Sitting around the dinner table enjoying chicken noodle soup, the Senofsky family shared their “highs and lows” for the day.
For the youngest, 6-year-old Abigail, the highlight of her day was being with everyone at the table, from her adoptive mom and dad, Lori and Nick, to her three siblings and her nanny, Hannah. Her low was that a bully at school told her to “shut up,” which hurt her feelings.
But even though hurtful, the quip is mild compared to the traumas Abigail has experienced in her short life.
She and her siblings, 11-year-old Samantha and 7-year-old Daniel, were placed in Lori and Nick Senofsky’s care in September of last year. Their previous foster parents told the children they would adopt them, but then things fell apart, leaving them even more wary, especially Daniel.
When Daniel threw a toy and accidentally broke a picture in his new home, he immediately broke down and hid, fearful that Lori and Nick would send him to yet another foster home. Samantha, the eldest, estimated that she had been in at least 10 foster homes, some with Abigail and Daniel, some split apart from them.
The result is that the three are working through issues that most adults can’t even begin to imagine.
However, before even meeting the kids, Lori and Nick were committed to adopting them, giving them a permanent, stable home.
“We believe that God gave them to us,” Lori said. “There was no plan B right from the start. We trusted God to pick our three biological kids, and we trusted God to pick our adopted kids too.”
With patience, love and faith in God, Lori and Nick are seeing God begin to heal the siblings’ hearts from their feelings of abandonment and betrayal. Their official adoption in July was an especially important part of the healing process.
“They were very wounded,” Nick said. “You can take all the classes you want, but until you live it, you can’t imagine what it’s like.”
One of the most difficult problems the children are overcoming is their nightmares. Lori and Nick have relied on God to grant their children peaceful sleep. They even anointed the children’s beds, and have taught them to pray for Jesus to take away their nightmares before going to sleep. Lori said the prayers have helped with their nightmares tremendously because they empower the children to ask Jesus for help, and not feel like victims and live in fear.
“For me, it was a miracle,” she said.
Prayer plays a huge role in the family’s life constantly, not just at bedtime. When the kids are having a bad day, Lori has a group of supporters she texts to ask for prayers.
The couple’s 17-year-old birth daughter, Lauren, and 22-year-old birth son, Will, have been another huge help in caring for their new siblings. Both have made sacrifices in order to spend time with them. Lauren sacrificed time with her friends or dates to watch them, and Will even decided to live at home instead of on his own so the three would get to know him.
However, there was still a need for another set of helping hands, especially so Lauren could a chance to enjoy her senior year of high school to its fullest, so Lori and Nick hired a nanny, Hannah, to help out.
“Hannah really saved our family dynamic,” Nick said.
Lori, Nick, Lauren, Will, Hannah and other family and friends have come together as a team to help the siblings, and they’ve shown dramatic improvement over the past year. They are doing better in school, their fears have lessened and their behavior continues to improve.
Along the way, Lori and Nick have grown spiritually.
“We’ve experienced God in a way we never had before,” Nick said. “All you can do is depend on God. My faith has really deepened.”
But more importantly, the kids “have a stable home, a lot of love and a better shot at a future,” he said.