An American Family: Meet the Fergens

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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Corner of Danny & Kansas Avenue

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Happy Anniversary to Danny and Kansas Fergen! Ten years of marriage is definitely something to celebrate! It’s even more so as our country and culture have watched more and more couples choosing not to ever get married; and many who do, even within the church, still ending up in divorce just a few years into their marriage.

But wait. Why am I sending congratulatory remarks to some couple on my entertainment blog?

Well, this is no ordinary couple; at least not to me. And while I’m sure the word extraordinary would not be appropriate, they are definitely two people making a huge difference in the world today, just by living out their lives the way they feel God is directing them to do.

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I first met Kansas Calkhoven before she became Mrs. Fergen, when she was part of a Christian sister pop group TruEmotion. The oldest of six girls, she and four of her sisters made up the music group who I represented. There’s an incredible story to tell, not so much about how the group was formed, but rather how their family of six girls was made. But that’s another great story for another time.

For now, let’s talk about when Kansas met Danny. Or better yet, what they have been doing since marrying on June 11, 2007.

From early on in their relationship, they knew they wanted to grow their family in a non-traditional way. Both agreed that adoption was God’s plan for them before trying to pursue having children biologically. They began the adoption process a few months into their marriage, thinking it would take a few years before they had placement of a child. But, God had a different plan. Just a year after they were married, they got “the call” that would change their lives forever. They welcomed a nine month old baby boy into their forever family. It was that choice, that call, and that child that paved the way for how God would continue to work in their hearts and orchestrate their family for the years to come.

“I fell into motherhood really fast at the age of 23, to a nine month old baby boy and two months later we found out we were expecting.” — Kansas Fergen

Every day people fall in love, they get married, they talk about how they plan to grow their family, and they move forward towards those goal. So what makes Danny and Kansas’ story a special one? Well, for one, I have never met a young twenty-something year old couple who sets out to become parents by adoption first, so early in their marriage. But more than just having children — biologically and through adoption — it is how they are raising them, and what God is doing through their kids, as much as with them as a family unit, that caught my attention.

Now, ten years into their marriage, Danny and Kansas are already the parents to five beautiful, creatively different, loving children, ranging from a toddler to two tweens.

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“Not every family is meant to look the same, but every life matters. Our family is built on the faithfulness of God through both biological & adopted children.”

Danny and Kansas aren’t just growing their family; they’re building a ministry while they’re at it. And I’d like to introduce you to different parts of that, a little piece at a time.

So come back here as I continue to share with you more about The Fergens over the next several weeks, and see why you will enjoy getting to know who they are, what they’re doing, and what’s next in God’s plan for their family’s life! And who knows? Music just might be a part of what’s to come in the future!

So Happy Anniversary Fergens! Here’s to 10+10+10+10+10 more!