Amid the trash heaps, the rubble, the slums, the heat, and the death-defying traffic we made our way to Purani Khondii. This is where we foreigners were going to share the matchless treasure of Christ with children we had never met.
Initially, I (Lauren) was not a huge fan of the weather, or of children. I didn’t know what to expect. But I knew that we had a priceless opportunity. The treasure carried within these jars of clay changes lives (2 Corinthians 4:7).
What we encountered far surpassed any of my expectations. It was clear that the Lord didn’t only bring us there to work on others’ lives — He had work to do in ours. At these children’s camps is where the Lord really started teaching me of the value of children and the value every human life. Each child is made in the image of God and is a life worth loving (Genesis 1:27). And those gorgeous, eager brown eyes begging for more melt even the hardest of hearts. For the first time, I began to have the desire of having my own children.
Fast forward three weeks, unconscious in a hospital bed, life was fleeting and the thought of children further.
Fast forward three years, and I was married to the love of my life, Shawn, with a bright future ahead of us.
Shawn’s story begins in 2004. In his freshman year of college, the Lord brought him to repentance and salvation when confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While attending college to become a physical therapist like his dad, the Lord gave him a heart to see others come to know Christ, both in this country and abroad.
As he was considering medical missions as a means to do that, the Lord directed his heart to take a short trip to Brazil. During his time there, he was brought to the favelas, or slums, where he saw many children living in the streets suffering from malnutrition, starvation, and poor health. It seemed a dark place with no hope. While he couldn’t physically bring the children back to the States, he brought their faces and their stories home with him in his heart. This was the first seed that God planted deep inside him prior to meeting me.
Fast forward to one year into our marriage, when the trial of infertility begins. At first, it wasn’t hard (for me). The traumatic brain injury made infertility a strong possibility. It also made the recent memories made in India dim, unclear, and a distant, faded, partial-memory. After all, the desire for biological children had only just recently appeared on my radar, even though Shawn desired children strongly from the beginning of our marriage. But, with infertility front-and-center, the strong desire for children, and India still on the mind — however dimly — adoption quickly became an option.
And then, in the Lord’s sovereign will, and with medical intervention, I became pregnant. I was shocked at how quickly attached I became to this life growing inside of me. Before this happened, I was trusting that the Lord would change my heart and my attitude towards children. He certainly did.
But it wasn’t to last. As we continued to monitor the pregnancy through bloodwork, we found that hormone levels weren’t rising as they should. Heartbreakingly, early within the first trimester, we lost our Anaya.
After the miscarriage, during my recovery, adoption took front and center. If the miscarriage showed me anything, it was that I did want children — biological AND adopted. But we aren’t the ones who make the decision about which comes first. Shawn began researching agencies and asking questions. So after three months of physically recovering from the miscarriage, we decided on two more months of medically-assisted attempts. But since we don’t decide whether life begins or not, they were to no avail.
In my heart I can sometimes wonder, “why would the Lord give me my own child and soften my heart towards the idea of having children, only to take mine away?”
I think the answer lies in what we named the baby we lost — Anaya, or “God answered.” God answered so many prayers with the fleeting life of Anaya. He answered our prayer for a child — however brief. He answered the prayers for the desire of a child. He calmed my fears of “will I have a desire for my children? Will God change my heart?”
Our Story—Looking Ahead
He answered a lot. And now that we have answers to some of these questions, we want to adopt — from India, where the longing first began. And we ask for your help in making this happen.
When we found out that India has the largest orphan populations in the world — 30 million (more people than the entire state of Texas), baby girls are buried alive for being born female, and children are abandoned on the street and put in orphanages for the smallest things (as well as financial strains and things families can’t control), India was really the only country we considered. Each child should be given the same opportunities and privileges no matter their station in life. And a child’s gender shouldn’t determine whether they live or die.
When the Lord saves individuals, they are adopted into His family. They have no worth of their own (Phil 3:9), and yet they receive all the same rights and privileges as God’s only Son — Jesus Christ (Romans 8:14-17). We want to give a little girl the same opportunities that we have. Only the Lord knows the identity of our child, but we are hoping and praying for a little Indian girl.
We believe the Lord has uniquely equipped us to care for a little girl who has some form of physical special need. The Lord has given us both hearts and unique skill sets — as a physical therapist and one who has walked through the difficulties of recovery. We are trusting that the Lord will uniquely use our stories in the life of a little girl. We hope to call her Jubilee as a reminder that the Israelites waited eagerly for the year of Jubilee, the year of redemption and liberation. It also reminds us of our excitement as we watch the Lord continue to unfold His plan. Our hearts are rejoicing in the anticipation of seeing how God will unfold the details of that plan.
Our Story—Where You Come In
We realize that we are living in unprecedented times with so much uncertainty. But, as believers, we know the One who is certain (Numbers 23:19,Hebrews 13:8,James 1:17) and who holds all things in His hands (Colossians 1:15-17).
We also know the heart of our Lord. We know that even though our times shift and change, He does not, and that He still cares for the orphan and the widow (James 1:27; Psalm 34:18; 68:5). If you would like to help, please consider coming on our journey with us in one of these two crucial ways.
Partner With Us
As to our future adoption plans, Lifeline (our adoption agency) has estimated that our adoption will be anywhere from $39,000-$42,000. From our family savings, we have been able to cash flow about $6,000 so far. Shawn has been taking on additional clients as a physical therapist, and we have been doing as much as we can to set aside as much as possible for Jubilee’s adoption.
If you’d like to contribute in any way, please view the important details below this post, and visit the “donate now” button at the top right of the page.
If you cannot partner with us, but would still like to be a part of our journey, there is still another absolutely crucial thing you can do.
Pray With Us
We don’t know what kind of special needs our Jubilee will have or what the financial needs will be when she arrives home, but we are trusting in the Lord for His provision and care. Would you please consider praying that the Lord would continue to provide for us (and her) in the meticulous, sovereign, and good ways that He cares for the needs — and desires — of His children?
We are at the beginning of a long journey. Because we’re working with a lot of unknowns (and two governments), Lifeline has estimated that adoption from India will take 2-3 years (only time will tell how Covid-19 will impact this estimate).
For a little picture of what has to take place in that time (and where we are in the process), you can view or download our “India Adoption Timeline” (the download may not accurately reflect where we’re at, but it will help you read the descriptions better). We will also try and post any new updates on here. Be sure to subscribe at the right (the “receive story updates” button) so that you won’t miss any of our updates!
While this page represents only a snippet of our story, we welcome any questions and the opportunity to boast in the Lord’s work in our lives in so many other ways. If we can offer any additional information about our story, our desires, or our plan, please do not hesitate to reach out or comment and let us know! It would be our pleasure to provide that to you.
Be sure to check out our video on here as well! And don’t forget to subscribe (click “Receive Story Updates” on the right sidebar) so that you won’t miss any of our updates! We will have another exciting update coming soon! :+)
Thanks for lending us your “ears” for a few moments; it’s a privilege to have you as part of our journey.
Shawn & Lauren
P.S. Please share with anyone you know who would like to pray for us!
Thank you for praying. Some have also asked how they may participate in giving towards our adoption.
Contribute Online (click the button on top right of this page): Online donations have a 2.2% credit card processing fee before going towards our adoption.
Write a check: Checks must be payable to “Lifesong for Orphans,” and must include “Waller #8951” on the memo line of the check. Please mail to: Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 9, Gridley, IL 61744. No fees will be taken out. 100% of this donation goes directly to us.
Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request. Lifesong is a 501©3 tax exempt organization.