Jean Miller and Her Adoption Legacy

By Bob Mardock – Co-Founder, IFS

It’s fun to watch how God works.

Behind every adoption is a story. Often there is a person, a family member, a group of friends, a church or humanitarian organization, who comes along side an adoptive family, providing spiritual and emotional support and sometimes there are those who provide a financial boost. These unsung heroes become part of the legacy of adoption.

This morning we learned of the passing of Jean Miller. Jean was the mother of our friend Joy Smith. Carol and I were in the final stages of adopting Marcie from Korea. One Monday in late spring 1985 we got the call from our agency telling us that, for special medical-related reasons, our adoption process, including the cutting through of last-minute governmental red tape, was being expedited. Instead of arriving mid-to-late summer, Marcie would be escorted to the US in four days. Oh, and the final adoption fees were due before we could take her home. We did not yet have all the money.

Marcie MardockEnter Jean Miller. In an envelope slipped to us privately a couple of days later was a sizable check from Jean, an unsolicited loan that covered our final adoption payment. Miraculously, we were able to complete our adoption and pay Jean back shortly thereafter. It wasn’t until today when I shared this story with Joy in response to the announcement of Jean’s passing that Joy learned what her mother did for us 30 years ago.

Little did Jean know that her gift would be part of what would become a greater story that led to the eventual founding of International Family Services. After adopting Marcie, Carol and I began to help others adopt. One thing lead to another, the story grew, and thousands of new chapters have been added. Jean is an unsung hero in that ongoing adoption story. Jean’s gift helped change countless lives.


That’s how God works.

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