Walking by faith means that as life unfolds, we have a “spiritual” rearview mirror to look back and see the hand of God that has been invisibly guiding us and perhaps his footsteps alone while he was carrying us in trying times.
This story of Ami’s journey is certainly one example that involves the lives of four families over a period of ten years. We hope you enjoy and are inspired by the promise of God, His providential care and His guiding hand in the care of children who He tells us He loves so much.
As co-founders of Sacred Selections, we have had over four hundred opportunities to meet, work with, cry and rejoice along side these families during their journeys to provide a home for children in need. We have never seen the hand of God more clearly at work than during these amazing stories that involve receiving a child in His name. As the number of families increases, and as time goes by, we see the growing impact as we glance up and back through the mirror.
We first met the Roth family and the Hamilton family before they had met or knew of each other. Miles apart with all of life going on independent of each other our worlds were unknown to us were being pulled together by a commitment to helping a child…in fact several children. Sacred Selections has helped the Roth family with three adoptions, the Hamilton’s with five and the Longstreth’s with two. It was inevitable that our lives would be entangled in this work.
Let’s begin with Beth Roth’s reflections.
Our family met the Hamilton’s in 2012 when we were hosting a young girl from Ukraine. We had started our home study and knew we wanted to adopt but weren’t sure exactly what that would look like yet. We went to pick up our host daughter from the airport and knew there was another Christian family, the Hamilton’s, picking up two boys they were in the process of adopting.
At this point they had 8 children, adding these two boys from Ukraine, with the hopes of more and we were inspired by this large family, as we currently had 5 children and were just starting down the adoption road. The plane with our kids was delayed by over seven hours and we had nothing but time. We found ourselves at dinner with Tom and Joy and our five children (unbeknownst to any of us at the time, they were dining with their future son-in-law that night.)
We enjoyed our time and eventually made our way back to the airport and picked up the children coming from Ukraine and parted ways. As a couple, we were impressed with the Hamilton’s and started keeping in touch with them as friends on a similar journey, them with a head start on us, and we enjoyed running into them over the following years.
We went on to adopt three children over the next 4 years after that, and in early 2018, I had made a trip with 6 of our children to Florida for a Sacred Selections event and the Florida College Lectureship. Our youngest at the time was 3 months old and Ami was so helpful to me, snuggling our baby and lending a hand many times to me throughout that trip.
I was very impressed with her character and remember thinking to myself that she would be an amazing wife and mother someday. We ended up making a cross country move that summer from Illinois to Florida and were now living in Tampa with the Hamilton’s.
Our paths crossed at various events, and we found ourselves enjoying each other’s company on many occasions. Trenton and I both started working for Florida College in the fall of 2019 and Braden started Florida College in the spring of 2020.
We started to see sparks between Braden and Ami in the late winter of 2021. We began seeing them together around campus as their relationship grew stronger. For years we had tried to prepare our children for the commitment of marriage and to look specifically for someone who would help them love and serve God and have the same goal of eternity in heaven. Braden found that in Ami. She is more precious than pearls and we are so thankful for her to be the answer to the prayer we had for Braden since he was a baby.
This past May we celebrated with them and our good friends, Tom, and Joy, as God joined Braden and Ami together for life. We looked back at the previous 10 years and saw God’s hand in leading Braden to Ami and we rejoiced in the providence of our Father and his loving kindness over us all. We look forward to the impact these two will have on the kingdom as they begin their own family and use their knowledge and experience with adoption to help more children land softly in loving Christian homes.
Joy does a wonderful job wrapping up a mother’s pride and “joy” in seeing her daughter grow, overcome, mature, succeed and begin a life and family of her own. We know that both Tom and Joy share the sentiments of Paul when he states his emotional connection to brothers and sisters in Christ from the church in Thessalonica.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.”1 Thessalonians 2:10-20
Aminata’s early experiences in life accelerated her maturing into a more serious-minded teenager compared to most others her age. She began college at 16 years of age and two years later was the first recipient of the Sacred Selections scholarship to graduate from Florida College.
Because her father is the Provost that presides over the graduation ceremonies, he was blessed to call her name, pronouncing it correctly, and present her diploma with top honors, including Valedictorian. However, his most emotional moment that came just three weeks later, as he walked her down the aisle to present her to the wonderful man that would become her husband. Tears welled up in his eyes as he pronounced them husband and wife.
Ami is now continuing her dream education in the nursing program at Florida College. Her parents are confident that she will excel in this endeavor, as she has in all her others. Ami is one of our greatest blessings.