A few weeks ago, our church started partnering with an organization I'm extremely passionate about, AZ 1:27.  AZ 1:27 partners with churches in the state of Arizona in equipping, encouraging and moving people to adopt and take in foster children.  This video was shown in my church a few weeks ago:

DirectorCarter-Video from Blinktank on Vimeo.

This video broke my heart in countless ways.  It is heart breaking, to me, that it has gotten to the point where government officials have to ask the church for help.  Personally, that is embarrassing.

14,000 children in the state of Arizona live in foster homes.  That number alone is humbling and makes us want to "do something."  But often that little whisper to "do something" turns into nothing and we continue on with our lives.  Our perfect, in-the-box, American Dream, comfortable, Christian lives.  Where we allow God to work on our hearts when we want, where life works in the time frame we want.  And to me, the fact that the government is reaching out to the church-goers of the state of Arizona is mind-boggling to me.  Insanity.

To me, James 1:27 is extremely clear.  "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."  It does not say "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is to visit orphans and widows in their affliction in Africa once in a lifetime."  It does not say "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is to visit orphans and widows in their affliction when we're ready."  It does not say "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is to visit orphans and widows if God tells us to."  No.  It is plain and simple.  We are to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.  When?  All the time.  Where?  In Africa, in your community, through foster care, through adoption, whatever is the clear path for you.  This is what the Lord defines as religion, which means it should be as normal to us as praying and reading the Word.  

In comes our sermon yesterday.  Seriously worth the 30 minutes to sit down and watch this today if you are a follower of Christ. 

Foster Care & Adoption- from Redemption Gilbert on Vimeo.

"We need to be real careful when we say 'I can't afford to care for an orphan.'  Because what are we saying?  'I don't believe their Daddy is going to send the check.'  He's a Father to the Fatherless, and when we say we can't take an orphan into our home because of finances then we need to be clear about what we are saying:  'I believe God is a deadbeat dad who will not come through with the child support.'"

We have a crisis in America, and we have a crisis in the world.  Children are being left behind, and the Church is not following their call.  In fact, it is getting so bad that the Lord is using the government to push us to pure religion.  I must say, everyone talks about how if only the government would allow them to give them one piece of advice... well.  Here you go.  The government has asked for our help, are we willing to help?  The Lord has called you clearly.  Are you willing to help?  I promise you, in giving money, praying fervently, doing foster care, or adopting children, you are not only being praised by Jesus Christ Himself, but you will be blessed immensely.  You just wait and see.



One whole entire year ago, 7 people woke up early to meet a lawyer and a judge at a courthouse.

With Trey in suspenders, and everyone else in their church clothes, we met to hear the Living God say a resounding YES that would never fail.

When things may have freaked us out... had us holding him tighter in the months before this date in 2012... nothing sounded better than this yes from the Lord.

A piece of paper stating all other rights were terminated... that from this day forward he would be called Trey Malachi.

It may have lasted a total of 10 minutes, it may have only included the reading of addresses and phone numbers and then a beautiful, "I have no reason to not sign this document."  It may have been just another case for this judge and this lawyer.  It may not have been the most dramatic story or longest journey.  But it was the most beautiful, beautiful moment ever.

You know, I've never understood the Crazy Awe-Inspiring Mountain Moving abilities of our Savior until this moment.  Suddenly all the hours of waiting for a baby and all the moments spent watching the face we thought we'd have to give back or when we found out our first adoption wasn't going to go through or when a phone call came just came crashing down in one spot that I wasn't thinking about anymore.  Our entire adoption process took 9 months total.  With a failed adoption and precious journey like no other, God brought our baby to us in the way He wanted.  One day it was a birthmother's information on an email, and the next it was a face in the airport, and the next it was holding her baby, and the next it was her name on a piece of paper surrendering him to us, forever.  And if you're a waiting adoptive parent, you have to keep waiting.  You have to keep looking at the Cross and you have to keep waiting.  9 months felt like a long time, but I know people who have waited 33, who have waited 3 years.  No child is worth giving up on.  No amount of money or paperwork or waiting should lead us astray from God's calling.  Your baby, your son, your daughter, your brother or your sister is waiting.  And what God has conquered for us on the Cross means that waiting is possible.  

We used to dream of an African baby, we really did.  And God gave us an African baby, He sure did.  One little thing that was not needed or even thought of for one second in any of the paperwork turned out to be what my parent's and our whisper was way before.  He gave us a baby who's father is literally from Jamaica, and who's mother is literally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He gave us the relationship none of us ever thought we'd have with his birthmother.  He brought her to us in such a way that I still cannot imagine how she found us.  It was only God, oh, all of it was ONLY GOD.  

And you don't understand how many people have asked me if we're all "bonded" or what my brothers "think" about having a baby.  It doesn't take very long to look at a baby - no matter what his color is - who the Lord chose as your baby and feel bonded, and nobody had to think about having another baby.  He just was.  And today, as he has fully come into his own little personality, who walks now, with his hands in the air laughing at himself because he is just so very very proud, who wrestles with his brothers, who is completely and utterly the happiest baby ever, he is so perfect for my family.  The Lord could not have made a better choice.  I cannot think of one thing that God did not perfectly create to make us laugh because it's just so us.  

God truly doesn't make mistakes.  And on this day, one year ago, a baby boy who was born to a different woman was joined together with us forever and ever.  It is a beautiful tragedy, a broken beauty.  It is a choice we do not take lightly.  We gotcha, Trey Malachi!  And we will, forever.  I love you, baby.  Happy Gotcha Day, you are so worth it. 


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