Journey has had the blessing of spending this entire week at a baby home. The children are absolutely beautiful, and the staff is graciously devoted to protecting the well-being of each child. Adoption has been a huge part of Journey intern, Trey Hayman's life. Here's a little bit about his time serving in the baby home so far.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:2Here’s a little story about a baby who captured my heart this week. At a baby home in Nairobi, there is this little girl named Sophie who is just a little over a year old but looks like she is only 4 or 5 months old. Her teeth still haven’t come in; she can’t crawl, and her legs are so weak she can’t even hold herself up, but she is one of the cutest little babies I have ever seen. Her big brown eyes, pouty upper lip, and sweet toothless grin win the heart of anyone she sees. To be honest though, it’s a miracle she is even alive. She got pneumonia when she was younger along with another little girl, and according to her caregiver, Sophie nearly died. Through all of that though, God’s hand was on her. She fought hard for her life, and although she may be a little behind on her development, she’s alive today. She may not have an earthly mom or dad yet, but she has a heavenly Father who absolutely adores her and cares for her more deeply than I can even begin to understand. This is just one story of one of the many children that have touched the lives of Journey during Orphan Week. Even though many of these children cannot speak with us in words, God has used them to communicate Truth to us in some incredible ways, about who He is and what He has done for us.
Ephesians 1:5 says that as followers of Christ, God “predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.” Before we were even born, Christ chose us. Not only did He create us and form us in our mothers’ wombs, but He fights to redeem and adopt us as His children to change our names from sinners to saints. God is our Father, and as such, He desires to bring His children to know Him. Scripture is so clear that God has a heart for orphans and for adoption, and if His Spirit is alive in us, as He says, so should we. As believers we are called to care for orphans, and that is what this week is all about. As a Church we are to have hearts after God’s own heart. If His heart is for orphans and adoption, then ours should be too. It’s our responsibility as the Church to be passionate about the things that God is and allow His light to shine through us. In the end though, that passion is not rooted in anything of this world. It is fully rooted in Christ and the Holy Spirit alive in us. It is through His Spirit that we are alive and are adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High. Once we have received that gift and allowed Him to change our names from sinners to saints, that is when the Spirit within us begins to cry out “Abba, Father,” or “Daddy” (Galatians 4:6). These kids at Happy Life may not have an earthly father, but they have the best Father anyone could ever have, who desperately pursues them and loves them, even when it seems like no one else does. He longs for their adoption, and so should we, both earthly and heavenly.
In my life his theme of adoption has been made so clear. God has used my sisters to teach me about His own heart for the adoption of His children. Two of my sisters were adopted from Guatemala, and God has used them in a huge way to teach me about His heart for adoption. Without God calling my family to adopt them and my family responding, these little girls may not have survived. Adoption is not easy though. My family pursued my youngest sister’s adoption for over 5 years and fought hard for her to be an official part of my family. Even though international adoptions were shut down and we went through set back after set back, God is bigger than any legal system, and He is faithful to redeem His children. After fostering my sister for over 5 years both in the U.S. and in Guatemala, this summer, her adoption was finalized and her name was officially changed from Lopez to Hayman. She is still the same little girl, filled with laughs, hugs, and straight up trouble, but her name has now been changed, and no one can ever take that away from her. Just like her, as followers of Christ, our names have been changed, and no one can take that away, no matter how hard they may try. It was nothing we did to deserve it, but because our heavenly Father relentlessly pursued us, we have a forever family in heaven and a forever Father who will always love us, no matter what.