God Colors Outside Lines of Phrase, ‘Mission Field,’ in the Lives of Tony and Kim Przybysz

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Przybysz 235A blending of the family God put together: (l to r) Tony, Jesse, Kim and Levi.Many people associate the phrase "mission field" with Christians dispatched to a far-flung foreign country. Tony and Kim Przybysz of Plainfield Township discovered early in their 25-year marriage God wanted to color outside that expression's lines.

Their mission field includes adopting medically fragile children whose birth parents were no longer capable of raising them.

Their journey of following the Lord's will has had its share of joy, heartaches and testing of their faith, but they remain true to the focus the Lord has shown them.

The Przybyszs have four biological sons, Caleb, 23, Benjamin, 22, Daniel, 20, and Noah, 19.

All four were born premature, each one earlier than the last, with Noah born at 26 weeks. All of them required postnatal care.

Four and no more?

Przybysz cutline No. 2 Kim Przybysz loves dearly daughter Avery."Right there, seeing the level of care they provided, we learned a lot about the care special needs kids required, so after we had Noah, I had my tubes tied," said Kim, 46. "We didn't wanted more kids."

But God saw what the Przybyszs were capable of bringing into the lives of children whose biological parents were not capable of raising them. So did Kim's sister, Tami, who told them of twins, Jesse and his brother Jonah, born 28 weeks premature in 1998 with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Merosin Deficient Congenital. The Przybyszs adopted them in 1999.

"Their mom had no prenatal care and she didn't know she was pregnant with twins," said Kim.

Lord kept opening doors

"The boys were drug exposed," added Kim. "Jonah was just a year old and still a preemie with a lot of issues, but God told us this was going to happen, that we were going to adopt Jesse and Jonah. We were obedient despite many people in our lives thinking we were crazy. They didn't understand how we could have six kids with all different needs. We just knew that the Lord placed in our hearts to do this and He just kept opening door after door and we knew this was His will."

Przybysz cutline No. 3Kim and Levi share a moment.Even though they believed they were following God's will, Tony dispels naive notions their decision to adopt the two boys was a cakewalk.

"Kim was 21 and I was 20 when we got married," said Tony, now 45. "Noah was our fourth kid in five years and now we were adding two more under the age of 5, so we had six kids when we were in our 20s."

Then, a year after welcoming Jesse and Jonah into their home, heartache enveloped their household when Jonah died Sept. 8, 2000.

"There was a time when we wondered if we made a horrible mistake following Jonah's death," said Kim.

They no longer question their decision.

But another question loomed: Were they done adopting more children?

Their journey continues

Five years ago, Tony and Kim discussed the option of adopting more special needs children but concluded the time wasn't right. Kim had just completed her education and was launching her career as a registered nurse.

Then in early 2014, the Przybyszs contacted Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, which recently renamed itself Samaritas after the Good Samaritan story in the Bible.

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Their initial inquiry on what is required to adopt special needs children segued to the adoption agency asking if the couple would consider becoming a licensed foster care home for one medically fragile boy.

Eventually they were asked on a voicemail message if they would serve as foster parents to two boys. The message left on Tony's cell phone said Samaritas would give the couple five minutes to reply. It was 20 minutes before Tony heard the message.

By the time they were able to contact the social worker, the boys had already been placed in another home. But, added the social worker, there were two more children who needed placement. Even though the Przybyszs were licensed for only one medically fragile boy, in emergency situations, exceptions are made, the couple was told.

Welcome Onna and Avery

When the approval came through, they learned they would be welcoming into their home Onna, now five, and her sister, Avery, 3. The girls came from an abusive home where they were emotionally traumatized. Both were in the neonatal intensive care unit at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital for a time.

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Moreover, Avery has cerebral palsy, and breathes with the help of a tracheotomy due to bleeding in her lungs.

"In the last few months she's been doing much better," said Kim.

"She (Onna) was afraid of her mother yet wanted to go home with her," said Kim. "The bio mom saw the girls a few times in August to the middle of November 2014 and then stopped visiting them. She just didn't care."

Then, from December of 2015 through February the following year, Avery became severely ill. Hospital personnel were concerned she would not survive. Her birth mother was asked if she wanted to visit her daughter before she died, but she never did.

'"That's when the judge said we finally can adopt her and Onna," said Kim. "We've been caring for her through life threatening illness and so he terminated the bio mom's parental rights."

"Onna and Avery are doing good," said Kim. "Onna's going to psycho attachment therapy that helps with attachment disorders when you've been through trauma so she can attach to her new home and help her deal with the abuse. At some point Avery will go to therapy too but with her trach she isn't able to talk. She understands everything."

The best part: Kim and Tony's adoption of Onna and Avery was finalized March 1 of this year.

Welcome Levi

Then Samaritas contacted the Przybyszs again to ask if they would consider being foster parents to 13-month-old Levi, also born premature who breathes with the help of a tracheotomy.

It was not a decision easily reached. Tony initially said "no" to the idea. Then they eventually agreed to be Levi's foster parents for a month.

Just a month.

Tony and Kim smile when they recall their initial decision.

"We instantly feel in love with him," said Kim. "We were told by the agency they didn't think this baby (Levi) will go home. His mom is mentally ill and not able to take care of him because she doesn't function at a high level herself."

Tony and Kim replied they will not give their answer until after the 30 days we done.

"That was our time with ourselves and with God to reflect on it," said Kim. "We both knew (our answer) in a couple of weeks. The first couple of weeks were really rough. Then we got into the flow of things and decided he would be a permanent part of our family, too."

Since then, the parental rights of Levi's mother have been terminated and the Przybyszs have petitioned the court to adopt him.

Now the couple is in the process of getting their foster care license.

God's still working

And earlier, the couple decided Kim's job as an RN provided a better salary and benefits than Tony's sales job. So in September 2014, he quit his job and became a stay-at-home parent to care for their children.

"I can tell you for a fact he works 10 times harder at home," Kim said of her husband. "I worked really hard to go to nursing school and get my degree and license and I did pray about it: 'Lord is this why want me to be a nurse to take care of our kids?' I felt like the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) is where He wanted me to be."

And God still has other plans for them.

Tony and Kim have had blueprints drawn up to build an addition on the back of their house so they can take in two more children, not at once, but one at a time. They are in the process of getting a building quote and mulling their financing options for the addition.

The reason: There is a huge need to care and love for medically fragile children.

"This is our mission field," affirmed Kim.

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www.samaritas.org
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
About:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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