Thursday, July 10, 2014


From Beth:

When God called us to adopt back in 1999 I "knew" a few things. I knew that, of course, if God wanted us to adopt that He would give us a girl. By that I mean 1 Girl.

Of course. 

I grew up with 4 sisters and no brothers. Stephen and I gave birth to 3 beautiful baby girls, and no boys. Clearly a girl is what God had in mind, right? Even when I taught school I found that I had such a natural connection with the girls, but not so much with the boys. You get me here, don't you? 
I didn't do boys. I didn't get boys. 

I also "knew" something else. I knew that God would give us one child. We already had 3 and this call to adopt came out of the blue for us. I love talking to my friends who have beautiful stories of being called to adoption from the time they were little children themselves. I love hearing about how a call to adoption was a prerequisite for marriage because of the certainty of God's call. LOVE IT! So moving and so filled with the Father's heart. I'm kind of jealous of these testimonies to be honest!

But that was not me; that was not Stephen. We literally never talked about adoption. It was off our radar. 

You all know how He is though, don't you?! He took what was on our radar and used that to speak to us. For a few years before that night when I heard Susan Hillis share about the opportunity to have Russian orphans spend the summer in your home, I had been asking the Lord to use our family for His kingdom purposes. I remember sitting on my porch one day and praying, "Lord, you have given us a wonderful marriage and 3 healthy daughters. You have blessed us abundantly. I want to serve You beyond what we are doing now. We are available to serve You Lord. Show us!"

Looking back, I see that it was this prayer, and the others we prayed like it, that were the fertile soil for our "Yes" to His call to adopt. 

But back to what I "knew." A lot of you could write this same post couldn't you? We thought we had a handle on how this whole adoption thing was going to play out. Hmmmm.......

Not long after hearing God say, "You need to do this," in response to Susan's invitation, the two things I felt I did know about how this all was going down turned out to be wrong (hence the quotation marks around what I "knew"!) 

It turns out, (surprise surprise!) that my plans were not His. Like many of you, things turned out differently than what we thought made the best kind of sense at the time. I remember praying one night for God to send us the little girl He intended for our family and I began to see this little vignette played out in my mind's eye. I saw a little girl lying in our guest bedroom trying to go to sleep. And that picture, as pictures tend to do, spoke so many words to me. I saw that she was all alone, that she had traveled over a huge ocean to a strange land and a strange home and a strange family who spoke a strange language--and she had no one to talk to. No one knew her. The loneliness was palpable, and with that came the certainty that we would adopt siblings. 

What seemed overwhelming became pure joy in an instant. All at once I knew something different, and I knew it in a completely different way. 

All at once I knew that the most beautiful thing in the world to me would be to keep two siblings together--that no matter what were to happen in the future, they would have at least one person on this planet who understood, who was connected in the most foundational way. There would be someone who could lie down in bed next to them at night after a long day of struggling to communicate who would understand. 

But still, I thought that of course these two children would be sisters. It wasn't until later that the Lord showed me about the little boy He had in mind. And much later that I found out there were even more boys for us to love!

As you can see from this photo we took last month, there are 3 Templeton sons! 

It strikes me as I remember these stories that He has been so very gentle with me along the way. It seems He is not bent out of shape by our "knowing" things that He fully intends to correct. He lets us walk along the journey and come to each adjustment as we are able. 

So, Susan showed us a short video of a precious little girl and her younger brother. And there you have it. I knew something new once again. I knew He intended for us to adopt an older girl who would connect more naturally with our three daughters because of age and gender, and that her younger brother would connect with us all through his connection with her. I can't explain how I knew it except that it is a knowing by the Spirit. 

All of this makes me wonder about the things that I "know" these days. One thing I have learned from all of this is that I need to hold the things I "know" with an open hand, ready for God to do that wonderful thing He does with us over and over--exchange one thing for something better. 

How about you? Let's trust God enough to live with an open hand, ready for any exchanges He has in mind!

And truth be told, I still don't feel like I know what to do with boys/young men. I still feel that I am far better equipped to be the mother of daughters than sons. But I am also far past believing that God is at all limited by my strengths and weaknesses! 

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