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Yours. Mine. His.

"Yours. Mine. His." Continued...

Ethiopia

There’s an image that often haunts Victor.

He thinks about Nolan, that chubby cheeked boy from Honduras, and what he’s doing now. Did someone ever adopt him?

Sure, he was happy there. But would he ever have a family with whom to share such joy? Who would teach him to cope with life’s troubles? Who would offer him advice?

“What bothers me the most in the world today is when I see older kids without anybody,” Victor said. “I think about that and it just messes me up.”

After Robin gave birth to Miles, she and Victor decided to adopt again.

As they studied the Bible, they became convinced they had a mandate to care for widows and orphans.

The verse that stood out to them was James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (NKJ).”

“We were raised in the church,” Victor said. “We thought we knew what it was to live out our faith. It was attend church, don’t cuss, don’t drink, have all the appearances of goodness. And if you do those things and you pray to Jesus in your life, then really everything’s going to work out and everything’s good. You’re a good Christian. … But what God did in Honduras and what he continues to do today is challenge us in our faith. Really, what does that look like? And so our faith now moves beyond the church doors into our everyday life.”

As the Crawfords’ faith grew, many Christians across the country began undergoing similar changes.

The Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution supporting adoption in 2009, and last year Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church called on Christians to help solve the orphan crisis. Other prominent Christian pastors such as David Platt and Francis Chan also voiced their support for adoption.

“There is an explosion of church-based ministries that are looking at international adoption,” said Thompson, the adoption lawyer.

The downside of this movement was that some agencies saw it as a business opportunity. Robin and Victor read horror stories about children being taken from loving families abroad to be adopted by unsuspecting American couples.

Although their international adoption experience had been positive, the Crawfords also knew there were children in South Carolina who needed families, too.

They unsuccessfully tried to adopt through the state Department of Social Services for two years before they heard about a little girl who was in the care of their friend, a foster parent.

As the stateside adoption progressed, Robin was sure she and Victor were making the right decision. The boys would share a room. The girl would have her own.

But when the girl’s grandmother moved her to the Midwest, the Crawfords began looking internationally again. They were careful about selecting an agency and went with Adoption Adventures in Portland, Ore., the same group that had helped them find Josiah.

The agency highlighted two countries that seemed to match the Crawfords well: One was Ethiopia and the other was Moldova. Essentially, they would have to choose between a black child and a white one.

Robin had made so many excuses in the past. She’d said Ethiopia would never be an option. She worried about HIV and other diseases the children might have. And she wondered how her family would react.

“As bad as this is going to sound, it all boils down to race,” she said. “So for the last few years, I told God no.”

“It’s an issue with our community,” Victor said.

Despite her resistance, Robin said she felt drawn to Ethiopia. That, she said, is where God wanted her.

“I just knew he wanted my complete obedience,” she said. “Until I surrendered everything, I was not going to be at peace.”

Nahom, age 3, and Robel, age 8, are biological brothers living in Ethiopia. Horry County residents Victor and Robin Crawford are preparing to travel overseas to adopt the boys in the coming weeks.
Photo courtesy of the Crawford family
Nahom, age 3, and Robel, age 8, are biological brothers living in Ethiopia. Horry County residents Victor and Robin Crawford are preparing to travel overseas to adopt the boys in the coming weeks.
Although they initially planned to adopt one child, late last fall Victor began to wonder why they’d limited themselves. On the way back from preaching a sermon about the demands of faith, he told Robin he wanted to adopt two children.

The idea surprised her, but she agreed. Their agency soon found biological brothers, 8-year-old Robel and 3-year-old Nahom. Their father had died and their mother was too poor to care for them.

The only question was where to find the tens of thousands of dollars to adopt them.

The gifts

The thumping on the door started at 7:30 a.m.

Victor was showering before work, so Robin answered the knock.

The man outside wore a green City of Conway uniform. His work truck idled by the street.

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