Thanksgiving is an outward act of inner gratitude. This holiday is more than pumpkins, turkeys and commercially hyped Black Fridays. Thanking God for our blessings, giving selflessly and generously, and loving one another is at the heart of this day, which should be a daily occurrence.
Being thankful is not always a natural response. People rescued from brokenness tend to have a better perspective on gratitude. I’m daily reminded of being saved from abortion. I was conceived in rape, yet given the incredible opportunity, through adoption, to love and be loved. Today, as an adoptive father, I have the awesome gift of being able to do what my birthmom and parents did for me—prove to the world there is no such thing as an unwanted child.
Words could not even begin to express how grateful I am to my birthmom and her self-sacrifice. No actions could ever seem sufficient to thank my loving parents who poured their lives into 13 children, 10 of which were adopted. So, I share my story. I share others’ stories. As a creative professional I find examples of beautiful possibility unleashed and try to tell the world about them.
One of those examples is the Watts family. I love these people. They truly are a reflection of God’s heart. This multi-racial family of 15 (16 including their precious adopted son Joshua who passed away in 2002) knows what it’s like to be rescued. And I’m not just talking about the adopted children, of which there are 13, but of the parents as well.
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A lot of people, who’ve never experienced adoption either directly or indirectly, think that adoption just changes the child. Adoption transforms the family…the community…and sometimes, the world. My world has been incredibly impacted by the Watts family. Mark and Dianna Watts are so filled with love; it literally spills out in tears.
When interviewing Mark about what this journey of adoption has meant to him, he responded with undeniable emotion: “We’re no saints…what I’m guilty of is loving my babies to death.” I had to fight back my own tears. He has the heart of a father—always giving, always loving, and willing to daily sacrifice to care for his family.
Dianna is a mommy warrior. She rushes in when she sees brokenness. Their heart for foster care adoptions was born out of her passion to protect children from being wounded. Many of the Watts children were born with fetal alcohol effects. Dianna talks about how high-functioning many of them are despite the personal struggles each of them face. Did I mention she’s a warrior? She fights for them. She homeschools all of them, wanting to focus on their varying needs. Giving up isn’t in her nature, and she loves helping her kids overcome their challenges. (You can help The Radiance Foundation bless the mess out of this family this holiday season by making a tax-deductible donation. 100% of your gift will go to the Watts family.)
Adoption has changed this family. It took children in desperate situations and placed them in a situation of Hope. The children share their parents’ faith in God, their zeal for life, and the expectation of great things.
Trials in life can help us rely on each other, deepen our faith, and give us opportunities to prove that—together—we’re stronger than our circumstances. God specializes in the impossible. Love has a way of transforming anything and anyone. And there’s lots of that in the Watts’ home.
The world is constantly obsessed with the superficial. We live in a society that wants quick fixes and discards people and things that are not “picture perfect”. Value exists in the core of our being. It’s intrinsic. It’s irreplaceable. It’s undeniable. We all have purpose, regardless of our circumstances of conception, our abilities or disabilities, or the conditions of our surroundings.
There are millions of people around the world who are thankful that someone turned the “unplanned” into a loving plan and embraced adoption. Like me, most of those adoptees have their own stories of being adopted and loved. We don’t have to wait until November, which is National Adoption Month, to express how adoption transforms brokenness into beautiful possibility. We can share this reality every single day.
Perhaps you’ve been considering adoption? Maybe God has been tugging on your heart to open your arms and home to a child who simply wants to be love? Adoption unleashes purpose in the natural and the supernatural. It’s the outward act of an inner love, expressed every time someone joins the family of God. Who knows? This Thanksgiving may be the start of your own adoption story unfolding.