Mark and I have always been open to adoption. What Christian who has been blessed with enough wouldn’t want to share God’s blessing with the widow, with the orphan, with the least of these.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. ~Matthew 25:40,45
It’s one of the lessons I learned from One Thousand Gifts . The idea of keeping my hands open, that the blessings He showers upon us are not just for our comfort and enjoyment, but are to flow through us to others. He blesses us so that we may bless others in His name.
There have been several periods of time over the course of our marriage when we’ve tried to pursue adoption and each time the Lord shut the door.
Then, after Valor was born, Mark and I watched this trailer. At the opening words,
And then I was weeping. I always cry when I’m angry. And she said, ‘Why are you crying? It’s only orphan.’
And when it was over, we knew that now was the time. We NEEDED to do something. We decided that our first step was to have a home study done.
Once again doors were being shut.
We considered international adoption, but we do not meet some of the standards set by USCIS. The door for foreign adoption was closed.
We live in the state of Tennessee where social services will not place more than 5-6 children in a home. The door for foster care through the state was closed.
One agency said they didn’t think we should have 11 children, period (this after being on the phone with me for less than 5 minutes). She said, that she didn’t think that we were seeking out adoption for the right reasons. (Our reasons were that we believed God had called us to reach out to the fatherless by opening our home to them and that if He never sent us children, we were fine with that, but we wanted to be ready should He send some our way. She wanted our motivations to be family building, that we NEEDED to complete our family.)
One highly recommended social worker never called me back. For 6 weeks I called her one to two times each week, leaving a message and never received a call back.
I wondered if we were heading the wrong direction, but Mark remained firm. “It’s fine if we are never blessed to adopt, but that home study is our “drop box“. It is the way that, here in the States, we can be open to children who need a home.
Then one evening, Mark and I were sitting at an informational meeting at Bethany Christian Services and we heard about Safe Families for Children. SFFC is a private, Christian organization that provides a temporary safe family for children whose families are in crisis.
“Oh, but I could never do that”, I thought.
But maybe it was really, “I don’t want to do that.” I don’t want to shower someone else’s child with all that love, only to feel that loss when they go back to the home where they belong. I don’t want my children to feel that loss. What if the home they are going back to is still very hard?
Mark and I had never wanted to do something where children would be placed in our home temporarily. We’d get too attached. Our heart was adoption. We didn’t want this kind of hurt.
But at that moment, sitting in that meeting we looked at each other and knew that this would be part of our story.
I requested an application for the Safe Families program. I read it over and then got busy with cross country, hospitality and enjoying the sunny weather. I sent out letters to friends asking if they’d be references for us and added “complete SFFC application” on my to-do list.
I often ask for a neon sign from God and sometimes He sends one.
On Thursday morning (4/25) I received an email titled, “URGENT: Housing needed for two children”. Really? Had someone made a mistake? We hadn’t even turned in our application yet.
Without hesitating, Mark encouraged me to email back.
To be continued because the kids are up, all 13 of them…