Saturday, March 31, 2012


I realized the other day that Stephen and I are still adopting. Our last adoption was 10 years ago and for years now I have thought of our adoptions as something that happened in the past. What we are doing now is parenting our children. Because adoption is the part where we take a child into our family and make him or her our own, right? We did that-- it's a done deal. There are 7 Templeton children because God called us to adopt all those years ago.

But I have become so aware of the ongoing process of adoption this week. This is not a one-time event at all. No, it is the occupation of transforming an Orphan into a Son or Daughter. It's the mess of being "under construction." And that right there is a process I can get excited about. That is something I can give the whole of my life to. That is something that is worth the pouring out of my life. 
I would love to share a few of the things we have learned along the way in this beautiful process of transformation: 

The Story is Not Over Yet

When our precious Kristina came home at 10 years old she did not speak English. Well, she could sing her ABC's and count some, but that's about it. You can imagine that one of the main tasks of each day, other than loving her, was to teach her English. And to her credit (and to our great frustration!) Kristina decided she would not say a word of English until she felt she could say it correctly. It sounds kind of cute to write it, but I will confess that it didn't look or feel cute as the weeks went by! This issue became a point of some contention and testing, and Stephen and I both wondered what in the world we should do to get that page turned so we could move on to the next part of the story.
I am often comforted in the middle of a tough time in our parenting by reminding myself that we haven't gotten to the end of this child's story. The last page hasn't been written. As a matter of fact, there is much more story to be told-- to be lived. What a relief that is for me! It can be easy to be so focused on the problem at hand that it does seem that there is no way forward-- like I can't find the corner of the page so I can hurry up and turn it to get past the action of the now. But God is using the stuff on this page right now as part of His process of transforming an orphan into a Son or Daughter. As a junior in college with a double major, you can rest assured that Kristina did indeed learn English! You can read her story of adoption Here and Here. Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them...
Psalm 39:16

A Pillar in the Storm

Not too long ago we went through a particularly difficult time. As you might imagine with 7 children, at any given time one of them is struggling with something. Life is fairly manageable when only one needs our special attention. When three are in the pits at once-- I'm talking teenage pits here and teenage pits are pits to be reckoned with!-- the concept of "process" is not so attractive to me. I found myself frustrated and even angry that after all these years we are still in process and that we are, in reality, still adopting. Here's a little parenting tip for free-- avoid dealing with three angry teenage boys at the same time in the same room! Big mistake-- lesson learned! After our attempt to talk through the issues with the boys and then receiving the response that came from their own pain and confusion, I felt like I had just weathered a storm. The photo above is not an exaggeration of what it felt like. But see that light house standing as a pillar? I felt the Lord speak to me afterwards as He tenderly poured His love out on me. He said, "Beth, these storms are part of the process of your boys becoming true Sons. All you need to do is stand. Just be a pillar that is immovable. They need to look back after they have passed over like a storm and then calmed down to see that you and Stephen are still standing-- standing the same as you were before the storm hit. They desperately need to see that you have not been moved. That you have not changed in your love for them or in your view of them. Be a pillar in the storm." 
...having done all the crisis demands, stand firmly in your place.
  Stand therefore hold your ground... 
Ephesians 6:13-14

Basket Weaving

I had an encouraging word from a friend recently, and I am it hoping helps you with this issue of process, because it really touched me. During a time of prayer this young mother said the Lord showed her that our family was like a basket still in the process of being weaved-- in the process of becoming whole and complete. I can appreciate this idea because, although the process can look helter-skelter, with fibers sticking out in all different directions, there is purpose and reason in the process of transforming strips of straw into a vessel. Often Stephen and I are very aware of the children who may seem to be "sticking out" from our family in some odd, unattractive direction. And yet this picture speaks of the connection to the whole and of the intended purpose of each seemingly stray fiber. In the photo it is clear that this is an unfinished product--this basket is "in process." It is not lovely, but I find this photo actually quite attractive as it speaks to me of connection and of design and of purpose. There is peace in my spirit and emotions when I see the occasional disarray of our adoption process all these years later. Peace, because when I realize that even though a stray fiber may appear out of control in it's odd and unattractive angle, it is clearly attached and in time will be gently brought to the next stage of the process of creating a whole. 

...He has made everything beautiful in its time...
Ecclesiastes 3:11

I am thankful that we are still adopting. I've blog-posted myself into being excited once again about the utter privilege it is that I get to be a part of the transformation of an orphan into a True Son, a True Daughter. How utterly wonderful is that?!


  1. Thanks Beth. Such good reminders and encouraging. He is enough for each day. I find rest in that!

    1. Thank you for that encouragement Susan. So good to have a place of rest in Him at all times and in all situations!

  2. It really is for life, isn't it? :) An adoptive mom shared with me yesterday that when she spoke to her child's teacher about her child showing some concerning behaviors that she attributed to attachment related (having her child home for 2 years now), the teacher said something along the lines of, "Isn't she over that by now?" We're never really "over it" are we?

    1. I used to think the same way as the teacher I think Kelly. It seemed that after a time our children had fully adjusted, which in many ways they really had. But as God allowed the deeper pains and issues to be exposed, I have realized this is truly a longer process. We are watching as God brings each one to wholeness and will be "in" for as long as that takes! Thanks for the comment!!