[Part 1 of 2]
There’s an old house sitting vacant in our town.
It was a grand structure in its day, designed by the best architect, built by the most prestigious builder, and belonging to a prominent family. The six bedroom, five bathroom home is a “mansion” to most folks, including myself. However, it has been empty for years now, with the original owners long gone. Why hasn’t it sold? Doesn’t anyone want this big house, with a fenced yard as big as a park, and a 3-car garage? Is it worth updating the electrical, remodeling the kitchen, redoing floors, plumbing and the like? My father was an architect, and my mother sold real estate…. I know what it could be worth! Or do I?
In 2008, my husband and I took a road trip with our youngest two children, Aaron (12) and Nathan (10), and our 17-year-old niece, Amanda, who stayed with us for 18 months after her mom- my younger sister- drowned. The trip was actually my “East Coast & New England Tour”, traveling through 14 states and 4,000 miles, giving concerts and teaching a songwriting workshop. Our travels took us to West Virginia, where I was singing at a church in Charleston.
When my mother learned of our stopover in WV, she reminded me that my little long-lost cousin, Jeffery lived there. She put us in touch with Jeffery’s grandmother, who was raising him, along with a baby half-sister. Their mother struggled with addictions, and had lost all rights to the children. We spent an hour playing with and taking pictures of the children at the park, then reluctantly said our good-byes to head back toward our home in Oklahoma. When I handed little Jaycie back to her aunt and grandmother, the toddler reached her arms back toward me and began to cry. Of course I began crying, then my son, my niece, Jeffery, his aunt, and his grandmother. What was happening?
I had quit my full-time teaching job in 2007, taking a huge leap of faith to follow the music ministry and speaking calling that God laid on my heart. I’d been writing songs about adoption, foster care, birth moms, etc., and even had begun recording an entire album on the subject, in Nashville. I often questioned why God would have me write songs on a subject I’d never experienced. These songs became like a beacon– a billboard — of the direction for our lives. Had I not been involved in music ministry, we never would have met these West Virginia children. We would have missed our destiny! God worked it all out for our good and according to His divine plan, although through many unexpected turns.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
As I tearfully got back into our minivan, I sensed God saying to me, “These are going to be your children.” It seemed a preposterous idea, since we also had five grown children, making a total of eight already. I didn’t say a word to my husband, fearing he’d drop me on the roadside in Kentucky, telling me I was crazy! The magnetic pull between each of us was undeniable, however, and I knew that only God would say such a thing to me.
I gave 8-year-old Jeffery my gospel music CD that day, and said he could call or write to me any time he wanted. There was no further communication, however, and five months passed. One evening in mid-October, our son Nathan asked, “Mom, if Jeff and Jaycie’s grandma dies, are we going to adopt them?” Again, this seemed an absurd statement, and I told him so… we were virtual strangers to these children, and their aunt would likely adopt them. “Go to bed,” I instructed him. But his question haunted me, and I was reminded of what the Holy Spirit had spoken five months before.As often happens, God worked through an innocent child, surpassing all human intellect. Click To Tweet
Three weeks later in early November, I received a call from the aunt— she’d never called me before.
“I just want ya’ll to know that momma died three weeks ago.”
That was the very week that little Nathan asked me his poignant — and prophetic — question.
[To be continued on next week’s “Inspiring Hope” blog.]
This article was originally published in The Adoption Exchange newsletter (32,000 subscribers) in Jan. 2012, and also in Southern Child Magazine Feb/March 2012 issue (200,000 readers). It has been updated for the Inspiring Hope Blog, June 2016.