An American Family: Meet the Fergens

Kansas Calkhoven Fergen should never have been born! She isn’t even suppose to be here today. 

At least not as far as what the doctors told her parents, James and Janice Calkhoven. After marrying in 1980, Jim and Jan started trying to have children a year into their marriage. After remaining unsuccessful, the Calkhoven sought out several doctors to determine why they could not conceive. Numerous doctors, tests, and several years later, they were told that Jan had several medical factors that put the likelihood of them being able to have biological children at less than ten percent.

But as much as God has given those in the medical field great knowledge, skills, and intellect; the one thing God has not given to anyone is the ability to block His will and plan for our lives. And so just a year after they’d been told they would not likely be able to get pregnant or carry full-term if they did, Kansas Calkhoven was born on April 14, 1985.

Remarkably, two years later, her sister Jamie was born, followed by Kasondra two years after that; and then Kelsie, followed by Jasmyn. Over the course of seven years, the Calkhovens had given birth to five daughters. Nine years later, a sixth one, Jamaica, arrived!

As young girls, Kansas, along with four of her sisters, started singing together, performing live shows throughout South Dakota where they grew up. When they became teenagers, they decided to make their group official, and TruEmotion, a Christian vocal group, began performing around the country. In 2007, the group was signed to the William Morris Agency’s Christian Music department.

Today, all of the sisters, except Jamaica, who is still in high school, are married and have children.

Kansas met her now husband, Danny Fergen, in 2006. Danny, who is a twin to David, grew up with three brothers, and no sisters. He and his brothers started singing together with their grandmother as young children in nursing homes and at church. By high school, they had all learned how to play instruments, formed a worship band, and began leading worship at youth events, retreats, festivals, fairs, and at their own church.

Kansas and Danny Fergen married in June, 2007.

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Before they got married, Danny and Kansas had shared with each other their desire to start a family with both biological and adopted children. So shortly after they married, they began the adoption process, thinking that it would be years before a child was placed with them. Instead, just one year later, the Fergens welcomed their first son, nine-month old Coyer, into their family.  Eleven months after Coyer joined the family, Kansas gave birth to their first biological son, Kedren. Three years later, Danny and Kansas added their biological daughter Baylic, and three years after that, they adopted an infant boy, Daeston, from North Carolina. 

Part of their family story, like so many others, also includes disappointment and loss. Danny and Kansas experienced a failed adoption, and had to deal with the emotional trauma of returning a child to its birth mother. Later they experienced the physical trauma of losing another child in a miscarriage. But neither of those experiences kept them from continuing to do what they felt God had not only called them to do, but equipped them to do. While their other adoptions had been with infants, God lead them to an eight-year-old Ethiopian boy, Oaklin, from Minnesota, whose adopted parents could no longer care for him.

IMG_5973It would be less than a year later that Kansas and Danny would find out that they were expecting their sixth child (third biological one), born in February, 2018, who they named Attwood.

Feeling lead by God, and encouraged by family and friends, Kansas and Danny began publicly sharing their family’s story several years ago, launching a family website and various social media platforms. In 2017 they were nominated by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program. The CCAI is a non-profit organization that works to raise awareness about the needs of children without families, and to remove policy barriers that hinder children from knowing the love and support a family provides. The Angels in Adoption program provides members of Congress the opportunity to honor an individual, couple, or organization from their district that have made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of homes. Past recipients of this award include Korie and Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, Katherine Heigl, singer/songwriter Josh Kelley, PEOPLE Magazine, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, First Lady Laura Bush, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Kristin Chenoweth, Rhea Perlman, Bruce Willis, Al Roker, Muhammad Ali, Patti LaBelle, Jane Seymour, and Henry Winkler.

As part of their nomination, the Fergens traveled to Washington D.C. last fall and participated in a three-day event designed to train them in using their personal experience to affect change on behalf of children in need of homes, and to celebrate their hard work and dedication to the issue.

Danny works full-time outside the home as the Technical Director of Central Church in Sioux Falls, where he also leads worship. Kansas works full-time in the home, running a daycare, being a fitness coach, and homeschooling her children. In addition, Kansas launched a lifestyle brand focused on helping moms choose a lifestyle of fitness, nutrition, healthy cooking & eating, and spiritual growth as a woman, a wife, and a mom.

Both Danny and Kansas have started speaking at churches, conferences, retreats, and other events, sharing their God-story and the specific work He’s called each of them to. During their personal appearances, the two talk about going through the adoption process, growing a blended family, raising Christian kids, homeschooling, and providing for your family’s overall spiritual, physical, emotional, and nutritional needs.

If you’d like to learn more about the Fergen Family directly from them, check out this video introduction about their family: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbAVcn30Jh8&feature=youtu.be and/or go to their website at www.fergenfamily.com

For more information about Kansas’s lifestyle ministry click here: https://linktr.ee/kansasfergen

And to have Kansas or Danny in to speak at your next women’s or men’s retreat, adoption or homeschooling conference, church, or other ministry events, contact Gloria Green at ggreen@gloriagreenentertainment.com.

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