The Miracle Children

by Office of Marketing | Dec 13, 2012

A couple of years after their 2005 marriage, Josh (’05) and Jessica (Billings) Hartman (’05) were ready to start adding to their family. As the year went on, however, Jess’ fears about not being able to have children seemed to be coming true. She was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in the summer of 2007, and spent the rest of that year braving difficult tests and treatments to determine whether or not she would be able to get pregnant. Her next step, after a discouraging ultrasound, was too expensive to pursue. She and Josh didn’t know what to do and experienced some of the most intense sadness they had ever known.

Through their darkest moments, God continued to give them hope. They heard words of encouragement, “breadcrumbs” as Jess called them, through revival speakers, friends, family members, and God’s faithful Word, especially Psalm 27:13-14: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

As they waited, God led Jess to meet a young woman who had decided to foster-to-adopt. Josh and Jess started attending adoption and foster care preparation meetings in the fall of 2010, all the while still praying that they would be able to have a baby. They soon realized, however, that they could no longer ignore the kids in the foster system. These kids already existed, fatherless, desperately needing Christian families to shape their values and raise them up to know the Lord. “We couldn’t turn a blind eye to this need anymore and not feel guilt,” Jess said.

The training and paperwork took them until May 2011, when their names were finally added to the list of foster-to-adopt couples. Throughout the nerve-wracking process, the Hartmans received five calls about potential children for their home. The last call was for a baby named Angelina.

“In September we were interviewed with five other couples in Montgomery County,” Jess said. “The following month we found out that we were chosen and we got to meet our little girl when she was nine months old, just before Thanksgiving.”

But the blessings didn’t stop there. Almost two months after Angelina arrived at the Hartman’s home, Jess took one more pregnancy test, despite years of discouraging results. The test was positive, and a doctor’s appointment determined that she had gotten pregnant the same month that Angelina joined their family.

On August 22, 2012, Angelina officially became a Hartman. Caleb was born on August 29.

Jess’ infertility diagnosis three years earlier had led the couple through a process of faith that had greater eternal impact than they might ever realize. “We really do think that our infertility journey was to lead us to Angelina, and then God opened my womb for Caleb,” Jess said. “We never would have considered adoption and Angelia wouldn’t be in our lives, had we not experienced this journey. Now we are blessed to have two miracles.”

Josh and Jess have served in youth ministry at The Bridge Church in Hamburg, Pa., since 2005.