.
They went in with their eyes wide open, too. Although happy and well-adjusted now, Stephanie suffers from a seizure disorder linked to her birth mother’s use of cocaine while pregnant. One such episode, Angela said, lasted six hours and “nearly took her out.”
Little did Angela know then what lay ahead. God was still writing her story — one only he could write.
Jonah: “You’ll Delight in His Sweetness”
While in prayer two years later, the Lord spoke to her again. “Very clearly He told me He was sending me a son, that we were to name him, Jonah Michael. You’ll delight in his sweetness, He told me.”
Angela also remembered her response: “If this is really what you want, confirm it for me.”
While shopping at a local department store, she saw whale-themed baby garb and decorations arranged prominently inside the store. Two months later—when adoption proceedings began for Stephanie—an adoption consultant shared a Facebook post about a baby boy born in Wichita, Kansas.
He had been born with Down Syndrome, along with serious heart issues. Prenatal tests missed the issues, and the couple originally interested in adopting him walked away. Angela went to prayer and asked the Lord, “Are we supposed to adopt him?”
His answer? ‘“Yes, and two more.”’
“Dealing with emotional issues is more difficult than the physical disabilities,” Angela said when the conversation turned to Jenny, whom she and Roger adopted in 2013. Nine at the time, Jenny was Stephanie’s older biological sister.
By the time they got her three years after Stephanie and Jonah officially joined the flock, Jenny had already been raped by her father, his best friend, her grandfather, and the Department of Child Services in Indiana suspected other abuse. She needed to leave the home immediately.
As Angela talked about her now-married adopted daughter, I wondered if Jenny’s life would have taken a different trajectory had Angela and Roger been given the chance to adopt her earlier. Maybe she wouldn’t have attempted suicide as a teenager. Maybe she wouldn’t have quit school or used drugs.
Maybe she wouldn’t have suffered from conversion disorder, a rare condition in which the sufferer experiences blindness, paralysis, and seizures that begin after emotional or physical distress.
“You can imagine the pain she has,” Angela said. One thing is certain, though. Despite her emotional challenges, Jenny has enriched her mother’s life. “She’s the sweetest, most sensitive caring young woman you can imagine. I love being around her.”
Awaiting Ada: A Dream Remembered
When God told Angela she’d adopt two more, he’d already given her a hint of this special child. Long before Stephanie, Jonah or Jenny joined the family, Angela dreamt she’d given birth to a dark-skinned baby girl to be named Ada Michelle Grace.
She didn’t think much about it until a friend told her about a 25-week-old preemie born in Illinois to a couple originally from India. Due to a host of physical maladies, including a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome, her birth parents decided to put their baby up for adoption.
“I know this is your Ada,” Angela’s friend said.
Angela needed a sign. While shopping for a gift, she saw a rainbow-themed baby blanket featuring looped pieces of cloth sewn along the edges. She picked it up and saw a label stitched onto the blanket that read: “Awaiting Ada.” And she had all the confirmation she needed.
Like Angela says, hers is a story only God could write.