When I asked Leslie Faulkenbery why she and her husband, John, chose to adopt, she told me that they did not. It had nothing to do with “choice.” The Lord commanded them to adopt so they followed His will. The couple got married in 2007; in 2011, the Lord made it very clear to them that their children were going to enter into their family through adoption. At the time, they still had plenty of options in the realm of fertility treatments and there was no reason for their minds to drift to adoption. But adoption was the Lord’s plan. Adoption was something that had always been on Leslie’s heart, ever since she was a little girl, and she and John had talked about it some when they were dating. So, she asked him to pray about it and six months later he came to her. The very week that they began the adoption process was the week their daughter, the first child they adopted, was conceived. When they first saw a picture of Ty, their son they just recently brought home from China, Leslie and John were still grieving over a son they lost in February of this year. But they knew instantly that Ty was theirs.
Reclaimed Project delivered the final push on the financial side of the Faulkenberys’ journey. They received the adoption grant check only days before they left and it was the last thing they needed to get to their son. Living in such a close vicinity to Starkville, the Faulkenberys have seen Reclaimed Project’s work through social media posts and through other adoptive families. They have seen Reclaimed be the hands and feet and they have supported the ministry. They say that without Reclaimed Project, and ministries like it, connecting family by family would not be nearly as possible.
It is always funny, the ways in which the Lord chooses to work. Before their daughter, Farrah, was born, the Faulkenberys were having lunch with her birth mother. The date was October 9; Farrah was due November 1. Eight hours later, after the long drive home, they received a call that they needed to come back because Farrah’s birth mother had gone into labor. Leslie and John always like to joke that their daughter was born early because she heard them that day at lunch and just could not wait any longer. Throughout each of their adoption journeys, there has been so much in all of the details that God has orchestrated and He has given them the blessing of connecting the details and knowing at least a fraction of how big His plan is.
Leslie defines adoption as redemption. It is being pulled from the pit. It is having a chance to live in light with either an earthly family or a heavenly one. Through the adoption process, the redemption process, the Lord has given Leslie a lesson in grace. Grace to herself. Grace to others. Grace in the newness of a family with a two and a four-year-old. He has revealed to her that our grace is not sufficient; it never will be. But His grace far exceeds anything we could ever hope for.
When I talked to Leslie, her family had only been back in the United States for five days after adopting Ty. Their new life was not particularly easy. They were living with a child who did not know them, who did not know that the new situation he was finding himself in was a good one. They were strangers. But Leslie was filled with relief. She knows that where they are at the time only gets better from this point on. They have no knowledge of their son’s previous history but they know everything about him from now on.