“We are the Allen family, Jake, Jada, and Ginny Allen. Jake and I met right after high school and we were married three years later on April 14th, 2017. After we got married, we bought a house and moved to Loxley, Alabama where we still currently live. We have one daughter named Ginny. We are currently in the process of bringing another daughter home from Bulgaria!
Even from a very young age, I had always felt that God was calling me to adopt. I have always had a heart for orphans. I can remember even begging my parents to adopt when I was younger. One of my mom’s friends adopted two little girls from Russia and I was at the airport when they brought them home, many, years ago. I think that watching their journey when I was a child is what ultimately inspired me to want to adopt. I was also raised in a Christian household and regularly attended church, bible school, camps, etc. I knew that God called us to adoption and I knew He was preparing me from a very young age to adopt one day.
I knew that when looking for a future spouse one day that it was very important that they would be open to adoption as well. When Jake and I met it was clear that we both wanted kids and he was open to adoption as well. We got married in April of 2017. In August of 2018 is when we began our first adoption journey. We had been married for a little over a year and we felt like God was telling us it was time to start a family. We had a nice house and felt like we could provide well for a child and we had a lot of love to give. Even though we were both young (22 and 23) at the time, we just really believed that God was calling us to grow our family through adoption at the time and not through biological children.
One of my high school teachers had adopted twice and one day they shared an advocacy post on facebook about some waiting children. Even though we did not qualify for those countries yet, I still felt this overwhelming feeling that God was telling me it was time to adopt. Jake and I talked about it and we decided that we wanted to reach out to an agency and discuss adoption more. We reached out to Lifeline Children’s Services and talked for a long time to a social worker. Our social worker quickly began telling us about their Bulgaria program and how we seemed like a perfect fit for it. Honestly, we really didn’t have a preference as to where we adopted from. We started researching Bulgaria and Bulgaria adoptions and we quickly fell in love with the country of Bulgaria. We knew that Bulgaria would be a great pick for us.
After discussing the program with our social worker, we were told about the options when adopting from Bulgaria. One is the referral program- this is where you can wait for a referral of a child/children that match what gender/age and needs you are open to. The other option was to go the waiting child route. The waiting child list consists of children that are older, larger sibling groups, or children that have special and/or medical needs. The referral option typically takes a lot longer. We were so sure that we wanted to go the referral route because we thought it would give us time to prepare and time to save money. Of course, though, we had to take a glance at the waiting child list. It was in that moment that our lives would forever change.
There was a little girl on that waiting list that I KNEW was our daughter. But she had a lot of needs. I didn’t care what her needs were, I just knew she was mine. Jake on the other hand, was more hesitant and logical thinking. We decided that we should at least look at her file.
A few days later we learned that she was still available for adoption and we received her file to look over. I am not going to lie, her file was pretty scary. She had many, many diagnoses and there were also many unknowns. We prayed over her file and we just kept asking God that if she was meant to be ours that He would just show us. We kept getting sign after sign and we just couldn’t get over the overwhelming feeling that she was supposed to be our daughter. We gave it to God and we applied for a soft match for her.
A month later we received our soft match for her! “Gyuldeniz” was her biological name and she was listed as “Ginny.” Her foster family called her “Denni” and that is where we got Ginny. We decided to keep something similar for her. We quickly began all of the paperwork and home study visits. We got to take trip 1 and meet Ginny on her fourth birthday! It was so special to meet her on the same day that she was born but four years later.
Ginny’s life and Ginny’s adoption has forever changed us. We knew throughout the entire process that we were fulfilling God’s calling on our lives and it is a feeling that I cannot even describe. We had NO money saved up to adopt and we had no idea where we would get it, but we knew we would because we had to! This is where Ginny got her middle name, Faith. Her whole adoption was centered on Faith and Jake and I having faith that God would provide where He called us to. We had yard sales, got second jobs, did every fundraiser you can name, sold our boat, etc. You name it and we probably did it.
In October of 2019 we finally brought Ginny home. She was 4.5 at pick-up. What an amazing year it has been with her. We knew we would be back to Bulgaria soon! Our hearts broke as we left so many behind. Ginny is our miracle. The little girl they said would never speak is now identifying almost the whole alphabet. The same little one they said would not be running NEVER stops running! We learned that we have so much to give and that there are SO many children waiting. God doesn’t call us to be perfectly equipped to adopt. He just calls us to simply say yes.
Around one month after we brought Ginny home, I saw a picture of another little girl waiting in Bulgaria. I actually showed her picture to a few people and said that if she was still waiting in six months (we had to wait 6 months to start the process again) that I would be back for her. I knew in my heart that she was my daughter as well. I prayed and I told God, “If she is still waiting when that six months is up, God, I will go for her.” Six months later she was still waiting. I never could get her out of my mind. We ended up emailing our social worker and asking if we could possibly view her file. We were able to view her file and we knew that she was our daughter. We prayed and talked about her needs but ultimately we knew that God was telling us to GO. We sent in paperwork for her and around one month later we received our soft match. We will be renaming her “Clara Hope.” She is seven years old and has many medical needs just like Ginny. She has lived in 3 three different orphanages and with two different foster families. We recently just got an update that she was transferred to another facility. Her past and her story break our hearts. We know that we could not go on unless we pursued God’s calling that we make her our daughter.
When we started the process again we knew that we would have to fundraise the ENTIRE process and apply to every single grant. We had literally no money saved up to adopt again but we will never let money stop us from adopting. We even took out a loan to pay our initial agency fees. We have worked so hard and have raised over $15,000. We currently have around $15,000 let to go.
We can give her medical care that she desperately needs, we can give her a family, we can give her SO much that she doesn’t have now. We are praying and believing that God will provide a way to our daughter.
Jake, Jada, and Ginny Allen”
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