Meet the Templeton Family!: Stephen and Beth Templeton, Emma, Kristina, Rachel, Andrei, Julie, Sergei and Pasha
Stephen & Beth adopted Kristina and Pasha (biological sister and brother) when they were 10 and 5 from Russia. Then went back 18 months later and brought home two brothers we met when we were there, Andrei and Sergei, 10 and 7.
Beth, what first tugged on your heart about the Fatherless?
Our hearts were first opened to adoption before we had even an inkling of awareness of the fatherless. It was back in the Spring of 1999 when we said “yes” to the call to adopt. I love to tell this story because it still amazes and excites me. Stephen and I were sitting in a parent meeting at our children's small Christian school and Susan Hillis, an adoptive mom, had just gotten up to speak. The meeting itself was actually over, but she had asked if she could share about an opportunity to have Russian orphans spend a summer in your home. I didn't know Susan at the time and I was busy filling out a form that the school required; I was not listening to her and had no interest at all, to tell you the truth. As my head was bent over the paper, I had this sensation of someone lifting my head, kind of like a marionette string being gently pulled. At the same time I heard, "You need to do this." I did not hear with my ears, but I will tell you, it was so clear to me that it was as if I had heard with my ears. I turned to Stephen and said, "I really think we are supposed to do this," to which he responded, "I know."
Tell us one unique thing about your family/ministry.
We have felt the strong pull from the Lord to come alongside adoptive parents to bring help, hope and encouragement. It is so exciting to see how God is calling many in the church to have a passion for the Fatherless and many to open the doors wide for adoption, but we have felt a similar passion to see adoptive parents receive God’s great love for them, through all phases of the parenting journey. So our ministry, Hope at Home, exists to help parents encounter the Father’s love for them and their children, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters.
We have also made many trips back to Russia since our adoptions to minister in the orphanages there, alongside a pastor who God connected us with. This has been a unique experience for us all, and wonderful for our adopted children who have had the opportunity to spend time in their home country, visit their friends in the orphanage, visit extended family, etc.
What was one challenge either before, during or after your child(ren) came home?
Our toughest challenges have come as our adopted children became teenagers and hit those questions of identity, questions so complicated by their relinquishment, rejection, neglect, etc. This took us by surprise, as they seemed to do so well once we got past our initial adjustment phases. Dealing with their anger and pain after so many years of pouring out our love has been very challenging, and wonderful at the same time because it has drawn us even closer to the One who knows, who understands and who has all the answers and all LIFE and HOPE!
If you could tell a family that was considering adoption one bit of advice what would it be?
Great question! I would say that the thing I have learned through this process that I would pass on is to make my main job as a parent to stay closely attached to Jesus. Your children’s needs are constant and often very demanding- that is the way God designed it and exactly as it should be. But if we aren’t careful we can spend all our time focusing on their needs, and find that our focus on the Lord and His promises and goodness is missing without us realizing it. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best parenting you will ever do is done not by placing all your focus on parenting, therapy, attachment...... (great stuff and definitely helpful!), but by placing your main focus on the Lord. He is your best parenting advisor and He will lead you and you will hear His voice!
What verse was especially encouraging to you during your adoption journey?
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. - Is 58:11-12
Share one blessing that has happened because you said YES and followed God on this journey.
I have been so blessed to see how God has increased our capacity to love Him and to love others because of our Yes to Him. To see how our biological daughters have been shaped by our adoptions is way beyond what we would ever have been able to do going on mission trips or hosting guests. When we first said ‘yes’ my primary concern was for our three girls and I’ll never forget what the Lord said-- “It will be hard. But it will not be the kind of hard that will bring destruction to them. It will be the kind of hard that will build them up for my kingdom purposes.” He has been faithful to that word, for all 9 of us. He has shaped us through our adoptions to be better able to love and live as kingdom people.
If you could share one other thing that is meaningful to you on the topic of adoption/orphan care, what would it be?
I just want to encourage you mamas-- we are all most likely aware of God’s heart for orphans. Oh how He loves them. Oh how He is moving on their behalf! And we have all caught some of His amazing heart for adoption. His hand is moving all over the church in these days to raise up families for these precious children. But, are you equally aware of His heart of love for you? As much as He loves the orphan and as much as He loves adoption, so much does His heart burn with love for you. He is moving on your behalf as you parent Your children. You are not alone!! Father God Himself has called you to co-labor with Him in this amazing calling! How cool is that?!
Thank you, Templeton Family, for sharing HOPE with us here at Reaching Hearts! Be sure to check out the Hope at Home blog for more information and much encouragement.
You can also find info about a new devotional for adoptive/fostering mommas at 31nuggetsofhope.com.