Our Founder/President’s Story

Bill wrote this story 30 years after his own adoption.

Thirty years.

Thirty years; most of my life, but for me it represents something big.

Thirty years is an anniversary for me.

Thirty years ago I was hungry; I was thirsty; I needed clothes. Missing from my life were the fundamental things children need.

An older couple, previously living a “normal” American life, stepped into my situation and gave me the things I most desperately needed: food, clothes, a home, love, and most importantly, Jesus.

My two older sisters and I were abandoned by our biological parents. I don’t remember how old I was, because I don’t remember a time when they were there. We knew what it was like to be hungry, dirty, cold, and without clothes or blankets. We were left in our apartment by ourselves all day and all night . . . every day and every night.

I remember my five-year old sister making us popcorn; I remember climbing on the counters to find peanut butter above the refrigerator; I remember being so hungry I ate dog food out of a garbage can outside.

I remember being scared at night when I saw shadows in the window; I remember having no one to tell me it was ok or that I was safe.

I remember my sister filling the bathtub and giving us baths – just five-years old and responsible for her two younger siblings.

I remember picking up the phone and pressing numbers until the operator answered and asked if I was ok; I told her I was looking for my mom.

Thirty years, and today the memories are still very real.

I also remember the day my life changed forever. I was just four-years old but the memory of two men coming to ask us where our parents were is vivid. The men waited all day with us until someone contacted our mom and she returned home late that evening. The men told us that we had to go with them. We cried because we were afraid and we loved our mom.

For three weeks we lived with an unkind foster family. My memories of this time are blurry but I remember being removed from that foster family, looking out the window of the car and wondering where we were going next.

When we arrived at our next foster home, we were greeted by an older woman who smiled and spoke kindly to us. Her house was on the bay and I looked out the dining room window, staring at the water and marveling at her beautiful house. The woman led each of us to our rooms; I was so excited to have my own room. Later that evening when her husband came home, we went shopping for clothes and shoes. We had come with nothing. I remember getting home from the shopping trip and sitting on my bedroom floor in front of my closet that was filled with clothes and shoes.

Thirty years, and I {still} remember the excitement of having clothes.

At the time this family only had a small, two-door pickup truck, but that weekend they went and bought a new car to accommodate my sisters and me. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, as I grew, I began to understand the love that moved them to purchase a new car just so they could care for us, when before that we didn’t even have food. I could tell there was something different about these people.

I am told that we used to thank them profusely for every meal and ask when we would eat again.

We spent a wonderful year with this family, growing, learning, and being loved. After a year, our biological family’s rights were terminated and we were placed for adoption. My foster parents asked if the three of us would be adopted together or if we would be broken up into multiple families. When they were told that we would probably be broken up, my foster parents, ages 60 and 64, said they could not let that happen, and they chose to adopt us.
They chose us. They loved us. They wanted us. Thirty years, and I remember this.

I’m very excited that there is a very large adoption movement happening, and the stories are incredible. I am blown away by the mountains God moves for families to adopt. But most of the stories are not from the adoptees perspective. Most of the time I get the impression that once the child gets a family, they are loved and their problems are over. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Adoption is beautiful, but it is broken. It is from a broken place that children and adults who were adopted come from, and we have many issues, some of which will never go away despite how wonderful our family is. We all have stories and have gone through a lot; and we all process our adoption experiences differently.

My sisters and I grew up in the same family, but we have very different life experiences. It is difficult for me to develop close relationships with people. I build walls, invisible walls that most do not see, that prevent me from getting too close because I know, or think, that at some point and somehow you are going to disappoint or leave (abandon) me. It is my protection, it is a place of safety.

I learned as a child to keep things locked up inside and not to share my feelings or emotions. To this day, I keep things bottled up inside and do not show other people what I’m feeling or going through.

Thirty years and I am still picking up the pieces of the brokenness.

I, and other children who were adopted, have experienced trauma and, for one reason or another, lost our parents. In addition to this loss we often come with troubled histories and difficult circumstances, most that no one wants to talk about. The ones that God gave us to are gone and we often are left to face this ugly world alone; we are going to have problems and issues to overcome. This is not a “maybe,” but fact.

And I am writing this to tell you that YOU, as a believer, you have the answer for us. We need YOU to teach us about love. We need you to teach us to forgive. We need you to bring us to the One who can heal us. We need God to help us learn how to live and cope with the aftermath and destruction that sin left behind.

Look around you. There are hungry, hurting 4 year olds in your backyard. Some of them are in homes that the government has placed them in and they are being hurt even more.

I have heard so many times, after sharing my story in Africa and Asia, “I had no idea things like that happen in America!” With our big houses, our big cars, our Venti Latte’s and our massive churches we have fooled the world, indeed have even fooled ourselves.

I am going to be critical of the church for not stepping up and taking on the responsibility that God has given to us. I am going to be critical from the perspective of a 4 year old boy who has been through this personally. As believers our new nature should be love, not in words but in action. I think all believers would say we love the children in the foster care system or we love orphans but it’s easy to see that isn’t the truth. Look at how many children need adopted in your local state and then tell me the church is full of love for these children. How many pastors, elders, deacons, or church members are involved in the foster care system in your church?

Look at the numbers in the foster care system and look at the numbers of Christians in each state. It would take a very small percentage of Christians in each state to foster or adopt to place a child in a Christian home where they can receive the things they really need. Now that is love.  Church, PLEASE step up and prayerfully consider foster care and/or adoption.  Prayerfully consider it with an open and honest heart and do not be afraid of the challenges but rather trust God to lead you and give you wisdom through each challenge.

Most married couples have biological children. They trust God for wisdom on how to love, teach, and nurture their children, with no other guarantee of what problems they will face in the future with their child, medically, emotionally, physically. Yet over and over we hear the excuse that adopted and fostered children have too many problems. Why can we not trust this same God with the future of adopted and fostered children?

In this ministry we say “LOVE, HOPE, HEALING, LIFE.” I am an example of that. Love brings Hope, Hope brings Healing, with Healing there is Life.

Thirty years ago I was abandoned, hungry, cold and I didn’t understand love. Two of the most unlikely people saved me from the wreck I was and brought me to the One who could heal me. They were far from perfect, but they gave me what I needed to become whole again. They gave me Jesus.

God is restoring what sin destroyed in my life. By God’s grace I stand, the father of four amazing and adopted kids (plus one bio daughter!), the son of both my parents and a King, a friend of many, and as a brother to many who are broken and who are able to identify with me because of what God has done.
Church ARISE. Go and be LOVE.

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