My family and I* are grateful supporters of Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland as both contributors and volunteers. The work of Catholic Charities is a real sign of God’s love and compassion in our community. We are personally grateful for the gift of that love and its dramatic impact on our lives. In fact our family was actually formed with the help of Catholic Charities.
When my wife Ali and I were married, we held the joyful anticipation of starting a family. Unfortunately, our joyful anticipation quickly dissipated. After Ali experienced multiple miscarriages her doctor indicated that her chances of carrying a baby to term were very low.
While suffering through the profound disappointment, Ali sought the council of our pastor at Gesu Church. He asked if we had considered adoption and recommended that we speak with Catholic Charities.
Having four adopted nieces and nephews, we had always talked about adopting children at some point in our lives. We were very open to adoption but had not expected that it would happen under these circumstances. We contacted Catholic Charities but were initially informed that there were no openings in the program.
We also explored other adoption alternatives but never found one that felt like the right choice. Our feelings of disappointment grew. We had always believed that God’s calling for us included having children.
Suddenly, our circumstances changed when we received a call from Catholic Charities. An opening had unexpectedly occurred in their adoption program. On short notice we were asked to attend an informational meeting. Concerned about experiencing another disappointment, Ali asked that I attend on our behalf.
At the meeting, God clearly spoke to me. The love and compassion demonstrated by Catholic Charities for all those involved – adoptive and biological parents, and adopted children – was overwhelming. I immediately knew that this was God’s plan for us. Overcome by such a feeling of euphoria, I could not wait to speak with Ali.
We entered the program and completed all classes and requirements. Through God’s grace, five months after that initial meeting, our son Adam was born. Bringing him home from the hospital on Valentine’s Day, Ali still says he was the best Valentine’s gift she ever received.
Adding to God’s gifts, at the point we knew that the adoption would proceed, we learned that Ali was pregnant. Our son Tommy was born later that same year. Always wanting children, we felt extremely blessed. The blessings multiplied when our next son, Scott, was born two years later.
God’s love and compassion were delivered through the work of Catholic Charities. Although not the path we expected, the journey we travelled gave us an extraordinary appreciation for the gift of our sons. A gift we truly believe to be from God. We are eternally grateful for Catholic Charities and the impact they have had on our family.
*By Andy Schuler. The story first appeared in the summer 2016 issue of Charities USA magazine.