Family of Five: Westfield couple celebrates one year of adopting three brothers from South Africa
By Anna Skinner
Joel and Lauren Wright knew they wanted to adopt international children to start their family.
Three years ago, they began the lengthy process through Bethany Christian Services.
The Westfield couple claims they were very open minded through the adoption process, saying anywhere from one to three kids with ages ranging from 0 to 8 years were acceptable. They were also open to special needs.
Yet although the couple was open to these possibilities, they doubted they would be selected as the parents of three little boys from South Africa.
“We knew it was an option, but it was a not-going-to-happen option,” Lauren said. “We got to see their picture, then we traveled in January 2015 to South Africa, spent two months in the country and brought them home in March.”
Joel grew up in South Africa because his parents were missionaries. “Africa is near and dear to my heart,” he said. “Lauren’s gone on mission trips to South Africa, and we both really loved it there.”
The three brothers, Micah and Asher, 4-year-old twins, and Sawyer, 3, have adapted well to their new home according to the Wrights.
“They are doing phenomenal. They’ve come so far,” Lauren said. “When we met them, they were so quiet. They didn’t know their colors, alphabet and shapes when we adopted them, and now Micah is writing his name by himself, and they can hold whole conversations.”
The couple was spurred to adopt not because they can’t have kids, but the two wanted to help those in the world who didn’t have the privilege of a family.
“It wasn’t because we couldn’t have kids, it was something we really felt called to do because there are millions of children who don’t have families,” Joel said. “Family is such a blessing, and when you spend two years and a lot of time waiting and you finally get to have family, it’s really a special gift we try not to take for granted.”
In January, the Wright family celebrated “Family Day,” which is the day the judge signed off on the adoption papers. For their first family day, the Wrights traveled to Disney World.
“We both work full time, so evenings and weekends we try to do as much as we can together,” Lauren said.
Currently, all three boys go to Pebble Brook Preschool in Noblesville. In the 2016-17 school year, the twins will attend Washington Woods Elementary School for kindergarten.
“The kids will obviously change your life, so make sure you really want to do it,” Lauren said in advisement to those considering adoption. “It’s not something you can change your mind over, and our lives have been radically changed by adding three kids into the mix. Every part of your life gets interrupted in a good way.”
“It’s definitely not the easiest thing we’ve ever done, but also for me it’s the most rewarding thing,” Joel added.
MEET THE WRIGHTS
Family: Joel, 33, Lauren 30 with kids Asher, 4, Micah, 4 and Sawyer, 3.
Careers: Joel is a broadcast engineer and Lauren is the communications pastor at Northview Church.
Hobbies: Trips to the Children’s Museum and the Westfield Washington Public Library. Picking pumpkins in the fall and doing corn mazes, attending church each week as a family.
Family Day: January 29
Date of Adoption: March 6, 2015.
Thoughts on Westfield: “We really like the area. I think it’s a great place to raise a family,” Lauren said. “We’ve had great support from our friends and neighbors and coworkers.”
Future plans: Hoping to visit South Africa as a family.