Dereck and Erika Hutchinson will celebrate National Adoption Day by putting into practice what they preach.
The couple will adopt a little girl named Bethany on Nov. 18.
The Hutchinsons met while attending church in their teens, but didn’t connect until a mission trip to Mexico.
“We met in high school, but didn’t know each other until we went to church together while I was at Cowley (College),” said Erika Hutchinson.
“We went on a Mexico mission trip as sponsors and ended up getting to know each other better.”
After a few months, they started dating.
“The following June, we got married. We were both 20,” she said.
Hutchinson adoption history
The Hutchinsons are no strangers to adoption — their first two children also were adopted.
“Through adoption, God has knit our family together in a unique way that has far exceeded any expectations we could ever have had,” said Erika Hutchinson.
“Our adopted kids and our foster kids are beautiful, amazing children who bring so much laughter, love and joy to our life.”
The family currently has two adopted daughters, with a third adoption set to take place Nov. 18, plus two foster children.
“Once we started fostering our two daughters, one thing led to another and they ended up being available for adoption, so we adopted these two beautiful little girls after a year of fostering them,” Hutchinson said.
The girls — Jasmine, 10, and Jessie, 8 — have been with the Hutchinsons for seven years.
“We will definitely consider adopting (our current foster children) if reintegration does not occur,” she said.
Filling a need for God
“Adoption is important to us for many reasons,” said Erika Hutchinson. “The first reason is, as Christ followers, we are called to care for the orphans and widows in their distress.”
Both Dereck and Erica Hutchinson went into social service jobs and saw a huge need for foster families.
“(We saw the importance of) someone being willing to get attached or hurt for the sake of a child who needs a safe place to be,” she said, “a place that will bring healing and hope to them.
“We decided we wanted to open our home and hearts to kids. We never felt it was mandatory, but felt led … to adopt. God opened our eyes to the need and gave us the heart for orphans.”
Challenges of fostering
Fostering is a considerable commitment and is not something that should be done on a whim, warned Erika Hutchinson.
“Fostering can be challenging in building a family, just because we don’t know what our family will look like from month to month,” she said.
“It’s hard to plan too far in advance because we never know how many kids will be there. Kids from hard places struggle at first just (with) knowing what’s expected or encouraged in their new family and home.”
There can be children who come through the system with less-than-desirable behaviors that have to be worked through, with the help of consistency, stability, patience, love and sometimes therapy, according to Hutchinson.
“Because of these behaviors, our family has to be aware of everyone getting the time they need to be successful, including our marriage and relationships with our adopted daughters,” she said.
Erika also offered some advice to those considering adoption:
“I would say make sure you and your spouse are in agreement. Research what kind of adoption you would want. Prepare your heart for the possibility for loss and the probability for love.”