Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Smith Family ~ 31 Families of HOPE: Day 25

Meet the Smith Family!: Jeremiah & Ashley Smith and Marvel

Ashley, what first tugged on your heart about the Fatherless?

The Husband and I both are products of adoption (though through different circumstances) and it was always part of our “10 year plan” to someday build our family through adoption… It wasn’t until we did a short-term mission to Brazzaville, Congo in 2007 that we began to feel God directing us towards adoption as our first path to parenthood. And ultimately, it was during that trip that we first felt the call to Africa.

Tell us one unique thing about your family/ministry.

The Husband and I have been in ministry for over a decade in one capacity or another: First serving as worship leader (him) and children/youth director (me) in an inner-city missions church, then moving states to be on staff as (surprise surprise) worship leader (him) and children/youth director (me) at a small church. Most recently, we are excited to be part of the new Orphan Care ministry that is launching at our church and love serving in ministry still!

What was one challenge either before, during or after your child(ren) came home?

For us, adoption has been an incredible leap of faith financially. We were blessed beyond measure in the ability to cover Marvel’s adoption fees and are working hard to trust God completely and not become entrapped by fear as we embark on our second adoption!

If you could tell a family that was considering adoption one bit of advice what would it be?

Find people who understand. There is no way I could have made it through the journey without a village made up of like-minded people. Blogs are an amazing resource and where we connected with the most people. Be cautious of both “too-good-to-be-true” forums and likewise “adoption-bashing” groups.  Finally, I would encourage families to open their minds and hearts to the idea of older-child adoption. I was SO afraid of adopting an older child when we felt God directing us that way, but now? I can’t imagine life without our amazing Marvel!!

What verse was especially encouraging to you during your adoption journey?

Strangely enough, it was Ezekiel 34:12 that gave me strength and perseverance during the adoption process.

“I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day”

This scripture reminded me of the ways God has relentlessly pursued his children from less-than-ideal situations…much like the way we pursue our children in adoption. It was that revelation that gave me renewed fervor!

Share one blessing that has happened because you said YES and followed God on this journey.

You mean besides Marvel? Okay okay… I would say the greatest blessing that has happened in my life through this journey is a clearer understanding of God’s heart…not just for the orphan (although Yes! Including them) but also for the hurting, the broken, the poor, the widow. For you. And for me.

Tangibly, I was so completely overwhelmed and blessed by the support system that surrounded us, prayed with us, gave us their time, energy, (and yes) money as our village. It goes without saying that there were so many people celebrating Marvel’s homecoming with us!

If you could share one other thing that is meaningful to you on the topic of adoption/orphan care, what would it be?

I think it’s important to realize that this isn’t going to be easy. God is in the midst and He’s going to do an awesome work in your life and in the life of your child(ren). But it isn’t going to come without a cost. Parenting a child from a hard-place looks different. It IS different.

You’ll think you couldn’t possibly need to know all the stuff you are required to read about. 

You will. 

You’ll never imagine that your child will fit one of those “case studies” Dr. Purvis describes.

He or She will.

You’ll think that nothing could be more difficult than the waiting.

It can.

But in the middle of all those hard things, you see the beauty of trust building in your child. You start to see healing in his eyes. You see a boy that was hiding behind walls he built to protect his little heart. You’ll realize he wants to fall asleep in your arms. 

And deep down in your heart you realize, that as hard as it is?  You’d do it all over again.  That after all that? It was really a story of the lengths God will go to bring redemption and family to the fatherless..To His child. You were merely the vessel He used.

Because you said Yes.

Thank you, Smith family, for sharing HOPE with us here at Reaching Hearts!  Be sure to check out their family blog so you can see God continue to work in and through their family.  Their story isn't done!  I'm excited to share they are full-swing into their second adoption journey!  You can be part of their story!  Check it out.  

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Be sure not to miss the rest of the "31 Families of HOPE" series:

1 comment:

  1. I am very glad that you went ahead with the adoption. I know that it changes your life for the better. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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