Today, Orphan Sunday, I join many others in remembering + praying for so many children who are parentless.

I’m so thankful.

So thankful for all who dedicate time and service to forgotten ones via foster care, missions, acts of love, + so much more.

So thankful for the children who will never again carry the label orphan because of adoption.

So thankful that God is writing an amazing story through the life of our son, who doesn’t have our physical features but so surely has captured our hearts.

So thankful that through loss, there can be redemption. Thankful that there is beauty in the ashes. That a parentless child can join a family — forever.

So thankful that when the world says it’s impossible, God says it can be better than you can fathom.

Today, be encouraged that there is hope in a dark world.

Be encouraged that though the orphan statistics are deep + wide, even the life of one, down the street or across the globe, is worth more than many sparrows.

If you consider yourself devoted to Jesus, be encouraged that God can and will use you to be the hands + feet to the orphan…when you say yes. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, what your income level is or where your theology or political ideology places you, God is waiting for you to enter into the suffering + redemption of lives, which includes orphan care. He is calling you.

Can you hear it?

I pray for you as you open yourselves up to an amazing, supernatural narrative — that God’s great love for the orphan will echo in your lives as well.

  • God is vested, deeply and personally, in the plight of the orphan (i.e. Dt 10:18; Ps 68:5-6). 
  • He calls His people to join Him in this, bringing to each parentless child the love of Jesus Christ in both word and deed (Is 1:17; James 1:27; Mt. 10:42; Mt. 25:40).
  • Most importantly, the Gospel itself is the story of God’s rescue and adoption of us. On Orphan Sunday, the Church is reminded of this beautiful truth and urged to act upon it. 

Maybe circumstances are not leading you to adoption, but if you hear those whispers, those soft indications and inklings that there is something more, please be encouraged and know that I would love to talk with you + join you in your journey.

Because I know from experience, God uses those who the world says, ‘Really? Them? But How?’’.

I know because I’ve tasted it.

May your surrender to his Kingdom result in the sweetest story worth living.

I know it will.

Adoption: Movement or Trend?

This post is pulled from Megan Hyatt Miller’s blog. You can see it in it’s original state here. I particularly like her 4th and 5th points.

While talking with a friend about our adoption recently, she made a comment that adoption just seemed so trendy—all these upper-middle class families running around with their brown babies talking about hundreds of millions of orphans, minus one.

From the outside looking in, it appeared to be the “new thing.” She wasn’t being critical of my family, just making an observation of something she saw happening in the community where we live.

I started to wonder, is adoption just another trendy way to brand yourself as a cool Christian, or is God moving within his church, calling people to respond to the Gospel in large numbers?

Here are a few reason why I believe adoption isn’t just the latest fad, but points to larger movement:

1. There is a difference between a trend and something that is “trendy.”

To be sure, there is an adoption trend within the Christian community in the sense that a trend is anything that a large number of people do at the same time. But, a “trend” is not the same as “trendy.” Trendy implies something that is the fashion of the moment. Here today, gone tomorrow.

2. Adoption is not a new idea, but Christians are finally starting to take the biblical mandate to care for orphans seriously.

The idea of adopting orphaned children comes directly from our example of our adoption in Christ. It is not a new idea. When we adopt orphans, we are simply imitating Christ, giving a family and a birthright to a child who previously had none, just as Christ did with us.

Thanks to people like Jason Kovacs and Dan Cruver, co-authors of Reclaiming Adoption, the connection between horizontal and vertical adoption is being brought to the forefront in a new way.

Moreover, Christians are taking the biblical mandate to care for orphans to heart.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.—James 1:27

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come for you.—John 14:18

3. Now, more than ever, Christians place a premium on alleviating the suffering of others.

Christians, conservative and liberal alike, are now more aware of global suffering than ever before, and they are doing something about it. Books like, The Hole in Our Gospel and Radical, have inspired us to enter in to the sufferings of others and give our lives away for the sake of the Kingdom. Whether that means opening our homes or our wallets, we are doing it in large numbers.

4. Transracial adoption reminds us of what the Kingdom of God looks like.

As I wrote here, racial diversity, whether in a family or in a church community, speaks of the way we were meant to live—as one. As my friend, Pastor Chris Williamson says, we are one, but not the same. In other words, diversity is beautiful, diversity points to the restoration of all things. Division, hatred and segregation are plagues of a fallen world.

Reconciliation among nations, tribes, and skin colors is God’s kingdom come (again, Pastor Chris). As recently as 30 or 40 years ago, transracial adoption would have been scandalous. Now, it is one way God is breaking down historic walls of separation.

5. Those interested in being “cool” are quickly weeded out by the process.

Finally, if you want to adopt because it’s the trendy thing to do, you won’t last long. Speaking personally, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. The waiting and uncertainty are excruciating, but our boys are worth it all.

I have yet to meet anyone who completed an adoption for the wrong reasons. I’m sure they are out there, but everyone I have met has been profoundly moved by the Gospel mandate to love in a way that costs them everything.

a glad surrender.

A friend sent me today’s post from A Glad Surrender, a lent blog + devotional by Cornerstone Church in Ames. What a simple + poignant reminder that adoption can reflect the gospel. (Yes, those are the hands of my awesome husband and son.)

"Pure and undefiled religions before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27

Perhaps the most amazing part of the good news of Jesus Christ is that we are not merely forgiven, but we are adopted into the family of God. If we imagine a child in an orphanage who has given up all hope of being adopted by a family and then suddenly finds out that she has been adopted not just by a family, but by a loving father who has a wonderful family and also happens to be the king, we get a partial glimpse of the reality that has happened for each one of us.
A wonderful picture of how we can respond to God’s love is being played out at Cornerstone right now as many families are adopting children both domestically and from abroad. There are many more still in need of homes. Each child is an opportunity for a family to try to reflect the love God has shown us in adopting us.
Starter Prayer: Father, thank you for adopting us into your wonderful family. We pray that you would continue to raise up Christian families to adopt children in need of a home. We pray that you would help us, as a church family to support them and all the parents who are trying to raise their children to love and obey you.

There is a Joseph-size hole in my heart. An emptiness that will only be filled when my baby is home. But while I am broken, I am also full.

My heart is filled with a joy that comes from a compassionate husband, selfless friends and generous family. But most importantly, my heart brims with an overwhelming, overflowing joy from the love of a Heavenly Father who orchestrates things far greater than I can imagine. A Heavenly Father who knows what it’s like to ache with love for a child. A Heavenly Father who created love. Who is love.

So on this Valentine’s Day, my heart is simultaneously experiencing an infinite sadness and joy.

Sadness that I won’t be there to wipe my son’s tears when he is scared. To rock him and hold him on my chest until he falls asleep when he’s tired. To cuddle his chubby little body and listen to his babble when he wakes up. To hold a warm bottle and hear the sounds of him gobbling it down when he’s hungry. To sprinkle snowy baby powder over his soft mocha skin. To kiss his chubby cheeks and sing off key to him. To be his mommy.

And at the same time, I have a joy that transcends all understanding. A joy because I have an awesome God who already let me experience all of the above — a gift a lot of adoptive parents don’t receive. A joy because Joseph is an unfathomable gift. A joy because, some day, I will get to be Joseph’s mommy. Forever.

We got new photos of Joseph yesterday.

I am beyond thankful that he is in a safe and loving environment and being cared for by wonderful volunteers and nannies. I am thankful for his birth mom, who loved him so much, she put him in the arms of someone who could find him a family.

I’m thankful that some day, we’ll get to call Joseph son.

We visit him in exactly one month. In a month, and a few thousand miles, I’ll get to hold those chubby hands. I’ll get to snuggle his little body. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

The total cost of his adoption is $23,000. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. But when I look at his photos, the worry dissipates. I’m left only with an indescribable ache that maybe can only be defined as a parent’s love. It’s overwhelming and amazing.

Over the holiday season, we received some incredibly generous gifts from grandparents. We are now able to pay for our plane tickets. We planned for the trip by faith, and our amazing God provided through our loved ones.

When I look at the rest of our fees, my mind starts to spin. But deep down, I know people will step up to help. I know God will provide. Not for us. Not because of us.

For Joseph. Because of Joseph. Because he matters.