Mary Fredrich’s heart has been heavy for orphans since she was 13 years old. She always knew that she’d be involved in changing lives for orphans, but she never imagined how much her life would change in the process.
On Tuesday, April 28th 2015, Mary’s life changed forever when she and her husband, Ryan officially became adoptive parents to brothers, Marcus, 6, and Roman, 3.
“The Lord was continually preparing us for this journey. When I was 13, I had the privilege of traveling with my parents to the Philippines on a missions trip and I was able to work with children there,” Mary said. “After that experience, I thought I was going to have my own orphanage or go work at an orphanage.”
Shortly after Mary and Ryan married 7 years ago, they tried to have biological children of their own. “It didn’t happen,” Mary said. “About 4 years after we started trying, a lot of people started asking us to be their kid’s Godparents. In some way it felt like the Lord was preparing us to adopt.” Mary’s husband, Ryan, didn’t have the same calling. Without knowing what would happen, Mary knew she had to trust God and the love and burden He placed on her heart for children. Despite Ryan’s hesitations about adoption, Mary decided to pray on it. “I just started praying on it and had prayer warriors at our church praying as well. Then the Lord began to tug on Ryan’s heart about adoption,” Mary said.
The Fredrichs decided to attend a Foster to Adopt adoption seminar in Vancouver. They came away from the seminar with a new commitment to adopt. “Ryan said he knew he’d been selfish but that we needed to move forward with this. The Lord had changed my husband’s heart and led us to adopt,” Mary said. Shortly after, they started the Ethiopian adoption process with a different agency. Initially, the Fredrichs were only interested in adopting a baby. “We were afraid to adopt an older child because of the difficulties,” Mary said.
But then things changed. Mary and Ryan were approached at church about adopting a 6-year-old girl in Ethiopia who was HIV positive. After praying about it, they decided to move forward and adopt her. “This was February of last year and we were told we could bring her home in time for Christmas of that same year,” Mary said. “After starting the adoption process for this little girl, her birth dad then decided he didn’t want her to be adopted anymore. We were devastated.”
During their time of grieving, Ryan was able to preach during a mid-week service at their church about this ordeal. In a miraculous coincidence, friends who didn’t attend the Fredrich’s church happened to be in the audience that evening. They also happened to be good friends with their future sons’ foster parents. “Afterwards, they approached us and asked us if we would be interested in pursuing the boys. They’d been wanting to ask us for a while, but hadn’t because they knew we were focused on adopting the little girl from Ethiopia,” Mary said. After much prayer and tears, they decided to pursue the boys and trust God and see what He said. “Our boys are Native American, but there was already a Native American family pursuing them. We knew our chances were slim,” Mary said.
As the Fredrichs moved forward, they were able to spend a lot of time with Marcus and Roman and really get to know them and fall in love with them. “All of the sudden the other family that was pursuing the boys decided not to go through with it,” Mary said. “The Lord had told them not to pursue the boys anymore.”
The miracles kept coming and the Lord provided. “We hadn’t shared this news with anyone yet, but a person from church dropped off a $1,000 check at our home,” Mary said. The boys moved home soon after, on August 22nd 2014. After months of paper work and court visits, the Fredrichs officially adopted Marcus and Roman on April 22nd, 2015.
“God has been good and they have transitioned really well into our home,” Mary said. “Our boys were in an amazing Christian foster home before they came to us. They came to us already knowing and loving Jesus.”
Ryan and Mary have loved discovering their sons’ wonderful personalities along the way. “Marcus is very intelligent, sensitive and he loves people so much. He is very tenderhearted and a fantastic builder of Legos,” Mary said. “Roman is more energetic and a daredevil. He’s very sensitive and loving.”
With the adoption finalized, the Fredrichs decided to give Marcus and Roman new middle names to symbolize their new family bond. “Marcus’ middle name is now David, meaning highly loved of the Lord. We wanted him to know that the Lord has always loved him,” Mary said. “Roman’s middle name is now Asher, which means happiness. He is so happy and always smiling.”
The Fredrich’s story shows the incredible power of prayer and trusting in the Lord. “I’ve really seen the hand of the Lord for myself,” Mary said. “We are still on the waiting list for Ethiopia also. I see the Lord bringing it to fulfillment. It’s amazing to witness the faith of the Lord to put something on a 13-year-old girl’s heart, and to see Him fulfill that,” Mary said.
Mary’s closing words for a family considering adoption? “Don’t let the fear of what ifs and unknowns stop you from doing what you know the Lord has put on your heart,” Mary said. “The Lord meets our needs. He will fulfill and sustain us even in our most desperate and darkest times.”
For more information on adopting a child through AGCI, click here.