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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Becoming a Shepherding Home

This is an article I wrote for the New Life newsletter last fall. (New Life is the pregnancy Crisis Center and adoption agency my Mom works for, and we adopted our son Justus through.) If you are interested in becoming a Shepherding Home for pregnant women, please let us know.

The “Other Side”

I am Cindy Seay’s daughter. Her life work of ministering to pregnant women and placing babies for adoption in loving, Christian homes has permeated my whole family‘s life. After my husband, Rusty, and I had two biological children, we heard a clear call from the Lord to grow our family again through adoption. Working with my Mom in the adoption of our sweet baby boy, Justus, over a year ago was amazing! Getting to see firsthand what New Life means to pregnant women, their families, and to adoptive families touched Rusty and I so much. Rusty, who is a medical doctor, became the medical director for New Life. We wonder how anyone who has experienced the miracle of adoption could remove themselves from this ministry? God’s hand is truly in it.
When my Mom mentioned she was unsuccessfully looking for a Shepherding Home for a pregnant woman, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear “Why not you?” I had to answer that question, why not me? We have plenty to share, and the scriptures are clear, what we’ve done for those in need, we have done, or NOT done for Christ himself. Rusty and I took a few hours to pray about it. You see, this woman had just been released the day before from the State Jail. This seems like quite a risk to take with three small children in the house. But despite the risk, we felt like God was saying “This is your chance to live your faith, not just talk about it.” So we told my Mom that day that we would take her in. I am so glad we were listening to Him that day! What a life-changing experience this has been for my family! Robin came to live with us almost two months ago, and she has forever changed the lens through which I see life. I have experienced adoption from the “other side”, and every adoptive family should! Robin has become like a member of our family. She has been delivered from her past mistakes by accepting Christ as her Savior. I was able to pray with her for salvation, and spend time in the Word with her almost everyday. I have the privelege of watching her grow in her faith and knowledge of Christ week by week. As a stay-home-Mom, it is ideal. I can’t get out to do many types of ministry outside of the home, but she came to me, where I live in the day-to-day, and by walking together, I am able to minister to her and serve her. I have seen everything through her eyes now, and it has changed me. I was in the birthing room with her, holding her hand, when her beautiful boy Jacob was born. It was a bittersweet moment. What a precious moment, when we lay eyes on the little one who’s been in the warm, hiding place of the womb. But our joy was with quiet tears, knowing that we would only have him for two short days before he joined his sweet family. I empathetically, felt the love and agony of a birth mom in the moment Jacob was born. I also had the joy of announcing his birth to two very proud adoptive parents, and seeing them hold him for the first time with tears in their eyes. I remembered living it from their side, but I was on the “other side” this time, and my heart was full of joy, but heavy at the same time for Robin. I spent those last hours with her holding Jacob for the last time before the placement. I cried with Robin as she signed the papers, and as she handed him to his parents. The finality of it weighed on me, and the peace and sorrow that co-exist in that moment can hardly be described in words. Making an adoption plan for Jacob was undoubtedly the right thing for her to do. Before then, I could only imagine how hard it was. Now I know. I drove her home from the hospital without a baby. We sobbed all the way home. That’s the reality of adoption from the other side.
My love and respect for our birthmother has only intensified. See, our birth mom chose us from the inside of a State Jail as well. She gave birth there, and signed the papers in a jail visit with my mother. When she was released, there was no Shepherding home available. Of course, it was Christmas time, and that is a difficult time to impose on families. She hated to impose on anyone during the holidays. But I can’t help but wonder how her life might have been changed had she had someone there for her to take her in and love her. My Mom picked her up from Jail, took her shopping for clothes and necessities (as they are only released with the state-issued clothes on their backs), and put her up in a motel. New Life bought her a bus ticket home weeks later to join family. They did everything they could to meet her needs and support her. But they are only three women! Three super-women, I admit, but human just the same. They are everything to these women in crisis. Their life-lines. But how drastically different might it have been if someone had taken her in, and lived out Christ’s love in serving her, despite where she’d been, 24/7? Might she know Him as her Savior today?
Some of you may not be sure you want to experience the “other side”. It scares us to feel the emotions of the birthmother too much. I promise you I was scared. But I assure you, as adoptive parents, it will only enrich and deepen the spiritual experience of adoption for you and your family. What New Life has tried to teach us is that you cannot love your child, and not love his/ her birth mother. Having the opportunity to wholeheartedly love and serve Robin has been a gift to our family. She will be staying with us for two more months as she re-builds her life. It is our joy to be used by God to His purpose in her life, and we are humbled by this experience. We have so much to share, and to give. Why not us? Maybe He’s asking you, Why not you?


melodi said...

I cry just thinking about losing Danaya - our foster baby. I went into this whole foster parent thing saying, "I know it will hurt when we have to give them up, but that is our role and we'll do it." I knew it, but I didn't KNOW it. About the third day of caring for Danaya in our home, I cried. I realized I was in love and there was no going back. I realized that to move forward meant to move closer to the eventual pain of losing her. Do you see where all of these emotions are focused? ME. I have had to let the Lord deal with me on this selfishness and trust that He can heal that Danaya-sized hole in my heart if/when she leaves. I have also had to work through these same feelings with one of my children, who feels very strongly that this baby is the only baby he can ever love to this magnitude. THEN, to top it off, God had to show me a glimpse of the birth mom's perspective. :) I wasn't in court when the judge told the birth mom that she will never have her children back, but my husband was there. He shared with me how he saw her sitting alone, outside the courthouse afterward, crying. It broke my heart. It is too easy to look at all her mistakes and say, "Well, she made her bed...." We have ALL sinned! ALL of us! It is true that some sins have much harsher earthly consequences, but I learned that day to pray for that mom in a much more compassionate way. She is a mom. I am a mom. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing my children, voluntarily or involuntarily. Your story, Jenn, has truly touched me and taught me even more about our Father's love and about the sacrifice of ministry. I'm only just now grasping what it means to sacrifice in ministry and to LIVE our ministries at all times, not just at some appointed time on a calendar. Foster parenting doesn't have to just be about the children, but can also be about showing Christ to the parents, the CPS workers, the lawyers, the judges, our families, and total strangers in Wal-Mart.


Jennifer Bacak said...

I love you Melodi! You're so cool! And God is so good to show me more of how to love birthmoms, as we have Rubi in our home right now, and also to share this with others.
Thanks for commenting! You're awesome!