This Was Us
We are Callie & Kendra Penn. This was us, back in the day, when our adoption stories were taking place. There’s no way to tell our story without writing a book, because of the way God orchestrated all the events that led up to our adoptions. How He was with us every step of the way and put all the wonderful people in our lives that made our stories possible. So, I’m condensing our story down to the basics for time’s sake.
Our life together as a married couple started on May 10, 1997. Kendra and I were both in full-time ministry and employed to travel with Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr. Kendra was employed as one of Dr. Falwell’s staff soloists and I was employed as one of his assistants who ran the logistics for his program “God Save America.”
It was our dream, like most couples, to one day start a family. Because we were older when we married, we decided not to wait to start having children. Unfortunately for us, our biological clocks were ticking and to make a long story short…we couldn’t conceive on our own.
The devastation and heartache of the news was overwhelming, but we knew that we served a good and mighty God! We knew that when God closes one door, He will make a way and open another door in His time. You see…what Satan meant for harm against our marriage…God was going to use for good. We just couldn’t see it at the time.
As time went on, we were informed that someone had made it financially possible for us to adopt a child. Our crushed dreams of having children were suddenly gone and we were thrilled to receive this wonderful news. Little did we know that we would end up being blessed, not only with one child, but with two. God is a good God and will give you double for your trouble. Both of our adoptions were private adoptions and we received both of our boys straight from the hospital two days after they were born.
Through the years we never knew who had intervened on our behalf until a couple of years ago. I was in a conversation with a lady who had worked for the ministry for many years. Unbeknownst to us, she had the privilege of knowing our story, and eventually made it known to us.
She and I were reminiscing of our friendships with Dr. Falwell and all the wonderful things he did over the course of his life until his death in 2007. She asked me how the boys were doing and after a while, she asked me this question…you do know who made it possible for you to adopt your boys, don’t you?
I honestly had to tell her…no, I don’t, because that information had never been given to us. As the tears began to well up in her eyes, my heart was pounding with the anticipation of finally finding out. This was a secret that had been kept hidden for many years. She said it was . . . Dr. Falwell.
Well, I lost it and the tears began to flow from my own eyes. I knew right then and there I had to do something about this. I didn’t know what, or how, or when…I just knew in my spirit that something had to be done in honor of this wonderful man.
The Lord had dealt with me regarding this for a couple of years. Then one day in my devotional time with the Lord, I asked Him these questions…Lord, how can I take what Satan meant for harm and turn it into good to bring honor, and glory, and praise to Your Name? What can I use as a means of doing good to help others? He immediately answered with this…use what I gave you! I responded and said, but Lord…You’ve given me everything. What specifically are you talking about? And He responded with…I gave you your boys! Then there was dead silence as if to say…you figure it out from here!
At that point, it was…BOOM, DROP THE MIC time! It all made sense and came full circle. Everything that had happened with our adoptions up to this point was one big question, but now it all made sense. That’s when Jerry’s Kids Adoption Foundation became a dream and a vision for my life.
Words can’t adequately express how thankful, how grateful, and how appreciative we are for Dr. Falwell and his loyalty and love towards us. For him to go to his grave without a word of what he did for us is just utterly amazing, but that’s the kind of man he was. A man who was led by God to serve one another with kindness, generosity, and love.
It doesn’t surprise me that Dr. Falwell didn’t say anything about what he did for us. Finding out what he did has definitely impacted our lives to the point of wanting to pay his kindness forward and to help other couples adopt through Jerry’s Kids Adoption Foundation.
Nothing of eternal significance ever happens apart from prayer.
– Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.
Love is commitment; love is a relationship that never gives up.
– Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.