Our Adoption Story

We were married on July 10, 2010. At that time, we were two lovebirds who had no notions of adoption or orphan care. Our understanding of poverty and orphanages was limited to what you’d see on TV (which by the way, is not a very accurate portrayal). But in the summer of 2012, we went on our first international mission trip, and we were never the same. You might say our “adoption story” began that summer of 2012. But we know the Lord has been molding us, shaping us, and preparing us for this journey long before we were ever aware of it. But that mission trip was the spark, the catalyst that God had designed to alter the course of our lives forever.

On that first mission trip, we visited Rwanda and Ethiopia, and in both countries we visited orphanages and other orphan care ministries. Before and during our time there, our constant prayer was that God would break our hearts for what breaks his. And boy did He ever! Everywhere we looked we saw extreme poverty. We mean that both in the physical sense, as in they had dirty, tattered clothes, and the children looked malnourished. But we also mean that in an emotional sense. These children weren’t just physically starving. They were starved for attention! Living in an orphanage with 600 kids, they rarely ever received any signs of affection or attention. They were starving for direction. Some of the older kids who would be aging out of the orphanage soon expressed anxiety and outright fear at leaving the only home they’ve ever known to fend for themselves. But most of all, these kids were starving for the Bread of Life! They had never held a Bible in their hands, and they did not know that they were created and loved deeply by a God who would send His only Son to die for them so they might live. These kids didn’t know a love like that. They didn’t know the love of a mother or father. They simply didn’t know.

Meeting these children, seeing their living conditions, and hearing their stories broke us. When we were in Africa, we saw our sin like never before. Looking in the faces of these children, we were convicted. We had not been praying for them. We had not ever sacrificed for them. We had never cared for them. We thought about God’s command in James 1:27 to “look after orphans and widows in their distress,” and we unequivocally knew that we had failed. We had not been obedient to His command.

When we came home, we reevaluated our lives and priorities. We changed the way we lived, and we changed the way we gave. We became advocates for the fatherless. We started a nonprofit to partner with a ministry we had met in Rwanda and began a long term relationship with them that has flourished into a child sponsorship program for 104 kids and will soon include a craft business to empower widows. We returned to Rwanda in 2013 and 2014 as mission team leaders. Each time less shocked by the poverty, but always falling deeper in love with Africa and her people.

In 2013, Lindsay felt God calling her to quit her teaching job to go into full time ministry to serve orphans. “But God, what a crazy thing to suggest! I can’t leave a good job to go raise financial support for a new one!” she said to Him in prayer. But after months of more prayer (much more humble prayers than the prior), she knew it was His design for her life. So she turned in her letter of resignation and soon after began raising support for a position with an organization called World Orphans.

These days, we are still lovebirds, but with a whole new perspective on life, Christianity, missions, and orphans. We spend our days serving orphans through our jobs and our non-profit. Orphan care is one of the most common topics of conversation in our home now, as we are always seeking to serve more effectively and deepen relationships with our ministry partners.

After all that we’ve seen on our travels and all that we’ve learned through the trials and triumphs of orphan care ministry, it is easy to see God at work in all of it, still breaking our hearts for what breaks His even now, years after we prayed that prayer in Africa for the first time. He has been guiding us to adoption all along. The seed was planted on that first mission trip, and He was steadily watering it and nurturing it until we were ready.