“For the Least of These,” a feature story in the latest issue of ACU Today magazine, takes a look at several Abilene Christian University alumni who have followed their hearts to rescue orphans around the world.
In the weeks to come, we will introduce you to other alumni who help make a real difference in the world – and enrich their own families – by adopting and fostering children.
If you have an adoption story or photos you would like to share with us, please email Robin Saylor, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, enjoy this account of the Tidmore family, whose life plans did not include adopting a child. God, they found, had different plans. Taylor Tidmore, M.D., (’99) is an Abilene physician. He and his wife, Heather (Watts ’99), have four children: Anna, 10; Mason, 8; William, 6; and Sara, 2.
The Missing Puzzle Piece
Adoption was never in our plan. In fact, about four minutes after our third child was born, my wife declared we were done having children, and I fully agreed. Well, I think God likes taking the declarations we make and declaring He has a whole other plan.
In the fall of 2009 my wife, Heather, and I started an in-depth study of the book of John through Bible Study Fellowship. As I studied John, I was blown away about how much Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit. Growing up we had discussed God, Jesus and a lot of things I shouldn’t do, but we didn’t talk much about the Holy Spirit. The verse that blew me away was John 16:7: “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Jesus was basically saying that having the Holy Spirit was better than Jesus being there with them physically.
So for the first time in our lives we started praying daily that the Holy Spirit would fill us and lead us. Over the next few months the Holy Spirit did begin to change us. One way that occurred was through Donald Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” Through this book Mr. Miller challenges you to examine the story your life is telling. God does not want us to have a boring, safe, mundane story. He created us to tell exciting stories with our lives that impact His Kingdom.
It really got my wife and me to reconsider our family’s story.
Our current story looked so selfish. I was a new physician who had been practicing for two years. Our story looked like this – a nice family, living a nice, safe life in a nice house, accumulating nice things, and taking nice trips. It was all very nice, but not the story we wanted to tell nor the story we wanted to pass on to our children.
Not long after that we read “Jantsen’s Gift” by Pam Cope. It’s the story of Randy and Pam Cope, and how through the loss of their son, Jantsen, they started an organization that radically changes the lives of vulnerable children in Ghana, Vietnam and Cambodia. It also tells the story of the Copes adopting two children from Vietnam. When I read this it just hit me – adoption was one way we were going to change our story.
We had never once discussed adopting before this, so when I brought it up to Heather one night she looked at me like I was crazy, but she didn’t say no. She said let’s pray about it. So that’s what we did, and over the next few weeks God made it evident to us that was what He wanted us to do. Never in our lives had we felt such a strong calling. So strong that we felt we would be disobedient if we said no.
So in fall 2010 we started the process to adopt a child from Ethiopia. When we began we were told the process would take 12 to 18 months. Well, things did not go as planned, and it was 38 long months later before we brought our daughter, Sara, home. The process was much longer and more difficult than we would have ever imagined. Several times we wanted to quit, and God always found a way to keep us on track during those periods of doubt. The process taught us more about faith, patience and trusting in God’s plan than any other event we have ever been through. It was not easy, but the really great things in life are rarely accomplished with ease.
On Nov. 1, 2013, Sara joined our family forever. She is active, smart, strong willed, beautiful, funny, and so full of joy and life. She was the puzzle piece our family needed to be complete, but the piece we didn’t even know we were missing.
Now it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows since she came home. There have been many tough days and many tears shed over the last year. The process repeatedly reminds us to let go of our false sense of control and let God lead us. It reminds us that the world is broken, but that God wants his people to join Him in the process of redeeming and restoring the broken. It reminds us that our own adoption into God’s kingdom came at a very high cost. It reminds us that following God where he leads is rarely easy, but always worth it.
And finally, it reminds us not to make any big declarations about our plans for the future. We’ll just leave that up to God.
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