First appeared Novmeber 16, 2008

     I had such a blessed experience yesterday that I soon will not forget.  I went to family court.  Normally going to a courtroom is not an exciting event.

     Being a minister, and a past foster parent, the necessity of occasional visits to family court as a witness is never on my “most exciting things to do” list. 

     The negative encounter is multiplied by the attitude of the court officials and those you meet in hall of the cold marble floors.  There are many downcast looks due to the heavy issues they struggle with each day.  Parents are arguing over children and possessions.  The state in involved is situations of abuse.  Judges are deliberating over where to place children and how to serve the best interest of the child.  Social workers are recovering from the last battle with a parent addicted to drugs.  The whole undertaking can be quite depressing. 

     But yesterday it was quite different.  When we entered the courthouse there were balloons everywhere.  The walls were covered hundreds of pictures drawn by children, there were gift boxes of toys, people making balloon animals, and hundreds of happy, smiling faces eating a catered breakfast from area restaurants.  There were celebrities signing photographs and handing out gifts. 

      What was all the excitement about?  It was a celebration of National Adaption Month.  And, on this day at the Pittsburgh Courthouse there were over a hundred families that would go before the judges and receive the adoption of a child. 

      Our own Sandy and Anthony Conner, and our dear little Ashley, was about to officially become a family.  I was privileged to be invited to say a prayer of blessing for the event. 

      When we stepped before the Judge she was smiling.  The atmosphere was completely different then any other times I had been before a judge.  There were some official preceding, but the judge spoke in a personal way which caused tears to well up in all our eyes.  She ended the time together by taking pictures and sharing gifts with Ashley. 

      After the proceedings the Judge asked Ashley if she wanted to say anything.  Ashley responded, “I would like to introduce you to my family.” She then proceeded to go around the room and introduce each family member and how they were related and she gave them a hug.  It was a touching moment that I will never forget.  (At this point I was crying like a baby.)

     I congratulate Sandy, Anthony, and Ashley on becoming a wonderful family.  From Grandma Gloria to aunts, uncles, cousins and friends we pray God would bless your lives together.  We are so happy for you.

     For Sandy this has been an extremely intense trip.  As I close out, with Sandy’s permission, I would like to share part of an email she sent me recently.  It reveals a glimpse of the journey she has gone through over these past several months.

     “Long before I ever even heard of Ashley, actually before I made up my mind to definitely go through the adoption process—-I remember one night laying in my bed thinking about how adoption would change my life.  So, I did what I often do, I picked up my Bible and asked God to give me guidance through His Word as to weather this was the right decision for me.  I sporadically fanned through the pages of my Bible with my eyes closed and then when I stopped I opened my eyes and began reading what I had been lead to.  I will never forget this message from God.  He lead me to Jeremiah 23:4

     ‘I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing, declares the Lord.’

     I still get tears in my eyes when I think about that message!  And if that wasn’t enough there was a conversation that I had with Ashley one day.  Ashley had asked me if my mother was my birthmother.  I told her yes and then I told Ashley that even though I wasn’t her birthmother God always knew that I was going to be her mom, even before she was born. God just decided to bring her to me in a different way. Well without hesitation Ashley responded, “ Yea, God knew you were going to be my mom because God heard me crying.”

     Well, you can imagine how much that comment humbled me to think that God did choose me to raise this special little girl who loves and believes in Him so much.”

     May God bless this family as they serve Him with us at Allegheny West.  Congratulations!


First appeared November 16, 2008