Thank you for having me back on Beyond the Bonnets! Today I wanted to share a little about the research behind my newest release, Sarah’s Orphans.
This Amish romance is the story of a young woman who has been abandoned by her mother and is left to raise her siblings. During that time, Sarah discovers two orphans hiding in an abandoned trailer, and she feels convicted by God to give them a home.
Realistic? Maybe so. I love reading news stories about the Amish, and there were several that had caught my attention.
- In August 2011, an Amish aunt and uncle made the decision to adopt 12 Amish children who had been orphaned when their parents died in a car crash. You can read about that here.
- Daniel and Gloria Yoder oversee the adoption of children across the U.S. into Amish homes. Details to that story are here.
- Joe Wittmer reports that “Amish are adopting non-Amish infants at an ever increasing rate” (The Gentle People: Personal Reflections of Amish Life, With Contributions from Amish Children and Adults. Minneapolis: Educational Media Corporation).
These are just a few of the stories I found about Amish adoption. For me, it was a revelation to learn that the Amish are involved in the adoption process even outside their faith, and that they are providing both temporary and permanent homes to children in need. I shouldn’t have been surprised, for the Amish have a reputation for ministering to the community around them through projects such as MDS.
But sometimes the image we have of the Amish is a community set apart from others. Certainly some groups are more open, and some places you can visit such as northern Indiana and Holmes County, Ohio, are quite friendly to Englischers. But inviting someone into your home and raising them as your own is a different thing from inviting a guest to dinner.
In the book of James we read,
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (1:27).
The Amish take that calling—to care for orphans and widows—very seriously. And I think it’s one more thing we can learn from their faith and lifestyle, that decision to care for others in a real and effective way.
In Sarah’s Orphans, Brian (the local schoolteacher) says to Sarah, “You chose to do the right thing—and for me, it has made all the difference.” Those words really resonated in my heart. We don’t have to have all the answers or know how everything is going to work out . . . we only have to choose to do the right thing. That choosing can make all the difference.
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Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace, including romantic suspense and Amish romance novels. She is the author of seventeen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol Award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country.
For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com.
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