The other night, I had a dream. In it, a dear friend and I were discussing adoption. She asked me if I thought we would ever adopt again. Without blinking, I told her we would love to adopt again (true story.)
With eyes as large as saucers, and mouth gaping open, she questioned, "Why??!!"
In my dream, I was still the mother of seven children. It wasn't one of those dreams where things are a little off - like you knew it was weird, but in the dream it seemed perfectly normal to live on the top of the Golden Gate Bridge and eat fog all day.
With a steady voice, and a quickened pulse, I answered, "Because children need families."
Then I woke up with that familiar ache inside. That ache that can't be satisfied in an instant. The one where you know you need to do something. And now. Because the need is so great. Our ache for the fatherless began four years ago, after my sister and brother-in-law welcomed our beautiful 9 month old niece, Molly, home from Korea and into our family. We began to search our hearts and wonder if we too should adopt.
(Read our adoption stories HERE.)
We searched scripture, and learned more than we ever knew before about God's heart for adoption and the fatherless. God is all about adoption. God owns the largest adoption agency there is. Except our adoption into His family doesn't require homestudies, dossiers, fundraising, lawyers, and fingerprints. But it does come with a cost. My adoption cost Jesus Christ a brutal death through crucifixion on a cross and the weight of the world's sin on His shoulders. It was quite expensive for Him. But my adoption was free for me. And it's free for you.
We learned that God's heart breaks and aches for the fatherless, and that we were to be like Him to children here on earth - welcoming them into our family. Freely loving and welcoming at no cost to them. Just free. But to us there is a cost and there is sacrifice too. But we press on, because it's what the Father has asked of us.
Three years ago Jeremy and I, along with another like-minded couple, set out to form a ministry that would serve our community in the name of adoption, foster care, and orphan care in general. We sought to educate and walk with families that were stepping out to welcome children. The Defend Ministry was formed based on this verse: Psalm 82:3 says,
"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed."
Our first stop in learning to start and lead this ministry was to attend Summit 6, a conference put on by the Christian Alliance for Orphans. We were so blessed to head to Minneapolis that spring of 2010, and soak up all that we could from well-known speakers and artists, and some new voices we'd not yet heard. We were moved and eager to go back home to our families and community and bring some much needed help to them and to us.
Our family was still waiting, and were aching to adopt. We had not yet become an adoptive family, but were ready at a moment's notice - completed homestudy in hand, should an opportunity arise. Little did we know, that less than two months after arriving back home from the Summit, we'd hold our baby girl in our arms and call her ours. Gabrielle was born as I was leaving for the conference in the very town we live, something that is so amazing for me to think about. God was preparing me, even at the moment of her birth. Had I known her, or about her, there was no way I'd be traveling across the country away from her. But God knew her, and He knew what I needed to be her mama. And that was attending CAFO's Summit that year.
My good buddy Carly (left), and I heading back home from Summit 6 in our matchy-matchy new shirts!
This year, our group is making the cross-country trek again. We're jazzed and thrilled! The last three years for me has been a whirlwind, and I'm tired. Since this picture was taken three years ago, I've become the mama to three more little ones who are now 2, 2, and 9 months. And I'm tired. Did I mention that? Two babies came through adoption in June 2010 and June 2011, and one baby the old-fashioned way in June 2012.
My life has been so occupied (and rightly so) in taking care of these little ones and daily caring for and teaching all of our kids that my passion and speaking out for the orphan has waned. It's not really that the passion has left, it's just that the brainpower and time to think on it just isn't there. Summit 9 is coming at the perfect time for me personally. A weekend to sit, soak, and see is just what the Dr. ordered.
So if you see a woman with seven unused arms wandering around with a huge smile on her face, you can be sure that's me.
**I am writing this post as part of the Summit 9 Blogger Giveaway.
Check out all the details at www.summit9.org**