Adoption and Fostering Depict God’s Family
A handful of families at Veritas are welcoming young strangers into their homes. Some to foster. Others to adopt. While seasoned with various motivations, the meat and potatoes of each case is unprecedented, unconditional acceptance. It’s a journey from hopelessness to affection. From estrangement to family.
For these families, it’s less about doing good and more about pointing people to what God is doing with his church. Adoption retells the church’s redemption story, an ongoing drama about a God who welcomes the displaced into his family and fathers them as his own children. Here is a closer look at these families. The Andrades talk about the joys and challenges of fostering. The Martins use their transracial adoption experience to paint a picture of God’s church. The Scheutzows talk about infertility and God’s miraculous intervention.
Fostering Shows a Different Side to the World
Joe and Liz Andrade attend Veritas Tri-Village and have been foster parents through The Bair Foundation for about two years. Showing love, no matter the kids’ response, is a recurring theme in the Andrade household. Even though they hope the kids will return to their parents with greater self-esteem and knowledge of Jesus, they know that what matters is their unrelenting commitment to showing God’s love. Joe explained, “We never know how long the kids will stay with us. We just love them every day and trust in Jesus. We don’t have any influence or control as it relates to that situation. The only thing we control is the love we give them.”
The word “foster” means to help someone (or something) grow and develop. It also means to take care of someone’s needs. “As foster parents we provide children a safe place to live. The children we foster come into care with a lot of trauma. They need constant positive reinforcement to let them know that they haven’t done anything wrong. We care for our kids with an open heart,” Joe and Liz.
When asked what she’d say to parents thinking about fostering Liz replied: “Nike says it best. Just do it.” Liz also shared a quote from Andy Stanley, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raised.”
A Transracial Adoption
The Martins have been members at Veritas from the beginning, offering leadership through community group while Matthew has served as a pastor at the Short North. Below is taken from their blog before they were matched with Eliza, their daughter who they are in the process of adopting.
“…the beauty of God’s own family…inspired us to actually begin working towards a transracial adoption–that is, the adoption of a child of another race–because we want our family to be a picture of God’s family and kingdom. Not only do we see in passages like Romans 8:14-17 that God’s family is full of adopted children, we also see that in the book of Revelation, God’s people will be from among every tribe, and language, and nation….God’s family contains people that do not all look the same, and we want to mirror that….we don’t feel like adopting an African American child is something we need to do in order to atone for a sin such as racism. Rather, because we are free in Christ to live by faith and not by fear, and because he has blessed our family to be able to love and serve others by meeting the genuine need of a home and a family for a child, we are pursuing transracial adoption as an act of love instead of reparation.” – Matthew and Ashley Martin in a blog post from June, 2015.
In July 2015, the Martins were matched to a woman named Katrina who was expecting to deliver in about two weeks. Just twelve days later and one cancelled work trip to San Diego, the Martins were holding Eliza at the hospital, feeding her and recording video clips in a journal. The first video is broken into several clips, as the father Matthew Martin fights back tears, producing a video journal for Eliza to watch later. With Eliza in his arms, Matthew looks into the camera and says, “We’re making this video to capture how special this time is. How you came into this world. How many people love you. Capturing this moment, for you to look back on is important. Your name, Eliza means ‘pledged to God.’ We chose that because we realize that ultimately you don’t belong to us, but to God. So for all of us who love you, and who you mean so much to, we felt like the name Eliza would serve as a reminder to all of us. We are just stewards, hoping and praying to raise you the best we can, the way God would want us to. We also chose Eliza because it is part of your sister’s name and felt like that was a great way to link you to her and Katrina for the rest of your life.”
Moving Past Infertility
For the Scheutzows, adoption is about growing the family and making disciples. Infertility prevented the Scheutzows from having more kids, and so the Scheutzows looked into adoption.
Josh Scheutzow explained it this way “It was more about this call on our lives to have a larger family, to bring up and contribute to the next generation of people that are following Christ. But we were unable to get pregnant for a couple years. It was hard. So, we looked into adoption as a way to grow our family. We came to see that adoption is a beautiful representation of God’s family because regardless of where we came from, and who our parents were, we’re all adopted by God through Christ.”
The Scheutzows were recently matched with a mom who is about twenty-five weeks pregnant. When she was just six weeks pregnant, she went to an abortion clinic but was told that she wasn’t pregnant. Josh said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that God hid this pregnancy from the doctors.”
At twenty weeks she returned, visibly pregnant, and did not proceed with the abortion but instead was referred to the Scheutzow’s social worker. “Our baby was saved from death and now has a better opportunity for life. This story parallels the way we were rescued from death and adopted into the family of God.” Josh Scheutzow