We are the Ramseys. We live in Southern California and our family has been part of the El Salvador program for two years. We are waiting for a referral of a little girl and yes, the waiting has been extremely painful. God has used this season of waiting to give us a passion for orphan advocacy. I am blessed to serve as the Missions Director at our church and last month we did an “Adoption Sunday” service. It was a powerful morning and we will never forget it. We heard numerous comments from people who were deeply moved and had never been part of a service which focused on orphan care and adoption. Our hope is that by reading this update, others might be encouraged to approach their churches and coordinate a similar service.
Last year our lead pastor's family adopted a little boy named Luke. Our pastor obviously shares our passion for adoption and was very open when we approached him with the idea of “Adoption Sunday.” The entire service was covered in prayer and every aspect focused on adoption (from the bulletin cover to the worship songs). My husband and I were blessed to share part of our adoption journey with the congregation. We shared the story of how God called us to adoption, the struggles of waiting and the love we feel for the little girl that we have yet to meet. We also showed a short video on adoption which tied in with our story. Our pastor gave an amazing message on adoption, which included his family's personal adoption journey. It was an incredible message on how adoption is at the heart of the gospel. You can download the sermon at http://www.villagechurchirvine.com/audio/missionSunday053109.mp3. After the message we invited another America World family, Pat and Kacie VanWinkle, to share their story. The VanWinkles have three adopted children from China, Korea and Ethiopia. Their story was very moving and you could hear many sniffles and tears throughout the room (during the entire service!).
We closed our service by inviting people forward who had been touched by the miracle of adoption. I had already contacted the families that I was aware of and had asked them to read designated scriptures on orphans and adoption. We had over twenty five family members come forward to read what God's Word says about adoption. Our oldest son (who is seven years old) read John 14:18 – “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” It was an incredible visual picture to see so many people from the congregation whose lives had been changed through adoption. There were many tears (and many people commented that we should have provided tissue during the service!). One family came forward to share that God had spoken to their hearts to pursue adoption during the service. Praise God! We had representatives available from three organizations to provide resources on foster care, local and international adoption. Many people said that the morning was one of the most touching, challenging and memorable services they had ever been part of. We know that God defends His orphans, and we were so honored to share in a little piece of His heart during our service. We hope that others will be given the opportunity to share their stories and to challenge their congregations as well. “Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.” (Proverbs 24:12). We are so grateful that our eyes have been opened and we are blessed to share in the miracle of adoption!!! – Jenni, Mike, Jordan and Aidan Ramsey (Tustin, California)