Isaiah 43:5

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5

Why We're Adopting

First you should know that this is written mostly from my (Merle’s) perspective. Second I am assuming that you know most of the background of our family particularly that we have 7 children and our youngest 2 we began fostering in 2004, and we adopted them in 2006. 

The simple answer to why we have decided to adopt again is this. “Kim and I have felt the call by God to adopt and we believe for us to ignore this call would be disobedience to our heavenly father and therefore sin.”(2 John 1:6, James 4:17)

 We have each individually felt this call and have sought and prayed for God’s confirmation of this step in our lives and the life of our family. God has answered these prayers primarily through His amazing peace as we submit to His will for our lives (Philippians 4:6-7)

Before I explain more specifically why I believe God brought us to this point, I want to also mention a few things that are not the reasons we are adopting.

1.We do not feel “unfulfilled” with our current children and grandchildren. It is true that Kim loves children (more than I do, although I’m catching up quick) but her desire to adopt a child through foster care was not because she was unfulfilled with our current children, but instead was touched through seeing the need for these children to have parents and forever families and seeing the example of dear friends of ours who were making this sacrifice for the sake of children in foster care. And now the reasons for Kim and I are even further from any feelings of un-fulfillment.

     2.We are not scared of the empty nest. Sounds silly I know, but perhaps some might think that we have this internal need to be nurturers and/or caregivers. While to be these things sound extremely noble and Godly, there are days we want nothing more than to just be alone. Kim and I enjoy each other’s company more than anything in this world and when God gives us those times of respite we cherish them immensely. So for us this is definitely the opposite of “maximizing our comforts” (more on that later)

     3.We are not going for a Guinness record for the number of children. Haha, yes this is silly as well, but I just want to point out again that this is NOT about us. Quite honestly we often feel like the rest of American adults who at times want to just… “get them out of our way so we can be about our lives” – John Piper.

The long answer for me is indeed a story of the sanctifying work of God in my life and I will include some of that backstory in this post. But here is a list of answers why we are adopting, and believe me when I say that these motivations are shared by many of the Christian adoptive parents we have come into contact with.

1. Adopting is a way of modeling what God did for each of us in adopting us as His children. (Ephesians 1:4-7)
2. Adopting is counter-cultural and will model for our other children that God calls us to embrace sacrificial love above maximizing our own comforts. (Ephesians 5:2)
3. Adopting a child is a clear way for us to obey God’s call to care for the Orphan (James 1:27). 
4.God has called us to Orphan ministry and for us adopting is “practicing what we preach”.(James 1:22) 
5..By adopting a child we would affirm our stand with God in the sanctity of human life over the abortion culture of death. (John 10:10)
6Adoption gives a child an opportunity to hear and receive the saving message of the Gospel. Orphans and Children without parental care are a mission field and bringing another child into our home is another way we can obey God’s command to make disciples. (Mathew 28:19)

We are not disillusioned in any way and think that there are only pros and no cons to this adoption. We understand the special needs both physically and emotionally that will come with adopting a child. There will be more emotional and financial stress. We will have fewer freedoms. And the most concerning is the extra strain this will bring to our existing children and extended family.

However, we believe the pro’s far outweigh the con’s in light of eternity and we are trusting God to see us and our family through these challenges.

Backstory on Merle

Before I begin this small summary of my personal backstory I would like to say that there is a lot of detail that I am omitting mostly because it would be boring for a lot of you and way too long to read. But I did want to note that there are a lot of people and experiences that have also shaped who I am and God has used them to impact my life and this decision. For me to omit these things does not lessen the fact that these people were and are a very important part of my story.

I’ve lived my life as a pretty comfortable Christian. God has had me push out of my comfort zone at times but I never let it be too far. I’ve often wanted to serve God more and prayed that God would use me in some sort of ministry. This led to God leading me to use the gifts he had given me in various forums. For the past 35 years this has been mostly through drama ministry. Performing in church plays, acting in and directing church drama programs at LEFC and my previous church, leading a Drama Ministry team called “His Imitators” (which coincidentally was a ministry inspired and started by the same couple who inspired Kim and I to enter Foster care).  These ministry opportunities were definitely rewarding and I felt God’s presence and movement again and again. But…this was never too far out of my “comfort zone” and natural gifting. I still remember about 15-20 years ago Kim and I both took a spiritual gift test. Kim’s primary gift was “Mercy” and mine was “Faith” with a minor in “Creative Communication”. Hmmm well I didn’t know exactly how to use the gift of faith but creative communication sounded a lot like drama. Therefore this is what I centered on pretty much when it came to seeking ministry opportunities. It is only recently that I am beginning to understand how God will allow me to use the gift of Faith and be open to tapping in to those gifts that I have previously dismissed as only for others (i.e. Mercy, Teaching, and Evangelism) because I did not have those specific gifts.

When Kim presented the idea of wanting to Fost-adopt, (Foster care with the specific intent to adopt the child you are fostering) I can tell you that I was not all in. This was outside my comfort zone, I did not have the gift of Mercy, we already had 5 kids and it sounded like a lot of work and hassle. But Kim did have the gift of Mercy and I could see her desire was great and truly felt called to do this. I didn’t feel “called” but I didn’t have a good reason not to do it either. I can tell you that I felt it was good… and right…and it honored God to do it, so I would be there to support her. What I found was that all the “hassle” was worth it, and I love John-Merle and Kaden very much, as much as all my biological children. I can also say that I felt pretty early on this was God’s will for them to be our children. But I also felt like “Ok, we adopted 2 foster children not just one….this is it….we don’t have to do this again, 7 children is a full quiver for sure”


In the fall of 2010, Kim felt another call from God.  She had been following the adoption stories of friends and was very moved by the needs surrounding orphan care especially those of orphans overseas. Kim’s mercy senses are sharp and when God asks her to move she doesn’t hesitate. She reached out to some friends from church who adopted and the Ministry at LEFC about raising awareness of the orphan crisis and the joy and importance of adoption. From that Team127(James 1:27) was born. My overall attitude about this ministry during its first 6 months or so was the same as my attitude when we were going into foster care. It was good….and right….and it honored God to do it, so I will be there to support Kim again in this “Mercy” ministry.

I definitely felt God moving in this ministry. He brought together an amazing group of people with a love for the orphan and adoption, and it was infectious. Leading up to Orphan Sunday in November 2011 I was fully vested in Team127. God was moving with this ministry and it seemed we had the attention of the enemy as well. It was just days before we were to participate in an Orphan Sunday presentation at LEFC, when both Kim and I were physically struck down. Both of us were in the ER a couple of days before Orphan Sunday and I ended up in the hospital on that very Sunday. It became pretty clear that this was a spiritual attack. We serve an amazing God however, and Team127 was able present His message on Orphan Sunday without us.

This was the beginning of God working very powerfully and deeply in our lives as we continued to advocate for the orphan through Team127. Even outside this ministry we felt God’s power as he used many brothers and sisters in Christ to minister to us in love and prayer through those physical struggles. This strengthened our faith and grew our love for God.

The Heart of the Gospel

Pretty early on, during our meetings with Team127 one of members of our team would discuss the vertical to horizontal connection that adoption has in our lives. (Romans 8:14-17). The reality that God saved us by adopting us into his family, and that we in turn imitate God (Ephesians 5:1) by adopting children into our family’s was beginning to impact my spiritual world view. When Team127 was asked by a Sunday school class to teach during their parenting series about adoption I was scared to death but felt that I needed to do this. I had never taught an adult Sunday school class in my life. I dug into all the adoption scriptures and resources that I could and prepared a lesson highlighting the connection between spiritual and earthly adoption. In regard to the love and understanding I had for our spiritual adoption, this was a turning point for me.

Are you all in?

While God was teaching me more about adoption, He was also working on other parts of my life, cleaning out some closets if you know what I mean. If I had the gift of Faith, did I have enough to go all in? Have I really turned over my entire life to my Lord or was I saving some parts to help maximize my comforts and live the “American Dream”.  God was leading me to messages about desiring God more than anything else and loving people enough to confront them about eternity. Our Pastor was preaching messages that seemed to be aimed right at me. The Great Commission was not just for those with the gift of evangelism….. the command to make disciples was for me as well. So what would this look like for me? Being open to even asking this question was a first for me. Certainly those on the “Mission Field” knew what they were supposed to do, but if my mission field was here and God has supernaturally placed people in my life who need to hear about Jesus, did I have the faith to trust God in this?  It was a slow build but God was asking me if I was ready to go all in. I’m still a work in progress but I can say that I’m am seeking God now more than any other time in my life and I don’t feel scared that I might have to go outside of my comfort zone, I’m actually excited about it.


I had felt in my heart since the beginning of 2012 that perhaps we would be called to adopt again. John Piper adopted when he was 50, and I was 46 so I still had some time to find some reasons not to. At the time that I was asked to teach the Sunday school class on Adoption at LEFC God just made it clear to me that that’s what we were to do.(Merle, are you all in?) I was scared but also confident. When I shared this with Kim she was like “Really? Who are you and what did you do with my husband?” Well she didn't actually say that but she was surprised and wondered how serious I really was. But I was serious, still scared about it at first but I knew God wanted me to tell her this. She said her desire to adopt was there, but didn't trust herself to know if it was just her feelings or from God. She told herself (and God hears everything!) that it must come from me. We both committed this to prayer and discussed it whenever we could. After about a month we decided that we should pray for some specific direction as to what type and/or where we would pursue adoption. After some meaningful discussion about different directions we came up with 3 specific possibilities. We decided to pray individually for God to lead us to the child he had for us. At the time we both had gut feelings but didn’t tell each other what they were at the time. When we met together a few days later to pray and discuss it again, it became clear that God had already told us in our heart through those “gut” feelings what we were to pursue.

Our eyes are wide open and we know God is in control. He may close doors that we think we are to walk through, so this is a Faith Journey for us. (Romans 14:23b) Each step is a part of His plan even if we have to turn around and walk a different path. We are both excited about this journey and we covet your prayers and support.


  1. Thanks for posting. You have touched my heart.

  2. that is such an interesting, unique and beautiful story. thanks for sharing!