Adoption and gigging

Good morning, my lovely friends!

So . . . adoption. Foster care.

It’s something that’s on my heart.

No, I’m not ready to adopt at this exact moment. But it’s something that’s mulling around there in my brain and in my soul.

I have a strong empathetic vein running through my heart–I’ve always cried easily when I see the distress of others. When I was growing up, for example, all I had to do was see one picture of an orphan in a Compassion International advertisement and I was brought to tears. As a pre-teen and teenager, I also fell in love with fictional orphans such as Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and Jane Eyre, which (odd as it may seem) made me start really desiring to take care of the motherless and fatherless. When I was 15, I determined that I wanted to run an orphanage when I grew up. Then I realized there wasn’t exactly a college degree called “Orphanage Manager,” so I ended up applying for the music program instead.

So even though my dreams of caring for orphans haven’t exactly materialized in my life, recently those thoughts have come back. I’ve been stalking some Chicago adoption websites and reading up on how to become a foster parent. My friend Sarah told me about a program in Austin, Texas that involves local photographers taking portraits of the kids that are up for adoption, so I contacted the organization that runs a similar program in Chicago–I would love to volunteer my lens, if there’s an opportunity. And of course, I’ve been thinking about logistics–how exactly would this all happen? Would we wait until we had children of our own? Would we wait until my husband finished school? Would we wait until I was able to stop working and stay home?

I’m not on the edge of the adoption/foster care diving board, but I’m at least feeling the rungs of the ladder leading to the top, testing out their sturdiness, and pondering the height of the thing, if you’ll allow the metaphor. To climb it? Or not? I want to pray actively about my future, and my role in this world full of kids who don’t have parents or homes, who may be going to bed scared, hungry, or in real danger.

I’m grateful for the empathy that I feel, and I pray that God will never allow callouses to grow over my heart, but I also know that feelings are not enough. What good is empathy unless it takes action? That’s why I’m really excited about an event here in Chicago this coming Saturday called “Together for Adoption.” It takes place from 9 to 2:30, and it’s not too late to register if you’re in town! The event description says: “Join Dr. Russell Moore (author of “Adopted for Life”),  Jason Kovacs (co-founder of Together for Adoption), and a half-dozen presenters for a unique one-day event on regional and global orphan care.  Our hope is that you’ll leave with a deepened sense of God’s adopting love for you, as well as an increased love and desire to care for the orphan and the fatherless.

I wonder about adoption. Is it a case of ‘the need is not the call’ or is that my heart presenting excuses to not do what Jesus commands when he tells us to take care of the orphan and the widow? Is it enough just to give money–or am I called to something more radical? I need the Spirit to shed some light on this. And to give us direction. The thought of foster care and adoption inspires me–and scares me to death. I know there are no guarantees, no easy paths. It can bring great joy, but also strain and stress. I have a lot of thinking to do. A lot of praying.

Anyway! My band, Thornfield, will be playing at the adoption conference during lunch. And once the conference is over, we’re hiking our butts over to CityGrounds where we have a gig. The talented Andrew Jackson, a local singer songwriter (no, not the long-dead ex-president, just to quell any zombie rumors) will be playing the first set at 8pm, followed by our band around 9pm. Come on out! We’d love the encouragement of your presence there! Here’s the facebook event page for y’all’s reference.

So Saturday will be full of music, and (hopefully) hearts open to God’s leading.

What are your thoughts on adoption and care for orphans? Or your experiences? I’d truly love to hear from you.

31 thoughts on “Adoption and gigging

  1. Phyllis Slavens

    I come from a family with strong ties to adoption, both in giving a child up for adoption (the most selfless act of love there is) & in receiving children through adoption. I also have relatives who chose life for their children when the situation was not “planned” or ideal. I volunteer at our local pregnancy care center & support women in their choice for life, both during pregnancy & after so that they are equipped to raise their children. So you can see, I believe strongly in supporting life & if that means adopting or fostering, God’s plan for life is being nurtured – listen to your heart!

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Phyllis, that’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing the stories of women like you who have put their life into it–I’m already blessed just by this tiny window into your life.

      Reply
  2. Rowenna

    Jenna, this is something that’s been on my heart, as well–the sort of incubating, “someday” seed of a plan. I’ll keep you in my prayers as I explore this with God, too!

    Best of luck for the gigs this weekend–wish I could come see you play!

    Reply
  3. Giselle

    Jenna! You amaze me everyday. =)

    My boyfriend is adopted and I am so very grateful because, although his parents passed away before I met him, his family is awesome and his sister is one of our best friends. I am so grateful for his family.

    I also have a close friend that adopted 5 children from DHS. Yes, five. Same mom, different dad for all five. And let me tell you, I don’t think it’s been an easy path for her, but they are a beautiful family and so lucky to have each other. =) I’d be happy to put you in contact with her if you ever wanted to talk to someone that’s been through it. She’s the kind of person that would tell you the awesome and also the truth – there are difficult times. But in the end, it’s more than worth it.

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Wow! That’s really cool about your boyfriend. And your close friend–WOW! (and what beautiful, happy kids–loved the pic! =) Thanks for offering to put us in touch. If (Lord willing and leading) I get to the point where we’re ready to jump in, I’ll definitely have to reach out and hear her story.

      Reply
  4. Holly

    This is something that I’ve had rolling around in my head for awhile, too. Especially with the news of the population reaching 7 billion- maybe it’s time to start taking care of the kids that are already here and not have as many (or any!) of my own. Definitely a scary but interesting path. I just need to talk Keith into it..

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      I know what you’re saying about the population–craziness. And something like 1/3 of the population lives in a slum? Ay ay ay! It’s really cool that adoption is floating around in your mind too. It’s funny, because though it’s not something Adam is against (at all), it’s not something he would bring up independently if you know what I mean. I’m praying that God will lead our hearts to the same place, and I’m excited about the conference as a chance to talk about it more as a couple.

      Reply
    2. Giselle

      I’m totally with you on that, Holly and Jenna. The number of children out there without a loving family and home is unacceptable and really unbelievable. I don’t think that kids are in my future, which is fine, life has different paths for each of us, but I think that perhaps in 10 or 15 years I’ll change my mind and perhaps adopt some teenagers from DHS. You know, those kids that are close to aging out of the system and all they really want is a place to call home and a family to call and visit on weekends home from college? I think that’s something I’ll be able to give.

      Reply
      1. Jenna Post author

        Giselle, that sounds awesome. And you’re right, everyone is called to something different. I think your idea is wonderful, especially because those are the kids that tend to not get placed as easily.

  5. Suzie

    I think this is a wonderful path to consider. I’m sure you’ll learn more at the conference and will have many questions answered there. God will guide you.

    Reply
  6. Ann

    My twin brother has 4 adopted children – for him it is truly a calling. I think it’s wonderful. While I’ve not adopted – if you feel the need there is a lucky child out there for you. I suspect you’ll know when it’s right….

    Best of luck to you.

    Reply
  7. Sherri

    Fantastic post :-). I am adopted and, currently, have four kids – though…. am also committed to adopting one day (feel I need to give back – after all, I ended up in a loving home – others deserve the same). You go, girl. You’d make a great mother, it seems :-).

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Thank you Sherri. And I didn’t know you were adopted! Is your story up on your blog somewhere? If so, I’d love to read it.

      Reply
  8. Megan

    I was just thinking about this seriously for the first time. A couple spoke at our church recently about adopting a couple kids from the orphanage where they work. I also wonder, like you, about if/when would be the best time for our family. I haven’t ever talked to Andrew about it. Wonder how he feels….

    Reply
  9. balvinder

    I can only say that what is in your mind is such a noble act of love. The path is difficult but then imagine the blooming face of a child who is adopted or come under foster care. I do not have any experience or story to tell you. Remember to Just listen to your heart.

    Reply
  10. Lindsy

    Beautiful post. I’m right there with you. You can read all over scripture that God has a special passion for the orphan God has placed that passion in my heart as well. Obviously we’re having biological children right now, but I feel strongly that it is God’s will for us to open our home to orphans. I don’t know if it will be adoption or foster care or both. But it will happen. Jordan and I have been in serious conversation about it lately. Like you, now isn’t the time. But the time isn’t far off.

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Lindsy, that’s awesome. I’m excited for you and Jordan–it’s great that you feel on the same page about this.

      Reply
  11. Joanne

    Jenna, I think this is SUCH a great goal of yours and i just know that if it’s something you really want to do, you’ll find a way to get involved. I know some bloggers who have adopted (Sarah of Mom on the Run and Pam of Sidewalk Shoes) and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to chat with you about it if you want!

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Thanks Joanne! When I get closer to actually starting the process I think I’ll reach out and hear all the stories out there . . . and in the meantime maybe I’ll stalk these lovely blogs. =)

      Reply
  12. Linnea Wheeler

    Hello Jenna!

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog lately! Chris reads it regularly, but for some reason every time I try and put your url in to follow you through blogger, it doesn’t work! :(

    Anyhow, I have been thinking a lot about adoption, foster care, sponsoring, poverty/abuse-stricken children too! I had to smile when you described your young passion…when I was younger, I heard on the radio about the trips Josh McDowell would take to the Russian Orphanages, and always wanted to go. My great-grandmother was an orphan, and I started writing a story about her life once, and tried sending it to American Girl Dolls :) And those books you mentioned, my favorites! But over the past several years, I have not thought a whole lot about it until again just recently, in the past several months. I’ve been asking God to burden my heart again, and to also show me exactly what he wants of me. A website/blog that has really been convicting/ encouraging/ challenging lately is http://www.aholyexperience.com. Ann Voskamp blogs Grace everyday, and currently she is traveling with Compassion International in Ecuador, and blogging about that. I think you would enjoy reading those posts (she also does incredible photography)! I think there are five so far, including today’s.

    Thank you for sharing! I pray that God gives you and your husband wisdom!

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Hi Linnea! Hope you and Chris are well! Thanks for sharing–I’ve read a little of Ann’s writing before, and I’ve absolutely loved it. I’ll have to check out her posts about the Ecuador trip.
      And it’s awesome that you sent your grandma’s story to the American Girl Doll people–that totally sounds like something I’d have done when I was a kid too! When I was 8, I was convinced I’d written a book worth publishing. Yikes. =)
      Are you guys by chance going to the adoption conference tomorrow?

      Reply
  13. Linnea Wheeler

    Unfortunately we are not–I didn’t know about it until your post, and my sister is coming into town tonight through tomorrow. I hope it goes well! I’m sure the people there will be blessed by Thornfield’s music as well.

    Reply
  14. Veronica Miller

    How interesting, b/c foster care is something I’m considering too. It has been for the last five years, but we currently live in a home that doesn’t pass the requirements for foster care so we’re “off the hook” for now. 😉 I don’ t know if we ever will, but I know that if we really decide we want to be parents and can’t have our own (which looks to be the case), this is the route we will go. It is DEF something to pray about and not rush into b/c the joy of it will probably equal the strain and there’s a lot to consider. Good for you for volunteering your camera and your band–you rock (and roll haha). OMgosh, did I already make that joke on your blog in a comment before? I’m so lame. 😉

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      I agree–definitely something not to rush into, but to consider prayerfully. While at the same time, not delaying once the Spirit makes the course of action clear! (I’m afraid that would be my tendency–but as that child-discipline method thingy says, ‘slow obedience is no obedience’–or something like that).
      And no, I don’t think you’ve made that joke before, but my memory is so bad that even if you had, it would probably sound new to me. Hah!

      Reply
  15. Kimby

    Jenna, this is such a neat post — pondering God’s will — wondering if you’re just supposed to help, or HELP help! (I do a lot of pondering along those lines, too.) Playing for the adoption gig sounded like a neat combination of both your loves!

    I just got done playing special music at a “guest church” — the first “gig” of a special music ministry I’ve been dreaming of doing for YEARS. Sometimes the answers don’t become clear for awhile (in my case, most of my life!), but when they do, you’ll KNOW. My hubby always says, “If God wanted you to be doing that, He wouldn’t have you doing something else right now… PATIENCE!” :) The doors (or cribs) will open up at the right time! What a blessing for a lil’ one to have you for a Mama!

    Reply
  16. Food Jaunts

    I sort of foster, only in my case it’s dogs. It’s so heartbreaking sometimes because I don’t want to give them up but I know they’re going to a wonderful family. If you can foster/adopt it’s one of the most rewarding things out there, and I would imagine that if it were a child it would be even more so.

    Reply

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