I’ve always loved biblical fiction. I remember lying on my living room floor reading Lloyd C Douglas’s The Robe. I was fascinated by the Roman soldier who held Jesus’s robe at his crucifixion. The world Douglas had created! After that I read the sequel, The Big Fisherman, and anything else I could get my hands on.
Douglas was a minister who retired and began writing novels. His first seven novels were more contemporary works, often having to do with the medical community. Then a store clerk wrote him a letter asking what he thought happened to Christ’s clothes after the crucifixion.
The Robe was the result.
Those “I wonder?” questions are what lead me to write my books. Like Douglas, I don’t write about the Davids or Joshuas or Esthers of the Bible. The idea of taking a character mentioned only a few times and making up a life and history for that person, while remaining true to the Scriptures, is irresistible to me.
I want to know about the guys who cut the hole in the roof to lower their friend to Jesus. Whatever made them think of that? Or what about Abraham’s servant Eliezer, sent to find Isaac a wife? How did he feel finding a wife for another man? And the Ethiopian eunuch, converted by Philip. What happened after Philip left him?
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I love the beach, Mexican food, and chick flicks. And chocolate.
I was born and grew up in America’s Finest City, San Diego, California. My mom taught me about Jesus before I could talk. I am incredibly thankful for the legacy left to me by her and her mother, a history of faith born of adversity. Compared to them, my life has been a cakewalk.
My wonderful husband John and I have been married for over thirty years. I met him in college where I majored in English Education. I taught high school for several years before staying home full-time to begin our family.
It took us a while to build that family. We’d been married ten years when our first daughter Emma was born on Christmas Eve. She’ll be starting grad school soon, earning a master’s degree as a clinical therapist, planning to practice art therapy. She completed her BFA in photography from Maryland Institute College of Art last May.
Our younger three are adopted from Kazakhstan.
Mira is eighteen and will graduate from high school this year. She’s a fantastic softball player and spends her time generally being a typical high-school senior. She will leave for college in the fall, leaving us with only two children in the house for the first time in nearly two decades. I’m not sure how that works, actually, not running around chasing after children all the time.
Dara and Johnny are both sixteen, and are four weeks apart. Dara’s (almost always) adorable diva attitude and Johnny’s never-ending entrepreneurial adventures keep our house noisy and fun. Though our third daughter is Central Asian and our son is Russian, and she is a head taller than he is, people still ask if they’re twins. They both have learner’s permits, which keeps us in a constant state of prayer.
We make our home outside Washington, DC. It’s a perfect place for our multicultural family. The school system has students from over one hundred-fifty countries, and our church has members from over twenty. Worship time, with its many accents and languages, is a glimpse of heaven.
But until we get there, there’s always chocolate.
For obvious reasons, I have a heart for adoption, and orphan care. We’ve learned so much about orphans around the world, and foster children here in the States.
- It is estimated there are between 143 and 210 million orphans worldwide.
- That’s half the size of the US.
- If all orphans formed their own country, it would be among the 10 largest nations in the world.
- HIV/AIDS alone has orphaned 17.7 million children in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Every 2.2 seconds a child loses a parent somewhere in the world.
- Millions of children are refugees, asylum seekers, stateless and internally displaced by conflict, violations of their human rights, and natural disasters.
- The births of nearly 230 million children under age 5 worldwide (about one in three) have never been recorded, depriving them of their right to a name and nationality.
- Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.
- Every year, 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone).
Worldwide, orphans face huge challenges. In many countries, for many reasons, they are unadoptable. Children who grow up in an orphanage age out of the system usually at 16—that’s one every 2 seconds. They walk out the doors and are expected to find something to eat, find a place to live and find a job, often with little to no training in how to do any of that. Orphans are more susceptible slave labor, sex trafficking, crime, homelessness, substance abuse, poor health, and suicide.
Each year only 1% of the world’s orphans are adopted. That leaves 14 million children in orphanages or on the streets.
Foster children in the States who have not been adopted face many of those same challenges. About 400,000 children are in foster care in the US, and there aren’t enough families to take them in. Siblings are often separated. They often aren’t allowed pets, sleepovers, driver’s licenses, or out-of-state-vacations. Every year, 23,000 age out at eighteen, woefully underprepared for life.
Not everyone is called to adopt or foster. But everyone is called to do something. There are so many things you can do, not the least of which is pray. It’s a heart-breaking situation, so enormous, so intractable, and I’m not trying to be cliché when I say that truly, prayer is in many ways the only answer. I have two downloadable resources that may help you: 8 Ways to Pray for Orphans, and 9 Practical Ways to Help Orphans.