Doctors told Ben Green and his wife Kim that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to conceive children because of medical reasons.
So the Fenton couple decided to adopt. And adopt ... and adopt.
“We thought we were done at five, then at seven, and now we have 11,” said Ben Green. “Once we adopted a few children, the process became very easy to us and the need is great. 'Why not?' is probably the better question than 'why?'”
The family adopted Benjamin from Korea 12 years ago when he was five months old. They adopted most of their other children the following years as infants.
The Greens also opened their home and hearts to a baby girl whom they knew only had a few months to live. Daughter Selah, who was conceived in rape, lived for 55 days and died from Hydranencephaly, a rare condition in which the brain's cerebral hemispheres are absent and replaced by sacs filled with fluid.
"We stepped into her life when she was two days old," said Ben Green. "Being her family was one of the greatest honors we've been given as a family."
Ben and Kim have children from Korea, Liberia, China and the United States. They range in age from seven months to 12. Some children have special needs such as developmental delays, down syndrome, cleft lip/plate, post stroke and other disorders. Kim Green was a special education teacher and said her experience and knowledge helps in tending to the children.
“It soon became more a matter of what God put on our hearts and who he put in front of us; it had nothing to do with skin color. We never set out to adopt only non-white children – it just happened that way,” Ben said.
There is a great desire for many adopting couples to have healthy Caucasian children and those children will always find a family, they said. However, children of other races, boys and children with special needs don’t have as good of a chance at finding a family, they said.
Adoption has changed the Green’s view about children and being a parent.
“Many people, including me before our first child, wonder if they can love an adopted child as much as a biological child, or even if they’ll be loved the same by an adopted child,” Ben said. “It’s all nonsense, because each one of our children is definitely ours in every way, including similar personalities.”
The orphan spirit
The number of children doesn’t really matter, according to the Greens, It’s just a little more noise, mess and food on the table each night, they said.
“We’ve always been told to be thankful for the mess to clean up because it means there’s food on the table, and be thankful for the noise because it means we’re not alone,” Ben said.
The Greens have learned to have a lot of patience. Ben said many children who come from orphanages or difficult pasts before they’ve come to them still retain what he calls an orphan spirit. Even though they are in a permanent home, they often still act like they have to fend for themselves. Stealing food has been one of those issues.
“They still think they have to hoard food because there might not be any tomorrow; it takes time for them to realize that they’re in their forever family,” Ben said.
The Greens run a tight ship in the sense that there is a strict routine. The children are up by 7 a.m., do chores, have breakfast, schooling, play time and are in bed by 7 p.m. The Greens said that routine is key, so they know what will happen when. This gives many of them the security they need to help heal past wounds.
Providing for the family
With so many children, Ben says it's important to have a flexible job. He gets that through working as an account executive for Giant Bicycle. He said he loves his job because he is passionate about cycling and gets to talk about it daily.
Kim stays at home and homeschools the children.
With no federal or state assistance and one income, Ben isn’t quite sure how the family makes ends meet. The couple does not even use credit cards. They heavily weigh needs versus wants and believe in the phrase God always provides, Ben said.
“A few months ago, we needed a new washing machine as we seem to go through them once a year. We didn’t have the money to buy a new one and there weren’t any used ones on Craigslist so we prayed.” Ben said. “A few days later, we got a call from a friend saying they had an extra washing machine they’d like to give us.”
Angels in Adoption
Fenton resident friends with Ben for 15 years, describes Green as a kind, caring and loyal man.
“He is a peacemaker at heart, and a very generous man ... an encourager -- a natural teacher like his dad, with an easygoing nature," he said. “Raising adoptive children isn't the easiest thing to do because it demands a therapeutic approach to parenting.
“Ben has had to step up and adapt himself to the needs of his kids who must grapple with big adoption issues unlike any other children.”
More information on adoption
The Greens said people who are considering adoption should start by finding a good adoption agency, asking a lot of questions and getting a home study done.
“Don’t believe people when they say it’s always a long expensive process; it doesn’t have to be,” Ben said. “Even though our children were born through someone else’s womb, they were born in our hearts and God picked the perfect children for us. Their biological family gave them life–we’re teaching them how to live it.”
For more information about the Green family or adoption, please visit Christian Family Services, Rainbowkids.com, hishandshisfeettoday.blogspot.com or email Kim Green at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Kim's blogs in the .
“We’ll never stop loving our children and we’ll always be their Mom and Dad,” Ben said.
You can read about more Hometown Heroes on Fenton Patch.