One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Sarah Mummert

It was a reunion for Viv Wheeler and her birth mom when the Cedarville University sophomore visited Guatemala on a recent trip to her native country. It was the first time Wheeler met her birth mom, as she was put up for adoption in 2004 — a few months after her birth. 

“The meeting with my birth family was sweet,” said Wheeler, resident of Portsmouth, Ohio, upon returning from the international trip. “I was able to reassure my family in Guatemala that I’m all right and that my birth mom made the right decision in giving me up to my adopted family.” 

Although her mom willingly gave her up for adoption, it never stopped her from caring for Wheeler — even to this day. 

“My birth mom told me that she has prayed for me every single day of my life, and part of her prayer was that she would be able to meet me someday,” admitted Wheeler, who is studying primary and special education at Cedarville University with the hope of becoming a speech pathologist. “This was very encouraging for me to hear, and I was so thankful to be able to spend some time with my Guatemalan family.” 

The adoption process for the Wheeler family was anything but traditional. After prayerfully deciding to adopt internationally, Wheeler’s parents, Tim and Sherri, pulled country names out of a cup and kept landing on Guatemala. 

They knew they were called to adopt a child from Guatemala, and Wheeler’s dad found her. Without hesitation, they began the official adoption process. With all clarity, the Wheelers were certain the adoption of Viv was God’s plan for their lives. 

While the Wheeler family and the birth family have had inconsistent contact for many years, it wasn’t until Viv’s sister in Guatemala, Wendy, started communicating through Instagram two years ago that the reunion idea became a reality. 

Through social media, plans to reconnect in person were discussed and ultimately completed. And, during their brief meeting, there were lots of hugs and tears and exchanging of small gifts. 

“I have learned a lot through the adoption process, and my reunion with my birth family, that I hope to adopt an international child someday,” said Wheeler. “I have been doubly blessed and hope to share a similar blessing someday with a child in the adoption process.” 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is a Baptist university with undergraduate programs in arts, sciences, and professional programs, and graduate programs. With an enrollment of 5,456 students in 175 areas of study, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio and is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Arts in primary (P-5) education, and high graduation and retention rates. For more information about the University, visit

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