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A journey we weren’t “expecting”

For one family, relying on God meant opening its home to two new additions

by Andrew Meiser

Relying on God: We confess our dependence on God for everything and seek to deepen our intimacy with Him by living prayerfully.

Early on in our marriage, my wife, Mary, and I had talked about adoption, but the fire of our passion to pursue it had been mostly dormant for 20 years. I had recently changed careers to become a pastor, our two children were in high school, and it didn’t seem like the time for any other major family life changes. Yet the embers of our vision glowed when I heard about how a church in Colorado had adopted hundreds of children, transforming the state’s foster care system.

The coals fanned into flame as Mary and I completed training toward the goal of adopting a 4- to 10-year-old child out of the foster care system. Soon, the paperwork was done, the new room was ready, and our kids were on-board.

We were prepared—but not for the news that we ourselves were expecting. College shopping for our 18-year-old son was about to run concurrent with buying clothes for a baby. And as for adoption, we didn’t talk much about it.

Then, about a month after our pregnancy revelation, I received a call from the foster agency.

“We have a 5-month-old hospitalized baby who needs a home by today, or tomorrow at the latest,” a caseworker informed me. “Are you interested?”

“Can I have a few hours to talk and pray with my wife?” I heard myself asking.

The caseworker agreed but called back just a few minutes later.

“It’d be really good if you could let us know sooner. Would an hour be enough?”

Waves of misgiving and confusion slammed into my spirit as I hung up and stumbled into my church. We had virtually no baby accessories in our home. We had scarcely even thought of foster care possibilities since the pregnancy announcement, and we had never considered taking in a baby. “No” seemed the only reasonable response.

As I prayed, God didn’t respond to my objections with answers; He answered with the blunt, searing majesty of His grace. I exited the church with a changed heart. The decision was made soon after: Two babies would be entering our home.

Over the weeks to come, I noticed that no one at our church ever suggested that we reconsider our decision to remain foster parents. I was staggered by the outpouring of support through prayer, encouragement, and mountains of donated baby items. But more than that, I was humbled, and then convicted, as I heard the stories of those in my congregation who were under circumstances far more challenging than mine yet had opened their homes to hurting people. I was learning reliance on God—not only as a flash of faith or spark of discipline but, as my brothers and sisters already understood, a way of life illuminated by Christ’s light.

Update: The Meisers cared for “Jack” for four months before his parents met the requirements to regain custody. Fortunately, the relationship between the two families has continued. Jack’s parents have invited the Meisers over for holidays, and they allow Jack to spend the night with them once a week. Allyson, the newest addition to the Meiser family, was born on Jack’s first birthday.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2012 issue of In Part magazine.
Andrew Meiser

Andrew Meiser serves as pastor of Eshcol BIC (Ickesburg, Pa.). He adds that the people in his family “enjoy each other outrageously.”

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