A few months ago, the Holy Spirit was REALLY dealing with my heart about defending the cause of the fatherless. It makes sense. After all, it's biblical. Want proof?
Deuteronomy 10:18 - "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing..."
Psalm 68:5 - "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."
Psalm 82:3 - "Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed."
Isaiah 1:17 - "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
And, just so you know...those are just a few. There are many more. And, before we go on, and you go all Pharisee on me, let me assure you that I am aware of the verses that also talk about the widow. He has been dealing with me about that, too. But, this post is about orphans. Thanks. :)
I could not stop thinking about the 147 million plus orphans in the world. Not just the 0-12 month old, Ethiopian baby boy who will one day join our family, but the other ones. The ones that we will leave behind when we go to bring our son home. The ones who are on the wait list because they have "special needs" or are "older" than the usual, preferred age of adoption. The ones in the countries that are currently "closed" to adoption. I could NOT stop thinking about them.
One thing I can tell you, but I cannot make you understand fully unless you have experienced it for yourselves is that when God opens your hearts to welcome one orphan into your family, He will open your heart to them ALL. It's why so many families who adopt an orphan go back again to adopt another...and sometimes another...and another. It's why in the middle of the craziness of the adoption process, before some couples every lay eyes on their child, they are already talking about starting the process of adoption AGAIN. For ANOTHER one. I can't explain it. It doesn't make sense if you haven't been there. He has changed my heart. And, I am pretty sure it's going to be that way FOREVER. And, now, it doesn't make sense to me that I haven't ALWAYS felt this way...that there was a day, not too long ago, that adoption wasn't even on my radar. Thank you, Jesus, for opening my eyes. For showing me glimpses of what you see and who you care about. I am SO grateful.
And, so, with the orphans of the world constantly on my mind and my heart, I couldn't stop thinking about how we could help them. I firmly believe God is calling the Gruhn family to not only embark on the journey of adoption, but is also calling us to some sort of lifelong adventure with orphans at the heart. I think He has plans bigger for us than bringing home this little baby to our family. And, He is SLOWLY allowing me to see pieces of what He has in store. And, while you might think that the adoption process is big enough to tackle at this crazy time in our lives, I knew that God was up to something more.
Somehow over the course of a few weeks, God began to reveal to me that He had a plan for us to start with awareness. This blog could obviously be considered part of that plan. But, I really began to sense that God was leading me towards the idea of creating a t-shirt that would serve two purposes. The first purpose would be to help us fund our own adoption and bring home our son. The second would be to promote the cause of adoption.
When God called US to adoption, we trusted Him with the finances. We believed that meant to two things. First, that God would provide. He has. And, we have been humbled. And, second, that we would live sacrificially to make it happen. We will, we do, and we will continue to do so. In fact, adoption has disciplined us more in our finances and our giving than anything to date. So, knowing that was our previous stance and that we had never really talked about fundraising of any sort, I shared my idea with Neal. And, he was in full support. And, then, a God-thing happened. I called my friend, Melissa, like you do when you feel like you're supposed to do something, and your husband agrees, but you just need ONE more person to make sure you aren't crazy. And, if you don't know her, you aren't aware that everybody needs a friend like Mel. She is one of the most encouraging, supportive, cheerleading friends I have ever had. And, of course, with that said, she thought it was GREAT! :) But, more than that, God placed her in my life for such a time as this. She said, and "I know WHO could design it for you!" Long story short, she knew a teenager in her church (our previous church) that she thought would do it, despite the fact that he didn't know us! I was SHOCKED. And, over the course of the last month, it has been AMAZING to watch as God used a teenager who was willing to serve God by using his gift, to design a shirt for us, and to see that shirt come to fruition. I am pretty sure I am not doing this part justice because I am SOOOOOO excited! But, it has been SO cool. I have loved it!
From the beginning, my heart has been that, if we could pull it off, that the shirt would be ordered, printed, and ready by Orphan Day 2011, which is Sunday, November 6th. Of course, you can absolutely wear it and promote adoption ANY time, but our hopes are that you will wear it in YOUR church on Orphan Sunday and do your part to "defend the cause of the fatherless" on that day. AND, I would love to see a picture of you in it. But, we can talk more about that later. :)
It looks like I will have the proof to show you TOMORROW, but let me just tell you that what I think (and I am SO not biased, of course). IT. IS. AWESOME. So, get ready. The pre-sale will begin tomorrow and likely go through October 13th. You will have TWO WEEKS to order a shirt and share our link with every one you know who might want one, too! That will hopefully give us time to get our order to the company and get them back to you in time for November 6th. That's the plan.
Our hope is that the shirts will generate discussion. Maybe you will get to share our story or our blog. Maybe you will get to share that there are 147 million orphans worldwide in need of a home. Or, maybe, one day as you wear it and stare at yourself in the mirror, you will realize that YOUR family could welcome an orphan home. ANYTHING is possible. To God be the Glory. I cannot wait to see what He does.