Hal Orland Van Wagenen was born June 22, 2016 in the Tay Ninh province of Vietnam. While his adoptive parents, Mark and Callie, were not there when he was born and were not even aware of the timing of his entrance into this world, they had been loving him, searching for him, and longing for him to be in their arms and in their family for nearly a decade. When they saw his picture, their heart and spirits were instantly reminded of the truth of his spiritual lineage - that he was theirs and they were his. In life, their family could not be separated by circumstance and distance, and now faced with Hal’s tragic passing, their eternal bonds will keep them connected between Heaven and Earth.
Hal will be remembered and celebrated every day, every hour, and every moment for his infectious smile, incomparable giggle, and perfectly, naturally-sculpted unibrow. He will be missed when the couch, table, and windows don’t need a daily wipe down. He will be missed when he doesn’t slow-crawl into mom and dad’s bed and under the covers for a morning snuggle. He will be missed when his super-hero big brother is in need of his sidekick. The light switches will never again feel so eagerly and excitedly switched on and off and the kitchen drawers will wonder at how their contents have remained intact for so long. But Hal will be there at every family dance party and Disney karaoke session. He will be there, in the space between every hug, in every spoonful of Chobani yogurt, in every hand stack after family prayer, and even every salted tear that aches for him will be a reminder of Hal’s love of the ocean.
Hal was undoubtedly welcomed into Heaven by his Papa Bert, a myriad of adoring ancestors, and most importantly (now, more than ever) our Savior, Jesus Christ. Hal is survived by his parents, Mark and Callie Van Wagenen, his big brother, Quinn, and the rest of Hal’s Pals - including his Grandma Goodman and Grandma and Grandpa Van Wagenen, dozens of enamored aunts and uncles, 8 minivans worth of admiring cousins, cherished school teachers, therapists, bus drivers, and playmates, orphanage caregivers, and every neighbor, beachgoer, grocery store checker, and ice cream shop attendant whose life was brightened by Hal’s smile and extra chromosome.
While Hal’s biological parents are unknown, Mark and Callie want to take this opportunity to thank and honor them for ushering Hal into the world. They feel a painful solidarity as they have had the excruciating honor of helping to usher him back to our Father in Heaven.