This past weekend Erika and I attended the Together for Adoption conference in Nashville, TN. This was our second year and it was great to see how much the conference has grown. Zach Nielsen was live-blogging the event and soon there will be audio from the sessions available on the website I linked to above. I’d like to mention a few things that Erika and I really appreciated about the event:
First, it was great to be surrounded by people who love adoption. They had child care available at this conference so we got to see many families with their adopted children. Many of these children have been adopted trans-racially. Trans-racial adoption is truly a beautiful picture of the gospel.
Second, I was very thankful for Dan Cruver’s opening message on James 1:26-27. This passage which is centered on “true religion” is, for obvious reasons, a jugular text when it comes to caring for orphans. It can sometimes be overlooked however that James says that “true religion” consists of more than just visiting widows and orphans in their distress. We can’t neglect James’ call to bridle the tongue and to keep oneself unstained by the world just because we feel good about ourselves for being involved in social justice ministries.
Third, it was good to connect with some old friends like Steve and Kate Hall from the church formerly known as AHEFC. They have adopted two boys from China: Sheehan and Josiah. We had dinner with the whole family Saturday night and it was awesome to see these two happy, healthy boys.
Fourth, Erika and I were both challenged by a break-out session with Kirk and Heidi Weimer. They went to Ethiopia planning to adopt a baby and ended up adopting a sibling group of 3. Then they went back and adopted 3 more. It was very helpful for me to hear from Kirk as he recounted how his thinking changed through the process. It all came down to the thought, “Well, we have room,” which is what they have called their new ministry. Check out their website to hear more about their story.
Finally, I really appreciated Michael Easley’s contribution to the conference. Dr. Easley is so intensely biblical in his preaching. Apart from his shout-out to premillennialism I liked his description of his involvement with adoption. Much like us he and his wife got involved in adoption because they were infertile and wanted to have more children. Sometimes I feel a little embarrassed at a conference like this because I didn’t start adopting because of my commitment to orphan care. We just wanted kids. But God used that desire to open our eyes. I don’t remember who said it but I’ll close with this quote from the conference: “Adoption isn’t a job to be done; it’s a privilege to be entered into.”