Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Until they all have a home- a friend's story

I mentioned in my previous post that my parents met a family in HHI that had adopted a little girl from China.  I am blessed to now call them friends and prayer partners :)!  God is so good to me!  There story is beautiful and faith filled and I hope you are blessed by reading about it:


Our story really begins when my husband and I were children, not knowing one another but being connected to the same children's home in our home town of Knoxville, Tennessee.  I attended school with these children and his family would bring children home with them on the weekends.  After marrying in 1988, we had "plans" for how our lives would work.  Wanting to work & finish school for the first 5 yrs. & starting a family after that - needless to say that God had different plans.  Ten years & five months after we were married our first son was born & 2 1/2 years later our second son was born. 

Prior to our 1st child's birth in 1998, we went to doctors as many do, but it was not until we gave everything to God that I conceived.  I remember praying that whatever God wanted was ok - if we were to have biological children - that was ok, if He wanted us to adopt - that was ok or if we were not meant to have children - please show us & remove our desire for them (this was of course the hardest part).  After that , I felt such peace and lightness of trying to carry this burden & was wondering why I had not done this sooner, as I am sure God was - He is soooo patient with me.

In 2005, God started working in both my husband's as well as my heart.  At first I was reluctant, after all, I would be 40 shortly & as you know with 2 two children you are very busy.  Needless to say we submitted our application in June of 2005 & I became a mom on a mission ccompleting our paperwork as fast as possible.  In Nov. 2007, we received our referral for our precious daughter & spent Christmas 2007 in China - our most wonderful & blessed Christmas as a family.

During the paper chase & waiting period, God made it clear to both of us that we were not only to adopt but promote adoption and the plight of the orphan.  Encouraging adoption not only to start a family but to complete one as well - sharing that there is not one ounce of difference between our biological children and our daughter.  As a matter of fact, adoption is more intense in one way because you are not having to deal with the physical element - you get to fully experience the miracle of adoption without this distraction.

We used America World Adoption Association for our adoption and were very pleased.  They are Christian based and you are required to sign a profession of faith during the paperwork process.  We adopted from China and America World does only foreign adoptions.  Their website is awaa.org. 

Foreign, domestic or foster to adopt - God will lead.  I love when people ask why we choose China or foreign vs. domestic adoption & I tell them that out of the 145 to 150 million orphans world wide, less than 1/10 of 1% are located in the US.  Talk about taking the Great Commission to a new level - if only 7% of Christians worldwide would adopt there would be no orphans.

Father, I thank you for the Elkins family.  I thank you for their friendship and encouragement.  I thank you for steadfast obedience and for their desire to share what YOU have done in their hearts and lives.  Bless them and keep them always close to your side.  I pray in the name of your precious son, Amen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

God's Timing is perfect (remind me of that later!)

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...
(Ecclesiastes 3)

I am blessed to be the part-time Children's Ministry Coordinator for our church and for the last 2 months I have been busy preparing for yesterday's "Move-up Sunday" where the kids all go to their new classes.  Since the summer months are the most intense time of the year for me with planning Niles and I decided to spend the last 2 months praying for our daughter but not doing any research/paperwork (sorry I forgot to mention that in a post before now!). 

As difficult as it was to feel as though we were "doing nothing" to bring her home the Lord continued to reveal himself to us.  One surprise encouragement came from complete strangers.  My parents were vacationing in Hilton Head Island, SC the first week in August when they encountered a sweet family vacationing from TN.  They were a family of 5,  2-boys and an adoped little girl :).  My Mom decided to approach the family and share with them that her daughter and son-in-law were hoping to adopt as well.  The family was SO kind and shared their adoption story with my parents- how the Lord specifically laid on their hearts to bring home a little girl from China.  They told my mom of their desire to adopt a little girl that "didn't look like them" so that they could share their adoption story with everyone that asked!  My mom even spoke with the little girl that when asked "where are you from?" replied "I'm from China, God brought me here."  You can imagine how that touched my Mom's heart and mine when she called to share the story with me!  That day I was blown-away with God's perfect timing- how he perfectly orchestrated that encourgement for my mom while she vacationed and for me in the middle of a hectic day...

But that's not where the story ends!  Move-up Sunday was yesterday- so today is the first day I planned to start reading and researching again.  Just GUESS who I received an email from?  That's right- the family from TN!  Today- of all days!  The mom, Debbie, sent me an email with their entire adoptions story, information on the agencies they worked with and loads of encouragements!  Our God is exceedingly good to me... 

I quoted Ecclesiasties 3 at the beginning of this post and I'll end with another, let us take comfort that "there is a time for every matter and for every work." 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Joseph is underrated

Not many Sunday School flannel graphs are dedicated to the importance of Joseph's role in Jesus's life. I think that is my excuse for not realy thinking very much about it before now.

So, I'm still reading Adopted for Life by Dr. Moore and chapter 3 (slow reader) has the best title: Joseph of Nazareth vs. Planned Parenthood. As I thought about it, it's mainly the focus of the worldview that differentiates these two. One has God in the sights, the other has man. One has obedience and the other has convenience. What really had the biggest impact on me from this chapter is how much Joseph's simple obedience, by God's grace, accomplished.

Moore said, "When Mary tells Joseph she is pregnant, his first reaction isn't a cheery 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas'" After I stopped laughing, reread Matthew 1, and thought through it. It's pretty amazing what happened.

No, he wasn't singing Christmas carols, he sought to divorce her. Until God came to him and explained his plan. Did He explain it all at that point in time? Nope. Just what he needed for that time. He didnt explain that eventually in a couple months or so, you'll need to take a small self-guided, self-funded tour of Egypt. That bit Joseph got when he needed it. But in the mean time, Jesus's adopted dad was acting in obedience to his heavenly Dad.

What did Joseph accomplish? The obvious is that he protected the Christ, God in human flesh, from being killed. He fulfilled Hosea's prophesy: Out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11) Lastly, and the one that I like the most: In adopting Jesus, Joseph fulfilled aother major prophesy about the Christ; namely that he would be a decedent of David (Isaiah 16). You may agree pretty quickly as I did, but as I thought about it - well, Joseph wasn't his bological father... Wait a minute. The Scriptures are putting adoption on the same level as biological conception for purposes of inheritance and belonging. Kinda squashes the 'Which of the kids are yours' question like hammer on a cicada shell. I've always wanted to do that.

The more I thought about this, the more I recognized this language. When we as Christans place our faith in what Christ has done for us, we are adopted into God's family and a fellow heirs with Christ (Galatians 3:29, Romans 8:16-17).

Joseph modeled obedience and in doing so he played a major role in the history of the redemption of God's children. Did he know that he was fulfilling so many prophecies, or realize the impact of his actions on me and the world? I doubt it. Nobody's writing songs about him. No best sellers. No 'Hail Josephs'. Only cameos in nativity scences for the father, the chosen father of the Savior of the world. Have I mentioned he's underrated?