Today I am going to share a blog post I wrote as a "guest post" for my friend (and fellow adoptive momma) Sarah's blog, as part of a month-long guest post series she is hosting about many lives touched by adoption. You can see the post on her blog here.
My name is Bethany. Sarah asked me to share a little bit of the story of how God has been at work in my life and my family’s adoption story, so here it is goes...
I grew up in a very loving, very Roman Catholic home here in Louisville. I went to Catholic schools from 4th grade through high school, and basically lived in a catholic “bubble”. I was the oldest child and was definitely the “rule follower” of the family. I went to every Youth Group event & mission trips every summer to help the poor. I had also created my own set of moral standards for myself, when many of the kids around me were rebelling in high school: I will not drink until I’m 21, I will never smoke, and I will NOT have sex until I’m married. As long as I stuck to these things, I thought I was a very good person and that God would be pleased with me. However, after graduating from high school I decided that I was tired of being the “good little girl” and trying so hard to be “perfect” and please my parents, I wanted to have fun. So I left for college and pursued all kinds of “fun” that I thought would make me happy. I jumped headlong into the party scene from day one on campus. This went on my entire freshman year at UK. If there was a party, I was at it. And boy, did I LOVE my sin. I had no conviction whatsoever. Until it caught up with me and I began to reap what I had been sowing (Galatians 6:7-9).I returned for my sophomore year hurt, depressed and desperate for healing & forgiveness. So when my new roommate in my sorority house invited me to go to a Christian church with her, which was SO against my upbringing, I said yes. I was searching for answers and willing to try anything at that point.
For the first time in my entire life I heard the good news of the gospel: that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ had fully paid the debt that my sins deserve on the cross. And that I could never be “good enough.” I could never EARN my salvation. “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I cried my eyes out every Sunday for months as Danielle faithfully brought me back with her week after week. Finally I had found a source of hope: the Jesus of the Bible that I’d always known about, but never really known. Danielle continued to be my friend and ask me hard questions. One question especially stuck with me and pricked my heart. Danielle asked me, “how sure are you that you would go to Heaven if you died tonight?” I thought I was about 85% sure. I had been very “good” growing up and I thought that would outweigh all the “bad” stuff I had been doing for the past year. Danielle explained that it wasn’t based on me at all- it was based on Jesus alone. She shared Ephesians 2:8-9 with me, “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.” I began reading my Bible for the first time in my life and slowly became convinced by scripture that the gospel was truth and that a lot of what I’d been taught growing up wasn’t based on the word of God.
Eventually I decided that Jesus was far more precious than pleasing my parents & following the Catholic tradition of my family. And in February of my junior year, at a Campus Crusade conference for Greek students, I surrendered my whole life to Christ. I finally let go of the idols I had been holding so tightly onto, my drunken social life and my immoral relationships, and I placed my faith in Christ alone for my salvation. I memorized 2 Corinthians 5:17 and had to constantly remind myself that I was “a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away and the new has come.” God was so kind and merciful in immediately giving me fellowship with believers who encouraged me in my new walk with the Lord at Campus Crusade. The believers I met helped me grow in my walk with the Lord, study my Bible, and eventually introduced me to the godly man who is now my husband!
My husband, Jon, and I had always talked about adopting “one day,” but around our son’s first birthday we decided to officially start the process to adopt internationally after praying about it for years. That was almost 2 years ago. We’ve been humbly reminded many times throughout our adoption process that WE are not the ones writing our adoption story. Our Sovereign God is the one in control; He is the author of our story and only He knows the twists & turns and how it will end. We would never have dreamed that we would lose our first referral, that the precious 9 month old baby girl who we were in the process of adopting would die, or that we would have two legally adopted children in the DRC who are both “missing.” But that is all part of our story.
And here’s what I want to share with you: if you are a Christian and you desire to care for orphans through adoption- DO IT! But don’t go into the process all naïve and dreamy the way I did. I thought that because we were doing a good thing, by rescuing orphans, that it would be easy. Oh was I wrong! God has NOT promised that caring for the fatherless would be easy. But it is WORTH IT. Every single orphaned child on this earth is worth fighting for. They are worth mounds of paperwork, many fundraising events,
months years of waiting and constant
prayer. They are precious children made in the image of God, just like you and
me! So by all means, please consider showing a child the love of Christ through
adoption! But please, come prepared with the full armor of God on, ready to
fight for them and advocate for them if and when Satan attacks. I have learned
that adoption is not simply a “process,” it is a battle. Do not fear the
battle. No one can know how the process will go for them. Every single adoption story is different, but the Author is the same.
And He will not abandon you when the trials and the suffering comes. I was
greatly encouraged by our friend, Matthew Delaughter’s, recent sermon at
Immanuel. The text he preached from was Romans 5:1-11; my heart was especially
encouraged by verses 3 through 5: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that
suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and
character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,
because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who
has been given to us.” Matthew reminded me that all
the suffering weaved into our adoption story is not in vain. It is producing
endurance, character, and hope as we have never known it before. The fact that
we have been able to persevere thus far is encouraging to me. Why? Because I know without a doubt that my flesh would have
given up a long time ago, and therefore, the Spirit of God truly is dwelling
inside of me equipping me with the fruit of the Spirit to help me persevere and
not give up!! Further proof that God’s word IS trustworthy and true. And I have
HOPE in the midst of all the unknown because of the gospel of Christ.
I do not know how our story will end, when it will end, or even what chapter we are in! But I don’t have to have it all figured out, I just have to hope and trust in my Creator, my heavenly Father, who went through far more than Jon and I have gone through, just to rescue me to be His daughter! Afterall, he sacrificed His only son for me.
“ But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7
We wish you a Merry CHRISTmas! Believers have so much to celebrate this time of year in the ultimate gift God gave the world: His only Son, Jesus!
PS- You can LISTEN ONLINE to the Excellent sermon by our friend, Matthew Delaughter, on suffering & the HOPE we have in Christ! If you are in the midst of trials and suffering, do yourself a favor & LISTEN to this sermon. It GREATLY encouraged me & spurred me on to want to suffer well through this 2-year-long & no-end-in-sight adoption process. Thank you again, brother! You & your family are such a gift to Immanuel Baptist Church! Click here to go listen for free: