Amy Catania was 9 weeks old when she was adopted from Colombia. Adoption was always celebrated in her family and her heart for the orphan was ingrained from the beginning. As Christians, her parents strove to demonstrate the gospel through adoption and lead their family to share His heart.
Amy met Michael, a man who shared her heart for adoption. Through the Lord’s providence, they married and had two biological children- Catharine and Mikey.
When their children were 7 and 5 years old, the Catanias began considering how God was calling them to engage in orphan care. The many details and obstacles of adoption discouraged them, but their calling was clear. Michael Catania said this about their decision, “To not make a decision to engage is to make a decision not to engage in orphan care. Sometimes you have to take a step and see if He continues to open doors.”
This idea is one that Michael and Amy would cling to over the next two and a half years of their adoption process.
The Catanias were first introduced to Lifeline by their pastor in New York, a friend of Lifeline Executive Director, Herbie Newell. Lifeline’s heart for birth families spoke to Amy. She had personally experienced the bravery, love and sacrifice of her own birthmother. She knew the Lord was leading them to Lifeline.
“From the first person I talked to at Lifeline I felt shepherded and taken care of. It can feel overwhelming if you don’t have someone holding your hand throughout the whole thing,” Amy Catania.
The Catanias adoption process was full of many twists and turns. Through complications with her own adoption, Amy’s adoption decree and birth certificate did not match. Her name had never been changed when she was adopted. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, our in-country staff, Soraya, discovered that Amy’s adoption paperwork had been lost in a flood many years ago. A situation that could have put a halt to their adoption.
However, the threat was resolved when Soraya discovered that over 30 years later the same judge and notary that had facilitated Amy’s adoption were still working! They made an addendum, repaired the paperwork, and paved the way for Amy and Michael to move forward with their adoption process.
Soon they were matched with their precious little girl, Maria. The whole family traveled to Bogota, Colombia to bring her home, the same city that Amy herself had been adopted from.
While they were there, another miracle took place. They were able to reconnect with Amy’s birth family. Meeting her mother and sister was a dream that Amy never knew would come true. She was amazed to learn that since her adoption both her birthmother and sister had become believers! And both were actively engaging in orphan care in their community. Their hearts shared the same passion to care for the vulnerable. They are still in contact and continue their relationship today.
In February of this year, Maria and her now forever family returned to New York. Michael and Amy were struck with a thought, “We leave with our daughter, but there are still thousands of kids that are there with no families.”
Michael and Amy were charged with the call of James 1:27 to care for the orphan.
Michael and Amy’s vision for the future? Educate people. The Catania’s serve in orphan care ministry through the church by using their experience to help others and encourage them through their process. They are also working with Lifeline’s (un)adopted program to find ways to care, train, disciple and educate children and their caregivers in Colombia. Additionally, they provide financial support, something they view as a very effective means to provide an offering to the Lord. “Being in it and knowing what Lifeline does there, it’s a no brainer. Especially when you’ve actually been there and you see what those dollars can do,” Michael.
So what are Amy and Michael’s charge to you?
“God can move mountains. It seems impossible, but God is the God of impossibility, especially in orphan care. Because He wants them in families. So act out in faith. Start. If it’s God’s will He will see it through.”
Take a moment to consider what God is calling you to. What fear is discouraging you? What need is paralyzing you? Maybe today you just take one step forward. Help us Change One Life. See what mountains God moves next.