Month: January 2010

Adoption culture can and should flourish in churches, profs argue

“Adoption is not just about couples who want children?or who want more children,” according to author Russell Moore. “Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.”

Moore is one of many voices within the Southern Baptist Convention appealing to individual believers, pastoral leaders and local churches to view adoption as part of their global mission effort.

“When a Christian family adopts a child, that family is committing to years of gospel proclamation, of seeking to see this child come to faith in Christ,” Moore remarked in his book “Adopted for Life.”

Christians in the U.S. were once known for obeying God’s command to care for orphans.

In his address to a family conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, John Mark Yeats recalled the Orphan Train movement designed to place children without hope into evangelical families, some escaping horrible circumstances as they rode the rails to waiting childless families or families needing extra hands to work the farm.

The assistant professor of church history said he finds far too many believers strangely silent on the issue of adoption today, “frequently hiding behind a barrage of evangelical aid institutions that assure us that our money is well spent.”

Urging a recovery of practical theology lived out daily, Yeats reminded, “The Old Testament mandates orphan care, and the New Testament modeled that care and bequeathed us a theological model of redemption developed from that mandate. Perhaps for all of our pro-life rhetoric, evangelicals today no longer believe what the text says.”


Southern Baptists meeting in Louisville last June endorsed a resolution “On Adoption and Orphan Care” that connected the dots between the theological work picture of redemption and the practical steps toward creating a culture of adoption.

Citing John 14:18, Romans 8:12-25, Galatians 3:27-4:9, and Ephesians 1:5, the statement recalls receiving the “‘Spirit of adoption’ whereby we are no longer spiritual orphans but are now beloved children of God and joint heirs with Christ.”

Reference is made to God as a “father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) who grants mercy to orphans (Deuteronomy 10:18 and Hosea 14:3). “Our Lord Jesus welcomes the little ones (Luke 18:15-17), pleads for the lives of the innocent (Psalm 72:12-14), and shows us that we will be held accountable for our response to ‘the least of these brothers of mine,'” according to Matthew 25:40.

From James 1:27, the resolution states that Scripture defines “pure and undefiled religion” as “to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

Satanic powers and the ravages of sin are credited with warring against infants and children “from Pharaoh to Molech to Herod and now, through the horrors of a divorce culture, an abortion industry, and the global plagues of disease, starvation, and warfare.”


Yeats sounded a similar warning during his presentation at Southwestern Seminary. Christian churches are now in competition with the world for the hearts and souls of the orphans, he said, referring to the intense lobbying efforts to legalize adoption for same-sex couples. “They are more than happy to take in children while the church sleeps.”

With an unequivocal commitment to the sanctity of all human life, the SBC statement reminds churches defined by the Great Commission of the need to show concern for the evangelism of children?including those who have no parents, pointing to the over 150 million orphans who languish without families in orphanages, group homes, and placement systems worldwide.

Yeats praised ministries providing orphan care, but noted the cost to run such programs enters into the tens of millions of dollars in order to aid a

For Wolfe City couple, God’s agenda became their own

WOLFE CITY–For Monte and Missy Weaver, adopting a child was just as much a lesson in learning to love a child they had never met as it was in learning to work with God’s agenda and not their own.
The former lesson came easily; quite naturally, really. Missy had known since she was in intermediate school that, someday, she wanted to adopt a child. Her parents had divorced when she was very young and when her mother remarried, Missy’s stepfather adopted her. That act of love made an indelible impression.
Because the conviction to adopt was so impressed upon her heart, Missy said any future husband would have to share that desire. Monte did and nine years ago this March they were married.
They began life together in youth ministry. Having a family was something they always “planned to do later.”
Five years ago the couple moved to Wolfe City, about an hour north of Dallas. Monte is pastor at Calvary Baptist Church and Missy works from home keeping the books for her parents’ pharmacy. Having children was something they would do when they were out of debt and had a little more money in the bank, they reasoned.
In retrospect, Missy said, “The whole idea about planning for children” seemed somewhat ridiculous. Throughout the process of becoming parents God would work on their attitudes and perspectives. Before finally deciding to have children Monte said they had to seek God’s forgiveness for their attitudes about having children.
He confessed, “Our putting off was selfishness or lack of faith in God.”
Once they did decide to have a child of their own Missy never became pregnant. But instead of seeking a diagnosis for what might be an infertility problem, the Weavers sought parenthood through adoption.
As they began to pray about the adoption and for the child they hoped to bring home, Missy said, “We just sensed this overwhelming burden that we had a daughter waiting for us in China.”
Working with the Christian-based America World Adoption agency, the Weavers began in March 2007 the arduous task of filling out the necessary paperwork, completing personal interviews, and submitting to home studies in order to be accepted as potential adoptive parents.
They hoped to travel to China by the summer of 2008. When that did not happen Monte said they began “getting specific with God” and asked “to bring their healthy child home by Thanksgiving 2008.”
That milestone came and passed as well.
They kept praying for Abigail.
The Abigail of Monte and Missy’s expectations was an infant. No more than 3 years old. And healthy.
But God began to put on their hearts the prospect of adopting a special-needs child. By Chinese standards, “special needs” is not only defined by physical ailments or disabilities but by age. Any child older than the age of 3 is considered special needs. After all, it is argued, people want to adopt babies, not older children.
The Weavers had begun to reflect on mission trips they had taken to Mexico working in the orphanages.
“Wouldn’t we have brought home any of those children?” they asked each other.
Not only was God adjusting their perspective on the timing of their adoption but on the age of the child.
So last Feb. 18, the Weavers completed the application for the America World Waiting Child program, putting them in line to adopt a child that did not meet their original ideal. Just five days later they received their first online referral. They would receive a few more before Abigail appeared.

Missy said at the outset of the adoption process she and Monte had prayed specifically for two things; that God would receive the glory for all that transpired and “that we would know her face when we saw her.”

Recognizing Abigail was not necessarily an awe-inspiring moment, they joked. On a Thursday Missy checked their status on the adoption agency’s online account. The face of a little girl with a repaired cleft palette appeared.

“Oh. How cute,” Missy cooed. She called Monte to the computer to show him the image.

“Isn’t she cute?” Missy asked.

Monte’s monosyllabic “Yeah” was a little less enthusiastic.

Neither thought much more of the child until the next day.

Monte recalled, “The Lord put this girl in Missy’s heart to start with. The next day Missy woke up and couldn’t get this girl’s face off her mind.”

But Abigail would be the child the Weavers almost missed.

Missy returned Friday to the America World Adoption agency referral list only to find that the girl she had seen Thursday was no longer in the system.

“We missed her,” Monte said, recalling their disappointment.

The next Monday the agency called the Weavers to say the little girl was back in the system. She was 5 years old, had undergone cleft palette repair surgery and would need more. But, they knew her face.

In June of 2009 the Weavers received pre-approval from the Chinese government to begin the adoption process. By mid-October the work was done. China had approved the adoption and sent the respective paperwork to the Weavers. They signed it and sent it via FedEx to the adoption agency. In order to finalize the contract America World had to send the signed paperwork back to China. The agency was one day away from doing that when they received a disturbing phone call.

They passed the news on to Monte and Missy. Abigail was sick and had been hospitalized—bedridden and paralyzed from the waist down. She was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, a rare condition caused by swelling on the spinal cord.

The agency immediately put a stop action on the adoption. The physical condition of the prospective adoptive child had changed dramatically and the agency needed to be assured the Weavers would go through with the adoption once they arrived in China.

“They basically gave us the option to get out,” Monte said.

If they had traveled to China and then bowed out of the process they would never again be permitted to adopt from that nation.

The thought never crossed their minds. Before Missy and Monte ever saw her face they knew they had a daughter in China whom they would name Abigail (Hebrew for the father rejoiced or father’s joy). They had loved her before they could hold her. And now they feared they never would.

Monte said convincing the adoption agency that they were sincere about their desire to bring Abigail home, in spite of her condition, was not a problem. What they feared was the Chinese government putting a halt to the process.

He said, “Our greatest fear was they weren’t going to let us take her home.”

For the Weavers, Abigail was already their child and they needed to get to her so they could bring her home and care for her.

The agency was convinced and within a week Monte and Missy were on their way to China. Expediting the travel was a miracle, Missy said. Getting travel arrangements so quickly is unheard of.

Once in China there was some confusion regarding Abigail’s condition: When had she become sick? How long had she been hospitalized? What treatment had she received? Communication was hampered by the fact that the province in which they traveled was a Cantonese-speaking region and the Weavers’ guide spoke Mandarin.

But it was finally determined that Abigail had been in the hospital for about two months. The Weavers believe her care was most likely not up to U.S. standards and therefore, if there had been any chance of recovering in the early treatment stage, that hope was gone.

But no matter, they said. She was their daughter and they were taking her home. Monte said there had been so many confirmations of God’s hand in the whole process, guiding them from their own preconceived ideas of who they would adopt and when. God even had a sense of humor with regard to one of their more specific prayer requests.

With a chuckle Monte said, “We were in China with our daughter on Thanksgiving Day 2009 eating pizza at a Pizza Hut,” an allusion to the previous year’s prayer that they would have their daughter by Thanksgiving 2008. Right day, albeit a year later, he said.

Missy said Abigail is adjusting well to her new home and loves her extended family. Monte said it took three weeks for him to get a hug out of his daughter. Because there were few if any men in her life in China he believes she was apprehensive about making that physical connection. But, he said with a touch of feigned jealously, it only took three days for his brother to coax a hug from her.

Their church family has been extraordinarily gracious to their newest addition and Abigail has warmed up to them. Missy said she is becoming less shy though she still wants to have her mother in sight at all times.

The Weavers have even had Abigail examined by a doctor in the Dallas area who specializes in diagnosing and treating acute transverse myelitis. There will be more exams and probably one last surgery on her palette. Monte said unsolicited donations have been made to the family to offset some of their medical expenses. As an SBTC pastor, Monte has insurance through GuideStone and Abigail has been added to that policy just as a birth child would be.

Missy suspects their daughter had little education in China but she is picking up English and fundamental academics rather quickly.

The Weavers were afraid that their story would be a discouragement to anyone with thoughts of adopting, but they have seen the opposite. A family member who had been considering adoption is now going through with the commitment, encouraged by how Missy and Mont dealt with the situation they were thrust into. Missy said she hopes their church, and others, can be a source of information and support for those considering adoption.

Their advice to prospective adoptive parents?

“Don’t wait until you think everything is lined up. Start to pursue it and see what God opens up.”

To read about the Weavers’ adoption process and see pictures of the family, visit

Disaster relief responds to Lufkin tornado

LUFKIN?When a tornado struck the Lufkin area on Dec. 23, the presence of Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief volunteers who live in the area benefited those affected by the storm, said SBTC DR Director Jim Richardson.

Within hours, local DR volunteers began serving with their churches to provide tarps to cover homes and buildings. For three days Southside Baptist Church sheltered some of those displaced by the storm and provided hot meals.

Once additional SBTC Disaster Relief volunteers arrived from out of town the following week, Southside became the operations base as teams responded in clean-up and recovery operations and chaplaincy, said Jim Richardson, SBTC DR director.

“We were also very fortunate that we have a very active disaster relief clean-up and recovery unit at Harmony Hills Baptist Church in Lufkin,” Richardson said.

In addition to providing tarps, the Harmony Hills team helped remove downed trees in the hours following the tornado. Out-of-town DR teams also helped with tree removal Dec. 28-30.

Local churches are continuing to do follow-up ministry and needs assessments, Richardson said.

SBTC partners with security company in training short-term mission teams

In partnership with Fort Sherman Academy, the SBTC will host travel and safety trainings for short-term mission team leaders on Feb. 20 (level one) and March 25-26 (level two) at the SBTC offices in Grapevine.

This training deals with the kinds of issues mission team leaders need to be prepared for while traveling internationally or in high-risk areas, said Tiffany Smith, SBTC missions mobilization associate. It will cover questions such as: What happens if someone goes missing? Who do we call if a team is detained by a foreign government? What are our rights if held by foreign government officials? What is the best way to go through customs when on a mission trip? How can we do some preventative training with our team before leaving for the field?

Since 2001, the Fort Sherman Academy has trained over 13,000 people from 47 government, commercial, church and mission organizations. To date, at least 62 of those graduates have since endured and survived incidents like those covered in the training workshops and the DVD-based curriculum called “Safe Travel Solutions.”

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of kidnappings, illegal detentions, carjackings, home invasions, and other violent crimes against people traveling internationally,” said David Dose, Fort Sherman Academy president. “These acts underscore the growing danger and the call for security training to address these specific issues. As we are called to go, just staying at home to be ‘safe’ is not a realistic option for many of us. We must find innovative new ways to reasonable continue going where we are called, and that means being better prepared to travel and respond to challenges appropriately.”

Fort Sherman is one of the world’s largest providers of advanced travel security courses, crisis management instruction and high-risk hostage survival training to civilians. Dose is an authority in hostage survival and anti-terrorism training for civilian and faith-based audiences, having consulted not only in training but also in recovery efforts of persons detained or kidnapped outside the United States.

“I have personally received training from both David Dose and the DVD curriculum,” she added. “In this world of uncertainty and increasing violence, I believe that it is vital for anyone leading teams overseas to commit to take the time to be prepared in the event of a crisis. The stress level in a crisis can be drastically reduced even by team members just knowing that there is a plan in place.”

In addition to the eight-hour level one training on Feb. 20, there will be a level two training March 25-26. The advanced training will delve a little deeper into security issues and precautions to take when traveling in secure areas and how to prepare for potential crises.

Youth leaders or team leaders working along the Mexican border are highly recommended to attend at least a level-one training due to the unpredictable events occurring along the border. To register for either training session, visit

Awakened by His Glory’ theme of 2010 Empower Evangelism Conf.

ARLINGTON?The annual SBTC Empower Evangelism Conference Feb. 15-17 at the Arlington Convention Center will include a diverse lineup of pastors, evangelists, and musicians with the aim of awakening God’s people for revival.

This year’s theme is “Awakened by His Glory,” based on Exodus 33:18: “Then Moses said, ‘Please, let me see Your glory.'”

The personalities are varied, from younger pastors such as Josh Smith and Vance Pitman to seasoned pulpiteers such as Roy Fish and Junior Hill. Others will include comedian Tim Hawkins, scheduled for the Senior Adult Luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and the sobering inspiration of missionary Carrie McDonnall, who survived brutal captivity in Iraq while serving as a missionary with her late husband, who died from injuries sustained in an ambush by Iraqi militants.

The musicians will include past favorites such as David Phelps, Charles Billingsley, John McKay and others such as Allison Durham Speer and Jerry Newman. Dramatist Clyde Annandale returns this year after drawing the rapt attention of the crowd last year with his narratives of the Roman centurion and other biblical figures.

For more information on the Empower Evangelism Conference, visit the website or call the SBTC’s evangelism team at 817-552-2500 or toll-free at 877-953-7282 (SBTC).

Mohler keynoting the CP Luncheon

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker at the annual SBTC Cooperative Program Luncheon at noon Tuesday, Feb. 16 during the Empower Evangelism Conference at Arlington Convention Center.

Mohler has been recognized by such influential publications as Time and Christianity Today as a leader among American evangelicals. In fact, called him the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” Called “an articulate voice for conservative Christianity at large” by The Chicago Tribune, Dr. Mohler’s mission is to address contemporary issues from a consistent and explicit Christian worldview.

A prolific writer, Mohler has also served as pastor and staff minister of several Southern Baptist churches. He came to the presidency of Southern Seminary from service as editor of The Christian Index in Georgia, the oldest of the state papers serving the Southern Baptist Convention.

A native of Lakeland, Fla., Mohler is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and Southern Seminary and has done additional study at the St. Meinrad School of Theology and Oxford University (England).

Dr. Mohler also serves as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary. His writings have been published throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to contributing to a number of collected volumes, he is the author of several books, including “Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth” (Multnomah), “Desire & Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance” (Multnomah), “Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists” (Crossway), “He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World” (Moody), and, most recently, “The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness” (Multnomah). From 1985 to 1993, he served as associate editor of Preaching, a journal for evangelical preachers, and is currently editor-in-chief of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.

A leader within the Southern Baptist Convention, Mohler has served as chairman of the SBC Committee on Resolutions and served on the seven-person Program and Structure Study Committee that recommended the 1995 SBC restructuring as well as the committee that recommended revisions to the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000. In addition, he is a member of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at

Tim Hawkins headlining Senior Adult Luncheon

Comedian Tim Hawkins is the scheduled entertainer for the annual SBTC Senior Adult Luncheon at noon Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Arlington Convention Center.

Hawkins has been accused of being equally gifted and twisted. His parodies, musical and otherwise, are making him a household name as they receive thousands of hits on the online video site

His arsenal is unique: high-energy stand up, physical comedy, slick guitar skills, myriad impersonations, improvisational chops, and a singing voice that adapts from hair band shrieking to country songster to a parody of the generic music minister.

“People think I live a rock-star life,” quipped Hawkins. “Believe me, Mick Jagger never gets lost in a Hertz parking lot looking for his Ford Focus.”

A former college All-American baseball player, he traded the sports stage for the comedy stage and never looked back. The St. Louis native taught himself to play guitar and tested the waters at area comedy clubs, launching a full-time comedic career in 2002.

His art form was honed primarily in churches, with a brief 6-month stint performing in prisons.

Tickets are $10 and seating is limited. To register, visit and click through the Senior Adult Luncheon tab under “Upcoming Events.”

June Richards felt sense of belonging with father, adoptive mother

KELLER?The nativity scenes have been safely packed away for another Christmas in the homes of most folks. Not so at the home of Jim and June Richards. The special meaning June Richards attaches to her collection justifies keeping them in sight year round.

As a young child, her grandmother made a manger scene and let her select one of the characters to take home. “Of course, as a kid, I picked out baby Jesus. Every year we would go to the 5-and-10 store and add to the manger scene,” she recalled.

“We learn to love baby Jesus as little children, but when I got saved at the age of 9 it meant that much more to me.”

June vividly remembers finding strength in Christ to carry her through a very confusing time of her childhood as she tried to make sense of the fact that two women were regarded as her mother.

Before she was born, her father began a relationship with a waitress in a café he visited about an hour from the small Louisiana town that June still calls home. “Whenever my daddy found out she was going to have a baby, he took responsibility for his actions because he wanted me. And I’m the product of that relationship.”

The single mom was already caring for an 18-month-old and couldn’t imagine how she’d handle another child. “I think her family was very poor and they couldn’t afford to do that again,” she related. Her father pled with the woman to carry the child to term, and then allow him and his wife to care for the baby.

“She verbally agreed,” June said. “It seemed she was giving me up because she wanted me to have a better life. That’s the way I look at it. God brought me into this world in a different way. I thank the Lord because I know he literally placed me in the arms of my mama so she could tell me about Jesus.”

Always referring to her adopted mother as “Mama” and her birth mother by name, June explained, “My adopted mom always told me that Joyce was my mother, but I called her Joyce because I couldn’t call her Mama. I just couldn’t.”

Growing up in a small town, June’s mother wanted to avoid the likelihood that her new daughter would suffer from gossip and rumor-mongering about her parentage.

“So it was always mentioned and therefore it wasn’t shocking. She didn’t want me to feel like children who are adopted who do not know their mother and then go out and chase them only to be disappointed.”

Not only did June hear her parents make reference to her birth mother, she regularly visited with the woman.

“I was about 11 years old when she came to visit one time. I knew that my parents had a relationship with her. Daddy, of course, would say, ‘There are no feelings. I’m just thankful I have you.'”

June regarded the circumstances as odd, but felt enormous love from both of her parents, while maintaining contact with her birth mother, sibling and the grandmother who had given her that first baby Jesus figurine from her own manger scene.

“I would tell the Lord, ‘This is so strange. In my heart I can’t understand all this.’ But I guess it strengthened my dependence on talking to him.” In fact, her passion for intercessory prayer grows out of that experience.

“That’s where I feel is my place?that I can pray for other people. I saw how much he did to work in my life and the least I can do is to submit to him.”

June’s father made it clear that he regretted his behavior, but remained steadfast in his love for his daughter. “Daddy was very frank. He said, ‘I made a mistake. I was sorry for what I did to your mom, but I wanted you.'”

Amazed by his willingness to take on the added responsibility, June reflec

Adoption process brought perspective for couple

WEATHERFORD  Becky and David Nelson had no intention of adopting more than one child. The long, drawn-out, expensive process seemed beyond their means after bringing their first child, Lucianne, home from Uzbekistan when she was 14 months old.

When the thought of adopting a second child crossed their minds, the couple quickly dismissed the idea, discouraged by the cost of the first.

But God had a different idea, according to Becky Nelson.

“God said it’s not up to you,” she recalled.

Adoption, especially an international adoption, can cost between $7,000 and $30,000, while domestic adoptions range from $4,000 to $12,000, though some climb considerably when private arrangements are made.

In the midst of their first adoption, Becky said she and David visited her parents. She soon found herself complaining to her father about the process?the paperwork, the waiting, and the money. Up to that point the Nelsons had already invested more than $20,000 and anticipated doling out more before they ever took their child home.

Becky’s father listened and then asked an odd question. How much, he asked, did their truck cost and how long were they going to take to pay for it?

Was their soon-to-be child not worth more than the truck? The amortized value of the truck cost more than the adoption fees, he noted. Becky said her father did the math and showed her that the cost of their child?spread out over a presumed 70-year lifespan?was pennies a day.

Point taken.

“If God asks you to do it, God will provide. That’s God’s child,” Becky said.

“We’re not wealthy,” she added. David is an instructor for a computer database company and Becky teaches adult GED test preparation courses. Oksana is now in college and the other three children?Lucianne, 15; Artur, 14; and Zhenia, 13?are all homeschooled.

Couples who feel called to adopt must be proactive with their finances. Becky said she and David refinanced high-ticket items and found ways to cut back on spending.

“The whole amazing thing is we’d make those sacrifices and not even feel it,” she said.

They would also revel in the way God provided through anonymous donations and “found” money. The support they received from their families and their church served as affirmation and encouraged them to follow through with the calling. And each time the couple began pondering another adoption Becky said they would pray.

“We would just lay it at his feet and tell him, ‘We want to see how you’re going to pull this off!'”

The adjustment process for an adopted child must also be taken into consideration. The Nelson’s first two children were infants, reducing the need for cultural acclimation. But Oksana was 10 and Zhenia was 9 when they moved to their California home. Although they quickly settled into their new home it was not without its bumps and quirks.

Food proved a most pronounced adjustment. With very little variety and quantity in their orphanage diet, hamburgers and pizza?staples for most American children?were to be picked apart and eaten in pieces by 9-year-old Zhenia. Even sandwiches, Becky recalled, were picked apart by her youngest son. Today he mixes everything together and eats like a typical American teenage boy.

Are you called to adopt?

I often find myself telling people, “If you could only be in my shoes for a week, you would have such greater insight into what a beautiful journey adoption truly is. It’s awe inspiring.”

Sacrifice, grace, love, pain, and joy are all very much a part of the private adoption journey. As you can imagine, plenty more could be added to that list. I am privileged and blessed to be a part of such a powerful calling and gift each day. Allow me to fill you in.

Adoption is a calling: You don’t haphazardly end up adopting. It’s so much more than that. I continue to see this truth played out as each year passes. Most couples’ adoption journey begins long before they contact the Texas Baptist Home. Many couples may have experienced infertility, the loss of a child, and/or have the desire to add to their family through adoption. In some cases, the adoption journey begins with pain.

Working through those emotions is essential; then comes the waiting. Oh, how so many dread the waiting. It looks different for everyone and it’s all a part of the couple’s specific journey. I have the privilege of encouraging and being the vessel used to stretch the couples who desire to adopt privately with the Texas Baptist Home. God’s plan is always so much bigger than we often see. It’s exciting to look back along with the adoptive couples and see evidence of that specific plan in each couple’s lives.

Birth mothers are my heart and my heroes: The other side of private infant adoption is the birth family. Words cannot describe how much I love the birth families I walk alongside with. Each and every person’s story is different and unique. I treasure seeing God’s redeeming power in the lives of those who are willingly and lovingly choosing to make the second most sacrificial and courageous choice I’ve ever seen. It is humbling to say the least.

The birth mothers go through nine months of pregnancy, and all that includes, while also handling the emotions that come with choosing to place their baby for adoption. My role in their lives is tough, full of emotion, challenging at times, and exceptionally rewarding. There is beauty in sacrifice.

How do I begin my journey: The process varies by agency, but upon contacting the Texas Baptist Home, for example, you will be provided with the following: program requirements, necessary trainings, fees, and information about what to expect the adoption process to look like. An informational packet will also be sent to you in the mail. Upon receiving the informational packet, if you and the Texas Baptist Home decide it is a good match, you will choose who you would like to pursue your adoption journey with and be placed on an orientation waiting list.

Upon attending an orientation you will be provided with all of the necessary paperwork, including an application. Once your application has been turned in, it will be reviewed by the Texas Baptist Home. If the application is approved, you will be set up with a home study coordinator and a home study will be completed. When a home study is approved a couple is then ready to be viewed by birth families, and possibly selected as an adoptive couple.

Are you called to adopt? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact the Texas Baptist Home. I would love to talk with you. If not to adopt yourself, I would challenge you in asking, what role then are you to play in adoption? Will you pray for the birthmothers who are carrying their babies to term, giving life, and sacrificing their wants for the needs of their child? Will you donate not just financially, but your time also to promote healthy adoption education? Or, are you to simply be a listening ear or give an encouraging word to a couple who is waiting on God’s timing in their journey of adoption? All are needed, and all are important. What role is yours?

Jessica Page is adoption case manager at the Texas Baptist Home for Children in Waxahachie, an affiliated ministry partner of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.