Check out this new campaign that is being launched called I Am Second. I have already watched a few of the videos and have been very impressed (check out Josh Hamilton and Tony Evans). All the testimonies from regular folks to well known sports, music, and film personalities sharing candidly why they are second and why Christ is first.
We love helping families adopt. We love it even more when we get to help them adopt again! Doug and Mary Morris are an ordinary couple that have stepped out in faith and seen God work in extraordinary ways! They have adopted two children already and are adopting their third child – all in less than two years. Furthermore, they have a special burden for children with medical needs. I asked Mary to share some her perspective on this as this is an area that so many folks wrestle with when adopting:
“When we first looked at adoption, we went through the list of “minor special needs” and were comfortable with most of them, except for heart issues. That was just a big no-no for us, something we immediately shook our heads at and stubbornly said, “No way!” Isn’t it amazing how the Lord changes hearts?
It began with our first adoption when we met Lydia in China. The thing that struck us was how her special need (cleft lip/palate) did not define her. She wasn’t a cleft-affected child who happened to be our daughter. She was our daughter, who happened to be cleft affected. The visit to the orphanage was even more eye-opening. Children waiting for homes, unacceptable because of a club foot, a hole in their heart, or their age alone (which still continues to shock me). The thoughts — “What if he died?” “What if he needed a heart transplant?” “What if he always walked with a limp?” — they just swarm you, until one thought pokes through. “What if I’m saying ‘no’ out of fear?”
We returned home to the US, and after a few days of prayer, started our paperwork to adopt Sam, a heart baby!!!! The Lord had obviously done a chunk of work in both Doug’s and my heart while in China!!!
Sam was born with tricuspid atresia and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Both are life-threatening. The surgeries needed are just ones that enable the heart to work more efficiently with all of its problems, but they do not “fix” the problem. When Samuel came home in February, 2008 (picture of meeting at airport above), we were shocked at how “normal” he looked. He ran. He played. He was never out of breath. He was just our son, who happened to have heart disease.
This is not true of every story….not every child comes with the best case scenario, but it does happen frequently!
We are so blessed to have been given the chance to see past the scars and the speech issues and to have been given a glance at what God sees — the heart of a child! What an amazing gift!!!
This past October Doug and I celebrated our 9th anniversary. We got a babysitter and went out to eat and to the movies. Sometime during supper, we started talking about if our family was complete, and we both said, “No.” Somewhere out there, there is another child for our family. Little did we know…
A few hours later we came home with the kids, and I was checking email before going to bed, and there was a message from Ben’s sister. It said, “Hey, do you want to adopt again?” or something along those lines. I opened the email and just melted…She talked about Pierre, in the US on a medical mission, and VERY, VERY sick. He has, besides a cleft lip and palate, a condition called Panhypopituitarism. He could not return to Haiti because he would die in just a few days without the proper medical care. His birthmom made a choice to place him for adoption. Doug and I read this with our mouths open!
Through the help of the ABBA Fund we are able to adopt Pierre and provide him with the medical care the he needs!
This is the story of the Serrano family. It continues a wonderful story of God’s grace and provision in the lives of two families that are members of one of our church partners that have a church adoption fund (The first part of this story is found in our latest ABBA e-newsletter. Click here to subscribe)
In 2006, I became aware that several families I knew at church were adopting. I also knew that there were already a few children there who were adopted. My husband and I had decided that we were definitely finished having children. With four kids in the family, the house certainly felt full, and I had no desire to have another baby. Still, I felt drawn to the families that were adopting or had adopted already. I studied the moms with their new children. It was through watching them that I saw how adoption really “works” in a family. Adopting didn’t give these parents an “adopted child”. Adoption gave them a daughter or a son. I began to question why all of these families were adopting. What was it about the people I saw adopting that drew me to them? It became clearer and clearer to me. These families were demonstrating the love of God. I was adopted into God’s family, and there was a big price tag for my adoption…the blood of Christ.
Galations 4:3-5 Even so, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.4But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
I wanted to adopt! My husband, Julio, didn’t. I struggled quite a bit with this. I understood that for my husband, already having 4 children was a big responsibility. What I didn’t understand is why God would call me to adoption and not my husband. So I prayed about it. I even asked God to take this desire away from me if it was not His plan for our family. Weeks passed and nothing changed. I spoke with my friend, Holly, who told me that God would not call me to adopt and not call my husband. I prayed and asked God why I felt so strongly about adoption and why it was such a focus in my heart. Still, I didn’t see any change or any answer. So I told God that I trusted him, and waited.
Holly was to speak at church Friday night. She and her husband had returned from Ethiopia weeks earlier with their 2 newly adopted babies. Before getting to her intended topic, she made an announcement. She told us that while in Ethiopia she and her husband, Pastor Tom, had met a little girl in the orphanage with type 1 diabetes. She explained that Tom and her had asked their adoption agency about children with type 1 diabetes at the beginning of their adoption process. They already had a teenage son, Tommy, with type 1 diabetes. They were told that children with type 1 diabetes did not survive in Ethiopia and that they had never seen one in the orphanage. When Tom and Holly arrived at Kibebetsehay orphanage months later, they met a 5 year old little girl with type 1 diabetes who had arrived at the orphanage only days earlier. Holly sat on the steps with her, sobbing, knowing all the care that she needed, not wanting to leave her there. They took many pictures of her. Her name was Rediet, meaning Grace, which also happened to be the name of our church! Tom and Holly spoke to the orphanage workers, explaining the dire need to get Rediet medical attention. Then they went back to their hotel room and prayed for God’s direction. God told them that Rediet was not their daughter, but that they were to advocate for her. Weeks later, Holly had kept tabs on Rediet and knew that she had been moved to an orphanage able to provide medical care. Now she had finally received permission from the adoption agency to advocate for Rediet and show her picture. Holly told us that night about Rediet. I asked Holly about how to finance an adoption. She told me about grants and interest free loans, fundraising and private donations.
That night I told Julio about Rediet and all of the financing options. “Really?” he asked. This was the first time he had responded positively to the idea of adoption. We agreed that we would pray about Rediet and the possibility of adopting her. I didn’t get much sleep the next couple of weeks. I felt God wake me up night after night to pray. The funny thing was, I wasn’t always praying for God to let me adopt Rediet. I was praying that God would sustain her body throughout the night, and that He would comfort her soul, as one of her parents had died and she had been taken to the orphanage only weeks earlier. After 2 weeks of prayer, Julio and I agreed to send in our application to the adoption agency. We didn’t know how we would pay for this adoption. We did know that God would provide for His plan, but we were still nervous about it, and excited to see what God would do. The praying continued.
Tom, Holly, and their son Tommy, their teen with type 1 diabetes, had told a lot of people about Rediet prior to us making our decision to adopt. As they gave the update on finding parents for Rediet, a grandmother of one of the girls in Tommy’s diabetic support group wanted to help. She gave us a check for $5,000.00! We had never met this family. This gift gave us the confirmation we had desired that God would provide. I couldn’t help but see the connection to the $500.00 that we sent to Karen and her family. God had literally multiplied it ten times. Then we received another cash donation of $1,000.00 from the son-in law and daughter of the $5,000.00 donor. These were the parents of a type 1 diabetic child. The $1,000.00 arrived just as we were having our home study done. The donors gave the check to Holly to give to us. She drove straight to our house and was able to hand the check directly to our social worker! What an answer to prayer. Months later, our last payment to the adoption agency was due, several thousand dollars. We had a few hundred left with our Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries account, but not enough to cover our final payment. We were to leave to get Rediet in only a few weeks. I had seen God provide again each time a payment was due and so I tried to relax and trust in God’s miraculous provision. We received a letter from Shaohannah’s Hope in the mail. I scanned the page and yelled, “We got the money!” I was crying. This was the last bit that we needed to be able to finalize our adoption. Our next financial hurdle was paying for travel expenses, which was going to cost over $5,000.00. We were overjoyed to receive an interest free loan from the Abba Fund, allowing us to bring Rediet home without financial worry.