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For the Least of These: The Laras

lara family

The Lara family (from left): Joe Mikel, 24, holding Ceddrick Levi, 4; Matthew, 21; Mykaela, 20, holding Jazmine Elena, 2; Joe and Mona.

A feature series from ACU Today

A feature series from ACU Today

Mona (’05) and Joe Lara of Abilene never intended to adopt a child.

“That was God’s plan,” Mona says. “Thankfully we listened to the small quiet voice urging us to open our home, and we’ve been blessed beyond measure by the gift of adoption.”

Mona shares her story as we continue our series about Abilene Christian University alumni who have followed their hearts to adopt. She is a former pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in San Angelo and currently works as continuity of care coordinator for the Betty Hardwick Center in Abilene. Joe is a pipeline engineer for Delek Marketing and Logistics.

Leap of Faith

We had three biological children who were practically grown when we decided to become foster parents. Our oldest son, Joe Mikel, was living on his own and running a business; our middle son, Matthew, was in college; and our daughter, Mykaela – who is currently a student at ACU – was almost finished with high school when we received our first child.

Ceddrick came to us at 13 months old. He arrived kicking and screaming with no shoes, no clothes, no car seat and no instructions! In a matter of 10 minutes and two signatures on paperwork, Ceddrick’s and our lives changed forever.

One year later on National Adoption Day 2011, Ceddrick had a forever family, and we had more joy than we can describe. And just when we thought we were through with the foster and adoption process, another phone call came. The lady on the other line said, “We have your baby girl. You can pick her up from the hospital tomorrow if you want her.”

With a quick prayer asking for guidance, we took another leap of faith and said yes! It would take more than two years to finalize her adoption, but on Jan. 6, 2014, Jazmine Elena gained a forever family.

These two beautiful children have blessed our family more than we can describe. I can’t believe God chose us to receive such a blessing!

In the weeks to come, we will introduce you to other alumni who help make a real difference in the world – and enrich their own families – by adopting and fostering children.

You can follow new stories in this series on the ACU Facebook page.

See previous posts in this series:

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About the Author

About the Author: Robin Saylor (M.S. ’03) is director of content strategy for University Marketing and editor of ACU Today online. In addition to writing and editing, she develops strategies to promote the university through web, social media, print publications, video, e-newsletters and other communication channels.
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