Darren and April Talley, right, hold their son, Josiah, and talk with Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond, Jr., on the importance of adoption at the 2019 Georgia Baptist Convention annual meeting held at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville. SCOTT BARKLEY/Index
In August of 2019 my wife, April, and I were facing some tough decisions about the prospect of adoption. In a matter of weeks we were due to update the yearly home study we had done for the last four years since being approved by our adoption agency. Over that time the waiting game of being matched with a prospective birthmother and her unborn child was beginning to seem like a bleak possibility.
It didn’t help that two months prior, we had been displaced from our home after a tree badly damaged our house. The reality was beginning to set in that much of the money we had saved to adopt would now have to be used for repairs on our home. It seemed like such a dark time of uncertainty for my wife and I, but we prayed diligently that God would provide and help us continue to move forward.
That’s when He turned our world upside down.
On Aug. 31, we were gathered with our church family for a Saturday evening fellowship and singing when April got the phone call from our caseworker. She informed us that we had been chosen by a birthmother to adopt her little boy who was due any day. What happened after that can only be described as one of the most chaotic but best weeks of our 17 years of marriage.
We went to meet our son’s birthmother on Monday. She went into labor late on Tuesday. Josiah was born on Wednesday. We brought him home on Friday.
All the while, because of the sensitivity of the situation, we were not allowed to tell anyone about what was going on. That meant our church family was mostly in the dark about what was happening until Sunday when we made the official announcement. Though we had waited for what seemed like an eternity, God was faithful and answered our prayer. And through all of our struggles, he met every need that we had.
It’s hard to believe that all these things took place over a year ago, but as we reflect on the goodness of God in our son’s life, we are able to see how his adoption is a living picture of the gospel.
Just as we adopted Josiah as our own son, God has adopted us into his family to make us “children of God,” (John 1:12), and “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ,” (Rom. 8:16-17) through the shed blood of Christ and by His glorious resurrection. We also consider the great love his “tummy mommy” had for him to labor to bring him into this world and the sacrifice she made to let him go.
One of the greatest treasures from this experience was April getting to be in the delivery room with Josiah’s birthmother through his birth. Once born, she insisted April hold him first. Through that experience, God softened our hearts and gave us an overwhelming love for her, and the many women just like her who genuinely love their children but desperately need families like ours to step in and welcome a child into their home, be it through adoption or foster care, in order to help care for and raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Last November the Georgia Baptist Mission Board announced that part of the new emphasis for the Mission Georgia state missions offering taken every September was to help families like ours pursue adoption and foster care. Thanks to the faithful generosity of many Georgia Baptists, we were beneficiaries of part of that offering. And because of that, we were blessed beyond measure to have a portion of the cost of our adoption paid so that Josiah’s adoption could be finalized this past December.
Words cannot adequately express how thankful we were to receive that gift. As we enter the month of September, I hope you will prayerfully consider giving to Mission Georgia to help other families pursuing adoption so that the lives of children all over our state can be impacted strong families and by the power of the gospel.
Darren Talley serves as pastor of Southside Baptist Church in McRae.