Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? November 23 is National Adoption Day.
According to the Adoption Network, there are 428,000 children currently in foster care in the US alone. More than 60 percent of these children spend two to five years in foster care before their adoption is finalized. And although a third of Americans have thought about adopting a child, only 2 percent have actually done it.
Brenda and Tim Jank are part of that 2 percent.
For the Jank family, National Adoption Month is near and dear to their hearts. They have a blended family of five children, some of whom have special needs. Three of their children—Josh, Sam, and Noah—became part of the family through the gift of adoption.
Brenda says that she and Tim were “passionate readers” as their kids were growing up. They read tons of stories through the years, often as a family. Brenda remembers seeing various books that tried to explain what a family is and where families come from. She even saw children’s books about adoption. But one book was missing.
“There was no book we could read altogether that celebrated how our family was made,” Brenda says. So she decided to write God’s Gift of Family.
A Blended, Adopted Family
“I consider myself a writer,” she says. “But God and I have a deal: I write as long as He downloads something into my heart.” God’s Gift of Family “comes from a deeply personal place,” Brenda says. “It captures us.”
At first, Brenda and Tim read the story to their family, just dreaming of a day when it would have real pictures or artwork.
“For 16 years, I knew it would get published at some point,” she says. Eventually, that day came. In fact, God’s Gift of Family was published in 2019. Penny Weber illustrated the images to accompany the Jank family’s story.
The book shares how God created the Jank family and how He carefully chose each child to be a part of it, whether through birth or through adoption.
“Every single page represents our family,” Brenda says. “It’s the things we do. People who know us have written and say, ‘I see the Jank family all over the page.’ The kids loved it.”
Red Diamond Days
Throughout the pages, diamonds are carefully hidden in the artwork for kids to discover. Some are fairly obvious; others require a careful eye to find.
This is partly to engage children in the story of family, but it is also a tribute to Josh’s project, Red Diamond Days. Josh, who was born with sickle cell anemia, has been in hospice care since 2013. He passes out red diamonds to everyone he meets as a reminder of how God “does His best work under heat and pressure” and to remind them of His love.
Proceeds from God’s Gift of Family also support children who are looking for their forever families.
Adult Ministry and Adoption
Brenda, who founded Run Hard. Rest Well., takes God’s Gift of Family with her whenever she travels, making sure to put it front-and-center at the table. One of the greatest gifts she has experienced is how the book ministers to adults.
“Some of the blessings: three middle-aged women sobbing in my arms because, as I sat there and read the book, it touched a nerve from their own childhood,” Brenda says. Two of the women had found homes through adoption.
Parents of blended families also use the book as a resource for teaching their children about the creation of their family.
Brenda firmly believes that God will continue to use God’s Gift of Family to touch the lives of kids’ social workers and others involved in the foster care/adoption system beyond National Adoption Month.
“I think God is going to give this wings,” she says. “He’s going to do some amazing things.”