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Making a change from one life to another

September 13, 2011  |  Lynchburg, VA 

Making a change from one life to another


Life changing — Paintball coach Todd Hoglund and his wife Leslie first adopted Jasmine shortly after the Haiti earthquake. Now, they welcome Joel to the family.Photo provided

For the Hoglunds, making an impact starts with children

While his players were settling into their first week of classes, Liberty paintball coach Todd Hoglund and his wife, Leslie, were on the other side of the world, preparing to bring home their second adopted child with Down syndrome.

Jasmine and Joel Hoglund

A year and a half ago, the Hoglunds were watching the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti when they felt moved to adopt again. They were content with their adopted daughter, Jasmine, and their two biological children, Quentin and Elise, but something was telling them to adopt once again.

It was shortly thereafter that they received an e-mail from Bethany Christian Services, the Hong Kong orphanage where they adopted Jasmine, their first child with Down syndrome. In the e-mail, they learned about 5-year-old Joel, who had been given up by his family when he was only 3-years-old. Because of their previous experience, the Hoglunds knew that most orphans were given up by 6 months. It was his unique story that had Todd and Leslie feeling an instant attachment to Joel.

"We had to trust that God would provide a way because it wasn't planned and He did provide," Todd Hoglund said.

As a matter of fact, the Hoglunds were able to raise $5,000 to cover travel expenses. Much of it came from two yard sales that they held. Members of Brentwood Church, where the Hoglunds attend, as well as Rivermont Baptist Church, where Todd works in the early learning center, donated a variety of items to help with the sales.

In addition, many people donated money for the cause.

In fact, one lady heard what they were doing and handed them a $500 check. Another stranger sent Todd $50 through PayPal when he heard what he was doing through some of the paintball players who were mutual friends.

It was because of these generous contributions that Todd and Leslie were able to make the fifteen hour flight to Hong Kong, where they spent four days last week. They were supposed to be there for five days, but Hurricane Irene forced them to return early. The important thing is that the Hoglunds made it back to the states safely with their new son, Joel.

Amazingly enough, Joel has done very well with the big transition that comes with moving to a new country and living with a new family. He began school yesterday, joining his sister Jasmine in kindergarten.

"It's been a humbling experience because people see it as something great that we're doing, but we're just doing what God has called us to do," Todd said.

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