Local family looks to community for help in adoption process
Newberg residents Tony and Heidi Rourke thought they were done having children. They thought their family son Ryan, 14, and daughter Emma, 11 was complete.
They thought they were done with dirty diapers, done with baby food, done with sleepless nights bent over an infant who refuses to be comforted.
But as they see it God had other plans. Tony Rourke said it all began in April, when during his solo runs preparing for his first marathon he started feeling like God was preparing him and his family for something big.
The Rourkes sat down with their children and discussed what causes they might like to get more involved in as a family. Two rose to the top: taking care of kids and feeding the hungry.
Thats where it started snowballing for me, said Tony Rourke, an underwriter for the insurance company LifeMap and also the chairman of Newbergs Citizens Rate Review Committee and president of the Newberg Soccer Club. Eventually, I started feeling like he wanted us to adopt, and he wanted us to adopt siblings.
At first, the Rourkes said they were terrified.
Yeah, Tony said with a chuckle, because were not spring chickens anymore. We thought we were past little kids.
But the faith that led them to the conviction in the first place, also convinced them that it was the right path to continue on.
Were not called to understand, said Heidi Rourke, who holds a masters in teaching and homeschools both of her children. We feel were just called to obey and have a willing heart.
Their vision began to take more shape in November, after they asked for a prayer meeting at their house with family as well as their pastor and friends from Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin. They said the experience confirmed the calling, in that a number of people also felt the Rourkes were being called to adopt.
But the meeting also added a new wrinkle, as Tony and Heidi began to feel that they were being asked to adopt not just siblings, but twins. They fully acknowledge that the probability of a set of twins being born and put up for open adoption is so low its practically mathematically impossible, but that doesnt appear to cause them any concern.
God can do anything, Heidi said.
After researching adoption organizations across the state, they settled on All Gods Children, a nonprofit Christian agency based in Portland. Theyre still undergoing the home study process but say theyre confident theyll be approved, and the agency which operates domestically and internationally is aware and on-board with their desire to adopt twins, specifically.
The Rourkes have already begun talking with their biological children about the new additions (Theyre both excited and ready to help, Heidi says) and rearranging their home to allow for baby-proofing and a new nursery.
The one remaining consideration is the expense. Agency adoption even within the United States is expensive, costing anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000. And not having planned to adopt until the past year they admit they dont have that kind of money sitting in a closet somewhere.
Theyre exploring some creative ways to fill that gap. They plan on applying for grants and no-interest loans for which they might be eligible once their home study is complete (a prerequisite for most grants). In the meantime, theyve turned to an option thats more commonly associated with entrepreneurship and business startups than charitable causes and philanthropic giving: crowd funding.
The crowd funding approach makes sense for businesses, because businesses can give you something in return, Tony Rourke said. But the more research I did, I saw people are doing crowd funding for things like mission trips, even adoption. Its really about leaning on the community you live in to help you out.
Their campaign on GoFundMe went live in December and has already collected nearly $2,500 of their $30,000 goal.
When asked why they believe they have been called to adopt, both are silent and thoughtful for a moment before Heidi chimes in.
Were just really blessed, she said, mentioning their supportive extended family and their church. I think the Lord is saying, I gave you so much, and now Im asking you to give something back.
For more information on the Rourkes and their crowd funding campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/Rourke-Twins.