Ritenour: We are adopting from China!

Scarlett Ritenour Goose Creek, South Carolina

We are Michael and Scarlett, parents of Nick and Hannah (now married) and bonus parents to our son-in-law, Justin.

Early on in our relationship we discussed our future plans for a family and decided that we would have at least one biological child but we would also like to adopt at some point.   Adoption has always been a part of Scarlett’s life, as she was adopted as was her sister. From an extremely young age, she knew that adoption was something she hoped to pursue as an adult. As a couple we the possibility of adopting a child with special needs one day, since Scarlett grew up with a special needs sister and went to school to be a special education teacher.  There is a bit of an age difference from our youngest biological child (19 years old) and the age range that we are pursuing through adoption (0 to 9 years old). We intentionally waited until our youngest child was older in order to be able to have more dedicated one on one time for our adopted child. We look forward to adding another child to our family and providing the love and care of a family that every child needs and deserves.  To us, the most important thing we can impart to our children is the love of a family and the love of God. In addition, we realized that there were many kids who were considered harder to place due to being older or having special needs. We wanted to provide a family a child who may not otherwise have one.  

 

Here are some things that are of note in the chronological timeline leading up to our adoption:

 

 January 2017

Scarlett began to feel a strong tug in her heart about adoption and she prayed continually for God to show her what this meant.  Signs began to show up everywhere…in word games that she played the words “orphan”, “adoption”, and “adopt” began to show up repeatedly…to the point of her beginning to save pictures of the game screens because it seemed uncanny.  Random people would approach her to talk to her about adoption – even strangers – and the idea was never far from her thoughts. She talked with Michael about it all and asked him what he thought…was it a sign that they should consider adoption now?  He said he would think about it and pray about it and they would begin discussing the logistics, etc. Discussions and prayers began for the entire family.

 

August 2017

Scarlett and Nick we on a Mission Trip to Honduras with Journey Church.  During their time there, Scarlett asked God to help her to clearly be present and to fulfill God’s purpose for her on this trip.  During her journalling it was clear that adoption was something He wanted her to keep in her heart, and there were 3 path possibilities He put on her heart. To help others who were adopting, to actively be an ambassador for the children’s home in Honduras, or to pursue adoption as a family. As it turns out the answer was all three of these things, but that didn’t become clear right away.  Part of the mission in Honduras was to serve at an orphanage/children’s home. Scarlett and Nick were able to meet the little girl their family had been sponsoring that year and they were able to spend time with her as well as MANY other children there. The children were beautiful, their stories were heart-breaking and the need for families was evident! While in Honduras, Scarlett asked about adopting from there and quickly found that it is extremely difficult to adopt from Honduras and that it often took many many years and would still be a denial in the end.  Upon return to the U.S. it was clear that it was time for a family discussion about what was next for the Ritenours.

December thru May 2018

 

Through the J:127 MInistry in which Scarlett serves in S.C., a little girl in need of rapid placement through fictive kinship foster care was presented.  The Ritenours met the little girl and she moved into their home a few days after Christmas. She was placed with the family for just under 6 months through the Department of Social Services.  While she was with them, her background of trauma and abuse was discovered to be very extensive. Her biological parents rights were in question, but it was determined that it could take several years for that to be resolved.  From there it was determined that she needed to be in a fully therapeutic environment and she was placed in one at that time. Needless to say, the Ritenours were completely heart-broken for the child and her leaving left quite a void in their lives.  During her time with the family, it became evident that the Ritenours were open to adoption.  

June 2018 thru November 2018

The family took some time to allow for mourning the loss of the little girl.  During that time, Michael and Scarlett prayed about adoption and what would be next for the family.  In addition, their daughter, Hannah got married to Justin and they gained a son-in-law. During that time frame, they also met with someone from Lifeline Children’s Services and got some questions answered.  The next step was prayer about when to adopt and from where. It became very evident that they were called to adopt from Hong Kong despite the initial concern about funding an international adoption. Iit was made loud and clear that God was speaking to them and that He would provide a way if they were obedient to Him.   

Now fast forward 7 months from May 2018.

 

December 2018

On Christmas day, Michael gave Scarlett a puzzle box as a gift and inside that box was a great big YES to pursuing adoption from Hong Kong and that they should get started in the process.  They submitted their initial application a few days later. 

January 2019 to August 2019 

These months were filled with adoption pursuit.  They have done tons of reading, training, and seeking education and experience from many resources:  other families in their church who have adopted internationally and domestically, S.C. adoption and foster trainings, trauma trainings, and many many books and websites referred to them by Lifeline.  They also attended a weekend training conference in Alabama called “Rooted in Love”. During the following months there was what seemed like tons of paperwork, forms to be filled out, questions to answer, home visits and a home study to be completed, and them more and more paperwork in addition to fundraising and lots of prayers.

 

August thru November 2019

 

We continued to pursue adoption in Hong Kong, but with all of the political unrest and a few other factors, we began to question whether or not we should stick with the plan to adopt from Hong Kong.  After much prayer and discussion, we made the decision to pursue adopting from China rather than Hong Kong.

December 2019

Wow, this is a big month for us!

On December 6 we were looking at the list of waiting children from China and we came across the file of a little boy who had recently turned 7 years old.  His mini-profile told of his personality and medical condition. The mini-profile was enough for us to make an inquiry and request his bigger file. The bigger file spoke of medical procedures and life circumstances and had a few videos of him.  After reading through that file, we knew we wanted to pursue him and we asked our caseworker to send a letter of intent on our behalf. We are currently waiting for a Letter of Acceptance from China. From that point, we will be able to share who our child is!! We should hear something by early January.

We feel that God’s perfect timing has put us on the adoption path, and in spite of the fact that we had no money saved for an adoption, we are stepping out in faith and trusting that we will be able to bring our son home to his forever family through a combination of saving, fundraising, and grants.

As of this week (third week of December 2019), have been awarded a $3000 matching grant from Josiah’s Adoption Fund, administered by Lifesong for Orphans!!!!

Although we are both blessed to have jobs and Michael makes a good  salary that is fully able to pay our bills and my income is supplemental, there aren’t too many people fortunate enough to have an extra $30,000 sitting around for an adoption and we are no exception. When we began the adoption process, we obtained a 401K  loan for a portion of the intended expenses We have also been cutting monthly expenses as much as possible in order to add to that savings. In addition, we have been and will continue to fundraise as much as possible and have applied for grants. So far we have held an online auction, a t-shirt sale, an event scheduled at a local farm, a Spirit Night at our local Chick-fil-a, and a Noonday fundraiser, each of these has  raised a small amount of funds. We also have a few other fundraiser ideas that we plan to pursue in the near future as well. Unfortunately, we are limited in the amount we qualify to borrow at this time, due to still making monthly payments on our student loans. 

 

Although we have all the resources needed to raise this child, we do not have all of the resources we need to bring him home.  Therefore we will have to rely on the understanding of grant selection committees to help us come up with the final $20,000 or so we will need in order to bring this sweet boy home to his forever family. We believe that every child deserves a family regardless of their age or disabilities, and this little guy we are pursuing is no exception. We also believe that where God guides, He provides, and we ask that you find it in your hearts to help our little guy, whomever he may be, come home to his forever family because we can’t wait to meet him!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about our journey.

 

Many blessings,

The Ritenour Family

 


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Ritenour 08764”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
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Raised to date by 16 people
 of  $25,000
324 days left

My Story

We are Michael and Scarlett, parents of Nick and Hannah (now married) and bonus parents to our son-in-law, Justin.

Early on in our relationship we discussed our future plans for a family and decided that we would have at least one biological child but we would also like to adopt at some point.   Adoption has always been a part of Scarlett’s life, as she was adopted as was her sister. From an extremely young age, she knew that adoption was something she hoped to pursue as an adult. As a couple we the possibility of adopting a child with special needs one day, since Scarlett grew up with a special needs sister and went to school to be a special education teacher.  There is a bit of an age difference from our youngest biological child (19 years old) and the age range that we are pursuing through adoption (0 to 9 years old). We intentionally waited until our youngest child was older in order to be able to have more dedicated one on one time for our adopted child. We look forward to adding another child to our family and providing the love and care of a family that every child needs and deserves.  To us, the most important thing we can impart to our children is the love of a family and the love of God. In addition, we realized that there were many kids who were considered harder to place due to being older or having special needs. We wanted to provide a family a child who may not otherwise have one.  

 

Here are some things that are of note in the chronological timeline leading up to our adoption:

 

 January 2017

Scarlett began to feel a strong tug in her heart about adoption and she prayed continually for God to show her what this meant.  Signs began to show up everywhere…in word games that she played the words “orphan”, “adoption”, and “adopt” began to show up repeatedly…to the point of her beginning to save pictures of the game screens because it seemed uncanny.  Random people would approach her to talk to her about adoption – even strangers – and the idea was never far from her thoughts. She talked with Michael about it all and asked him what he thought…was it a sign that they should consider adoption now?  He said he would think about it and pray about it and they would begin discussing the logistics, etc. Discussions and prayers began for the entire family.

 

August 2017

Scarlett and Nick we on a Mission Trip to Honduras with Journey Church.  During their time there, Scarlett asked God to help her to clearly be present and to fulfill God’s purpose for her on this trip.  During her journalling it was clear that adoption was something He wanted her to keep in her heart, and there were 3 path possibilities He put on her heart. To help others who were adopting, to actively be an ambassador for the children’s home in Honduras, or to pursue adoption as a family. As it turns out the answer was all three of these things, but that didn’t become clear right away.  Part of the mission in Honduras was to serve at an orphanage/children’s home. Scarlett and Nick were able to meet the little girl their family had been sponsoring that year and they were able to spend time with her as well as MANY other children there. The children were beautiful, their stories were heart-breaking and the need for families was evident! While in Honduras, Scarlett asked about adopting from there and quickly found that it is extremely difficult to adopt from Honduras and that it often took many many years and would still be a denial in the end.  Upon return to the U.S. it was clear that it was time for a family discussion about what was next for the Ritenours.

December thru May 2018

 

Through the J:127 MInistry in which Scarlett serves in S.C., a little girl in need of rapid placement through fictive kinship foster care was presented.  The Ritenours met the little girl and she moved into their home a few days after Christmas. She was placed with the family for just under 6 months through the Department of Social Services.  While she was with them, her background of trauma and abuse was discovered to be very extensive. Her biological parents rights were in question, but it was determined that it could take several years for that to be resolved.  From there it was determined that she needed to be in a fully therapeutic environment and she was placed in one at that time. Needless to say, the Ritenours were completely heart-broken for the child and her leaving left quite a void in their lives.  During her time with the family, it became evident that the Ritenours were open to adoption.  

June 2018 thru November 2018

The family took some time to allow for mourning the loss of the little girl.  During that time, Michael and Scarlett prayed about adoption and what would be next for the family.  In addition, their daughter, Hannah got married to Justin and they gained a son-in-law. During that time frame, they also met with someone from Lifeline Children’s Services and got some questions answered.  The next step was prayer about when to adopt and from where. It became very evident that they were called to adopt from Hong Kong despite the initial concern about funding an international adoption. Iit was made loud and clear that God was speaking to them and that He would provide a way if they were obedient to Him.   

Now fast forward 7 months from May 2018.

 

December 2018

On Christmas day, Michael gave Scarlett a puzzle box as a gift and inside that box was a great big YES to pursuing adoption from Hong Kong and that they should get started in the process.  They submitted their initial application a few days later. 

January 2019 to August 2019 

These months were filled with adoption pursuit.  They have done tons of reading, training, and seeking education and experience from many resources:  other families in their church who have adopted internationally and domestically, S.C. adoption and foster trainings, trauma trainings, and many many books and websites referred to them by Lifeline.  They also attended a weekend training conference in Alabama called “Rooted in Love”. During the following months there was what seemed like tons of paperwork, forms to be filled out, questions to answer, home visits and a home study to be completed, and them more and more paperwork in addition to fundraising and lots of prayers.

 

August thru November 2019

 

We continued to pursue adoption in Hong Kong, but with all of the political unrest and a few other factors, we began to question whether or not we should stick with the plan to adopt from Hong Kong.  After much prayer and discussion, we made the decision to pursue adopting from China rather than Hong Kong.

December 2019

Wow, this is a big month for us!

On December 6 we were looking at the list of waiting children from China and we came across the file of a little boy who had recently turned 7 years old.  His mini-profile told of his personality and medical condition. The mini-profile was enough for us to make an inquiry and request his bigger file. The bigger file spoke of medical procedures and life circumstances and had a few videos of him.  After reading through that file, we knew we wanted to pursue him and we asked our caseworker to send a letter of intent on our behalf. We are currently waiting for a Letter of Acceptance from China. From that point, we will be able to share who our child is!! We should hear something by early January.

We feel that God’s perfect timing has put us on the adoption path, and in spite of the fact that we had no money saved for an adoption, we are stepping out in faith and trusting that we will be able to bring our son home to his forever family through a combination of saving, fundraising, and grants.

As of this week (third week of December 2019), have been awarded a $3000 matching grant from Josiah’s Adoption Fund, administered by Lifesong for Orphans!!!!

Although we are both blessed to have jobs and Michael makes a good  salary that is fully able to pay our bills and my income is supplemental, there aren’t too many people fortunate enough to have an extra $30,000 sitting around for an adoption and we are no exception. When we began the adoption process, we obtained a 401K  loan for a portion of the intended expenses We have also been cutting monthly expenses as much as possible in order to add to that savings. In addition, we have been and will continue to fundraise as much as possible and have applied for grants. So far we have held an online auction, a t-shirt sale, an event scheduled at a local farm, a Spirit Night at our local Chick-fil-a, and a Noonday fundraiser, each of these has  raised a small amount of funds. We also have a few other fundraiser ideas that we plan to pursue in the near future as well. Unfortunately, we are limited in the amount we qualify to borrow at this time, due to still making monthly payments on our student loans. 

 

Although we have all the resources needed to raise this child, we do not have all of the resources we need to bring him home.  Therefore we will have to rely on the understanding of grant selection committees to help us come up with the final $20,000 or so we will need in order to bring this sweet boy home to his forever family. We believe that every child deserves a family regardless of their age or disabilities, and this little guy we are pursuing is no exception. We also believe that where God guides, He provides, and we ask that you find it in your hearts to help our little guy, whomever he may be, come home to his forever family because we can’t wait to meet him!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about our journey.

 

Many blessings,

The Ritenour Family

 


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Ritenour 08764”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
Read more

We have received an update with a few new photos!

June 18, 2020

Exciting info to share!!

An update from June 8th:

Our dossier has moved from “In review” to “To be matched” !!!!!

Since we’re pre-matched it’s just a formality, but must be done…we should expect LOA in about 3 weeks!!!!!

What that means is that really soon we’ll have to apply for travel visas and  literally just wait for travel!!!!!

Y’all,  my heart is happy and even though we still have to wait, I’m so thankful that God has this in His hands and He’s making a way when there seems to be no way during this difficult “state of the world”!!

We still need funding,  but we’re working on that too.

Praise Him with me and please keep praying that funding comes through and our process continues to move forward quickly so we can go get our son ASAP!

Thanks so much for the support and the prayers… they’re working,  y’all!!

❤👦🏻🇨🇳❤🐼🇨🇳❤

 

On Monday, June 15th, we received an email with current pics and a short video of our son.  He’s in the same shirt that he wore in his pics months ago, but I can tell he’s grown a bit… and his smile is just too cute!

 

We’re so happy that he knows he has a family coming for him soon… and we’re so thankful that WE get to be his family. 

 

Please pray that we get the rest of the funding, paperwork gets processed and completed,  and travel opens up in the fall so we can bring him home. 

 

Also,  please pray for James… that he would feel loved by us even before we get there,  that he would be ready and at peace during the transition when the time comes to join our family. 

 

Thanks so much to everyone here  for praying with us and being a great support system during this process.

 

And one last prayer request… that you would join us in praising God for all of this.   We’re so thankful and blessed!  

 

**PS… look at James’ adorable smile!!

 

***please do not share his photo or video with anyone,  they are to remain here in the private group per our agency***

 

On Wednesday, June 17th we received approval to do  a Both Hands Project and fundraiser. Yay!

 

Both Hands helps families fundraise for their adoptions. A family gathers a team of volunteers and Both Hands coaches them to coordinate a service project fixing up a widow’s home. Similar to a 5k race, the family and their team raise sponsorship for their day of service and the funds raised help an orphan be adopted into a forever family!

 

Y’all God is making a way in the  midst of world chaos.  There is absolutely no doubt that this adoption is in His hands!

 

If you feel compelled to help, please do.  We need to get our funding together ASAP, so we are ready and able to go get our son when the time comes and China says to travel.

 

We thank you  all sooooo much for the support and the prayers!

 

Blessings!

Scarlett and Michael

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Picture from June 15th

June 18, 2020

Please DO NOT share our son’s photo.

 

Thank you!

 

Many blessings,  

Scarlett and Michael

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We have chosen an American first name for our son…and our first set of documents has gone to the consulate

February 29, 2020

Hey everyone!

We just wanted to take a minute to let you all know that even though things in China are a bit delayed due to the corona virus, things with our adoption are still moving forward.  We are looking at travel between June and Octobe of this year, provided things in China are up and running at full speed…and provided that we are able to get all of our funding in time.  

We are constantly in prayer about our funding and we know that God is bigger than any number.  We fully believe that He put adoption on our hearts, called us TO adopt, and He will see us through the funding.  We are saving, working extra, fundraising, and applying for grants.  We also ask our friends and family to prayerfully consider helping in some way, whether it be by donating funds or praying for us or both…we appreciate and are very grateful for your help!

Now, to introduce WHO you are helping to have a family.  We have decided to name our son…

JAMES!

He is named after a very dear friend who has been there for our family and chose to walk through the toughest time with us, selflessly he and his wife have helped us feel loved and cared for in the midst of what was considered a nightmare.  They definitely displayed God’s love and walked through tough things with us and we are incredibly grateful.  Our friend, James, was the youth pastor for both of our adult children for a little while.  He was there for them as a leader and friend.  Now he is the Visual Media Director at our church, he is a mentor to our 19 year old son, and a very dear friend to our entire family.  It makes our heart very happy to be able to honor him in this way and we are excited to have him be “Uncle James” to our James when he comes home from China!

So, there you have the latest update on our process…please continue to pray for our family and specifically for our son James.  He needs to know that he now has a family who loves him very much and we are doing everything we can to bring him home asap.

Please feel free to share the link to our campaign to help us with our funding and to have others pray for our adoption.

Thanks and Many Blessings!

The Ritenours

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We received Pre-Approval! Our little guy is ours!!

December 27, 2019

We received an amazing phone call, followed by an email stating that the little boy we’re pursuing is ours!  China reviewed our file and deemed us a good family for the 7 year old we’ve been praying about.  

 

We’re incredibly excited and grateful… we hope to post a picture if him  soon!

 

Please, consider donating to help us bring him home!!

 

Thank you and many blessings, 

Scarlett and Michael

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Comments

$2,750

Chevon

Apr 10, 2020

$100

Hidden

Mar 20, 2020

“We love you and are praying!!”

$127

Kristin

Mar 11, 2020

“Thanks for being the best neighbors! Can't wait to meet the new little neighbor!”

$15

Aj.

Mar 11, 2020

$25

melody

Feb 29, 2020

“hoping this will help”

$50

Hidden

Feb 29, 2020

$15

Lauren

Feb 29, 2020

“Can't wait to meet your son!”

$100

Hidden

Feb 16, 2020

$25

Amber

Feb 14, 2020

$250

Sharon

Feb 13, 2020

“Scarlett, we are praying that you meet your fundraising goals so you can meet your son soon! Hope this helps. God bless!”

$100

Julia

Feb 13, 2020

“love y'all. Praying for blessings and that you will be able to bring your little one home soon. He will be so blessed to have such a loving home. Stay encouraged. <3”

$38

Jennifer

Feb 13, 2020

“We love y’all.”

$5

Hidden

Feb 11, 2020

$50

Rene

Feb 11, 2020

$50

Kara

Jan 13, 2020

“Wish I could do more but hopefully this helps some!”

$200

Hidden

Jan 5, 2020