Hark, a Baby — A Story of Adoption

the beginning of a family

Kasey (McHenry, ’08) and Jon Harkness (’08) met and fell in love at Trinity Western and were married shortly after graduation. They both looked forward to having children one day, but decided to continue their education and grow as a couple first.

Jon pursued a graduate degree, for which he and Kasey moved to Jerusalem, Israel after their marriage in 2009. There, Jon received his MA in Biblical History and Geography, while Kasey taught full-time in an English-speaking Palestinian school (The Jerusalem Schools). After completing Jon’s two-year program, they moved to North Carolina, where they currently work as teachers.

After a few years of teaching, they felt the time had finally come to start their family. But things did not go as planned.

Unexpected Loss

Miscarriage after miscarriage left them devastated and wondering what was wrong. It was a confusing season, but all through the pain, they were determined not to let this get in the way of their marriage.

“We relied on each-other through each loss,” says Jon, “understanding that we are one unit and that neither of us is to blame for anything.”

After their sixth miscarriage, and years of getting tests done that ultimately gave no answers, they decided to look into adoption.

“It was definitely an intimidating thing to start considering,” says Jon. “All told, it took us a year to come to terms with the task ahead.”

But despite the difficulty and significant cost—adoption agency costs can range anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000—Jon and Kasey were determined to do their best.

“When we really started looking into it,” says Kasey, “what we found is that the majority of the adoption process boils down to 1) finding a child; 2) having a pre-placement assessment (home study) done; and 3) having an attorney to file the paperwork. An agency will normally handle all of that, but we worked out that arranging the home study and hiring an attorney were easy enough to do ourselves (though still expensive).”

Because they had built connections with people all across the world, the believed their odds were quite good of finding a baby through merely spreading the word.

A Call For Help

In April, 2017, they started a GoFundMe page and asked everyone they knew to share their story. Within two weeks, they raised what they needed to pay for the adoption!

The next few months revolved around having a home study done. Once they were approved, they started marketing themselves at pregnancy centers, local hospitals, and on social media.

The day they went public with their search was the day that a series of complicated events all culminated in the birth mother’s life. The result of this was her seeing the Harkness family’s post. Shortly afterward, she decided to place her baby with them.

A Baby is Born

On February 2nd, 2018, James Marshall Harkness entered the world.

Jon and Kasey couldn’t be happier.

Jon and Kasey Harkness with their newborn baby in the hospital.

“It’s indescribable,” says Kasey. “God has blessed us with an amazing child and to us it really feels like James actually came from us. He’s so incredibly precious, and every new thing he does is exciting!”

Although the birth mother initially wanted no contact, she eventually softened on seeing James after the birth and has checked up on him a few times since.

“She’s still confident in her decision and is very happy for us,” says Kasey, who built a relationship with the mother in the months leading up to the birth.

Words of Advice

When asked if they had any advice for others going through something similar, Jon says, “Know that countless people all over the world have been through what you’re going through. Life is sometimes not fair. Sin corrupted what was meant to be a perfect world. God has given us the ability to love as He loved us. God gave His only Son so that He could adopt us into His family with Jesus Christ. Let the love of God be shown in your marriage, in your family, in your relationships, and with kids that need that love.”

Jon and Kasey Harkness are united in their desire to lend support, a listening ear, and encouragement to those who have read this and can relate. If you would like to reach out, they invite you to email them at jkharkness5909@gmail.com