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Adoption has been hard for, but good to, the Weathers family of Spartanburg, S.C.
BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN
What do you do when you get a call asking you to
consider adopting a child? What if you’re already adoptive parents of two
children and the possible third-to-be is the sibling of your 3-year-old?
you’re Darrell and Michaelle Weathers, you pray together, talk through the
financial difficulties you’re experiencing — and then say Yes.
baby girl will be born late in April, and the birth mother wants Michaelle
(pronounced Michelle) in the delivery room with her. But across what should be
a smooth road to the adoption there is a big hurdle the Weatherses, who live in
Spartanburg, S.C., are facing. But it’s best to start at the beginning.
love children so much we really wanted them,” says Michaelle. They were seven
years into their marriage when they learned that they would not be able to
had no qualms about adopting, but they met resistance at the first agency they
tried. “The woman in charge said, ‘Sorry, we don’t deal with Catholics,’”
next choice was a better one. The biological mother picked the Weatherses to be
the parents of the baby boy she would give birth to. Adoption costs were
considerable, but the couple’s hearts were set for all challenges. They made
many sacrifices to come up with the $17,000 they needed up front — and have
been rewarded with the love of their son, Seth, for seven years now.
he was 4 years old, Seth drew a picture of four stick figures holding hands — a
mommy, a daddy and two children. “Who’s the littlest one?,” they asked.
said it was his baby sister,” recalls Darrell. “That was a month before we
the Weatherses found out came with a surprise phone call from a friend, Lynn
Connolly, after Mass one Sunday. She knew they were interested in adopting
another child. “Once a week, at the consecration of the Eucharist,” she says,
“I asked Christ for a special blessing for them, to make it financially
feasible for them to adopt.”
at a children’s St. Nicholas party at her parish, she bumped into a friend who
told her that her daughter was expecting a baby in four weeks. The young lady,
already a mother, wanted to put this new baby up for adoption. She and her
parents were looking for a Catholic family. Connolly knew the perfect one.
no time to lose, the Weatherses took out an equity line on their home to raise
the $11,000 in fees this second adoption called for. Soon enough, Seth had his
baby sister, Rebekah.
Michaelle, “God knew they needed a home and made us capable of taking care of
wait. The story is still only getting started.
December, Lynn Connolly learned the same friend’s daughter was expecting,
unmarried, and deciding she couldn’t care for another child. They turned to
Connolly: Would Darrell and Michaelle like to adopt Rebekah’s half sister?
the biggest hurdle yet. Darrell had been superintendent of a city’s Parks and
Recreation department. He took a similar position in a different town in order
to allow Michaelle, a dental assistant, to stay home with the children once the
adoption loans were paid back. Then, last September, he was laid off.
(Currently he’s self-employed as a landscaper.)
their financial hardship (which also entailed three operations for Seth before
age 2), Connolly still didn’t hesitate to ask, because “Darrell and Michaelle
are a wonderful couple, so giving in their love for their children,” she says,
“and they make a very joy-filled family.”
Weatherses discussed their situation and prayed hard for guidance. “It’s the
right thing to do to keep the sisters together,” explains Michaelle. “Our faith
and our trust are solely in God, and he’s the only one who is going to make it
still some work to do. All costs must be paid before the adoption, which must
be done at the same time baby Sarah Elizabeth is born later this month.
came up with her middle name,” says Darrell. “Michaelle told him he didn’t come
from her tummy; he came from her heart.”
Weatherses are working hard to raise money. They’ve received a discount for the
required state papers and from a committed Christian lawyer who has adopted
children himself. Yet, while they’ve been able to negotiate costs down to
$6,000 (all due before the adoption), as of March 17, they had only $1,500.
Andress, Michaelle’s sister and herself a mother of six, contacted the
Weatherses’ diocesan family-life coordinator and proposed starting a foundation
to help. But any consideration will take weeks to approve. If the initiative
does get approved, it will likely be too late to help.
trying to humble ourselves and ask people for help; not lose hope; put our
trust in God, and pray he will provide,” says Andress. “The beauty of this
adoption is that it’s not only bringing the two little sisters together — but
it brought the idea for this foundation for other Catholic families in the
In Search of Support
has set up the Weathers Adoption Fund website explaining the family’s financial
challenge, hoping for contributions.
family talked over ideas with Father Michael Polewczak, administrator of Jesus
Our Risen Savior Church in Spartanburg. He believes the website shows promise.
watching an uncle and aunt in his own family adopt when unable to have
children, Father Polewczak knows what these families go through. He knows the
Weatherses are “a very devout Catholic family, very faithful to the Church, and
dedicated in the worship life of the parish. They are a family so in love with
God and with each other,” he says. “In the example of Darrell and Michaelle,
there’s a testimony to how strong and healthy and far-reaching the marital bond
of love expresses itself — in how they want to reach out and adopt children.”
says it’s essential for them to let other people know how important adoptions
Weatherses have faced hurdles before. Explains Michaelle, “When we first
started, we never thought we would have one child. Through all the prayers and
things we’ve gone through, here comes No. 3. They’re all miracles.”
they need another one. Seth is praying for it. He already has big-brother plans
for Sarah Elizabeth: “I want to hold her 24 hours a day.”
Staff writer Joseph Pronechen
is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.
INFORMATION WeathersAdoptionFund.org (864)