John 14:18

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. " John 14:18

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

(Rod) I still remember a lot about the first time I encountered international adoption. I was a youth pastor and Jenn & I were leading a youth retreat between Christmas and New Year's to Gatlinburg, probably for a Good Stuff conference. We had 18 teenagers and a couple of additional chaperones at Ober doing some ice skating during one of the breaks in the conference schedule. It was crazy cold that year, with real snow on the ground and Ober was packed like a sardine can. Just as we were gathering to head back down the mountain on the “Aerial Tramway” it broke down or had some complication and we ended up standing in line for more than an hour just to get off the mountain.

Just as we got into line, a family fell into place behind us. They were young-ish, probably late 20's if my memory serves me well, and had a 3-year-old daughter they had adopted from China. Keep in mind this was 1993, back when I was skinny and still had hair. (Jennifer, of course, still looks exactly the same as she did back then!) I'd never heard of anything like this! God was so gracious to Jenn & I to allow us a couple of hours to spend with this wonderful family who told us all about their desire to spread the Gospel through adoption. (The revisionist part of me is sure they were Reformed.) All the while we talked, this little girl became very curious about my red hair, my red goatee, and my freckles. I ended up holding her for a long time and we all got a kick out of how she seemed mesmerized by the fact that my hair was different from everyone else. We had a really sweet time with the family, and then went our separate ways.

That encounter started a conversation between Jenn & I, and though we would not be married for more than a year, we spoke seriously of our belief that God had awakened in us the desire to intentionally adopt internationally at some point in the future. We even came up with a plan. We would be married a couple of years, have a biological child, a boy, and then we would adopt, probably a little girl from China. As most of you know, very little of our plan has worked out the way we envisioned it. The words of Proverbs 16:9 have proven true: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” There have been twists and turns and at least one big surprise in the 17 years since that first encounter with adoption. But through the whole process, we've continued to talk, pray, plan, and wish that one day God would direct us toward His plan for us to adopt. We couldn't speak to our motivations as eloquently then as we can now – thanks to the education we've received at Grace Fellowship, but as we've grown the past 7 years, we've come to believe that now is the time.

Our main goal of this blog is to let you all come along on the journey with us. We desperately need your prayers, and we want a forum to share all the ways we see God at work in the process. We are absolutely certain that God has prepared the way beforehand; that before the foundation of the world He prepared a little boy and placed him, by His Sovereign will, in Ethiopia and then placed in our hearts the desire to bring him into our family. We don't know all, or even much about what God is up to, but we believe that we are given a clue in Ezekiel 36:26. “Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name...” We are so blessed to part of what God is up to, and we are sure to be blessed by the process and by the little one He is bringing to us, but we want to never lose sight of the fact that this is a work of God that HE started, and HE will finish, according to HIS plan, for HIS Glory!


  1. Thanks for sharing that Rod.

  2. Thank you Rod, for sharing your story...I am so excited for your family.

  3. I am so excited for you all. Thanks for sharing your heart and your story. Jenn, I am so glad you were not hurt in that accident. Thanks for you faith.