Posts Tagged ‘adoption’

Today is National Adoption Day, featuring many efforts to help us care for orphans,  but the orphan crisis around the world keeps growing.  Some 163 million children worldwide are considered orphans.

All of us should be praying.

All of us should ask if this a need we should be giving to.

Some of us should ask God if He wants us to follow His model–He adopted us–and bring one–or more–of these children into our home.

This “Creation Groans” video will touch your heart.

There are many places to learn more about orphans and adoption.  One of my favorites is the Christian Alliance for Orphans, a uniting of more than 100 ministries serving orphans and families.

Many people have beautiful stories to tell of God growing their families through adoption.  Mine is just one of them.  It is a story of great challenge and great hope.  I have skimmed the top of our story, with five brief “chapters” of our adventure.  Here they are all together in case you want to read about our adoption.

Chapter 1:  I Am Sending You a Son

Chapter 2:  The Road to Adoption

Chapter 3:  The Hard Years

Chapter 4:  A Future and Hope

Chapter 5:  Lessons for Mom

“Defend the cause of the fatherless…”  (Isaiah 1:17)

Read Full Post »

It’s National Adoption Month, and Sunday November 4 is Orphan Sunday.

This video can prepare your heart to hear God’s care for orphans:

And to touch your heart for those orphans around us and far away, here are several past blog posts from friends to enlighten and encourage.

Jennifer Grant with an excerpt from her book, Love You More:  The Divine Surprise of Adopting Our Daughter:  “Happy Families All Alike? (Um..Nope)”

“A Little Red Thread that Changes Everything” by Connie Jakob

“The Prayer He Never Answered:  Our Adoption Story” by Shari Dragovich

You can read the first chapter of our adoption story:  ”I Am Sending Your a Son.

And you can ask God to give you His heart for the orphan.

What about you?  How might you meet the need of an orphan?

Read Full Post »

Three generations sat around the table last night:   Our adopted son, Joshua; his grandparents, Mimi and Papa; his birth mother, Julie; his best friend, Jon, with girlfriend Megan; and Steve and I.

The occasion:  We were celebrating Josh’s 30th birthday—October 27.

As with any family, much joy, pain, hope and disappointment were represented at that dinner.

Mimi and Papa adopted Julie as a baby, not knowing  much about her.  As she became a teen, the usual teen identity search was magnified as it often is for adopted children.  Unfortunately, Julie’s struggle led to poor choices, including alcohol and drugs.  Her life has been hard—on the streets, in and out of jail, health issues.  She is fresh from prison and doing really well right now, living again with Mimi and Papa, caring for them.  She and i hugged, talked about Joshua, prayed together.

An early marriage gave Julie a daughter, who was adopted by Mimi and Papa to provide a stable life.   Six years later Joshua was born, and Julie was determined to raise him herself.  Eventually her addictions and life choices led to Joshua being taken from her, given to Mimi and Papa, and then to our family.

From the beginning Joshua provided challenges for us.  When he became a teen those challenges escalated into many poor choices and dangerous situations.  Most people observing would say Joshua had two possible outcomes for his future:  prison or death. (You can read his/our story beginning here.)

Yet here he is, turning 30.  A handsome young man. A good person, a good friend, a good son.  A responsible worker with his own landscaping business.  God’s grace is truly amazing.

But pain continues.  His marriage of 6 ½ years has failed.  Financial burdens are heavy.  A career path is uncertain.

Choices have consequences.  And those consequences often last many years, touch many people, impact generations.

Julie’s birth mother gave her up for adoption.  Mimi and Papa provided a loving home for her, but her choices affected her and many others: Mimi and Papa, her daughter and Joshua, our family, his marriage.

Joshua’s choices have also had far-reaching impact—painful and joyful.

So when someone says something like “It’s my life.  I can do what I want.  It’s no one else’s concern,” that is totally not true.  All of us affect others in our lives—for good or bad, for peace or pain, for life or death—by the choices we make.

Often those outcomes are hurtful.  Sometimes they are disastrous.

But sometimes our God does amazing transformations to redeem at-risk lives, to bring good from not good, to offer a future with hope.  As evidenced by the love and celebration at our table last night.

Pain continues—and Joshua has a lot of it right now.  But hope exists—and even abounds.  God says he is able to bring His good from our bad choices, from the hurt we inflict, from the reality of living in a fallen world.  His good usually looks different from what we hoped for, and never comes on our timetable, and is often a joyful surprise!

So here’s some good that could come from the pain that Joshua is experiencing right now:  As a birthday gift, would you pray for him as he seeks the next steps for his future, and especially that He would choose God’s path as he goes forward?  Thank you so much.

What about you?  Where have you seen choices bring widely felt consequences?  How has God redeemed some of those situations?

C2012 Judy Douglass

Related posts:

Chained and Imprisoned

Perspective at Any Season

Cupcakes for the Journey

Read Full Post »

Sometimes my son mentions that he could easily have been aborted.

It would have made sense.  Josh grew up for 8 years with his alcoholic, drug addict mom.  Her daughter, 6 years older, was being raised by the grandparents. He could be an inconvenience.

But his mom birthed him and kept him—and exposed him to poverty, crime, abuse, neglect.  When he was finally taken from her at age 8, he was broken-hearted, confused, angry.

And God sent him to our family.

We welcomed him, but it took years for him to believe we would not abandon him.  And in those years he took all of us through some very hard times.

Occasionally, on very bad days, he would wish he had never been born.

But on many days I have heard him express gratitude that his birth mom did not abort him.

A few days ago my husband and I watched a powerful movie, October Baby.  It is based on the true story of a girl, Hannah in this film, whose mother tried to abort her, but she lived.   A couple adopted her, loved her, protected her.

But when she discovered the truth of who she was, she embarked on a difficult, emotional and real journey to find who she was.

I cried.  I think my husband did too.

The words that come to mind for this story:  redemption, forgiveness, love, grace, hope.

The tagline for the movie is “Every life is beautiful.”  Hannah discovered this.

That’s what we know as we see what God has done in our son’s life.

You won’t want to miss this movie when it opens in March.  You can learn more here, and you can watch the trailer here.

Believe again that every life is beautiful.

What about you?  How have you discovered the beauty in your life?

c2011 Judy Douglass

Read Full Post »

November is National Adoption Month.  God tells us we are to care for orphans.  He set an amazing example: He adopted us.  Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question. 

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November.  This is Chapter 5, the final installment.  You can read Chapter 1: “I Am Sending You a Son” here. Chapter 2:  The Road to Adoption here.  Chapter 3:  The Hard Years here.  And Chapter 4: A Future and Hope here.

God is the ultimate multitasker.

We thought God invited us into Josh’s life to rescue him, to give him a better life.  And surely that has happened.

But God had other purposes for this adoption as well.  He had work to do in our lives, and especially in mine.

A True Alien

When Josh came to live with us as a foster child, he and we experienced significant culture shock.

He couldn’t believe a little tummy ache wouldn’t get him out of a day at school.  We couldn’t believe he thought he could watch R-rated movies.  He didn’t trust the next meal, so even McDonald’s ketchups were to be hoarded.  We didn’t understand that his survival mode blurred the difference between truth and lie for him.

It was a though he was from another planet.

But that’s nothing compared to the difference between me and God.  Yet He adopted me even though He admitted I was like a foreigner and alien. (Ephesians 2:19)

Every time I felt like I couldn’t handle one more confrontation, God reminded me that He adopted me and would keep loving and accepting me, no how bizarre my behavior.  Grateful.

On My Knees

The hard years with Josh accomplished essential work in my life:  Whatever sense of self-confidence I had as a parent was gone.  I had no idea how to help Josh make better choices.  I was driven to my knees and into the arms of Jesus.

Desperation made prayer a major focus of my life, and that total dependence led to the sweetest fellowship with the Savior I had ever experienced.  A gift from God, via Josh, that I would never trade.

True Love

One of the most difficult parts of my relationship with Josh came after God filled me up with love for my son.  He couldn’t call me Mom because he felt that would be disloyal to his birth mother.  In the same way, year after year, he could not bring himself to say “I love you” to me.

I longed to hear those words, and when I begged the Lord for that privilege, He said oh so clearly: “Judy, unconditional love doesn’t require love in return.”  Just as He continued to cover me with His love, so I needed to keep on loving.

Fortunately Josh finally found it in his heart to express that love.  Now he tells me all the time.  I love it.

Josh has undoubtedly been the the greatest challenge of my life.  But these lessons from God, plus many others, add up to an incredible gift to me.

I thank Josh often for all he has meant for who I have become.

What challenging people or events in your life have been the cause of great growth?

C 2011 Judy Douglass

<<  First  <  Prev

Read Full Post »

November is National Adoption Month.  God tells us we are to care for orphans.  He set an amazing example: He adopted us.  Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question. 

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November.  This is Chapter 4.  You can read Chapter 1: “I Am Sending You a Son” here.  And Chapter 2:  The Road to Adoption here.  And Chapter 3:  The Hard Years here.

Josh is still alive and he is not in jail.

His story is filled with many stories, and I am telling only a few highlights.  The first 6 years he was with us were challenging.  The next 9 years were tortuous.  The past 5 years have brought slow but growing stability and greater maturity.

Josh worked at the same job for the past 4 ½ years, a huge turnaround from the usual 1-3 month job tenure of the past.  He has now started his own landscape business and is working hard to build it into a sustainable income.

We always considered Josh the most creative work avoider we had ever seen, so being able to say “working hard” about him is joyous.

We were thrilled when Josh and his girlfriend Brandon got engaged 7 years ago—we thought they actually intended to get married.  But “marriage is just a piece of paper” thinking prevailed as they continued to live together for another year.  With some encouragement from us, they married almost 6 years ago.

It has not been an easy marriage for them, but they are still together.  And last year her parents decided they were stable enough that they signed over custody of Brandon’s (now) 9-year-old daughter to them.  That has added a significant financial strain to their budget, but I am loving watching Josh be a daddy and say to her things we used to say to him.  He gets the humor of it.

Josh continues to pay the price for past choices.  He is still working to get his record cleared from some clerical mix-ups in the court records concerning his arrests.   He makes slow progress toward repairing his bad credit scores from numerous phone and credit companies.

Today he told me about failing previously to get a certain job at least six times because he always failed the drug test.  New news.  He wishes he could quit smoking, but it hasn’t happened yet.  His alcohol consumption is mostly under control, but it still lurks, ready to grab him when life gets too painful.

Spiritually Josh is on an uncertain path.  He knows God.  He wants to walk with Him, but He finds it hard.  He is certain God is calling him to serve Him—to tell others what he has lived and learned—but he can’t quite say Yes, Lord.

Our relationship with Josh is great now.  He seeks out his dad for help with his business and general life advice.  He and I talk often about the events and joys and concerns of his days.  He is happy for me to tell you his story.

Here are a few comments from Josh about his life—before and now:

Re:  What helped you begin to turn around?

I was tired of getting in trouble.  Fear of going to jail.  Seeing how stupid the things I was doing were.  Growing up.  Good people who loved me and spoke truth to me.

Re:  What helps you pursue the path you are on now?

Time in the Word (though I don’t do this enough.)  Talking to God.  The people I surround myself with—and the ones I don’t hang out with.  People who have prayed for me and loved me.

Re:  What do you desire prayer for?

That I will keep walking straight.  There are so many ways to step off the path.  For freedom from past choices—there are still consequences. Pray for my family to keep growing together.

Is Josh’s journey on a better track?  Without a doubt!

Do we think we can rest easy that he will make it?  Not quite.  The road is still bumpy, with uncertain dips and curves.  But God gave us the promise in Jeremiah 29:11 that there was hope and a future for Josh.  We believe that!

Are we glad God included us in this adoptive story?  Absolutely!!

Next:  Chapter 5 Lessons for Mom

When has God given you hope for a future?

c 2011 Judy Douglass

<<  First  <  Prev  Next  >

Read Full Post »

November is National Adoption Month.  God tells us we are to care for orphans.  He set an amazing example: He adopted us.  Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question. 

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November.  This is Chapter 3.  You can read Chapter 1: “I Am Sending You a Son” here.  And Chapter 2:  The Road to Adoption here.

So we all said I do and Josh became our son.

The next week he entered middle school.  At almost 13 and a big boy, he towered over most of the sixth graders…and discovered there was power in size.  Read:  bully.

School was a challenge.  Sitting still all day in a classroom was not possible.  Teachers couldn’t teach with him in the room, so he spent most days in alternative classroom.  Grades suffered.  I became friends with his counselor, the vice principal and even the principal.  Seventh grade was worse.  He was banned from the bus, and he joined a gang.

We tried so many ways to help Josh:  with school work, creative parenting approaches, counseling, youth group, sports, camp.  Nothing seemed to work—he wouldn’t let us help him.  When the school threatened to expel him, we took a desperate step.

We placed Josh in a nearby residential program for troubled teens.  It was a lifesaver, though very difficult for him and for us.

Josh was safe, living with strict rules and consequences.  He studied at his own pace, filled his head with Scriptures, did many chores, received counseling—and even had fun.  And he was forced to relate to us—to the whole family.

The high point of his 1 ½ years there was the night he committed his life to Christ.

It was also the night Josh was truly born in my heart as my son.

I had loved Josh over the years.  I had given him abundant time and attention.  But that night, as I thanked God for Josh’s decision, I had a dramatic experience.

I felt as though God were hovering over me with a giant vat overflowing with something he was pouring into me.  That vat was filled with God’s love for Josh, and He was giving it to me.

Oh, how I would need that love in the years ahead!

Josh came home and did well for six months.  We continued at home the school program he had been doing and caught him up to grade level.  He begged to return to school.  With trepidation and many requirements, we said yes.  In only a few weeks he was back with his old friends.  Only now he had a driver’s license.

We returned to homeschooling, which meant he eventually graduated.  But the next six years were nightmarish.  Summarizing:  cars, girls, internet, drugs, alcohol, traffic tickets, juvenile detention, criminal mischief, job hopping, stealing, serious accidents, gang fights.

I lived in dread of late night calls:  Would it be the hospital or the jail?  We got both.

Three times his actions in our home meant he had made a choice to move out.  Each time he came back repentant and reformed.  For awhile.  God repeatedly brought special men into his life.  Their influence continues today.  But changes then were short lived and the old lifestyle beckoned.

Be assured, we were not perfect parents through this.  We made many mistakes.

The amazing thing is that he stayed in relationship with us.  But the question remained:

Would he survive, or was death or jail his likely future?

Next week:  Chapter 4  A Future and Hope

What do you do when everything seems hopeless?  Share it in Comments.

C 2011  Judy Douglass

By the way, when I asked Josh if what I was saying was okay, he replied:

Tell them:  Kids, listen to your parents when they tell you not to get involved in doing bad things because it will come back and mess you up. I have been to the court house two times this week and the juvenile detention center, trying to get my arrest record cleared.

<<  First  <  Prev  Next  >

Read Full Post »

November is National Adoption Month.  God tells us we are to care for orphans.  He set an amazing example: He adopted us.  Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question. 

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November.  This is Chapter 2.  You can read Chapter 1: “I Am Sending You a Son” here.

“Do you know someone who could take an 8-year-old boy?”

These words changed my life.

My friend Carol was asking on behalf of her best friends, whose grandson had just been taken from his mother because of neglect.

This boy had spent most of his eight years with his mom on the streets or in their little trailer, surrounded by alcohol, drugs, prostitution, neglect, abuse, danger.  The only consistency in his life had been his grandparents, but they didn’t see how they could keep him as they were already raising his six-years-older half-sister.

So Social Services was looking for a foster home.  Carol and the grandparents wanted it to be a safe, Christian home.  Would that be our home?

We prayed and we said yes, we would enter the process to be foster parents to this boy.  Only Social Services wanted us to be available to other children as well.  We said we would take only this boy.  They turned us down.  We left it in God’s hands.

The grandparents pressed SS to place him with us, their foster home of choice.  So SS relented, and we began the challenging process to become foster parents.  We made it through all the approvals, but our travel schedules interfered with the required 10-week-training.

It was almost a year after we first heard about him before we were approved and nine-year-old Josh came to live with us.

I’m not sure who experienced the greatest shock.

For Josh:  Regular bedtime.  Restrictions on TV content.  School every day.  Church every week.  Regular, real meals at a table.  Discipline.

For us:  Noise and chaos.  Mess.  Center of attention need.  Barely able to read and write.  Hoarding.  Fetal alcohol syndrome residuals:  ADD, LD, lack of cause and effect reasoning.

We made great efforts, though certainly not perfectly, to love and care for Josh and integrate him into our family:  Sports, new friends, birthday parties, family activities, vacation with extended family, spiritual input, tutoring, appropriate limits.

But nothing overcame his belief that we didn’t really love him.  He was sure we would eventually reject him, and he gave us plenty of reason to do just that.  He did not attach to us, and we developed only minimal emotional attachment to him.

So after three years, when they terminated his mother’s rights and placed him for adoption, we had a decision to make:  Would we adopt Josh?

He didn’t seem to care.  He didn’t see a better option, so he was willing.

But were we?

Emotionally it was a challenge for all of us.

I was pretty sure God didn’t send us a son for just three years, so I was ready to make him a permanent part of our family. And God gave me three affirmations:

  1. I told you I was sending you a son.  Why would you reject my gift?
  2. I have plans for Josh, and Jeremiah 29:11 is a promise.
  3. I have things to teach all of you, and Josh will be my instrument.

But the others needed to agree.

Michelle, at 12, was loving and insightful:  I don’t want to ruin the rest of his life by rejecting him.

Debbie, a typically self-focused 14-year-old, said:  We just need to suffer gladly.  God sent him to us, so he must have things to teach us.

My husband, with growing ministry responsibilities, was concerned about the time and emotional energy Josh required, but he too said, Yes, we will accept this gift from God.

So we did it.  We said yes.  Josh said yes.  We went before a judge and said we wanted to make him a permanent part of our family.

We adopted 12-year-old Josh.

We had no idea what was ahead.

Next week:  The Hard Years.

c 2011 Judy Douglass

What about you?  Do you have an adoption story to share?

< Prev   Next >

Read Full Post »

Caring for Orphans

It’s National Adoption Month, and Sunday November 6 is Orphan Sunday.

In hopes of touching our hearts for those orphans around us and far away, here are several blog posts to enlighten and encourage.


Jennifer Grant talking about her book, Love You More:  The Divine Surprise of Adopting Our Daughter:



“A Little Red Thread that Changes Everything” by Connie Jakob



“The Prayer He Never Answered:  Our Adoption Story” by Shari Dragovich





And of course the first chapter of our adoption story:  “I Am Sending Your a Son.”




Plus some short videos to open eyes and hearts:

Orphan Sunday 2011:  http://vimeo.com/25816432


China:  Orphan Sunday   http://vimeo.com/31379079

Read Full Post »

November is National Adoption Month, and Sunday, November 6, is Orphan Sunday.  God tells us we are to care for orphans.  He set an amazing example:  He adopted us.  Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question.

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November.  This is the first chapter.

I heard it clearly.  Not audibly, but just as real:

“I’m sending you a son.  And you don’t need to do anything about it.”

The speaker?


The context?

That’s a story.

I married at 31.  I wanted children, but I was absorbed in my work as a magazine editor and writer—I loved what I was doing.  I didn’t think I could keep doing the job at the level I was and be a mom at the level I wanted.

So the decision to have children meant I turned over my 7-year-old magazine baby to a new editor.

And Debbie was born.  She was bright and beautiful.  But she always cried and rarely slept.  What had I gotten myself into?

Soon Michelle came.  Adorable and contented, Michelle slept much of her first year.  I was grateful.  But exhausted.

I spent the next year rediscovering myself.  No longer an editor, and not a very good mother, who was I?   God clarified some things for me:  My identity was not in my writing and editing gifts, nor in being a mom.  My identity was in Him.

This truth would become especially important in the years to come.

Then I was pregnant again, at age 40.  At first I was angry.  Then I was excited.  Then I miscarried.  Again I was angry.  It felt like God was toying with me.  And I was astounded at the depth of my grief.

Slowly my heart began to heal.  Peace and contentment settled over me.

And then the announcement from God:

“I’m sending you a son and you don’t need to do anything about it.”

I didn’t get pregnant again.  My husband asked if we should look into adopting.  No, we should wait on God.

Time passed.  My girls grew.  I liked my life:  parenting, writing, speaking.  I found myself saying, “You know, Lord, we could forget about the boy.  I’m happy with these two wonderful girls.”

“No,” he said.  “I’m sending you a son.  Wait.”

A year later we were preparing to move from California to Florida.  In the midst of packing, I heard Him clearly again:

“When you get to Florida, someone will ask if you can take a boy.”

Really?  Well, if that happened, I would have more confidence this wasn’t just my imagination.

We moved.  We met a new friend, Carol.  As Carol and I parted one day, she said, “By the way, do you know someone who could take an 8-year-old boy?”

Next week:  The Road to Adoption

So how did your adoption story begin?  Tell us about it in Comments.

c 2011 Judy Douglass

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »