Family Story: We were a comfortable family… until our eyes were opened
One Orphan is the missions, orphan care, advocacy and sponsorship ministry of America World Adoption. A few weeks ago, our One Orphan Community Coordinator sat down with Julie Massey to record some of the beautiful things happening through the willing hearts of One Orphan Storyteller team members.
Enjoy this glimpse into Julie's heart.
Julie giggles lightly as she recounts the past few years of her life.
There was a time, not long ago, when she found herself saying:
“No way will I ever go on a trip to China, that’s just not for me.”
Julie recalls how she recoiled from conversations about the upcoming trip at church and admitted to herself,
I’m afraid God might actually call me to do such a thing.
One night Julie was scrolling through Facebook when she noticed something a One Orphan Storyteller team leader had just posted; it was a blog post from a family who was adopting a child in China. The blog detailed the difficulties of orphanage life and the thousands of children who were waiting. God used that blog post to begin breaking down Julie’s barriers and excuses. She found herself thinking:
I can’t imagine not having the love of a family.
The following Sunday Julie was approached about the China trip once again. As she explained her reasons for declining, which included taking care of her children, her 6 year old son interjected saying,
“Mommy, I want you to go to China!”
Little by little God was using people and circumstances to show Julie the plans he had for her. As they sat in church that day the pastor spoke about hearing, believing and obeying. He read from James 4:7-8
Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
In those moments Julie began to realize that her excuses and fears were not from the Lord and that she would be wise to fight against anything that was keeping her from saying yes. “It’s better to be obedient and scared to death than to be comfortable where I am.”
Julie and her husband Josh began to prepare their children for the upcoming trip to China. They explained obedience, sacrifice and God’s great love for orphans. Their son Caleb began to pray and truly seek God during this time. When Julie returned from China Caleb asked Jesus to be his Savior! What a beautiful and unexpected result of saying yes to children across the globe.
While in China Julie’s eyes were opened to the extent of the Orphan crisis. How could she worry about the trivial day to day issues when there were so many children without families? As she returned home she found herself stepping outside her comfort zone as an advocate for the children she had met. She spoke at church and in women’s groups. She saw the impact of advocacy as children were matched with their forever families. The children and their stories gave her strength she didn’t know she had.
Julie returned to China again the following year with a renewed passion to advocate and share stories. She was blessed to connect with a prospective family and share information about a waiting child who would later enter that very family.
Julie’s life was filled with love and purpose. But there was still one thing missing. Her husband Josh had experienced a call to adoption earlier in his life. But Julie had not. In the midst of all her experiences in China she was still resisting God in that area of her life.
But one day and one comment from her daughter would change Julie forever. As they rode in the car that day Ava asked her mother,
“Mommy do the kids in China get goodnight kisses?”
In that moment Julie became truly broken. In the months that followed Julie continued to receive words about obedience as the Lord solidified the call to adopt in her heart.
God once again used her son Caleb to confirm everything she was feeling.
As a new believer, he was reading the gospel of John. One night he excitedly discovered John 14:18
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
He immediately ran out to show his parents and rejoiced over God’s heart for the orphan. There was nothing else to do at that point. Julie and her husband Josh surrendered and began the process to adopt from China.
“I’ve never felt God’s presence so strongly.
My trips, my experiences have made me bold.
My kids have changed, we have changed,
we are voices for the orphan.
We were a comfortable family until our eyes were opened.
And we wouldn’t change a thing.”