From Miscarriage to Ministry
Soon after our wedding, John and I announced, half jokingly, that we wanted four children: alternating sexes, starting with a boy. We say “half jokingly”, but we earnestly anticipated blessing of such a specific prayer. Amazingly, by 1996, that is exactly the family we had.
In 1996, we conceived our fifth child. As expert natural family planners, we knew that conception had occurred just two days before the end of my cycle. I was shocked and ashamed. I even briefly considered abortion. It was a very fleeting thought and something of which I have since repented.. Anyhow, the Lord worked in my heart and I accepted the pregnancy and rejoiced when Niki was born.
Then, as we realised what a blessing children are, we gratefully accepted our next child, Caleb. We had now come to the point of not just being open to more children but letting God be in control. So we had Emma and Isaac.
Then, in 2007, I miscarried. For the next 18 months, I grieved for the loss of our baby and also because it seemed the Lord had closed my womb. By this time, I really had a heart for wee ones and a desire for more babies. I asked the Lord take this desire from me or fulfill it-- the pain was so great.
He did neither.
In prayer late one night, I sensed that the Lord was telling me that there are other ways to have a baby. This was the beginning of a series of gentle encouragements He gave John and me. We received several encouragements from the Lord. Some we remember as short catch phrases, “a child, a child , more children”, “put your net on the other side”, “are you just going to enjoy the view or jump in?” Others were more direct: “And through your pain and darkness the Lord is doing a work that will glorify Him.”
Our first response was to apply to start fostering again. Before having our own children, we used to foster children of varying ages and for up to several months stay. Now, having probably completed our biological family we began fostering children younger than Isaac.
One day our eldest daughter showed me a card. Written by Steve and Emma Dunne, it said “Pregnant? Considering Abortion? Not sure what to do? Please consider adoption to a loving family.” We wanted to hear more from these people. So off we went with our four youngest children. We heard Steve speak about the unwanted and unborn. The Lord had already turned our hearts to the unwanted with fostering. The unwanted and unborn really spoke to me. At last I came to understand the enormous, apparently excessive, grief I had been experiencing. It was God’s own grief for the babies being aborted.
In a typical year, 18,000 babies are aborted in New Zealand. Steve had had a vision of the Lord raising 18,000 families to adopt these wee ones. God was about to do something “beyond my hopes and dreams” [Ephesians 3:20]. We were to be one of those families. God changed my desire for babies born to me to those He wanted to bring into His kingdom. God's ways are certainly higher than ours. He was going to use the desire he placed in me. So the grief ended and the ministry began.
In fostering, we became willing to take anyone permanently if God presented that. Along came a little one born the same time my baby would have been. He needed a permanent home .We made cards like Steve's and started to place them--very low key. Then Steve asked us if we'd go on the TV documentary Close Up. National TV! Scary! But we felt it was from the Lord and we agreed. The next day's Word for Today scripture focused on Peter jumping into the water at His Lord's prompting. We'd done it! We'd jumped in and gone overboard. On TV they let slip our full name so there was no hiding anymore. Now our family places cards wherever we go. In the card we ask people to consider open care of their baby rather than abortion. We also offer support to allow women to keep the baby.
Kiwis, please pray for us and consider: are you one of these 18,000 families too? Or is there someone you know who we could help.
John and Janine currently have eight biological children. and two fostered children.