The Sparrow Fund – The Result of Change
I have never been a big fan of change. The uncertainty of change always creates stress, stress that makes me undone and flustered. It exposes my sinful nature in ways I don’t like. I hate that feeling. And, as a result, I have always tried to minimize change. That strategy worked pretty well for a while.
Then, I got married. The changes that came with two becoming one were way different than I first expected. Most of the ways have been wonderful, but there were some changes that really challenged me and exposed sin I did not know existed. By God’s grace, He has brought me closer to Himself through that change. More change came when we started a family. Again, that change challenged me and revealed my sin in new ways. But, again, God proved and proves Himself faithful by drawing me closer to Himself through that change and my unrest. Our family of three somehow became a family of five. Each new child brought change that caused the same cycle. Change – challenges – stress – exposed sin – God’s grace and faithfulness revealed.
I was always overwhelmed content with whatever number of children we had. I thought we were good with one. Then, we were really good with two (boy…girl…rich man’s family, right?). When we seemingly suddenly had three, I thought it was enough; our plate was really full now.
And, then we somehow were talking about adoption. Could we really manage four kids? It seemed so overwhelming. How could we possibly manage? On top of the move from three to four kids, I worried about the uncertainty of the adoption. I worried about finances, traveling across the world, leaving our other three kids at home. Frankly, I worried about the entire process from start to finish. But, one day, I came home from work and stated that I thought that we would be disobedient to God if we did not pursue adoption. And, there it was; despite my anxiety, my fear, my desire to keep things status quo, we were all in. I jumped in and didn’t look back.
We charged forward in obedience, confident that God had called us to this and He was faithful, but I still struggled with worry. Once the paperwork was complete, the object of my worry most often was the health of the child who we would be making our own. How could we really know what was going on with her on the other side of the world? I knew God was walking with us and that we could trust Him, but I felt ill equipped and unprepared to be able to read about a real child, one with a diagnosed health problem, over a computer screen and discern if she was our child. We knew we needed support. As part of the research and preparation we Kelly did we enrolled in CHOP Adopt, a program staffed by a team of doctors from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who specialize in international adoption and help families review referral paperwork and prepare to bring home a child from across the world. They provided significant support to us and became part of our family’s story as God confirmed to us, despite medical odds, that our daughter was our daughter.
And, so we received our daughter, and we became a family of 6. And, life as I knew it changed. The change that it created in me and in our family was so dramatic, it is hard to look at anything the same since going through that experience. When we had been home for about 6 months and those changes were still so real, so tangibly felt, and we realized that time did not diminish the amazement of it all, we felt like we needed to help others become equipped to experience the change that God offers through adoption.
Kelly started this site to encourage families as a result of that desire, but I felt led to do more. The man who never liked change and worked hard to keep things stable felt led to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping orphans and families involved in adoption. Cautious but confident in His leading, we deciding to focus on a piece that God really used in our story to help us see Him clearly in it all–the medical review and counsel in our referral process. This process is not covered by insurance and can be costly. When families are already looking at the significant cost to bring their child home, they are not looking to spend more money on unnecessary costs. But, the support we received through CHOP’s program in particular became such a big part of our story and our preparation that we felt like we needed to help those who could not afford these types of services. As a result, we started The Sparrow Fund. Our mission is that we are committed to encouraging and supporting families as they prepare for the adventure of adoption. The main way we do this is by issuing grants dedicated to pay for medical referral reviews and adoption counsel and support.
I truly believe that we are required to do all that we can to prepare ourselves for God’s service. This does not diminish our faith or trust in Him but actually enhances it. If we did not prepare ourselves the way we did and learned all that we could, we would have missed out on seeing so clearly the way God worked to bring Lydia into this family.
I invite you to come and check out our site: www.sparrow-fund.org
Husband to Kelly, father to 4 (the youngest of whom was adopted in March 2010 from Shaanxi, China via China’s special needs program), and friend to stability, Mark is welcoming change via the new venture of managing The Sparrow Fund to encourage and support families as they prepare for the adventure of adoption.
In support of the work that The Sparrow Fund is doing and to help in that work, the following retailers have very generously agreed to donate to The Sparrow Fund 10% of their total sales during the entire month of May! Please visit these retailers’ sites, shop and shop and shop some more, and personally thank them for supporting adoption and the work of The Sparrow Fund!The Sparrow Fund to be added to this post and future posts as part of this effort.