His big brown eyes looked at me across the breakfast table and he promised, “I’ll run it this year with you, Mom.” My heart melted…again.
If you are a parent, you know the pain of rousing your child early any day of the year much less a hot summer one. Yet, he was willing to go. He wanted to run, and he wanted to make a difference. He smiled and jumped into the van. We talked all the way to the park about our family and what life was like before we knew him. And then, there was that turning point in the story when I said, “But God, in all of His goodness and glory and wisdom… He led us to you.” He looks at me with that olive skin and beautiful grin and asks for more. More details. More about God’s plan. I retell it for the seven thousandth time. And, he still smiles.
In January of 2006, a beautiful couple from our church slid an 8 x 10 picture across the counter to us.
God had laid our family on their hearts when they saw this precious little boy in Guatemala. With two daughters already, adoption was NOWHERE on our radar. But, that quickly changed as God worked in our hearts. Within two weeks we submitted our application to Lifeline. In December of 2007 we were united with our son in the mountains of Central America.
Since then we have adopted two more children from Uganda, and our family has grown from four to seven in just a few years’ time. Adoption is close to our hearts and, therefore, so is orphan care. Many are called to adopt, and it is a true blessing to wake up to these faces that bear the image of God every day. And, yet. Yet, there are millions more image bearers who will never have a forever family. Adoption isn’t the sole solution to the orphan crisis. I can’t adopt all 153 million orphans in the world, but I can be a part of providing life skills, a loving environment, and the Gospel to those who will need to know the love of the Father and how to live for Him after they leave their orphanages.
So, we wake up early, lace up our shoes and deal with the heat of the day. Why? Because there is a child who walks around bare footed in the dirt of Africa every day. And there’s a little girl who has never felt the arms of a mother wrap around her when she’s scared. A teenage boy who is “aging out” of his orphanage and will no longer be available for adoption. And I can’t help but think of each one of them as we run.
I watch other adoptive parents run or walk the course, and I think about God’s story in their lives—how He led them to China or Ethiopia or Columbia to bring home their baby. And I ponder how God has changed my perspective on everything through adoption. And I’m grateful. Adoption changed our family, but more than that, adoption changed me. It opened my eyes to God’s heart for the orphan and His desire for His Church to care for them. For His name’s sake and His great glory, I run for those who need someone to fight for them.
So, I run. I run with a purpose. And if I can do it, so can you. Seriously, an hour of your time one Saturday in the summer can help change the life of a child for eternity. Not many events can do that. But this one can. And you can be a part of it.
So many people helped us bring our children home. We get the chance to do the same for others. So do you. God will weave your obedience into His story for a child—possibly one you may never even know. There’s no greater joy than knowing God will use you to change someone’s future for His purposes.
I’m all in for that… are you?
Sheryl Turner, Lifeline Adoptive Mom
To register to participate in the R(un) for One 5K on August 22nd in Birmingham, Atlanta, Louisville, Raleigh, or to “Run Where You Are”, visit runforone5k.org! For more information on Lifeline’s Orphan care ministry visit www.unadopted.org.