Inspiring couple still connect as family

LILLIE-BETH BRINKMAN
Staff Writer
Modified: February 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm •  Published: February 16, 2011
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photo - The Lenhart family. Photo provided
The Lenhart family. Photo provided
Tiffanie and Jake Lenhart started their married life 15 years ago determined not to be a statistic.

They didn't want to follow the path of many teen parents who end up divorced and without college degrees, or even high school ones.

At the time they found themselves with a baby, married and Tiffanie still a high school senior; they weren't practicing Christians, but Jake Lenhart said he had hit such a low point that he decided he would try out God for 30 days.

"It changed our lives," Jake Lenhart said.

Today, Jake, 34, is the pastor at Cherokee Hills Christian Church, and he said God sent them on a journey that includes mentoring young people as youth pastors, taking mission trips, fostering children, adopting three boys from Haiti and having two children of their own. Along the way, Jake and Tiffanie, now 32, earned four-year college degrees — his from a Bible college and hers in nursing.

"I knew when I married Jake that life would never be boring," Tiffanie Lenhart said. "He's just constantly challenging me to get out of my comfort zone and do new things."

The Lenharts live in Bethany with their five children: Drew, 15; Dieudonne (pronounced and spelled in English as Jedone), 13; Ashlyn, 13; Jackson, 12; and Jimso, 9. Drew and Ashlyn are their biological children; Dieudonne and Jimso are biological brothers, and Jackson was another boy at the same Haitian orphanage who was friends with Dieudonne and became friends with the couple's oldest son, Drew, as well.

The Lenharts adopted Jimso three years ago, but they first met him in 2004 on a mission trip to Haiti. When they went to pick him up in 2007, they realized he had a brother and started the process of adopting him.

"We feel very strongly that God's plan was for families to stay together if at all possible, so we felt that we had to adopt him, as well," Jake Lenhart said.

Throughout the adoption process, they made plans to move to Haiti in 2009 to become missionaries, but for various reasons, that plan was put on hold.

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