BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Over a decade ago, a video about the plight of children in orphanages sparked a passion in our hearts to extend a lifeline to an orphaned child. Carol and I resolved that our first child would be an orphan needing a Christian family. Our passion for adoption was a natural product of the pro-life, pro-family teaching we received growing up in a Southern Baptist church.
After eight years of marriage, we began our journey to become adoptive parents. We researched reputable adoption agencies. After selecting one, we became interested in adopting a female infant from an orphanage in Taipei, Taiwan. Even before the process was initiated, we began praying by name for the daughter the Lord would give us. We named her Lauren.
Then a dilemma arose: We could not afford the expenses to begin the process. The rural church I was serving as an associate pastor provided for our needs, but the $25,000 to cover adoption expenses was out of our reach. Nevertheless, Carol and I took out a pen, in faith, and signed the application to become adoptive parents.
During a morning worship service, I shared our decision to adopt with the people of White Springs Baptist Church in Rainbow City, Ala. I did not ask for money; I communicated our passion to extend a lifeline to a child needing a Christian home. A group of dedicated Christian women joined us at the altar for prayer after the service. The Holy Spirit led this group of women, most of them homemakers, to form a “Lifeline for Lauren Team,” with one mission: “We will bring Lauren home.”
The mission to bring Lauren home set our church on fire with excitement. Through a prayer support network, community auction, spaghetti supper, car wash and financial partnership drive, the women raised the $25,000 we needed to cover legal fees and other expenses. Children filled baby bottles with coins and placed them in a crib in the church foyer. The personnel committee established an Adoption Assistance Program, providing a tax benefit for employees who wish to adopt.
The efforts of God’s people to bring Lauren home caught the eye of the local media. Vendors donated products for various fundraisers. A baby boutique handcrafted a special dedication dress for Lauren to wear on her first trip to Sunday worship. The mission to bring Lauren home became a witness for Jesus Christ throughout the community. The focus on adoption reinforced the pro-life commitment of the church.
When we landed at the Birmingham International Airport with five-month-old Lauren, we were greeted by a host of supporters. After holding Lauren for the 24-hour flight, we were able to place her in the arms of those who had made her homecoming possible.
Lauren knows instinctively that she is everyone’s baby. She is a special child, belonging to a larger family who has invested in her future. Our church and community extended a lifeline to Lauren — living out pro-life principles in an amazing way.
Chris, Carol and Lauren Crain live in Birmingham, Ala. Chris now is pastor of South Roebuck Baptist Church and Carol serves as executive director of Villa Hope International Adoption Agency. Reprinted from Faith & Family Values, journal of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.