In spring 2008, my husband Eric and I attended a fundraiser. Foster children who were years in waiting for forever families vulnerably shared their dreams and struggles via video. I had no idea prior to that night that tens of thousands of children nationwide went unadopted each year. We felt compelled to do something, but reasoned God wouldn’t be asking us, since we had four small children, the youngest a newborn.
In the ensuing months, I like to say God “hit us in the head repeatedly with an adoption 2x4.” Suddenly, this issue was constantly before us: billboards, radio ads, tv ads, newspaper articles, etc.
In summer 2008, our friends invited us to their children’s baptism at their church (not our own). The pastor presented a persuasive biblical theology of adoption and shared his family’s journey into foster care. Eric and I chuckled at God’s persistence, that THIS would be the topic on the one Sunday we were visiting. When the pastor announced that the following week, his church would host a special guest to share the practical ways to get involved, we knew we had to come back.
That next Sunday, Emily Nienhuis from One Heart displayed a gallery of waiting children in the back of the auditorium. We learned that if just one family (just ONE!!!) from each church in America would become licensed, the dynamic would reverse: foster families would be on a long waiting list for children rather than children waiting years and years for families. The Holy Spirit was practically shouting in my ear, “Why not you?” When Emily mentioned that the next licensing class would begin in a couple weeks, and background info was due the following week if we would like to join, my husband I decided to pray and seek the Lord whether we should submit our info.
The next morning, Eric opened his secular national newspaper to find a giant double-page spread on Christians and the call to adoption. My daily New Testament reading had brought me to James 1, with its final verse “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” We knew God was persistently calling us; we contacted Emily and enrolled in the next One Heart class.
The ability of One Heart, a Christian organization, to provide state-mandated training infused with gospel-minded perspective is a rare gift. Weeks after finalizing our adoption of our precious sibling group, our family moved to Massachusetts. There is nothing like One Heart anywhere in the Northeast. Even though we are far away, One Heart continues to be a long-distance resource that has blessed us over and over again. We are eternally grateful for the equipping we received to run with perseverance our calling to love the hurting and give them hope in Christ’s name. In the process of running this race, He has used our role in reconciling our children to His grace to deepen our walk with Him and increase our joy. He has shown the freedom that comes when we completely shed our self-reliance and rest completely in His power to do the work only He can. It’s a beautiful place to be.