While interviewing Lora Fleener, manager of student support and communication, for the upcoming issue of Harding magazine, I discovered several things for which she is passionate. After talking about her teenage daughter, I found one of those passions is for adoption.
“I love to talk about it,” Fleener said. “I love to talk about adoption because I feel like it’s an important thing. This is something dear to my heart.”
Fleener grew up with two adopted siblings in a home often filled with foster children. She always assumed she would one day get married, have kids and adopt. Time went on. As she remained single, she doubted whether she would be able to adopt until accompanying a friend adopting two daughters from Vietnam.
“When I saw them there, I thought to myself ‘I have got to do that,’” Fleener said. “I really think that the Lord put that on my heart. When we got back, I prayed about it for almost a year. I asked my family if I was crazy for doing it. But a year later I applied, and they were very supportive.”
The adoption took more than two years.
“International adoption is not for the wimpy,” Fleener said. “It takes a lot of paperwork and gut-wrenching decisions. During the process, Vietnam was closing its doors to adoption. I wasn’t sure that I would get a baby even though I had been waiting for two years. Then I found out about Lydia the day before Thanksgiving.”
On Jan. 22, 2003, Fleener’s adoption of 3-month-old Lydia was official. Like many others, Fleener spoke about how being a parent has shaped her life.
“I firmly believe that God put her with me specifically,” Fleener said. “You do a lot of praying when you have a teenager, when you have a child, and when you’re a single parent. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but it’s so much harder than I expected it to be. She makes me a better person because I want to be a better person for her, to give her an example, and to encourage her to be a woman of God.”
Look for more about Fleener and her role at the University in the fall issue of Harding magazine.
Shelby Dias, director of news services
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