Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

At the moment, the Lord has led our family toward adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Liz and I are excited about beginning the process with One World Adoption Services out of Georgia.  We feel like this opportunity has many questions still to be answered, but we feel comfortable beginning the process and seeing where the Lord takes us and how he will providentially help us complete the adoption.  We would ask that you continue to pray for us during this process.  We will be sending updates and letters soon telling how you can help be a part of our adoption from the DRC.  In the meantime, I would recommend to you a book by Dr. Russell Moore called Adopted for Life (  Liz and I are reading through the book now, and in it, Dr. Moore lays out a solid foundation about the biblical mentality behind adopting. Even if you are not considering adopting a child, I would recommend the book to you.  It will help even to understand and appreciate our adoption in Christ.  We would love to hear from any of you who have adopted or are planning to adopt.  We would love to pray with you through your process as well.  May God be glorified through care for the orphans.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The "Foreigner"

Isaiah 56:6-7
6 "And the foreigners who join themselves 
to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name 
of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath 
and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant - 
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, 
and make them joyful in my house of prayer; 
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices 
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples." 

I may write some day a longer version of our motives for adopting, but for the time being, these verses will present one aspect of our motive.  The idea of a "foreigner" being united to the people of God through a God-enacted covenant is remarkable.  God has intended from the beginning of his creative plan to redeem people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group to be a people for his own possession.  God has always intended to save the foreigner (i.e. non-Israelites), and bring them to his holy mountain.  

With this passage in Isaiah, the focus is on nationality.  The foreigner is a non-Israelite.  For our adoption, although nationality is going to be quite obvious, our hope is that through the national differences of our family composition, people will see the heart of God for the "foreigner," i.e. the one who is not part of the covenantal family of God.  We don't want people to look at our family and think that we have accomplished some sort of philanthropic task by adopting.  We want to be able to tell people that God has adopted us, foreigners to the covenant and spiritual orphans, into his family, and it is the least we can do to display that same affection to a foreigner and orphan.  So, one of our motives for adopting boils down to the gospel.  God is in the business of adopting, i.e. bringing those who are not family members into an eternal relationship with a loving Father.  We want to display that heart in and through our adoption.  

Deut. 10:18-19 - He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.  Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Prayer Requests

Here is a list of our current prayer requests.  We want to try to keep you updated on all the ways that the Lord helps us along the way, so it seems apropos then to let you know how you can be praying for our adoption journey.

  • that God would be the center of all of our decisions and progress
  • our motive and focus would be the glory of God in the gospel rather than some self-agrandizing, philanthropic endeavor
  • that we would choose the right adoption agency
  • that we would find the right home study agency 
  • Patience (I [Adam] tend to be task-driven and the hurry up and wait will be difficult)
  • financial support for the adoption (agency fees, legal fees, travel, etc.)
These are just a few of the many things we are currently praying about in our family and would be delighted if you would pray with us about these things.  We will keep you updated on how God answers these prayer requests.  Our deepest desire is to glorify God by "living out" the gospel in our family.  We want to show the world a visible representation of the kingdom of God as the nations live together as one family with one Father, worshiping him for eternity because of the work of the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 4-5).  We covet your prayers in the process.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Journey Begins

So, here the journey begins to find out what the Lord has in store for our family by way of adoption.  Liz and I have mentioned adopting a child for years now.  We have always thought it might be part of God's plan for our family.  By providence, God has placed us in a church and environment where adoption is emphasized.  Last year Liz and I attended an adoption conference at Southern Seminary and began to get some questions answered about adoption.  We have not intended to rush the process, but wanted to be prayerful and deliberate about the steps to take toward adoption.  The adoption conference last year, at the very least, was where the Lord began to soften our hearts toward the desperate needs of orphans around the world.  After the last session of the adoption conference, one of my good friends left me a voicemail that said he looked forward to meeting the adopted Howell baby in years to come.  That small thought brought tears to my eyes, to think that God may ask us to be a part of his plan for orphans as we seek to bring a child into our family.  Whether Liz and I complete an adoption or not, we will always seek to care for orphans even if that only means giving to and encouraging those who are adopting.

With the resolve that God has given us to care for the orphan, our family is ready to begin the process of adoption to see where exactly the Lord will take us in the wild journey called "life."  The road has already been a little bumpy.  We have delayed the process for over a year now because of my schooling.  The Ph.D. is rigorous and sometimes overwhelming, and we decided that to try to adopt during the thickness of the Ph.D. would not be wise.  However, I recently completed my comprehensive exams for the Ph.D., and we are now in a position where the flexibility of writing a dissertation will allow us to move forward with an adoption.  We have been chomping at the bit for the last 5 months to begin this process, and now that exams are over, we are excited to look more closely at God's plans for our adoption.

Another bump in the slow road involves the place from where we want to adopt.  Internationally, we have had our hearts set on Ethiopia.  However, recently, Ethiopia has decided to drastically reduce the number of adoption cases they review each day, which will at the very least lengthen the process considerably.  We are not counting out an Ethiopian adoption, but realize that the process could be more difficult if we go that route.  We have some dear friends who are in the middle of an adoption from Ghana, and they have already been helpful to encourage us in the process.  In addition, the stories of their Ghana adoption have caused us to begin to think about adopting from Ghana.  Liz and I also kick around regularly the idea of domestic adoption rather than international.  So, this bump in the journey is not necessarily problematic, but it has already proven daunting to figure out from where the Lord would have us adopt.  We have had friends tell us that you "cannot go wrong" with the location from where you adopt as long as you are adopting with right motives.  So, we want to be driven by a desire to see the Gospel portrayed in the composition of our family rather than the prestige of an adoption location.

So, although we are in the preliminary stages of the process, we are excited about the journey.  We are scared, prayerful, trusting, thankful, and wondering.  The mix of emotions and excitement is hard to describe accurately, but we are delighted to be in a place where we must trust God for his provision and direction.  We have much to "figure out," but that too is part of the journey.  We would love for you to pray with us for our adoption journey.  We have a couple of things set up where you can follow our progress and thoughts on adoption.  This blog is the first place, so if you have a blog reader you can subscribe to this one and we will post things here from time to time as they are helpful.  Also, we have a Twitter account @howelladoption for those of you who are in the Twitter world.  Hopefully we will set up a Facebook page for those of you in that world.  We will definitely be in touch as the journey continues, and we are excited to see how the Lord will work in all of our lives through the process of the Howell Family Adoption.  We give all the glory to our risen Christ for the desire of our hearts to adopt, for the progress that is to come in the adoption, and for the outcome of the journey, whatever it may be.