Each month I’ve attempted to feature a home based business mom. I missed October so I thought I’d do an extra story for November. But I’m going to change the theme. I’d like to feature a mom with extraordinary faith who has followed God’s promptings without flinching!
I’m going to attempt to tell the story of Mary Koenig. I hope I can do it justice, it is so amazing. Mary spoke at the November St. Teresa’s Confraternity of Christian Mother’s meeting last Saturday. I’m going to tell you parts of her story from memory because I hadn’t planned on blogging about her and didn’t take notes. But her story resonated with me and I feel moved to share it with you.
Mary’s story started 42 years ago when she was adopted as a baby. She grew up happy and well adjusted in a large Catholic family. She had four siblings which included one other who was also adopted. It was a natural and easy thing for families to adopt back then and Mary always felt part of the family and very loved.
Mary met and married her husband Doug after two bouts of cancer as a young adult. She had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which was treated and temporarily held off by chemotherapies. Soon after the marriage, Mary gave birth to two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. About 10 years after her second diagnosis Mary again relapsed with her cancer and was treated for a large tumor in her body.
The next course of treatment would be the most brutal, a bone marrow transplant. The preparations for the transplant which included the highest doses of chemotherapy possible would immediately throw Mary into menopause, thus deeming her permanently infertile. Mary was completely at peace with this because her goal was to live and be there to raise the two children she had already been blessed with.
Mary’s grueling treatments and transplant were a success and soon after she began longing for another child. Discussions with her husband didn’t seem to favor her longing as she and Doug talked about whether this was prudent or fair to bring another child into the family with Mary’s fragile health. Doug knew and expressed his worries that it could become a reality that in the future he may be raising their children without Mary.
But Mary was resolute that since she was alive she wanted to live her life to the fullest. She simply had a true faith and confidence in her future and was willing to trust the plans God had for her family and Doug which included the adoption of a child. Since she had been adopted herself, it seemed natural and the right thing to do now that she had been given another chance at life. Though unconvinced by Mary’s words, Doug remained faithful to his prayer life and the weekly holy hour of adoration that he attended.
One week, while at his holy hour Doug had a vision from Christ. When Mary told the story she left it up to the listeners whether to believe it or not, but she said in a matter of fact way, “Jesus came down from the cross and told Doug to have faith in the adoption of a child.” Doug returned home to tell Mary of his vision and Mary was elated and the next day immediately began the process of adopting a child.
Mary described the process as if it were a pregnancy in reverse. The labor pains happened at the beginning of the pregnancy during the time of deciding which route to go to adopt and then filling out mountains of paper work, getting scrutinized and having deep research into their lives to determine their suitability for the adoption of a child.
There were three ways the family could go in adopting. One was by fostering first, another was through an international agency and a third was through a private attorney. They found that the fastest way to adopt and the best chance for a permanent adoption was the international route and that’s the way they went.
Once they made the decision to adopt internationally and completed the rigorous research they waited and about six months later received a call that a child was in need of a home.
To make a long story short, the “pregnancy” ended with a couple trips Russia to adopt a 24 month old girl they named Tatiana (Ana). When Ana finally arrived home she came into the house and immediately became a member of the family without any sort of adjustment. She never experienced any separation anxiety or mental issues regarding the circumstances surrounding her adoption. It was really amazing how easily Ana’s entrance into the Koenig family happened.
Mary’s longings to adopt continued but she faced the reality that her family was most likely complete. She still had some old paper work from an attorney that facilitates 3-4 adoptions per year. This attorney has written and passed many of the adoption laws in the State of Nebraska and keeps a file of potential adoptive parents on the off chance she gets a call that a child is in need of adoption. The paper work for her file is extremely short compared to the international agency. Mary described it as a two page application.
Mary had filled out the paperwork long before and happened to come across it tucked away in an envelope in her home, and decided that instead of her throwing it away she would send it in and let the attorneys office throw it away. She just knew they would never accept her application since she had a poor health history and already had three children. But with a stubborn streak Mary mailed it anyway.
Mary received a call about six months after bringing Ana home and got a message that a pregnant mother had reviewed her file and wanted to meet her and Doug. Mary asked the Attorney’s assistant, “Is this a joke?” The assistant had to convince Mary that this was no joke. And the process of adopting another child began.
Mary and Doug were told that the mother was seven months pregnant and the baby was going to be born with health issues. Again to make a long story short, the mother chose Doug and Mary and gave birth to Christiona. Christiona had severe health issues that kept her hospitalized for six months but is now perfectly healthy and about 5 years old. It was an open adoption and they continue seeing the biological mother every couple months. Mary once asked the mother if she ever feels she made the wrong decision and would like to have her child back. The mother was sincere in her joy that she placed her child in the perfect home, she said her daughter has everything she ever dreamed for her to have!
Mary’s longings for more children continued and with each child she has had discussions with Doug that were not in her favor. But Doug always became inspired to accept another child and they have since adopted two more daughters. The third adoption was a foster child that came to the Koenigs as a beautiful healthy five pound baby girl. The baby came to the family when Mary was in the throws of the flu. Alena was cared for by Doug for the first week. Mary became convinced that the baby needed to go back and that it was just an unfortunate time to take in another baby. Doug said, “no way Mary, I’ve become attached to this baby.”
The last adoption was another sickly baby that survived a couple open heart surgeries as a newborn before Doug and Mary became involved through the foster program again. Doug and Mary have officially adopted 16 month old Josephina. Mary admitted this child is delayed and will be taking her and Doug on a new and uncharted journey in their lives. But with unwavering faith they have accepted this baby with open arms and value her dignity as a child of God.
This story of amazing faith is extraordinary!! I know that Mary views it in a very humble way which makes it even more endearing. God has blessed the family beyond their wildest dreams. Though life still has many struggles for the Koenigs, just like every other family, their faith has sustained them and their love has expanded with each child. This family is a testament to how to follow the promptings of God and let him lead the way, for his way is the way of sacrifice and love.
"Joy Battista" stands for the Joy of John the Baptist at the presence of Christ.
"And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy." Luke 1:43-44
This blog is dedicated to all who seek the Joy of Christ's presence in their own lives.
This blog is also dedicated to the unborn, for John the Baptist was an unborn when he leapt for joy at the presence of Jesus who was also unborn at the time.