By Gabriel Stovall

The three newest Adoptando en PR adoptions are the first to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down back in mid-March—they’re also the first since the Puerto Rican adoption agency started partnering with Send Relief. And that’s music to the ears of Javiar Vargas, president and founder of Adoptando, and director of foster care and adoption for Send Relief.

“The process was just completely stopped for a long while,” Vargas said. “And even now, there are very few adoptions happening in Puerto Rico at the moment, so we were lucky to have been able to pick these up.”

Those three adoptions should be complete by mid-July, Vargas said. Send Relief Vice President Ray Clark will be present to witness it. Even though adoptions have been slowed, Vargas has been energized by the extended work Adoptando has been able to do to help adopting and fostering families cope with coronavirus.

“Although the adoptions had stopped, the shepherding care continued,” he said. “We’ve kept in contact with all the families that we’ve worked with before. We’ve provided them with help, with food and masks. We’ve visited orphanages around the island, providing equipment to help them.”

Adoptando’s influence now impacts the island’s political structures. Right before coronavirus hit, Vargas received a letter from the Puerto Rico House of Representatives asking Adoptando to help recreate Puerto Rico’s adoption law.

Alexis and Marinet Lopez surround their 1-year old daughter Abigail with love.

“That new amendment was basically tailor-made to make Adoptando, by law, one of the main counselors to the government in respect of adoption,” Vargas said.

That alone is enough to get Javier Vargas excited about what God is doing through Adoptando and its fairly new partnership with Send Relief. But throw in the fact that he’s actually seen Adoptando save the lives of unborn babies, and now you’ll get close to bringing him to tears.

Vargas proudly recounts the story of how the Lopez family helped save an unborn baby’s life. It actually began through a sermon Vargas preached that Marinet Lopez and her husband Alexis were on hand to hear.

“Alexis and I have been married for 15 years, and during this period we had tried having kids, but nothing works,” Marinet said. “My husband was not totally convinced about adopting a child until he heard a sermon about how the gospel is reflected in the process of adoption. It was then, when we heard that sermon, that we began to train and prepare to receive a child in our home.”

That preparation paved the way for the Lopez family to meet the biological mother of their soon-to-be adopted daughter, Abigail. Vargas is ecstatic when he considers what Abigail’s fate could’ve been.

“The birth mom was in a toxic relationship and got pregnant but didn’t want to keep the baby,” Vargas said. “She couldn’t afford it. She decided to perform an abortion herself. She tried twice, but for some reason, it didn’t happen. An aunt told her that she could give the baby up for adoption if she didn’t want to keep it. She didn’t even know that was possible, which is the case with so many moms in Puerto Rico.”

Learning those details caused the Lopez family to fall in love with Abigail instantly.

“Abigail became part of our family before she was born,” Marinet said. “By the grace of the Lord, I had the privilege of being present for her birth and was the first to witness it.”

As for Abigail’s birth mother?

“She was given the gospel and gave her life to Jesus,” Vargas said. “As of today, birth mom and adoptive mom keep in contact constantly.”

Both Vargas and the Lopez family believe these are the kinds of life changing stories people need to hear to understand how God’s power works to save lives through adoption.

“Abigail’s story needs to be told far and wide,” Marinet says. “Adoptando en PR, Inc. was the instrument that God used to save Abigail’s life and to give us the privilege of being her parents. And this is true, not only in our case, but also in the case of many other families who have adopted through the intervention of Adoptando.”

You can go to SendRelief.org/foster-care-adoption/ to learn more about Send Relief’s Foster Care and Adoption ministries, including how to donate.

Go to AdoptandoEnPR.org/ to learn more about Adoptando en PR, Inc.