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WEEK 17: CALLED TO CARE

Hi all, it's time for week 17! Next week, I will have been sharing these stories for a third of the year. Best not to get ahead of myself though; this week it is my friend Lesley's story. Lesley and I met on a course when we were both looking for what out next step would be. Now she is training to be a priest in the Church of England! She shares with us about her call to adoption and God's perfect timing.


 

In Lesley's words...


I distinctly remember when I was young watching a documentary about children in care and thinking “that’s not ok”, quickly followed by the thought of “one day I will do something about that”. Fast forward nearly twenty years and I was on a first date with Antony and I for some reason blurted out “you need to know that I think adoption is part of my future family”, looking at me he said “me too, I was adopted as a toddler” and so we married thirteen months later.


We did not know what role adoption would play in our future family at first, but we left ourselves open to God and left our hearts open to the many potential ways our family could grow. As we did life and looked at the needs of the world around us, talked about Antony’s past and got involved with organisations like Home for Good, we felt that there were children out there who really needed to know they were Plan A and so adoption became Plan A for us too.


Hospitality dinner table

We began the adoption process in September 2019, when asked about the type of children we felt able to care for we replied with “give us those who would otherwise not have a home”. Adoption was not about us ‘getting children’, but about us being a family for children who really needed one and so we decided to focus on ‘children who waited the longest’. In statistical terms, that means children over the age of 5, siblings, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities or medical conditions. Adoption for us was a calling, it was a way to serve God as a couple and to offer radical hospitality.


As the world went into lockdown we were the very first online Adoption panel and we were approved to adopt two children between the ages of 3 and 10. Then the search began, we had to rely on God so heavily during this time, there were 3000 children waiting for families and to say yes or no to them felt impossibly painful, so we began to rely on divine guidance. Due to our sense of overwhelm our family finder suggested a block on us being contacted by social workers looking for families for their children and we agreed. As he pressed block, a social worker pressed send and one last message came through. I recognised the children instantly as children we had already looked at and felt were a possibility, so I did not even wait for my husband to come home before asking for more information. That evening, as we read their details, we cried (and I vomited) and we knew that our hearts had been stirred for them.


Lesley's family baptism

We were linked and then matched with these two children and plans began to fall into place. In the summer of 2020 our son (age 5) and our daughter (age 6) moved into our home and life began as a family of four. We lived out our faith in our day to day lives with them and we were surprised at how quickly they started to develop their own unique relationships with God, reminding us to pray and asking God to help them when they were finding something tricky. In June 2022 the children were baptised, we could not believe how full the church was with people who love and support them, the many sets of Godparents, they had chosen and even a set of God-Grandparents. They have enriched not just our lives, but the lives of so many. People came to a faith in Jesus in that church service.


There were times when we were questioned by people, for the way we chose to start a family, there are times perhaps when we even feel like we have chosen the hard path. But, when we asked their social worker why they sent us that message, we were told we were their one final look for adopters, after two years of searching. Then when we got the children’s paperwork, we could see that they were in fact a matter of weeks away from a court hearing, where the advice was to separate them into lifelong foster care. Our daughter has been able to explain this better than we ever have, “God’s perfect timing” for us all!


 


Author: Lesley

Lesley lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, two adopted children and pet snake. She is a secondary school teacher and is currently training to be a priest in the Church of England. She began attending church as a teenager and has been going ever since. She is passionate about young people, healthy relationships and science and faith communication. 



 

Thank you all so much for reading this story of God connecting with his people. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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Until next week,


Name: Laura





Founder: Laura

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