Please pray for the World Orphans‘ team that will be serving in Haiti April 25-30 to provide 5 days of training for over 100 Haitian church leaders (click on the image below to learn more about this trip). To kick off this week of training, I will teach on our adoption in Christ for 5 1/2 hours on Tuesday, April 26th. Pray that all who attend would be refreshed by the good news of having God as our Father and Jesus as our Elder Brother.
I have been asked many times how I can love my “adopted” children the same as my “biological” child. (side note: There are some problems with that question, but I will leave that for a future post.)
But I cannot answer that question without first reflecting on my own adoption story:
I horribly offended God by disregarding his truth and word.
I committed great offenses as I lived in open rebellion toward him by trying to follow my way instead of God’s.
God is not only the judge who could rightly punish me and pour out his anger and wrath on me. He is also the offended, the victim of my great and vast sin.
God the judge and victim came down off the bench after pardoning my horrible offense that ignited his wrath and instead chose to adopt me—at the expense of his very own “biological” (so to speak) Son —Jesus the Christ.
God’s anger and wrath were poured out on Christ and instead of that being my fate, I get to enjoy the full blessing of being a daughter of God Almighty and a co-heir with Christ.
God did not adopt me because I was a “good” person. He did not adopt me because I’m better than the really evil people in the world. He did not adopt me because I chose the right religion. He adopted me simply because he is God and loved me. All he required of me was faith and faith alone—belief and trust in his son, Jesus.
This is why I believe in adoption: Because I am an eternally adopted child of the creator of the universe.
This is why I can say with full honesty and passion that I am deeply attached to, love, would die for, lose sleep over, pray over, weep over the sin of, and care for all my children equally and the same. How I long for their souls to know my Jesus. How I long for them to experience this same adoption I experienced. How privileged I am to be the mother of such precious children, similar DNA or not.
“Our responsibility is therefore to lay aside all our anxieties and bring them to our father. Being assured of his care, leave them with him.” -Sinclair Ferguson (The Christian Life)
Marcel came home from school one day last month upset and grumpy. As I questioned him about his day, he grumbled that he did not want to talk about it. I explained to Marcel that God gave him a loving mom to care about the things that upset and bother him. I told Marcel that because he was my son, he does not have to keep his concerns hidden, but can share them with me. One of the great blessings of belonging to a family is that he is no longer responsible to carry his burdens alone. As a child, Marcel not only has the privilege of sharing his pain with his loving and wise mother, but he actually has the responsibility to share. If he chose to ignore my loving questions and keep his pain hidden, he would have been denying me the ability to mother him. It would have been disobedient, hurtful, and sinful. Sharing this with Marcel brightened his face and he spilled his guts. We had a great conversation over orange juice and granola bars and within no time Marcel bounced out of his chair ready to go play.
A few hours later, I found myself anxious about getting the kids fed and our house “clean” (meaning toys stuffed in closet and dirty dishes crammed in the oven) for our Tuesday night Bible study. As I was washing dishes and feeling anxious, I knew that I should go to the Lord and repent for worrying about the perception of others and ask his help to find joy in sharing even a messy house with my friends who would be arriving shortly, but really…I just didn’t feel like praying at the moment.
As I continued with my “to-do” list, God brought my conversation with Marcel to the front of my mind. I realized how often I treat going to the Lord with my fears, worries, and anxieties as optional. But it is not optional; I have a responsibility to turn to him. It is both a privilege of adoption and an act of obedience. When I look to God with my fears, I trust that God knows my every need before I even ask. When I cast my anxieties on God, I am exercising an unshakable faith that God cares for me. When I dwell on my problems, worry about the future, and think about all the possible negative scenarios that can come from some bad news I just heard, I deny the responsibility I have as God’s daughter and make myself the “god” of my problems. Instead of placing my hope in my loving, sovereign Father, I place my hope in my own abilities. In doing this, I am not demonstrating that God is my loving Father who adopted me through the blood of Jesus.
Understanding this truth empowers me to look to God when I begin to feel anxious. Several times these past few weeks, I noticed thoughts and emotions that showed there was anxiousness or fear in my heart. Instead of letting those thoughts fester, I was able to direct my thoughts to the fact that I have a Father that lovingly demands I turn to him for protection and guidance. Just like I do not expect my children to carry their own burdens, how much more does God expect me to give him mine!
Well, I jumped into the Rob Bell discussion (from a little different perspective). You can read my thoughts over at Zach Nielsen’s blog.
Please welcome Dennae Pierre to the T4A team! We are thrilled to serve with her at Together for Adoption for the sake of orphaned and vulnerable children everywhere. If you haven’t yet read her first two posts, let me encourage you to do so now: Adopted and Feeling Like an Orphan, But I’m Not. I also recently had the opportunity to interview Dennae and her husband, Vermon (watch it). Here’s her bio:
Dennae Pierre is a regular contributor to the T4A blog. She cares deeply about the local church growing in its understanding of gospel-centered theology and has recently enjoyed writing and speaking about adoption.
She is married to Vermon, the pastor of Roosevelt Community Church in downtown Phoenix. There she serves in urban outreach & children’s ministry. She has 3 children, two of which she was blessed to adopt.
Dennae’s background in social work gave her a burden to adopt through the foster care system. Dennae and her husband are licensed foster care parents and currently provide short-term respite care to foster children.
The beautiful thing about adoption is that it is permanent. Unchangeable. Forever. It has nothing to do with the child’s behavior, abilities, perceptions, strengths, weaknesses. It has EVERYTHING to do with the parent.
A majority of the time, our children fully embrace the reality of being our son and daughter. They have consumed our family identity and in countless funny ways show us that they are “Pierres.” I often hear Marcel explain that he loves to read because “I’m a Pierre and Pierres love to read!” Or Mya explain why she doesn’t give up as, “Pierre Women keep trying!” But there are moments, here and there, where they think back about their past and wonder, worry, imagine… They are still sorting out what it means in light of who they are now and who they will be in 5, 15, 30 years.
But what is so wonderful about adoption is that it does not matter who they identify themselves to be, because they ARE Pierres. They could be night and day different from us. They could look completely different. They could act in ways that brought “shame” to our family name. They could wish that Daddy Warbucks would have adopted them instead. They could be angry with us and not trust us. It does not change their status as our children.
When I see in very real ways how Marcel and Mya have so quickly accepted their new identity, I am reminded how slower I am at the game. I am reminded that being God’s child has nothing to do with me, my actions, or my feelings.
Days like today, I don’t “feel” like a child of God. There are those times when my devotion and love for God is all consuming of my heart, thoughts, and actions. It is like living in a vividly colorful garden after growing up in a brown desert. I can barely contain my joy for the living God who has rescued me, saved me, and made me his daughter.
And then there are days like today…
I have to remind myself, minute by minute, that life is eternal and the temporal world around me is quickly fading and passing away. I have to take my thoughts captive, reminding myself who I am and who I belong to! I have to take the time to really examine why I am doing, saying, and thinking in ways that are completely foolish in light of what Christ did on the cross for me!
And somehow, in those “normal” days, is when I am most reminded that I am adopted, loved, rescued, saved, cherished, nourished, cared for, protected by my Living God. My Savior. My King.
Thank you Lord, for never finding it “hard” to love me when I fail to love you! May we do the same to the children you’ve entrusted us to!
[See below for an explanation of this unique video trailer]
Growing an indigenous adoption movement within other countries is one of our primary T4A passions. We’ve been abel to witness God moving within the global church to see growth of a vital movement like this. Seed Adoption is one such incredible movement. Check out the Seed Adoption‘s trailer movie and prayerfully consider how you may participate. All it takes is $75 for a pastor to receive this kind of in-depth, robust, and practical training about how established churches can care for their community’s orphans. These are exciting and hopeful days. Will you join us as we seek to serve the Ethiopian church?
Also, Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father is being translated into Ethiopia’s major language, Amharic, and will be given to all 250 Ethiopian pastors who attend.
T4A is honored to be a Seed Adoption Partner.
[See below to learn about this webinar]
There are two movements within evangelicalism that are not only experiencing significant growth, but are also wonderfully merging together: the orphan care movement and the reemergence of a deep interest in the theology of adoption. Christian Alliance for Orphans invited me to do a webinar on the merging of these two movements. The above webinar video explores both how Scripture’s teaching on adoption can inform, shape, and empower evangelicalism’s orphan care movement and how it already is.
Note: If you are a visual learner and would benefit from the use of diagrams to walk you through Scripture’s teaching on adoption, you may find this webinar very helpful.
[This post was written by our newest T4A writer, Dennae Pierre. Watch an excellent video interview with Dennae and her husband.]
It is a joy to join the Together for Adoption blog. Since this is my first day posting, I thought I would briefly introduce myself.
I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Several years ago, I got involved in a church plant in downtown Phoenix where I was blessed to meet my husband (who also happened to be the lead pastor). Shortly thereafter we started our family by becoming foster parents. We now have adopted our two oldest children (9 & 5) and had a baby a little over a year ago.
But long before I became an adoptive parent, I was adopted myself. And I am an adoption success story.
If it were not for adoption, I would still be a slave to sin and death. The cost to adopt me was the blood of Christ and because of that great sacrifice I am now a child of God Almighty.
What I love about Together for Adoption is their mission to provoke thoughts, discussion, and praise within the church regarding OUR adoption. A byproduct of that mission is to then look at the wonderful opportunity we have to mirror God’s adopting love by adopting and caring for the orphans around us. In coming posts, I hope to not only encourage those who have adopted, but exhort all of us who have been adopted by our Heavenly Father.
[See below to learn about this house conference interview]
In the third part of our first house conference, I had the opportunity to interview Craig Juntunen about his global initiative (Both Ends Burning) to transform the international adoption process. Craig is a former professional quarterback whose life took an unexpected turn as a result of a trip to Haiti. Since that trip to Haiti, Craig has become an adoptive father, founder of Chances for children (which has placed over 100 Haitian children in adoptive families), and now the founder and president of the Both Ends Burning Campaign. Although adoption, whether domestic or international, is not the answer to the global orphan crisis, the adoption process certainly needs to be reformed for the sake of children who are waiting for families. Through the Both Ends Burning Campaign, Craig Juntunen and his team are working tirelessly to make this a reality.
This video is the interview segment of our second house conference, which was held in Phoenix, Arizona in partnership with Roosevelt Community Church. In it, I interview Vermon and Dennae Pierre about their foster-to-adopt story. What I love about their story is that it could not have happened without their local church. Vermon is the lead pastor of Roosevelt Community Church.
Both Vermon and Dennae are actively involved in Together for Adoption. Vermon will be doing a breakout session on transracial adoption at our October 21-22 national conference in Phoenix; and Dennae is a new regular contributor to the T4A blog.
Our house conference initiative is an effort to bring teaching on God’s story of adoption and its implications for the global orphan crisis to living rooms in select cities across the United States. Obviously, not everyone can fly across the country to attend a T4A conference. So, in part, our house conference initiative aims to “bring a T4A conference to a living room near you . . . for free.”
House Conference Format: 20-20-20
- 20 minutes of teaching: The Story Behind the Story of Adoption – Sparking the Conversation
- 20 minutes of discussion: In-House Interviews – Continuing the Conversation
- 20 minutes of questions: Q & A – Expanding the Conversation
Our hope is to use house conference to spark continuing conversations about orphan care that move Christians/churches toward greater collaboration and implementation. Why will these conferences be hosted in homes? Because the orphan crisis is something that Christians should grapple with in their living rooms. It should be that personal to us.
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