Orchard mesa couple can’t ignore the tugging in their hearts, plan to adopt

The Oldenkamps have an Ethiopian flag hanging in front of a window in the living room of their Orchard Mesa home, a reminder of the boy that they hope to adopt from the African country into their family. Fom left to right are Kami Oldenkamp, 1-year-old Gabriel, 3-year-old Liam and Dave.

Dave and Kami Oldenkamp of Orchard Mesa thought about adopting for a long time, but they didn’t act on it until they saw photos of children in a Thailand orphanage a little more than a year ago.

It was then the Oldenkamps, both 28, realized there was one major problem: How were they going to afford it?

“We always talked about having three or four children,” Dave said. “It sort of hit me, if we want three or four children and we want to adopt, then now is the time to start looking into it.”

Adoptions can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and the young couple have school loans to pay off and two boys — Liam, 3, and Gabriel, 20 months — to support.

But they could no longer ignore the tugging in their hearts. November is Nat ional Adoption Awareness mont h.

“We’ve always felt God knew we’d have these two exact children,” Kami said. “We knew he’d pick someone else out for us, but that child would join our family in a different way. I think it was one of those things. We just knew.

There’s something that happens in your heart, and that’s it. This is the one that’s supposed to be in our family.”

And so Dave, a youth pastor at River of Life Alliance Church, and Kami, who does janitorial work at the church, trusted that God would provide the financial means. They started looking.

“The pre-application process eliminated some places for us,” Kami said. “To adopt in Haiti, you have to be 30 (years old). In Russia, you have to make two trips for a month and a half. We qualified in Lithuania, but if you’re not of Lithuania descent, it’s a longer process.”

After some in-depth research, the couple chose to adopt a child from Ethiopia.

“Once we decided on Ethiopia, we chose an agency, Bethany Christian Services,” Dave said. “There is a local branch here.”

That was the easy part.

From there, the Oldenkamps went through a home study with a social worker, who wrote a recommendation. They had to compile three years worth of tax returns and provide physical exams, reference letters and photos.   

“There were moments it was frustrating,” Dave said. “It was a lesson in patience.”

And it required money —  adoption fees, processing fees, citizenship fees and still more fees. In all, the Oldenkamps estimated the entire adoption will cost close to $24,000.

They received a $4,000 grant through Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman’s organization, Shaohannah’s Hope. They’ve organized fundraisers, too.

This past summer,  they began receiving e-mails with profiles of children. When they saw one of a 5-year-old boy, the couple told the agency they wanted to pursue adopting him.”

The Oldenkamps now are waiting for a judge to review their papers.  They expect to take custody early next year.

The Oldenkamps have raised close to $10,000 for the adoption but still face traveling expenses.


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