If you asked 15 year old Zach Hollman to create his family tree, it would surely be an overwhelming project to take on. It is a family tree that continues to grow, ever branching with new information, new discoveries, new perspectives. However, the origins of this math and hockey loving teenager is deeply rooted with a story of trust and pure love.
Wendy and Tom Hollman made the decision to start growing their family, and for five years, they tried to conceive. However, after Wendy experienced a miscarriage in 1999, it was discovered that pregnancy would not come easy. The couple tried for several more years, and eventually started the conversation about possibly adopting a child.
The couple met with Forever Families in the summer of 2001 and knew they wanted the agency’s help. Wendy spent long hours crafting their adoption book for potential birth parents to review. “The waiting can be hard,” said Tom. If there is a piece of advice I can share with other couples looking to adopt, it would be patience.” And after 6 months in the “pool,” the Hollman’s book filled with pictures and notes detailing their life caught a young lady’s eye.
The birthmother contemplated the life she would be able to give this baby. She knew the child she was bringing into this world deserved a better life than what she could provide at that time. So, the birthmother requested a meeting with Wendy and Tom where personal stories were shared, gaining a better understanding of their situations. They found their families to be very similar in many ways. Therefore, the birthparents made the decision that Wendy and Tom would be this child’s parents.
The Hollmans attended doctor visits. The couple started to prepare for the arrival of their new little one. They paced the hospital visitation room eagerly awaiting the delivery. Wendy even stayed in the hospital room after the delivery until the baby was discharged from the hospital. Even the name of this beautiful, healthy baby boy was decided together. “We were all in it TOGETHER,” said Wendy. “I know God put us together. I know it was God’s plan. We completely trust each other, and our communication has always been very open. We are indeed family.”
Throughout these past 15 years, Zach has had the opportunity to see his extended birth family on a number of occasions. Lunch dates. Family reunions. Holidays. Vacations. And even most recently, a visit to Tennessee to see his half-sister graduate from high school. Zach was able to spend some quality time with his birthmother and younger siblings as well. An additional surprise on this special trip to Tennessee was the chance to finally meet his birthfather. “I was really excited,” said Zach. “I wasn’t sure if this would ever happen, but it was really cool to finally meet him. I learned more about him and his perspective on things. And I have another sibling!”
So as one can see, Zach’s family circle continues to expand and new relationships are developing. Existing relationships only grow stronger. Zach’s family tree might not be conventional, but he welcomes these new chapters with open arms and an open heart. “Zach is an old soul,” said Wendy. “I think this is why he is able to comprehend and process things that may be way beyond his years.”
Although Zach’s least favorite subject in school might be biology, he has indeed come to understand the nature of things, coupled with loving nurture that has shaped who he is today. And as trees grow strong, soaking in the nutrients from Mother Nature, Zach too absorbs the love ALL his families continue to shower upon him.