In case you hadn't heard...
I (Adria) both love and hate the way that God often works so unexpectedly in our lives. The result is always beautiful but the process, especially for a planner like myself, can be excruciatingly uncomfortable. I suppose that is because at the heart of the matter I think that my plans are better than God’s, but they never are.
God has been writing many unexpected plot twists into our story this year, which has been thrilling and exhausting and often life-changing. Probably the most life-changing plot twist involves God leading us into the world of foster care and adoption. Adoption is not a new desire for us but the timing has most certainly been unexpected. To be honest, we always planned to look into adoption after having started a family; however, early this year God made it very clear to us that He wanted us to start a family through adoption.
In February of this year we attended an event where we were shocked by a statistic shared by a local ministry that recruits families to participate in foster care and adoption. In St. Louis, they said, there are about 800 children waiting to be adopted and there are over 800 Baptist churches alone. If one family from each church adopted a child there would be a waiting list to adopt children rather than a waiting list full of children. We felt a call to be a small part of the solution to this problem. In June we started our foster and adoption training and home studies, concluding the licensing process in September.
God has blown us away with the process this year. Not only did He bless us with wonderful, Godly trainers and a great Licensing Worker, He stretched us far outside our comfort zones and began to redefine our understanding of family in light of His family. Part of that process came through reading Adopted for Life by Russell Moore. This book examines our own adoption into the Kingdom of God and what should be true about the church as a result. This is not a book only for people interested in adoption, but it has also been a remarkable resource for us as we begin to see adoption in our family as a manifestation of our adoption into God’s family.
God also opened our hearts to the foster care process, as well as the concept of a more “open” family. Because we feel the best fit for our family right now would be a child under the age of six we have had to open ourselves to the process of foster care as a route by which God might bring about an adoption (many of the younger children have yet to have their parental rights terminated). God has also used our current ministry as confirmation of this pursuit, as we feel that He has already tuned our hearts to see and understand many of the challenges children in foster care face as we have served here in the city.
Currently we are waiting. The planner in me likes to point out all the uncertainties ahead. We do not know whether we will be fostering or adopting or both, whether we will get a two-year-old or a six-year-old, a boy or a girl, or even if we will have one or two children! But, God has continued to be faithful and give us peace as we wait. We would ask that you join us in praying for this process: for our child or children, for us as first-time parents, and for the many beautiful challenges ahead for our family. We are so excited to continue to share with each of you the journey God has us on, and we thank Him for each one of you!
For His Glory, Andrew & Adria Medlen