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Featured Articles

Woman of Influence: Jane Bareman

bareman_janeJane Bareman has experienced God's surprising provisions not just in her role as Executive Director of Adoption Associates, Inc., but also in her personal life.

Bareman graduated from Calvin College with a math education degree and a minor in psychology. "I enjoyed psychology, but didn't have aspirations for working in that field," Bareman said. But God knew the plans He had for Bareman, and that minor degree has taken a major role in her life.

After teaching for a few years, Bareman stayed home with her four children for seventeen years. "It was exactly where I wanted to be," Bareman recalled. When her youngest entered second grade, Bareman began to look for part time work. Her husband, Gregg, worked in a building in Hudsonville where the newly formed Adoption Associates had just opened its doors. Conversations between Gregg and Dick Van Deelen, the organization's founder, led to Bareman working six hours a week for Adoption Associates. She started answering phones and paying bills for the organization in January 1991, just a few months after the agency opened its doors.

From the beginning, Adoption Associates' mission has been to glorify God in all that they do. They seek to be God's tool to help bring children into families and help as many homeless and parentless children as they can. "That's the way God planned it - for children to belong in families. We do our work as unto the Lord, to bring more and more children into families," Bareman said.

Bareman learned about the adoption process as she worked with Van Deelen. "I helped Dick set up the systems at the agency. He'd have a new idea, and I would put it into place. We worked very well together that way." As the years progressed, and the agency continued to add more staff, she became the assistant director. Because of her psychology minor, she was qualified to do some social work and post placement reports for adopting families. Bareman developed a thorough knowledge of all sides of the adoption process and the agency's work.

When Van Deelen retired in 2004, Bareman became the executive director. "God surprises me every day. It's fabulous to work at a place where you know God is at the helm. When the going gets tough, He never ceases to surprise me with the plans that He had pre-arranged for us."

Bareman recalled one instance where God surprised her with His provision. Baremen had been praying that God would raise up just the right family for a young boy with special needs. "While in the middle of a telephone discussion about him with another social worker one day, I was discouraged that I had not yet found a family. As I sat at my desk, I saw a gentleman arriving who had previously adopted three older children through our agency. I immediately felt God nudging me to present this case to him. He was so excited and hurried home to talk with his wife about it. A few days later, the man and his wife called to say they would adopt the boy. Today, several years later, he is thriving in his adoptive home. Praise be to God who made this placement. We just did the paperwork!"

As executive director, Bareman oversees four offices in Michigan, and offices in Connecticut, Ethiopia, Ghana, and a program in China. "We have wonderful staff and social workers that have been here for a long time and wonderful financial people working with us. I have a lot of trust in them, and they help me run the agency," Bareman said.

Over the years, Bareman has seen many changes in the agency. In 1990, Adoption Associates began with just a domestic program to place infants and support birth mothers. "We started by using the yellow pages and articles in the press to reach birth moms. One huge change for us has been the use of the internet, our website, and social media to reach out to birth mothers and offer our help and services," Bareman said. The agency has also extended into international adoptions. In 2012 the agency placed 70 infants through domestic adoptions and 108 through international programs. Since the agency opened its doors, they have placed over 5,000 children.

Looking to the future, Bareman's prayer is that the agency will live long beyond her years and continue to bring parents and children together in loving and stable families.

At a glance:

Name: Jane Bareman

Title: Executive Director

Organization: Adoption Associates, Inc.

Family: Husband, Gregg; 4 adult children; 11 grandchildren

Address: 1338 Baldwin, Jenison, MI 49428

Phone: 800-677-2367

Website: www.adoptionassociates.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AdoptionAssociates

Twitter: @adoptassoc

Author Information
Amelia Rhodes
Amelia Rhodes lives in West Michigan with her husband and two young children. She is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul's books Here Comes the Bride and Inspiration for Writers. Her essays have appeared on the Burnside Writers Collective and Catapult Magazine. Her first book, Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world encourages women to reach out to their communities and live an authentic life together.

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