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There are over 130 million orphans worldwide. The pro-life/pro-choice debate continues to consume politics and everyday conversations. Readers want to know what they can do to make a difference on these issues. Wait No More tells Kelly and John Rosati’s story of experiencing God more fully through the great blessings and challenges encountered during their journey to adopt four children from the U.S. foster care system. It is a story of God’s faithfulness to grow a beautiful family, through adoption, from the ...
There are over 130 million orphans worldwide. The pro-life/pro-choice debate continues to consume politics and everyday conversations. Readers want to know what they can do to make a difference on these issues. Wait No More tells Kelly and John Rosati’s story of experiencing God more fully through the great blessings and challenges encountered during their journey to adopt four children from the U.S. foster care system. It is a story of God’s faithfulness to grow a beautiful family, through adoption, from the ashes of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment. The Rosatis strongly believe that God’s solution for orphaned children in the foster care system involves ordinary Christians desiring to live out an authentic pro-life commitment requiring action, not just words. Their story reveals how their beliefs challenged, enriched, and completely changed their family’s life. Tyndale House Publishers
I felt as if I was losing my mind. In one quick swoop, my belief that I was following God's will for my life, that my husband, John, and I were going in the right direction, was replaced by doubt, fear, frustration, and anger. I cried out to God for help.
What had started out as a deep desire to help a child in need had left John and me spiraling into despair. Surely this wasn't God's plan for us. Or was it? All I knew was that something had gone terribly wrong. And that my passionate hope to make a difference had turned our lives upside down. If someone had told this Midwestern girl just a few years before that I would be living in Hawaii, serving as a foster mother to an eleven-year-old girl, and feeling completely ready to pull out my hair, I wouldn't have believed it.
Our friend Deeanna had taken Angie, the eleven-year-old girl who was living with us, away for the weekend. John and I needed a break. We needed to regroup. During those few days, John and I wrestled mightily with the Lord about whether we could keep Angie in our home. We'd known it was only supposed to be a temporary arrangement. But after just one month, we were ready to quit.
Can you believe it? Only one month, and we were in hell.
I kept wondering how I'd gotten to this place in my life.
* * *
It was April 16, 2000. John and I were living in Hawaii—John's third air force assignment—and I was working as the executive director for the Hawaii Family Forum (HFF), a nonprofit organization that provided pro-family education to local churches and the community. John and I had been happily married for eight years. The truth was that we'd always planned to have a family but wanted to wait until John's military assignments were more stable. The last thing we ever wanted was to be separated or to have children constantly moving around. We were also committed to my being home with our children when they were babies, and we simply weren't in a financial position yet for that to happen.
We loved our lives and enjoyed our time together immensely. But by the time we decided we were ready to have children, nothing happened. And yet interestingly, and somewhat unusually, we weren't fazed by it. For several months we tried to get pregnant, but the months came and went with no change. It just wasn't happening. We experienced some disappointment each month, but not overwhelming disappointment or grief.
John and I both have said that sometimes it seems easier to trust God in the really big things than it does in the small things, and this was one of those big things that was out of our control. God's timing was also significant. From the rearview mirror, it's clear to us now that God just swept us right into the next phase of life.
We always believed that if we weren't getting pregnant, there was a reason. And to us, adoption seemed like the obvious reason, though we weren't ready to pursue it right then. We know it's not how others might have felt in the same situation, and believe me, the ease with which we stepped through that period of life had nothing to do with us. We attribute it to God's grace. Nothing more. We figured God had a different plan for us down the road, and we were okay with that. We had full lives and ministries, were active with our church, and were all around really happy, content folks.
John and I became involved in the pro-life movement early in our marriage. And my interest in pro-life issues had begun to seriously grow ever since my second and third years of law school. Stemming from my pro-life passion was an eagerness to advance the public-policy cause of adoption.
I learned about a Christian woman named Deeanna Marie Wallace. She had been involved in adoption for decades, both personally and as a calling to help other kids and families. She and her husband, Randy, had nine kids, seven of whom were adopted. She had mentored and supported countless Christian families throughout the adoption process, and her name kept coming up whenever I spoke with anyone about adoption.
Deeanna was developing a reputation as the Christian go-to lady on adoption. I needed to connect with her. Through a series of phone calls and various connections, Deeanna invited John and me to their home for dinner.
Unknown to us, that night would change our lives forever.
John and I held hands and said grace around the dinner table in Deeanna and Randy's modest home. Joining us were their five girls, who ranged in age from five to fifteen and represented every size, shape, color, ethnicity, and background. Several of the girls were already adopted; others were in the Wallace home through foster care.
"There are orphans right here in Hawaii who need adoptive families," Deeanna told us passionately. "They're trapped in foster care, and the church really needs to get involved."
We looked at their girls. Here they were, former legal orphans in our own state, our own community, our own neighborhood.
Throughout the course of the night, we learned that these girls had experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Unspeakable, harrowing things were done to them by their birth parents, whose job it was to take care of and protect them. We also learned that if a child is in foster care long enough, eventually the birth-parents' rights will be terminated, and the child will become a "legal orphan." And then that child will sit and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.
These kids wake up each day wondering if they'll have to pack up again and move to another foster home—for any or no reason. And there they'll sit, and if a loving adoptive family doesn't come into their lives, they'll turn eighteen and "age out" or exit the foster-care system. Those who do will likely become adults who belong nowhere and to no one.
Deeanna told us, "Every year in the United States, more than twenty thousand youth age out of the system. And not surprisingly, the statistics show that many of them end up in prison or at homeless shelters and receive government aid, and they sometimes have kids who also end up in foster care.
"In Hawaii," she continued, "there are twenty-five hundred kids in foster care. And hundreds are waiting to be adopted."
John and I were stunned. There were children needing families in our own backyard? Could this be true? We were two reasonably smart people who'd been completely ignorant about a really big problem. Near the end of the evening, Deeanna showed us a picture of some friends of hers—a military family who had six children, all through the blessing of adoption. Deeanna said we reminded her of them.
Honestly, I thought she must be nuts to think that.
My head was spinning. John and I were Christ followers. We knew that God's Word spoke frequently about God's heart for orphans and the Christian's duty to care for them. We had talked about adoption before, and we were always open to it, but we'd never pursued it seriously. We thought maybe it would happen after we had birth children. As pro-lifers, we'd always said we'd adopt any baby who would otherwise be aborted. That was a no-brainer.
Why would these kids in foster care be any different? How could we do nothing about what we'd heard? We'd been so blessed. We had room in our house. How could we turn our backs on kids in need?
We weren't sure what we were going to do, but we knew we had to do something. Hearing about the needs of these kids awakened John's sense of protection. He's a military man, after all, and he couldn't just sit back and not take action. He had to do something!
I kept thinking about the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25–37. Remember the story? Jesus told a parable about a Jewish man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who gets attacked. He's beaten, robbed, and left for dead.
A priest happens to be walking down the same road, but when he sees the man, he passes by on the other side. Another man comes along, but again, he passes by on the other side. Then a Samaritan comes down the road, and when he sees the injured man, he takes pity on him. He bandages the man's wounds. Then he puts the man on his own donkey and takes him to an inn. The next day he pays the innkeeper and says, "Look after him ... and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have" (verse 35).
I sensed that God was challenging us, asking us if, like the religious men in the parable, we'd just pass by and do nothing. Or would we be like the Samaritan, who did something about the person in need right in front of him?
John and I talked and prayed about it a lot.
It's hard to explain. Those of you who have been through this experience of responding to God's leading know what we mean. Those of you considering it are probably beginning to sense that compelling nudge. John and I have often said it feels as though God's hand is at your back, pushing you forward.
Talking and praying abstractly about the things that break God's heart is one thing. Seeing and hearing needs up close and personal—in your face, literally—is clarifying. There was no way we could see what we were seeing—precious faces, voices, and lives of real kids in desperate need—and go back to our comfortable life unchanged.
There was no noble decision making; it was just crystal clear to John and me that we were going to do something. We were completely on the same page, something we paid close attention to. It wasn't a hard decision; it was the obvious decision, set right before us. When we looked at the pros and cons, the obvious pros were that we were doing what Jesus commanded His followers to do and being who He commanded us to be. There weren't really any cons that could compete with that.
We were excited—thrilled, really. And scared. But we believed as we trusted the Lord with all our hearts, leaned not on our own understanding, and acknowledged Him in all our ways that He was directing our path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As John and I processed what we had seen and heard at the Wallaces', we kept coming back to one of the girl's stories. Susie was a troubled teenage girl. All of her other siblings were in separate foster homes, and she didn't get to see them very often.
This is common in foster care and struck us as horribly sad. Imagine being removed from the only life you've known, even with its abuse and neglect, and not being able to communicate with your siblings, who might very well have been your only support because of your parents' deficiencies.
A judge colleague of mine often told the story of a little boy in foster care who told the judge he didn't believe in God. When the judge asked him why, the little boy said, "Because I pray every night to God to let me see my brother who is in another foster home. But I never get to, and my social worker says it's because there aren't enough people to drive me. If there was a God, He could get enough drivers."
Susie had one sister she wanted to see on a regular basis but wasn't able to. The sister, Angie, was in a foster home across the island, and it just wasn't feasible to get the girls together very often.
"Can you even believe that?" John said to me. "That seems so sad; we should do something about it. We could drive them to their visits."
"Well, I don't see any reason she couldn't live with us," I said enthusiastically. "We could make sure she sees her sister most weekends."
It can't be that hard, I thought to myself.
So Deeanna and I agreed that I should start by at least meeting Angie.
* * *
I met Angie with Deeanna at a Honolulu McDonald's. She was a beautiful eleven-year-old local girl with gorgeous brown skin, chocolate-brown eyes, and beautiful dark hair. She was medium height, with a slight frame, and was completely adorable. I was crazy for her from the start. She seemed sweet and fidgety as Deeanna interacted with her playfully and skillfully. Unknown to Angie, our plans for her to live with us were already in the works. Deeanna had talked to her social worker and gotten permission for Angie to be placed in our home.
I asked her questions, and she smiled sweetly, looking me directly in the eyes. Later, I told John, "I think she likes me. We really hit it off!"
We were going to be foster parents! What an adventure. We were so excited.
We had just moved from a rental place on the east side of Oahu into our very own home on the far west side. The house had four bedrooms, and as we had moved in, John and I told the Lord He could fill it up as He saw fit. Having Angie in our home seemed like the beginning of that answer to our prayers. Even though we hadn't been to foster-care training yet, we could get a criminal background check done and secure a "specific child license" to care for Angie.
After that first near-perfect meeting with Angie concluded, Deeanna and I stayed at McDonald's to talk further.
I was so jazzed, I could hardly stay in my seat. My mind was whirling. We could do this. We could really help this precious girl have a great life. She'll get to see her sister regularly. We'll take her to church. We'll show her what good parents can be like. We'll love her. It'll be fun. We'll adopt her if she needs a permanent family. She can go to college, meet a great Christian man, our grandkids will be gorgeous ... Deeanna's voice interrupted my mental ramblings.
"You know, Kelly," she said very slowly in her sweet, wonderful way, "this could be really hard. Because of the trauma Angie has faced, she won't be easy to parent. I really want to make sure you know what you're getting into." She was so serious as she sat there staring at me. Deeanna is a teensy thing, about one hundred pounds soaking wet, but with the quiet determination and strength of a herd of bulls.
You know the muffled sound adults make in those Charlie Brown shows? Wha wha wha wha wha ... That's all I heard as Deeanna talked.
I smiled back at her and wondered why she was droning on about how hard this could be. John and I had listened to plenty of Focus on the Family broadcasts and other shows about how important it was to be in charge, set limits, dare to discipline, and so on. I was sure we'd be good parents.
John and I are rather competent people, I thought. I mean, come on, I'm a lawyer. I've done hard things. Law school. The bar exam. John's in the air force. He's a military man, guarding our country. He has a degree in business. He's been working on the business-services side of the air force his entire career. Why is Deeanna being so skeptical? I wondered and just kept smiling.
When the questions and lecture finally ended, I asked, "When can I pick her up?"
"Today at three thirty. You can pick her up after school," Deeanna replied, a huge smile breaking across her face as she sat back in her seat, keenly aware that nothing she said would matter at this point.
"I'm picking her up after school!" I told John on the phone, half squealing from delight and anticipation. He was thrilled and got permission to leave work early so we could go together to pick up our new foster daughter.
It was really happening.
We drove to the very far west side of the island, following directions back toward the mountain to her school. I had the paperwork from the social worker, and when the class let out, there we were waiting for Angie.
She looked at me with complete surprise and said, "It's you. It's really you." She smiled and gave me a hug. I introduced her to John, who opened the door for her and ushered us all into the car.
When I asked Angie what she'd love to do more than anything, she said she wanted to go to an arcade. We were happy to comply. We drove to the local arcade and soon Angie was surrounded by lots of noise and flashing lights, having a blast.
She asked if she could call me Mom. I swooned. "Of course you can call me Mom," I said as I hugged her.
And John was now Dad. He glowed. We had a real dinner together as a family. We thanked God.
"She can finally see an example of a godly dad," I told John later. Her birth father was in prison at the time.
"This is amazing," we told each other. "What an honor to be used by God to help an abused girl in foster care. Kingdom adventures are fabulous. Why didn't we do this earlier? Why don't more people do this?"
And so we were off on our grand adventure. It seemed like a beautiful dream.
Excerpted from Wait No More by Kelly Rosati John Rosati Copyright © 2011 by Kelly and John Rosati. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted November 17, 2011
Please read this book if you are interested in adopting a child through your State¿s Social Service Agency. It can be a rewarding experience. My family is a foster-adopt family in my state. I chose to review this book for Tyndale for that very reason ¿ it is a subject I am very interested in.
The Rosati¿s wanted a family but found that adoption was going to be their only option. Since they were stationed in Hawaii with the Air Force at the time they decided to pursue this option, they adopted there. The process is much the same in all 50 states. Eventually they adopted 2 boys and 2 girls, although that was not their original intention. The many twists and turns of the process and the various situations are what make this book interesting reading and strike a chord with others who have gone through or are going through this process.
The Rosati¿s had several career changes and moves within the U.S. during the course of this book. The thing that shines out in this book is their love for and dedication to the rights of our country¿s orphans. There are a lot of children right here in the U.S. waiting for a forever home and many of them will never have one because the need is great for people to choose adoption. Birth parents are not always able to be there for their kids for a variety of reasons, but the child is an innocent victim of the circumstances and deserves the love and stability of a family.
You will find as you read about the Rosatis¿ experiences that the going gets really tough really fast and there are many hurdles to overcome with each child, but the rewards are great. If you are interested in adopting or have adopted, you will want to read this book. And maybe, if you weren¿t even considering it, you will consider adoption after reading this book. In any case, you will enjoy reading it.
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Posted May 23, 2012
"Wait No More" by Kelly and John Rosati was definitely a good read. In the book, Kelly summarizes her family's adoption story. She outlines how her and her husband began to be interested in foster care and adoption, and then how their four children were adopted. Kelly is a gifted storyteller as she weaves each child's story into The Rosati's larger family story.
Kelly loves Jesus and believes in His plan for all children; this is evident on every page of the book. She is always quick to be honest about hard times and how they came to rely on the Lord through these hard times. She is honest about things - she doesn't sugar coat the adoption process. Her honesty and vulnerability about this will be appreciated by anyone who is on this same journey.
One of my favorites parts of the book is when she asks her children what family means to them. Their answers reveal that the Lord's work is being done in this family, and in the Wait No More program.
Suggestion: don't peek at the pictures in the middle of the book until you are all the way through. There are lots of stories in the book and the reader goes through a 'waiting game' (this is very stylistic, as the readers have to go through a waiting period that mimics that of the Rosati's as they wait to see whether the adoptions will be finalized) and you don't want to spoil the story! Read all the way through and then the pictures will be all the more meaningful once you know the kiddos' stories better!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House.*
Posted May 23, 2012
This book is excellent for those either thinking of adoption or just those that want to learn more about the process. What I love about this book is that it is brutally honest. Seeing the "Focus on the Family" logo posted on the book, one would think this book would just be some sugarcoated tale of fairy-tale adoption to make other Christians want to adopt children...because that's what "good" Christians are supposed to do. However, this book has no such forceful demeanor and does not embellish details to make adoption seem like some Hollywood movie. Kelly narrates the story as she shares the struggles of adopting. She discusses financial issues, as well as coping with the side-effects present in children whose parents were abusive (either physically, emotionally, mentally, or just in the sense that they took drugs before, during, or after pregnancy). Sprinkled throughout the book, Kelly mentions how this is what God wanted her family to do. She says that she knows adoption is not for everyone but that everyone should support adopting families without judging them. I could go on and on about this book. The writing flows very well, and it is a clear picture of the struggles of adoption. What makes this book different is that the author is a lobbyist. With her knowledge of law, she clearly discusses issues of adoption that other families may not have been able to convey. Great book. There is even an insert with family photos in the middle of the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 20, 2011
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