Our home church in Bend, Oregon, has a significant number of families who have expanded their size through adoption. One young couple is currently preparing to adopt for the second time. To help offset the expenses, Foundry Church established an adoption fund, and families in the church are organizing a fundraiser.
I love this practical, hands-on way of welcoming people into community.
A few years back, I blogged about the energetic group of people from my daughter and son-in-law’s New Jersey church. During the six weeks that Josh and Summer were in Africa in the lengthy process of bringing three young brothers home, their church family conducted a surprise house-and-yard crash.
This crew, including my twelve- and fourteen-year-old grandkids, spent hours repurposing old furniture, assembling bunk beds, painting, updating an upstairs bathroom, constructing a pantry, and cleaning—all in preparation for welcoming three little boys into their village.
There was a point in the middle of the commotion that my six-year-old granddaughter needed my undivided attention. We spread a blanket on the sloping lawn of a nearby park. Apples and cheese crackers and granola bars were lined up neatly … and then devoured. And we took a crazy number of selfies.
Toward the end of our impromptu picnic, the six-year-old twinkled, “We’re making memories, aren’t we?”
Why, yes. Yes, we are.
And soon, three additional brothers would be making memories in a community where they were already accepted and loved.
While I was in New Jersey, the hard-working crew from Josh and Summer’s church disassembled a deck that wasn’t safe for the bare feet of children with its splintered wood and multiple nail pops. Two things were discovered beneath the deck: broken chunks of concrete from an old patio, and the flip side of the boards were still in good shape.
So, a table saw was set up in the grass, and a dozen people worked in tandem—transforming old decking into an epic triple-level treehouse, creating a firepit, trimming bushes, and pulling weeds.
Knowing how surprised and delighted Josh and Summer would be, the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child,” came to mind. It’s a proverb common to many African cultures and it speaks about the importance of being surrounded by aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends and neighbors who all care for the well-being of the children in their circle, who all want the best for those children, who teach and guide and speak lovingly into their lives.
This was ‘village’ at its best as these New Jerseyites proactively prepared to welcome three traumatized children into their circle.
Which makes me think about the village I currently belong to—the one that’s assisting in practical ways to welcome yet another adoptive child into their community.
I started attending Foundry Church when I married Dan—first via online, then while wearing a mask, and now mask-less. These are people I’ve grown to care for, who have accepted and adopted me into their hearts.
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christian churches in the territory of ancient Galatia, a letter that reminds believers of our chosen-ness:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.Galatians 4:4-5
My heart is humbled and full of gratitude knowing I was adopted into God’s family, that Dan chose me to be his bride, that I am accepted in the Foundry family, that this church welcomes and embraces adopted kids and supports adoptive parents. And knowing there are precious children who don’t carry my DNA but call me grandma.
Family. Some are ours by blood. Some we marry into. Some we choose. And some choose us.