Opening your home to a child in need may seem difficult, but it can be extremely rewarding. The benefits of adopting or fostering a child outweigh any apprehensions, said Trinity West Church Lead Pastor Bryan Rosenbarger at a recent Wellington discussion on adoption opportunities.
“It’s such a great feeling to be impacting a child’s life,” he said.
Rosenbarger and his wife of 16 years, Cynthia, are in the process of adopting their first foster child, 11-month-old Jordyn. The Rosenbargers started as foster parents for Jordyn but soon grew an inevitable attachment to him. “We loved him so much that we had to adopt him,” he said. “He brings so much joy into our lives.”
Rosenbarger, along with other members of the church, have made it their mission to advocate for adoption and foster parenting. With help from church member Stephen Tiger, who was adopted as a child, Rosenbarger put together the Celebrate Adoption event.
Held on Sunday, March 18 in the Wellington High School auditorium, guests received an opportunity to learn about everything pertaining to adoption and foster parenting. Representatives from Place of Hope, 4Kids of South Florida and Hope for Families provided information to prospective families.
For Tiger, the issue of adoption is extremely close to his heart. “I am adopted, so I’m trying to help pay it forward,” he said.
Tiger’s adoption journey goes back to 1957 in Trenton, N.J., where he was born to a single mother who was an Italian immigrant. At 43 years old with three children, Tiger’s biological mother conceived him with a black man. “At that time, it was not accepted,” Tiger said. “So my life would have been a lot harder had I not been adopted.”
Celebrate Adoption is Tiger’s opportunity to spread the word about the tremendous impact of adoption on a person’s life. “I want people to know about my experiences through adoption,” he said. “You could potentially be saving a person’s life, because you don’t know where they could end up with otherwise.”
Tiger believes without adoption and foster parenting, people don’t have the guidance needed to succeed in life. “They could end up with the wrong people, on the streets, doing drugs or anything else,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that you won’t go down these paths if you have parents, but the odds are so much greater for those who don’t.”
Tiger is thankful to have been adopted into a caring, loving and accepting family, who supported him. “I was lucky to have been adopted into a family who loved me for who I am,” he said.
And race should not be an issue, he said.
“As long as a family is willing to open up their heart to any child, race should not matter,” Tiger said. “I was lucky that my adoptive mother was Italian, so I was able to learn about that part of me, but I learned about black culture on my own, which for me was OK.”
Tiger believes it’s everyone’s responsibility to give back. He wants to let people in the community understand how important adoption and foster-parenting is, and how he is an example of its benefits.
“I was given the opportunity to graduate from college and accomplish many other things I would never have if I was not adopted,” he said. “My biological parents could not give me the same things that my adoptive parents have.”
For the Rosenbargers, they have learned more about themselves through adoption.
“These children have benefited our lives and made a difference in our world,” Bryan Rosenbarger said. “It’s amazing to think that they are helping us as much as we are helping them.”