Brenda Kohlbrecher and her husband built a big home after they married, expecting to fill it with a large family.
They had their first child, a son, in 1990.
Then came the news that Kohlbrecher calls “the curveball.” Doctors discovered she had a large uterine tumor. She would have to have a complete hysterectomy. The surgery meant the couple could not have any more children.
“It left us heart-broken in our desire to have several more children,” Kohlbrecher said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
After some time had passed, they decided to adopt. They declared the Philippines as their country of choice. That was in 1998. Two and a half years passed without progress. Then, their adoption agency shifted the Kohlbrechers to the Korean wait list. Their daughter Makala arrived about eight months later from Seoul, South Korea.
“This precious little girl was about 8 months old and completed our family,” Kohlbrecher said.
And that curveball? Kohlbrecher believes it was pitched from a divine hand.
“I think the most profound thing I have learned and experienced in the adoption of our daughter is that God does make all things work out for our good if we trust Him,” she said. “Even when life throws a curveball, and we don’t understand why, and it’s hard, He still has a plan full of hope and a future.”
Makala is now 17.
“I can’t imagine my life without my daughter Makala, but it would have never happened without the curveball,” Kohlbrecher said.
Likewise, she believes God also called her to share her family’s journey with others.
“God has asked me to share my stories and challenge you to consider providing a forever home to a child,” she said.
Kohlbrecher, who will turn 55 on Nov. 13, has published two books on adoption.
Baby Steps of Faith — Hope for Your Adoption Journey was her first work.
“It’s a unique devotional written for women struggling with infertility, single
women with a desire to parent, couples thinking about adopting or in the process, and last but not least, families adopting in response to a child’s need for a forever home,” she said.
It was written from a journal she penned years ago, during her own adoption journey.
“I found journaling to be very beneficial for many reasons, so I included an interactive journal page with a ‘Personal Reflection Question’ for each of the devotionals,” she said. “It’s too encourage the reader to note their experiences in the process from beginning to end.”
Baby Steps of Faith’s companion book was published this summer.
What Did I Do When I Came Home to You? is a children’s book.
“It’s an adventure for all kids about adopted kids,” she said. “The center of the story is my adopted daughter, Makala, who has a ba-zillion questions about her adoption.”
In the book, Makala meets other adopted friends along the way who are just as curious.
“They ultimately discover the answer to that one endearing, repetitious question, ‘What did I do when I came home to you?’ Yes, it’s a book for the adopted child primarily, but it’s a great teaching tool for anyone who would like their children to know more about adoption and why a child may look different from his/her parent,” Kohlbrecher said.
The book’s illustrations depict children from all races.
Both books are Author Direct, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Christian Bookstore. Baby Steps of Faith is $14.99. What Did I Do When I Came Home to You? is $14.99 through Author Direct and $16.95 through the other outlets.
About Brenda Kohlbrecher
Home now: Trenton
Education: Physical & Elementary Education degrees from SIUE
Family: Husband, Kurt; son, Kyle; adopted daughter, Makala
Books: “Baby Steps of Faith — Hope for Your Adoption Journey” and “What Did I Do When I Came Home to You?”
Facebook: facebook.com/brendakohlbrecher or facebook.com/foreverhomeadoptionbooks
Details: National Adoption Month Event
Dates: Three days, Nov. 6-8
Times: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Place: Barnes & Noble in Fairview Heights
Activities: Book signing, performances by Wesclin High School Dance Team and local puppet team, Miniature Ministers, both of which include students of adoption. There will also be bookmark creating, face painting, story telling, and a Maker Faire.
Note: $1 from each book sale supports Wait No More, a ministry of Focus on the Family, dedicated to finding forever homes for children in the U.S. foster care system. To learn more about Wait No More, visit the website, icareaboutorphans.org.