Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Derek... Do I Have It In Me To Do This?

This post is dedicated primarily to Derek’s personal journey of being led to adoption.  As such, it is written in first person from Derek’s perspective.

The road for me was in some ways similar to Andrea, but I was relatively delayed in strongly considering adoption because of my numerous daily distractions, mostly in the form of personal and professional responsibilities.  Some of the more pointed questions were put off.  For a long time, I conveniently procrastinated a confrontation with the central issues of my heart concerning adoption. 

The most appropriate way I can describe my spiritual stance during the June 2010 to December 2011 season is “simple faith.”  Though we discussed infertility, I didn’t entertain it as a major problem because we had already conceived and birthed 1 child.  If the miracle could happen once, then it could happen again.  God’s timing will be perfect.  We’ll keep trying and keep praying, and as long as we stay aligned with Him and sensitive to His leading, it will happen when He says so.

                As more time went by, I became aware of Andrea’s concerns, and we ran some tests.  Still, I believed it would happen when the time was right.  In the background, there was always the thought of adoption.  We just didn’t know if or when.  And so, when Andrea and I more seriously discussed the prospect of adoption in December 2011, it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind, but it didn’t blindside me either.  I knew that our family was going to grow one way or another, and we needed to be seeking God intently along those lines for His plan. 

                I had been spending more time in the Word and prayer via my involvement with a men’s small group bible study every other week.  The time I spent in prayer began to lean more toward asking questions about adoption.  Was I ready to father a child that was “not my own?”  Could I successfully do it?  Where were the pitfalls?  What are my personal limitations?  Was I ready?  How would I even know if I was ready?  How would I discern the timing for such a thing as adoption? 

                These and other questions were daunting to me during those first few weeks.  I have spent a significant amount of time in my life seeking God’s will for myself and my own decisions regarding life choices involving school, work, and relationships.  There is a certain amount of known risk in those things.  And if I mess up, the repercussions often fall primarily on me.  These questions about adoption seemed different to me.  In my early thought patterns, if I messed up thoroughly with regard to the lifelong commitment of adopting a child, then the child would be significantly damaged, and this was unacceptable. 

Adoption?  Do I have it within me to do this well?  The answer is pretty important, or at least I imagined it being important to the child that would hypothetically end up within our care.  The situation seems akin to the first time I was the doctor running a “code blue” at the hospital.  The fear of failure was palpable within me, lined up in opposition to focused concentration and decision making under intense pressure, with a life hanging in the balance.  But there’s a difference… a code blue rarely lasts longer than 30 minutes.  Adoption is for the rest of my life.

Getting over the hump of these questions took time.  Meanwhile, God was providing clues to help me out.  As we mentioned in the previous blog, there were several “words in due season” that were spoken to us… more than could be ignored or shrugged off as coincidental or random chance.  If you have ever tried to hear God speak to you as you inquire of Him regarding a really important decision, then you know the process is often frustrating at times.  Other times, it’s easy as pie.  Receiving these various words was encouraging, but it still didn’t answer the specific question for me.

Josiah, my 3 year old son, was helpful to me in this season.  Every parent knows that the daily words and actions of your children both challenge and confirm your dedication to them.  They regularly test your parenting mettle with their proclivity to disobedience, stubbornness, deception, manipulation, selfishness, and the other spontaneous defecations of the soul that we have come to associate with human sinful nature.  However, they also say and do things that make you so proud and confident that you are here on earth for this season to support, guide, teach, nourish, love, and be loved by them through childhood into adulthood and beyond.  The little steps along the way are priceless.  Josiah likes to wrestle and play rough with me.  He thrives on believing that he has something on the inside that rivals the strength that he senses from me.  When he’s not trying to “win,” he is quick to express love and affection on a 3 year old level.

While interacting with Josiah, I pondered, “my relationship with my son is so special to me… I cherish it as one of the top 5 most important things in my life.  Am I capable of loving another child, not originally my own, just the same as I love Josiah?”  Can I do that?  That was a hard question.  I hesitated.  I needed weeks to think about that, and pray.  The answer did not come quickly, and it did not come from me.  My Heavenly Father answered by simply repeating His personal testimony to me.

It comes back to that old Christian cliché that the answer to every question is “Jesus”.  We laugh about it sometimes, but it actually ends up being true in one way or another.  The Father adopted every person who would receive the free gift of salvation by grace through faith in the sinless life and death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection.  He gave His Son, the most important person to Him, to suffer and die as payment in exchange for the opportunity to be in closer relationship to those that He would be able to adopt via His ultimate sacrifice.  He wanted to be able to love and enjoy me, as His son, in the same way that He loved and enjoyed His Son.

Now He lives in me.  Jesus.  The Holy Spirit.  How am I able to do anything, anyway?  I have life by the grace of God.  I get up and brush my teeth with the strength He provides.  I grew, learned, and passed tests in school by trusting in Him and following the directions that He gave to me.  I love and support my wife with wisdom from Him.  I drive to work and make decisions every day, and whatever favor or success I experience is only because He allows it and pours His favor over me.  Every aspect of everything that I do or am able to do traces back to Him, His support of me, and the relationship that I have with Him.

So, was I ready to father a child that was “not my own”?  Adoption?  Do I have it within me to do this well?  Yes.  Yes!  God showed me that I have it within me to do it well because He has it within Him to do it well, and He is within me.  I am called and compelled to do things that look like Him.  Having been created in His image, any movement of my heart that mimics the movements of His heart is supported and empowered by His presence within me.  Simply, God backs me up when I am led by Him to make choices or behave in ways that bring glory to Him.  Any project I undertake in His image by His leading is something that I can do well, because it looks like Him.  God adopted, and He is in me, leading me to adopt, so I can adopt and do it well by His grace.

Acting in a way that imitates God is risky in the eyes of the world.  It often requires sacrifice.  It may be very expensive, even to the point of being ridiculous.  It can appear foolish to many people.  It can result in various forms of persecution.  And there are other repercussions.  Just like God on so many occasions seems to be against the odds and risking everything in His unending state of divine faithfulness, so to imitate Him involves being placed in a similar position at times.   But God does the things He does because He knows the outcome of that behavior has an eternal reward.  Adoption as it is found in Romans chapter eight is no exception.  God thinks eternally, and He wants me to think that way, too.

With that Spirit of revelation alive in me, it really came down to a simple choice.  Did I want to adopt?  With all that Andrea and I had been through up to this point, I did not hesitate at this question.  Yes” was my answer. 

Was I ready?  Yes, on some levels, but probably not on many other levels.  But God revealed to me that it didn’t really matter if I was ready.  Was I ready to be a perfect husband when I married Andrea?  Was I ready to be a perfect father when Josiah was born?  No, and no.  But it doesn’t matter.  That’s where dependence on relationship with God comes in.  He helps me every step of the way, and by His grace I’m better every day.

I’m sure there are thousands of roads of thought that have led a myriad of fathers to the conclusion that they are going to enter into adoption.  Without going into all the tributaries, this was the primary river of thought that led me to my conclusion, and when Andrea and I finally talked about it, I felt good about the decision, even though some parts of me were still admittedly ignorant, naïve, and afraid.

And that discussion brings us chronologically to somewhere in May 2012, when Andrea and I sat down to talk about what was yet needed for us to move forward in the process of planning for an adoption. 

In the next post, we will begin sharing how we began to move forward together in agreement with each other and take some tangible steps toward adoption.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Andrea...From Struggle To Contentment & Confirmation

In the last post we gave a rough summary of our 2 year journey of infertility (June 2010 – June 2012) during which the Lord moved on our hearts to trust in His sovereignty and His mercy as He guided us through this time.  We want our heart’s desire to be what is on the heart of God. The Lord has been using our infertility to move our hearts and open our perspective to include His adoption plan for our family.  Now we will explain from that same time frame, more in depth, about Andrea’s internal struggle and confusion related to the infertility and how God helped her to find contentment and begin to consider adoption even more seriously.  Because this portion of our story was being lived more intensely and personally by Andrea, we will tell most of this portion in the first person, from Andrea’s perspective.

It was the summer of 2011, and even though I was being comforted that the Lord was taking care of my heart while we were going through infertility, I struggled with wanting to try to do all that I could do to get pregnant.  As we alluded to in our previous blog entry, we strategized regarding our reproductive health, and tried to optimize every area that we had control over (exercise, diet, manage allergies better, sleep, etc.).  We also obtained more extensive tests related to my allergies, hormones, and metabolic function.  Derek was tested, too.  Some helpful conclusions came from this testing, but in practical application, the result over many months was continued failure at conception.  We made an appointment with my Ob/Gyn, who suggested putting me on a fertility drug.  However, for several medical, financial, and philosophical reasons, we decided not to do this.  Through all these pregnancy efforts, I wrestled on the inside with what we were doing.  Did it line up with what God wanted me to do as my desire for our next child was simmering?  I think I had a hard time admitting to this struggle, because I felt like every change I made was a lifestyle change I needed to make anyway.  Also, I was feeling healthier because of the changes.  I needed to be working out, taking my supplements, and managing my allergies for my own good… not just because I was trying to get pregnant.  Was I standing in faith and relying on God for pregnancy, or was I just trying to follow a formula to get pregnant?  Maybe both?  What did God want from me in this season?

Somewhere around late summer 2011, I began to realize that I needed to check my motivation behind all of these changes I was making and stop stressing.  I had to try to calm down, ask the Lord about pregnancy, ask Him about all of our efforts, and trust that it is not up to us.  The Lord is the “Blessed Controller” of all things. J  But inside, I was struggling with not knowing where to put my faith.  I was asking God, "How do you continue to try to have faith for something you deeply desire (pregnancy), while simultaneously trying to have an open mind with faith to hear God about alternatives to what you want?"  Did God want me to build up my faith for conceiving a biological child, or was God asking me to consider adoption and trust faithfully in His sovereignty?  Was it right to go for both pregnancy and adoption at the same time, or did He want us to trust Him for only one of those options?  There are a plethora of people out there that will remind you that couples tend to get pregnant once they start the adoption process or soon after they complete an adoption.  This concept weighed on my mind.  I even worried that I might be tempted to look at the option to adopt as a path to eventually conceive.  I did not want to start the adoption process just because I hoped that we would get pregnant soon after adopting.    So, I was asking the Lord to work on my heart and help me to be content somehow.  I needed help to find peace and desire for adoption with a pure heart, if that was the road that He wanted us to go down. 

A little over a year into infertility (September 2011), my bible study group with Miranda started a book called "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow.  This was perfect timing for me, as it focused on learning to find contentment in all things and all circumstances.  Wow!  I really began to get a lot out of this study and was blessed by the things that it was challenging me to do.  I became more content with God's sovereign hand in all of this, a little more relaxed, more at peace, and more ready to start considering adoption.  Then, in December 2011, I told Derek about where my heart was regarding adoption for us.  Derek admitted that he still needed some time to pray about it, so I decided not to bring it up for a while.  Derek really began to seek the Lord and become more diligent in his prayer times and his dedication to seeking God's will for our family and our future.

Around that time, we began to receive some confirmations and words regarding God’s plan for adoption for our family.  In March 2012, Aaron Cheuvront gave Derek a word while we were at the Shady Grove Church Zoe Banquet (to raise money to help fund adoptions).  He got a sense that the Lord might be preventing us from getting pregnant because He wants us to adopt and that maybe we would get pregnant after we adopted as well.  At this point, my heart was in a good place to receive that word because I was already feeling like our infertility was designed by God to lead us to adoption….and this was a good thing. 

In April 2012, I was working in the church nursery with the infants, and the leader of that room, Lafaun, was praying over all of the workers before church started.  I told her that the “pregnancy vs. adoption” issue was on my heart.  So she prayed for me, and she felt like the Lord told her to tell me, "get ready.”  Shortly following this, during a time in the ANHOP prayer room, Pastor Lewis gave me the following word:  "I know that you guys have a heart for adoption.  What I heard was 'multiple adoptions.'  I know you will adopt, but what I feel like ‘multiple adoptions’ means is that somehow you would help, facilitate, or somehow be involved with multiple adoptions in some way."  Two weeks later while talking with Pastor Lewis and reviewing with Derek the word he had given to me, he added that “there was something involving orphans as well.”  By the end of April, I started to have some mixed emotions about whether or not I might be pregnant that month.  If I was, then I knew that we would wait to adopt.  It was strange for me to realize that there was a small part of me that did not want to get pregnant, yet.  I still REALLY wanted another biological child, but I was beginning to realize that my heart was in a place where I really was ready to adopt and I wanted to do it now... but I was still waiting patiently for the Lord to speak to Derek and move on his heart.

In May 2012, I listened to a sermon by Kelsey Bohlender about the Spirit of Adoption. (Here is a link Kelsey's message talked about a prophecy involving Elijah (an example of going hard after God, amongst other things) in Malachi 4:5-6.  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet…and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children…”  Wow!  She also talked about how children are a blessing from the Lord.  We are told to take care of the widow and the orphans.  We need to take better care of the orphans…. “…Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal 4:6)  Could that curse be that we no longer feel His presence?  Ouch.  One would have to hear the whole message to connect clearly with its content.  That being said, it was an extremely good message.  At the end of the sermon, they talked about a prophetic meaning behind the Dr. Suess book, Horton Hatches an Egg, with the moral of the story being that the baby takes on the likeness of the adoptive parents.  This was very encouraging to me as we drew closer to considering adoption.  I was thinking about all of the different decisions we would need to make, and this prophetic revelation reminded me that prayer is more powerful than a child’s past and can overcome anything by the power of the Lord’s hand.  The prophetic act of adoption is redemptive and merciful.  God would help us bond to a baby, and He would guide us to raise the child to know Him.  The child would take on our likeness and have the chance to know the Lord and impact future generations.

In May 2012, I attended a prophetic conference at our church, and I received a word.  At the end of the word, the prophet said, “Summer of rearrangement, autumn of enlargement for the glory of God.”  We don’t know for sure if this does directly relate to our desire for an adoption, but we would like to think it does.  So far in our prayer time, we have not felt or heard the Lord say that we have the wrong idea about this word.  We’ll see.  We don’t want to get hung up on the timing, but we are taking action and praying that the Lord helps us to be diligent with our time and to use it wisely.

In the next post, we will share a bit about Derek’s personal journey of the Lord leading him to adoption.  We may share about our first few steps of the journey, depending on how long Derek’s post is.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

God Turning My Heart

Josiah at the Circus for the first time.

Josiah was birthed into our family in November 2008, and he is an awesome treasure and blessing in our lives.  After he was well into his 2nd year, we started trying to conceive again (June 2010).  Two years have gone by now, and our inability to become pregnant again came as a surprise and an unforeseen trial that we did not plan for.  Focusing our efforts on trusting God throughout the process has been another trial in and of itself.  It seemed easier at times, but at other times was very difficult.  The Lord has brought me (Andrea) through an emotional and spiritual journey that has been a big part of leading us to our decision for adoption.  Throughout this time, I have drawn closer to the Lord.  I did ask some "Why?" questions and was tempted to try to "fix" all I could (seeing the doctor, lab tests, exercise, eat right, manage my allergies better, sleep, etc.), but I never really got mad at God.  After praying and firing all my requests up to heaven for a while, I began to long for a deeper intimacy (closeness) with God.  My desire for intimacy through the process of dealing with infertility became one of my primary prayers.  I wanted to know His heart for our situation and what He was trying to teach me.  I knew the Lord was trying to show me something and stretch me.  

In summer of 2011, I began going to a bible study with a good friend of mine named Miranda.  The Lord really used the specific topics and discussions to begin to show me things He wanted me to know about Him, things to step out and do with the actions of my heart, and issues to have faith in Him about.  I began to see more of the Lord’s mercy in all of His dealings and plans for us.  

Since 2008, we have been members of Shady Grove Church in Grand Prairie, and we have had a specific heart to invest in the All Nations House Of Prayer (ANHOP), which is a separate building on the church property.  During a time in the prayer room at ANHOP, I fell into a special moment of praising God “in all things” and thanking Him for being so merciful.  I prayed for the grace to continue to have a tender heart toward Him and for help in changing my heart to trust in Him more.  Our good friend, Aaron Cheuvront, was leading worship that morning.  At the moment that I was talking to God about all this, he began to sing:

"All I want is just to know Your heart,

And would You keep me here until we're one.  

It's the desire of my heart just to see You.  

It's the desire of my heart just to know You.

It's the desire of my heart to be together.  

My soul sings, my soul sings, my soul sings,

‘How I love You.’”  

It was so perfect, peaceful, and timed by the Lord as an answer to my prayer.   What a gift to my heart that the Lord would provide such beautiful words to sing to Him to express my heart’s desire to be close to Him!

At the time, I was also keeping up with the adoption process of some friends of ours from church, Jon and Tiffany Stewart.  As I was reading their blog one day, I saw their link to a YouTube video about the song "Blessings" by Laura Story.  WOW!  What a deep song. This was exponentially encouraging to me as we were having difficulty getting pregnant.

             One line in the song says, "What if trials in this life are Your mercies in disguise?" Sometimes the way we learn is from the hard things.  We are not the ones in control, God is.  He knows better, and His plans are better.  The world cannot satisfy our deepest desires, but God can.  Sometimes our trials or our longing for more remind us that this is not our home.  We have an eternity to look forward to with the Lord.  Our heart’s desire needs to be what is on the heart of God, and that is not always what we think it is or what we would expect.  As we mentioned in previous blog entries, we had the thoughts and plans of someday adopting in our minds and hearts, but we were planning on at least one more biological child first.  The Lord knows how to move our hearts toward what He has for us, and He uses situations in our lives to get us there sometimes.  I didn’t realize until later, but the Lord was using our infertility to move our hearts and open our perspective to include what He has planned for us, i.e. adoption in His timing.

            In the next post, I will explain a little further about my internal struggle and confusion related to the infertility and what God wanted me to do.  I will explain how I found contentment and began to consider adoption even more seriously.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What If Abortion Ended?

As we continued to keep an end to abortion in our prayers, we also continued to correspond with Randy & Kelsey Bohlender.  Part of their testimony is that the Lord challenged them to be a part of the solution for the problem that would exist IF all of the babies planned for abortion were to live......"If you are pro-life, then you have to be pro-adoption."  This point REALLY resounded within our spirits as a word of wisdom and truth. But it was a challenging truth to embrace, because it forced us to think differently about our feelings toward adoption.  

After all, in our salvation which is by grace through faith, Derek and I have tended to take for granted the fact that we are adopted into God's family.  We were confronted with the necessity of turning around and exhibiting that same Spirit of adoption to the world.  While trying to gain a deeper understanding of the Spirit of adoption that is spoken of in Romans 8:15, we have come to realize that we were thinking of the spirit of adoption as an “it.”  But the “Spirit” spoken of in that passage has a capital “S” in the vast majority of translations.  It refers to the Holy Spirit… i.e. God Himself.  So when we speak of the Spirit of adoption, we’re actually not just saying that there’s a spirit or essence of our being that has a mindset of adoption, but we’re specifying an aspect of our God that longs for adoption with such fervor that He refers to Himself in His own Book as the “Spirit of adoption” that we have received.  What revelation follows this?  We need to work to have this Spirit of adoption alive within us in a manifest way, such that we embrace Him, pray for the release of Him, advertise Him, and propose Him as an alternative to the mass murdering of millions of babies who have no voice.

Hmmmmmmm... we thought on that for a while.  And then we thought and prayed. And then we meditated a little bit.  We may have even pondered.  Rumination was definitely occurring.  Hmmmmmmm.  This revelation was huge for us.  And so, we began to wonder what part we would play in the adoption movement.  At the time, we were “DINKs” (Dual Income No Kids).  Josiah, our firstborn, was still a dream in our hearts.  We figured someday we would consider adoption for ourselves, but at that time we decided we would support others who were adopting.  So, for a few years, we have tried to support a few couples with their adoptions, but the Spirit of adoption has risen up inside of us, and the Lord is now leading us to do more.

In the next post, we will talk about having Josiah followed by our 2 year journey of infertility during which the Lord moved on our hearts to “do more.”  See how the story unfolds. God is so merciful.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lang Adoption Beginnings

We are moving into a new phase of our life, and I have a feeling that there will be a need to keep people up to date on our progress.  After a lot of forethought and prayer, Derek and I have decided to adopt a baby.  WE ARE ADOPTING!!  No, I am not kidding.  Can you believe it?  One day soon we will be a family of four, and three no more!

I (Andrea, with Derek’s editing and input when possible) am going to try to tell the story here on this blog and keep it up to date so that friends and family can check on our progress.  I may also post a few Lang happenings that are not related to the adoption process.  Here it goes:

 First a little BACKGROUND

So, the story begins about 7 years ago, in 2005.  We were living in East Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains while Derek was going through the ETSU Residency program in Kingsport, TN.  We attended Hosanna Fellowship Church in Johnson City, and at church one day there was a man who spoke named Randy Bohlender.  We found out later that he and his wife, Kelsey, were close friends with a couple from our church back in the 1990’s.  From there, they went to plant a church in Cincinnati before eventually entering into full time ministry in Kansas City at the International House Of Prayer there (IHOP).

            As Randy spoke about his work in organizing a series of stadium events known as “The Call,” the Holy Spirit moved in Derek’s heart in a very unique way, such that Derek found himself wanting to support the Bohlenders financially in a long term capacity.  This was the first time Derek had ever received this type of unction from the Spirit, but it was unmistakably from the Lord.  We talked with Randy, exchanged emails, and so we began receiving correspondence from Randy and Kelsey about their ministry, although we were not financially ready to support them until later. 

This beginning, in 2005, was our first step toward deeper revelation about adoption, though we did not realize it at the time.  We had been Pro-Life since our childhood, but it had stopped there, with simply being Pro-Life and voting Pro-Life.  We were oblivious to the ramifications of being so blindly passive in this aspect of our belief system.  We did not know how important it was to see more, to know more, and to do more regarding the issue of abortion in the United States.  And so our knowledge and understanding began to grow.

About 2 years later, on July 7th, 2007 (7-7-07), a group of us from Hosanna Fellowship Church and the TRI-cities House Of Prayer (TRI-HOP) enthusiastically attended an event named "The Call: Nashville," spearheaded by Lou Engle and many others from the International House Of Prayer in Kansas City.  This was a wonderful step for us to take at this stage of our journey.  For one day, all day long, we sampled the difficulty of stepping out of the “comfort zone” of our normal, everyday, “business as usual” lifestyle as middle class Americans.  At LP field in Nashville, we entered into a one day water fast with more than 75,000 others.  The whole day was spent in worship and prayer, with numerous presentations of many different people crying out for the church to renew her marital covenant with the Lord, to repent for her toleration of Jezebel, and to pray for a new Jesus Movement to sweep the nation.  In and amongst the prayers throughout the day was the Spirit of Life, and many prayers were directed toward asking God for an end to abortion in America.  This was not easy.  It was hard.  Focusing on prayer and worship for the whole day under the July sun in a fasted state became challenging very quickly.  We realized, in part, just how weak we are, how good God is, and grasped more tightly an understanding of how much we need to connect intimately with His mercy and grace to walk out our calling as it relates to prayer for our country, the church, abortion, adoption, etc.

The Call events are solemn assemblies in the spirit of Joel chapter 2:12-17…

 (" ‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’  So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.  Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him – a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?  Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.  Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, ‘spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them.  Why should they say among the peoples, ‘where is their God?’’").

For about 12 years now, tens of thousands of people, with a high percentage of young people, have gathered together at “The Call” events to fast, pray, worship, and repent for the sins of our nation (especially the sin involving the shedding of innocent blood).  The vision includes America turning back to God and seeing revival in America, as mentioned before.  We believe that in order to see revival in our nation, we need to repent for the sins of our nation and turn from our wicked ways.  This is why one major theme of the prayers is to see an end to abortion throughout the US.  Prayers at these gatherings also include prayer for the healing of those who have had an abortion.  The Lord has laid these issues on our heart, and we have tried to remember these issues in our prayer time.  

In the next post we will explain how this background led us to start thinking about what role we would play as we would cry out for justice and mercy for our nation.  I’ll also mention how we started thinking about adoption for our family.