The following post is shared from Phelps Legal Group, PLC, first published on September 11, 2012.
This fall the Phelps Legal Group will begin work on international adoption cases involving children from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa. Our firm will work in conjunction with the 1:17 Center for Global Adoption and Christ’s Hope Congo, an international ministry caring for AIDS-affected children.
Embarking on this course has led me to reflect on my own journey of adoption, both as a father and as an attorney. My first touch point with adoption occurred when we were blessed with our oldest daughter through an interstate, domestic adoptive placement in 1998. Shortly after that experience, I began to handle domestic adoptions throughout Michigan and the United States as an important part of my law practice. To date, I have assisted families in the course of more than 75 domestic adoptions.
My connection to international adoption began with the passing of my mother in 2005. The idea of once again expanding our family through adoption was laid upon our hearts at that time, as part of honoring my mother’s legacy of care and love for her children. After four years, our hope was fulfilled when we traveled to China to meet a beautiful young girl on her second birthday in December 2009.
While in China, I had occasion to reflect on the multitude of orphans in that country and around the world. As I stood along the busy streets of Guangzhou watching throngs of people surge past me, I was struck by the fact that very little of my daily life had any impact whatsoever on the many pressing needs of the people before me or of the orphan children around the world. Not then knowing how, I nevertheless resolved to do whatever it was that I could to help their situation.
As with many things in life, God then takes us on a path that we would have neither expected or chosen. For me, that meant leaving a lucrative law partnership to start a new firm focusing on adoption and family issues, as well as traveling to places that I would have never before considered going to–all as part of coming to understand what it was that God would have me do.
This summer, I traveled to Uganda to serve at an orphanage near the village of Seeta, outside of Kampala. Our church partnered with Christian Life Ministries in this effort and we were fortunate to have an opportunity to spend time with its leader, Pastor Jackson Senyonga. During one part of the trip, Pastor Jackson spent time sharing with our group how it was that his church came to sponsor and operate two orphanages serving over 1200 children.
So as we embark upon the journey of assisting in the creation of families through international adoption, it is
The Pastor told us of how he traveled to northern Uganda a few years back for business related to his church and radio ministry. He then spoke of coming upon a number of orphan children, with no care and no hope. Some of the children had lost their families through AIDS, others through the atrocities of people like Joseph Kony. Pastor Jackson told us that on seeing these children, God laid the following words upon his heart: “I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I must do–before the sun sets.”
These words: “I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I must do ..” struck me like a cry in the night, resonating clearly with the journey that God has had me on these past few years.
with a full understanding that we cannot do everything, but that we can do something. Our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be the first step in doing that which we can and must do.
I ask that you join with us in this mission by keeping the children, the adoptive parents and our work in your prayers–as it is not without risk or cost. We will surely be blessed by your partnership.