On our fourteenth anniversary in the summer of 2016, Greg and I sat in a busy breakfast cafe on Hilton Head Island, taking advantage of extra adult hands to take care of our kids at the beach house our party of sixteen was occupying for the week. We ended up talking about how God has opened our eyes through adoption to the hurting moms in our small town and how He then provided the opportunity for me to volunteer at the local crisis pregnancy center. I struggled to articulate some thoughts and got frustrated, so much so I declared we needed to talk about something else. We talked about another less meaningful topic momentarily, but then we ended back on the harder stuff, thanks to the comforts of marriage.
I was grasping how adoption had changed me from the inside out. I knew God used adoption to build my faith while He was building my family, but I had a new perspective of what my story could do for others. Just as God was working out this new chapter in my heart and I had some time to talk about it with Greg, I read Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted by Shannan Martin, whose family has its own stories of adoption and faith. She writes:
“Though we didn’t realize it then, adoption was our earliest entry point away from the comfort of the status quo and through the doorway of tangible distress and loss. It was here that I began to see, for the first time, that perhaps what the world calls ‘brokenness’ can be a thing of real beauty, adorned in the best possible ways, unexpected and entirely holy.”
As Christians, we like to do Bible studies and acquire more and more knowledge, which is fine, but that can’t be all we do. (Trust me, I know. I like reading books, too!) We have to go do something with what, and especially Who, we know. We have to go and serve and love. Then we can invite them into our churches and into our lives and into our homes – and hopefully they’ll want to come.
Greg and I took this idea to the next level as 2017 began and started a new small group focused on local service. Seeing how God put us on the same page was one of my favorite parts of this season.
This meant leaving the comforts of our small group that got together through our church. These people who spanned different generations have loved our family so well. They prayed for us when we started contemplating a third adoption again. They rejoiced with us when our third child, Rachel, was born and prayed for us as we navigated other parenting seasons. They welcomed us in their homes and lives. They accepted our invitations, helped us move, and became our friends.
Stepping out in faith to do something new with God didn’t mean sacrificing friends, but rather taking what they’d taught us and sharing it with others. Even so, leaving that group was bittersweet, and I was glad my husband believed God was calling us to something new.
In January 2017, we gathered with what was shaping up to be our new small group in the same living room where God had spoken to my heart about local service. It’s the living room where Rachel took her first steps toward her brother and sister. It’s where our family gathers to watch Fixer Upper. Toys are scattered. Often whatever book Cate is reading can be found on the couch. Ben is notorious for leaving his socks there. It’s where life has happened and will continue to happen – all because I said “I do” to my husband fifteen years ago and God has remained faithful all the days since.
This is a slightly edited excerpt from Kristin Hill Taylor’s book “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” which is available at Amazon. Kristin believes in seeking God as the author of every story and loves swapping these stories with friends on her porch. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids and shares stories at kristinhilltaylor.com.