One of the great privileges we enjoy is having Naval Postgraduate School families join our Sanctuary fellowship during the time of their assignment here in Monterey. That’s how we met Paul and Ginny Haagenson and their sweet daughter, Lydia. But the story I want to briefly highlight is the journey that recently led them to China to bring home a fun loving little guy, their adopted son, Joshua.
For Ginny, this adoption is the fulfillment of a dream God put on her heart when she was just a middle schooler. It‘s a dream that was fueled by helping to build an orphanage through a high school summer of service in Haiti. It’s a dream that matured through a post college year of working at a group home for foster kids. It’s a dream that Paul would grow to share as he and Ginny considered marriage. And it’s a dream that God has now made a reality in the addition of Joshua to the Haagenson family.
In talking with Paul and Ginny I learned that all international adoptions from China these days are “medical needs” adoptions. Joshua was born with a medical need his Chinese parents couldn’t financially address. So he was placed in a state run orphanage, where he could get the medical care that he needed. Fortunately, Joshua received not only medical care but individual loving attention as well.
When Paul and Ginny received the profile on their son-to-be, there was much they needed to step into, simply by faith, trusting God’s leading and His superintending care. How accurate were the reports on what Joshua’s medical needs really are? Was he indeed in an orphanage where he was receiving loving care? How would Joshua, just two years old, make the transition, whisked off to a foreign place where everything about his language and cultural experiences would change? Paul and Ginny readily admit that this has been a journey of faith, learning all along the way more and more of God’s great care. Quipped Ginny, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; and such we are.” Paul added, “For us this has been a galvanizing experience!”
Now, at his new home in Monterey, Joshua is quickly adapting and winning friends with his soft smiles and “high fives” while resting securely in his daddy’s arms. Lydia is learning more each day of what it means to be a helpful big sister. The family describes Joshua as “funny, even goofy” and “happy-go-lucky.” He’s “sweet and snugly,” says Ginny, and “all boy,” says Paul. Both parents agreed, “It is just such a joy and privilege to be Joshua’s parents, and we are thankful every day that we serve a God who works all things together for good and who has knit our family together in this way.”
Paul and Ginny recognize that an international adoption isn’t God’s plan for every family. There are unique challenges that come with the territory. But the need remains great. And caring for “widows and orphans” is at the heart of God’s calling for His church. The Haagensons found helpful resources provided by their military status that contributed to their ability to adopt. But they also found other great resources available for all who would consider this opportunity as something to prayerfully explore. Ginny recommends www.NoHandsButOurs.com and https://thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-ridiculous-grace-of-adoption. Paul and Ginny are ready advocates for adoption to any who are interested in learning more.
God has blessed our church family with a good number of families from our local Postgraduate School. And God has blessed many of them with recent family additions into their homes. What a privilege for the rest of us to share in their joy as we see these families grow. No less so for us when we see the Haagenson’s addition and get a smile and a “high five” from young Joshua. “Jesus said…, ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’…and He took them in His arms and began blessing them.” (Mark 10:14, 16)
Won’t you join me in giving thanks for the Haagenson family even as they welcome young Joshua into their home,