In 2008, Leah, Thaddeus and I began a journey towards adopting a new family member. We went to informational sessions and sought God's will in choosing whether to adopt domestically or internationally. Then we asked God's guidance in selecting the right agency to guide us through this journey. Then we had to attend training sessions and then fill out paper work, more paper work and much more paper work. We had to complete a home study and our agency then prepared the study to be given to county social workers in California. Then we began the "child search" process which was going to be more lengthy for us because we could only have one child, we had a specific gender and approximate age range. In December of 2010, we were contacted about an eight month old boy who was needing to be adopted. This was definitely not what we were expecting because we had hoped to adopt a boy closer to Thaddeus' age. I was not ready to change diapers again and seriously had to look at the age issue. When this child graduates from high school, I would be in my late 60's. Was it really fair to this child for his father to be as old as his friend's grandparents? We spent the Christmas vacation praying about this and had serious discussions about the next step. So in January, we met the little fellow. My age played a big factor in my hesitancy in meeting him, but he certainly had personality to spare and was so loving. As we prayed, we felt God's leading to follow through with this child and so we began to spend more time with him. In March of 2011, we took the step to have him become our Foster child and move into our home. The next month, he celebrated his first birthday with us. The wheels of a domestic adoption can move slowly and it wasn't until October of 2012 that we finally had the clearance and court date for adopting this child. Many of you knew something was happening, but we couldn't share on-line about his or our progress because of privacy rights within the Foster Care system. On Thursday, October 18th at 11:15 AM, Caleb Goslen legally joined our family. His birth certificate will have us as his parents. He is now a member of our family and there is no turning back. Now, we begin the journey of raising him in the way the Lord wants Caleb to go. We are now stewards of this life for the next sixteen years as we prepare Caleb to be the man God wants him to be. Quite a tall order.
I have learned a lot in this journey called adoption. I have learned that God's timing is usually slower than mine, no matter how hard I push it. I am having to learn continuously to trust God heart when I cannot see His hand. I have been reminded that God's plan is usually different from mine. There are nights when I put Caleb to bed that I wonder how an old guy like me is supposed to be the active father he needs. I have asked God numerous times during this process if I was being selfish or trying to be faithful to Him. I have learned to be weak and let others help me because there are times I am overwhelmed. I have learned to listen to God's Word and allow Him to comfort me through His Word and those who are close to me. I have learned that I need to keep myself in good shape so I can run and play with Caleb as he grows up. I have learned that there are a lot of hurting kids in our country who need loving homes. We purposely chose to not adopt overseas because we saw such a great need in our own country. I have learned to listen to my wife more than usual because I have a tendency to do my own thing and do it my way. I have watched as the Goslen, Boggs and Huyhn families have embraced and also adopted Caleb. I have watched as Thaddeus has gone through the peaks and valleys of being an older brother. I have learned to be grateful for a loving church family who is just as excited about Caleb joining our family as we are. The lessons are much deeper and personal than this, but this will have to do for this Sip.
People have asked us why we wanted to adopt: Our response is that we wanted Thaddeus to have a brother so that he would have a life-long sibling in which he could share, learn and grow. When Thaddeus met Caleb for the first time, he prayed "God, please let Caleb be my brother". Beautiful and touching! Of course, he doesn't always enjoy having a brother now because that's what happens with siblings. But we thank God that these two boys will grow up with a connection they will have with no one else since they will be brothers.
But I must tell you, there was another deciding factor in us choosing to adopt. When I was ten years old, I was adopted. I was not adopted into my earthly family because, if you know the Goslens of Greensboro, you know that I am genetically and socially a Goslen. I was adopted into God's family on the day I gave my life to Christ. The number of siblings I have is in the billions and growing daily. I have lived in North Carolina, Kentucky, Hawaii and California. In each of those places, I have met dear friends who are life-long friends because we shared Jesus' blood. There is no other reason we would be friends, except for Jesus. We are family. Jesus had made us family. He adopted us as His children. John 1:12 says, "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave them the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, not of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." Fifty-one years ago, I was born again into God's family. I am now a child of God and Jesus even calls me His friend. I didn't deserve it, but God is generous. Do you remember the day you were adopted into God's family? Do you remember who was instrumental in bringing you to that point? Why not take a moment today and thank God for your new life in Christ? Why not take a moment today and thank those people who were instrumental in leading you to this decision. I am thrilled to be brought into God's family. Aren't you?!