It happened on Orphan Sunday, November 6th.
I didn't imagine it would take us 11 months to dedicate Judah and Addise back to God at our church. But God knew. Sunday marked 1 year to the day when we met Judah and Addise in Ethiopia. One year prior on Orphan Sunday we were headed to Ethiopia and shared THIS VIDEO with our unsuspecting church family. One year later, it was overwhelming to see all God has done in our family.
As we celebrated Orphan Sunday at Newsong, we weren't celebrating the 140+ million orphans in the world, but were celebrating how God is awakening the hearts of our community to care for orphans and vulnerable children, locally and globally. One of the ways our church celebrated this was dedicating 6 children who've been adopted this year by 4 Newsong families.
Our church practices baby/child dedications for a couple main reasons:
- Our Children are God's and Have Always Been. Hannah in the Old Testament models dedicating her son back to God in 1 Samuel 1:9-18. I resonate so much with Hannah because of her infertility and struggle to become a mom, but also for her unwavering faith in her God. For years, Hannah's been a biblical companion to me. Dedicating our children is a statement of faith, hope, and commitment for parents.
- We Need the Village. The Shema in Deuteronomy 6:1-9 is often inadvertently misquoted as a command for parents to raise up their children to know and whole-heartedly love God. But the "you's" of this passage are actually more like "all y'all's" calling the faith community to raise a child in the ways of Jesus. As we dedicate our kids, we remind the church community of their responsibility and privilege to partner with us.
It was beyond meaningful to dedicate Judah and Addise with the 4 families we stood with on Sunday. All of our families are interconnected. The Kim's are some of our dearest friends and our adoption journeys [though VERY different] happened simultaneously with ours. The mom in the second family was our social worker for our home study AND the social worker for the last family, the Rhee's. We are connected to the Rhee's because God also surprised them in adopting 2 boys - not just 1! And we have served together throughout Newsong for years.
When we thought about dedicating our kids at Newsong, it meant the world because this faith community literally prayed and sacrificially gave so Judah and Addise could come home. They walked us through the lows of infertility and the roller coaster of our 22 month adoption. For them to witness and support us on this day, was supernatural.
We chose a couple very specific and important things for our kids on this epic day. First, Judah and Addise both wore traditional outfits that we bought for them 1 year ago in Ethiopia. Amazingly enough, they fit and they were beautiful on our kids!
Second, we asked Julie [our children's pastor and my co-worker] and Ed [a co-worker and close friend over the past 6 years] to dedicate our kids. The weight of their words sits deep in our spirit.
Third, we also chose Biblical life verses for our kids. Judah's name means "praise", so we felt it was very meaningful to choose Psalm 117 which also affirms his heritage, blesses his story, and calls out the man we want him to be...
"Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. For he loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!"
Addise's name means "new life" so we chose Jeremiah 31:17 which is Brian's favorite biblical book and also affirms her history and story. This entire chapter is also ALL about hope for the restoration of God's people. It's perfect for her...
"They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
and all their sorrows will be gone."
Grab a Kleenex and enjoy this 9 minute video of our kids' dedication...