“She loved me so much that she wanted me to have the best life possible.”
That’s how Rev. Matthew J. Wietfeldt describes his birth mother, Chris, who placed him for adoption over two decades ago. Through that one selfless act, Chris not only gave Matt life but opened up a world of opportunities for him as well.
Currently the director of admission and director of Christ Academy at Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, Matt describes his life with adoptive parents Dan and Barb Wietfeldt in glowing terms. “Life was fantastic for me,” he says. As a self-described “Indiana farm boy,” Matt formed lifelong friendships through his experiences at Lutheran churches and schools.
Faith of our Fathers
In many ways, Matt’s adoption brought him more than just friendship and farm life. He also inherited a legacy of faith, including both a grandfather and uncle who serve as Concordia seminary professors at Saint Louis and Irvine, respectively. Educated at St. Paul’s Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School, Matt followed in his family’s footsteps after graduation, choosing to study pre-seminary at Concordia University Chicago. “My internal calling to ministry happened early on,” says Matt.
Coming back to Fort Wayne for seminary was an easy choice. Not only did the move bring Matt back to what he calls “the best seminary in the world;” but, unbeknownst to Matt, it also drew him closer to his birth mother. “I was walking out of the Allen County Public Library one day when I got a call from my dad,” he remembers. “’You’ll never guess who just called,’ he said.”
Lutheran Social Services of Indiana reached out to Matt’s family, letting them know that Chris had been looking for Matt. He decided to meet his birth mom face-to-face. “I owed this woman at least that much,” says Matt. “She had many options, and I owed her a thank you for giving me life. I also wanted to tell her about my life now and how the Lord has called me to serve in ministry.”
During that first meeting, Matt and Chris hugged, cried, and talked for hours. “It was quite an emotional experience,” he says. That meeting led to many others, connecting Matt and his adoptive parents to his biological grandparents and the rest of Chris’ family, including her husband and their four children. “Having them in my family has been an amazing experience,” he says.
Today, Matt is a parent himself. As the father of five girls, he marvels at his parent’s adoption experience. “The adoption happened at the drop of a hat,” he says. They got a call one morning, and they came home with a baby that afternoon. “The only baby clothing they had was a Purdue onesie,” says Matt, “which I promptly wet through. As IU fans, my biological family would think that was very appropriate,” Matt jokes.
Matt is open with his children about Chris and his adoption. “I tell my girls that sometimes the most loving thing is the hardest thing. It wasn’t at all an easy decision that Chris made, but it was the best decision. I pray that she sees how much I was blessed to grow up with my parents,” says Matt. “It makes me love her even more knowing she loved me that much, to give me to a family who at that time couldn’t have children of their own.”