Best I can tell, the day of my conception was July 1, so happy pre-birthday to me! Here’s the story. A young woman living in Philadelphia, PA met a military guy passing through town. In time she became pregnant by this man, which was totally unexpected. Not wanting to stick around for the delivery (or the subsequent duties of fatherhood), the guy split, and the pregnant lady was left alone. “What man would want to be with me now?” she thought to herself.
But eventually she became romantically involved with another man, even though she was pregnant, and the new relationship seemed like it might fare better than the previous one. There was, however, one complication. The new guy on the scene wasn’t so sure he could accept—as his own—a child sired by another man. “I want you,” he said to his new sweetheart, “but I’m not so sure I want the baby inside you.”
So, a decision was made. When the baby finally came, he or she would be placed in a foster home. Abortion was not legal at the time, so their options were limited. The young woman had to carry the baby to term. Pre-born children back then were protected in law and welcomed in life.
The Following Spring
On March 31 the baby was born and placed immediately—as planned—into a foster home. It was a boy. Because he was unwanted, unplanned, and unloved, he needed a place to stay. Enter the Children’s Aid Society of Philadelphia. “We’ll find parents for the boy,” they said. “We understand full well that one couple’s ‘mistake’ is another couple’s dream—the answer to all their prayers—a blessing from heaven.”
“Miss Andrews” from the Children’s Aid Society went to work. Her labors eventually paid off. On April 20 of the following year, another young couple—this one from Reading, Pennsylvania—walked out of the Berks County Courthouse the proud new legal parents of that baby boy.
This couple could not produce children of their own, but they could receive children of their own. And they did so through the miracle of adoption. In fact, this was their second of three trips down the adoption aisle, and they were thrilled with their new bundle of joy each time.
I am that second child—the adopted child of Carl and Cherie Valentino. This unwanted boy was wanted after all. And that’s why I am “one less”—one less orphan in the world today. I was an orphan for just thirteen months of my life.
A Word of Thanks
To all those who are reading this post who have fostered a child, adopted a child, or provided resources for others to do the same, let me offer a sincere “thank you.”
I am here today because of people like you.
I owe my very existence to people like you.
I can write this post today because of people like you.
You are the people who are filled with compassion, who genuinely care, and who not only love children but reach out to expectant mothers in crisis, too.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Before we ever had a being in this world, we had a being in God’s heart.” That’s one of the great truths we find in Psalm 139, which tells us that God knits us together in our mother’s womb.
God Almighty has a plan and a purpose for every child—each tiny miracle conceived in the secret place and fashioned so wondrously by the Master Artist. Those plans are to give the little ones a future and a hope, just like he did for me. That’s why his art studio should not be firebombed.
The Beauty of Adoption
It’s an amazing thing for me to think about:
- I didn’t have a home, but through adoption the Valentinos gave me one.
- I didn’t have a name, but through adoption the Valentinos gave me one.
- I didn’t have a family, but through adoption the Valentinos gave me one.
- I didn’t have an inheritance, but through adoption the Valentinos gave me one.
I didn’t have food, clothing, shelter, money, hope or love, but through adoption the Valentino’s gave me all of those things, and so much more. Through a binding legal covenant, sealed in a court of law, I became the real child of Carl and Cherie Valentino. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true: Adoption is the option everybody can live with. Literally.
A Spiritual Illustration
When I read in scripture that God has “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:15), I get excited because I have a little bit of “lived insight” into that great truth. When we believe into Christ, everything changes.
- Spiritually speaking, we didn’t have a home, but God gave us one in Christ.
- Spiritually speaking, we didn’t have a name, but God gave us a new one, written down in the Book of Life.
- Spiritually speaking, we didn’t have a family, but God put us in one—his church, the Body of Christ.
- Spiritually speaking, we didn’t have an inheritance, but God gave us “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places” and a salvation that can “never rot, perish, spoil or fade away.”
In that sense, I’ve been adopted twice, and I thank the Lord that he has allowed me to share this good news as a minister of the gospel.
They Told Us Early
Mom and Dad told us right from the beginning that all three of us were adopted. They were proud of that fact, and they wanted us to be proud of it, too, so they told us when we were very young. In fact, I think we were a little too young. I was maybe four or five years old, and I just didn’t know what the word “adoption” meant, so I formulated my own definition based upon the context of what they were telling us.
I thought the word “adoption” meant some legal arrangement whereby no matter how bad we three kids were, mom and dad couldn’t give us back; they had to keep us! The other kids in the neighborhood—if they were bad enough, their parents could give them back at any time because they didn’t have this special arrangement called adoption.
Spiritually speaking, that’s not a half-bad definition of adoption! Having become a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ, we’re in the family of God to stay (John 8:35).
The Card That Came with Me
It was fascinating to me—and hopefully encouraging to you—that there was a greeting card that accompanied me on my journey from Philadelphia to Reading. I got to see it for the first time a few years ago.
It was a card from my foster family, and it was addressed to “Timmie’s Parents.” (Now, if anybody tries to call me “Timmie,” you’re dead meat!)
It’s clear from the language in that card that the foster parents who took care of me for 13 months were people of faith. They were followers of Christ.
I don’t know their names. In fact, I don’t know anything about them except this: They had a very powerful ministry to children in need. The card indicates that they had prayed for me, for my new home, for my new siblings, and for my new parents.
The Valentinos were far from a perfect family, but I believe that God honored their prayers. In fact, those prayers are why I’m here today. And to those prayers, I would like to add my own grateful “amen.”
Image Credit: https://www.adoption-connections.com