Loving with Open Arms and “Both Hands”

By: - November 9, 2011

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Six years ago when Amy and I first met we talked a lot about our pasts and what we wanted for our future.  One of the many things that we shared in common was our desire to have a family.  I already had a daughter, Rebecca, but Amy raised the possibility of adopting.  Adoption was foreign to me, but she encouraged me to leave the door open to it.

One month after our engagement Amy’s dad suddenly passed away.  This tragedy left us asking a lot of questions, including questions about our future and what was next for us as a family.  But in those dark days we learned to lean on each other and, more importantly, on God.

The next year we were blessed with our first child, Molly Kate.  She was and is an amazing gift from God.  We poured ourselves into being parents as we loved on her, and yet the door remained open to sharing our love and lives with more children including possibly through adoption.

About that time we started attending IBC and we were looking for an opportunity to serve others in some meaningful way.  So we decided to check out a Tapestry event, but we rather than coming away focused on adoption or foster care we came away with a completely different idea regarding what was next for us.  Amy had heard that foster and adoptive families often receive placements with little notice or lead time, and as a result they often lack many of the basic necessities (much less any of the ‘extras’).  So Amy decided we should offer up our empty garage, complete with built in shelves and cabinets and added one of the best garage heaters reviewed, to create a “kids closet” so these families could have what they needed to love and care for their children well.  From this the Tapestry Kids Closet was born.  But it was more than that.  God was also pushing us toward adoption even as He was drawing us closer to Him by serving others.

So in May 2010 we finally began the adoption process.  As we prayed and considered the right path for us, we became convinced that instead of putting our names on a “waiting list” we should say “yes” to a child on a “waiting list.”  In our case, we had decided to adopt a waiting child from Korea.  In relatively short order we were ‘matched’ with a little boy from Korea that we named Timmy (after Amy’s Dad), and we welcomed him home in April 2011.  Timmy was born with a heart condition, but he certainly doesn’t let it slow him down.  And as we prepare to love and care for Timmy through the first of several heart surgeries, we know that God has Timmy and our family in His hands.

I can see now how God has been stretching and growing us over these past years, through good times and bad.  He has brought us closer together even as He has brought us face-to-face with both widows (Amy’s mom) and orphans (the son we brought home and the countless children we left behind).  With this new perspective, James 1:27, the command to care for orphans and widows in their troubles, took on a new and very personal meaning for us.  Around this same time we welcomed Timmy home, added on to our house and invited Amy’s mom to live with us too.  I suppose you could say we have become a “James 1:27 family,” but for us it wasn’t so much a mission as it was simply the best thing to do.

Yet even with our very full lives, we have continued to leave the door open to God and the possibility of adopting again.  So one Sunday as I was listening to Jackie Roese teach a light went off in my mind.  It was as if God was saying, “Yes, life is full, but there is still more I have in store for you on this journey.”  So here we are, following God as He leads us down the road of adoption again – this time a “waiting child” with special needs from China.  We know it won’t be easy.  We know we will need resources, support and encouragement.  We know we must stay connected.  But we know we will not walk this journey alone.

In the midst of saying “yes” again, we have been confronted with the very real challenge of how to pay for this adoption.  So as we began to research possible sources of help we discovered that financial assistance from Tapestry was available.  But not only that.  Lifesong for Orphans, the organization that helps administer the Tapestry Adoption Assistance Fund, actually has a project called Both Hands.  It is a way for families like us that have been called to adopt but who face financial challenges to raise money for our adoption while at the same time helping a widow with major home improvements.  We knew immediately that this was perfect for us.  After all, during these last few years God has brought us closer to Him as we have reached out to love both the orphan and the widow.  This is just another opportunity to continue in the same direction.

The journey thus far has not been easy, but it has been worth it.  We are grateful to be traveling the journey with other adoptive and foster families who understand us – both our joys and challenges.  And we are grateful that God has called us to love with open arms and while we serve with “both hands” – both the orphan and the widow – as He continues to bless us and bring glory to His name.

Bob Meeker manages a restaurant and his wife, Amy, teaches first grade.  They both do their best to keep up with their two little ones, Molly Kate and Timmy. To learn how you can become a part of the Meeker’s Both Hands Project, contact Tapestry at [email protected].

Also Found In: Cost & Funding, Getting Started, Stories, Tapestry Blog, Waiting Well