Trey and Emily Glenham believe that adopting their daughter is simply one expression of living their lives surrendered to God. The couple did not struggle with infertility, yet it became increasingly clear that adoption was God’s Plan A for their family. In fact, Emily sees in Scripture and believes that “Adoption is a beautiful option in its own right, not just a second choice.”
It is not surprising that God would lead Trey and Emily toward adoption as all Christ followers have been adopted into the family of God. The Bible teaches that “He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves” (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Trey and Emily have been participating in and leading mission trips since 2008. Before adopting, Emily worked in the missions department at Port City for five years. “The overall mission of God’s purpose for my life hasn’t changed,” she says of staying home with their daughter, “but the avenue and the way in which I participate in His mission has changed. We get in our heads that missions has to be something grand in the eyes of the world, but God is simply asking us to use what we have.”
The couple believes that their participation in short-term missions was definitely a factor in their decision to pursue adoption. “Through the trips and through meeting and playing with many different children,” Trey said, “God showed me how easily I could fall in love with a child who wasn’t biologically mine.”
“It was clear that we wanted to be parents and start a family, but I never had a desire to physically give birth to a child,” Emily said. “I wondered if it was wrong to feel this way. I also felt a burden for all of the women who want to have biological children and cannot.”
Through a lot of talking and prayer, it became clear to the couple that God was asking them to trust Him and to be obedient to His leading. The Lord opened their eyes early to a global mindset and, because of this, they both felt surprised that God seemed to be leading them to adopt domestically.
The couple felt unified and clear about God’s call for them, yet the reality of finances and the uncertainty of the future pressed in on them. “We were afraid and nervous,” said Trey, “but underneath that, we felt confident we were taking steps in the right direction and following God’s lead.” It would have been easy to let their fears and opinions of others lead them astray, but they stayed firm in the resolve to stay faithful to what they believed God was asking them to do. “We cared most about answering to God above all else,” Emily said.
One beautiful piece of Emily and Trey’s story is the way God used their community to provide part of the financial means for the adoption. Trey wondered, “Financially, how is this going to happen? I am a planner and I struggled with the financial side of it. I read books about how to adopt without debt. You can’t sit and wait for God’s provision to fall from the sky. You have to be willing to move.” Yet, step by step, God provided all of the money needed for the adoption. “His timing and financial provision was truly perfect,” he said. Sharing the financial need of their adoption with others “provided other people an opportunity to participate in our story and learn more about adoption,” says Emily. “It was not entirely upon our shoulders to provide.”
Trey and Emily’s daughter was born in 2014 and the adoption finalized in 2016. “When you become a parent in any circumstance, you understand the Father’s love toward you in a different way,” Emily shares. “With adoption, you have to surrender from day one, and you don’t stop surrendering. The reality that our children are not really ours becomes more tangible, in a way. We absolutely feel like it has been a deepening faith journey. In a sense, the circumstances have forced us to practice what most of us as Christians would preach: trusting God in the midst of the unknown and uncertain.” Trey adds, “Clarity and peace happened after each step that we took, not necessarily before we moved forward.”
Another way God has worked through the adoption is forming their family as a transracial one. When asked how being part of a transracial family has shaped their hearts, Emily responds, “In so many ways! I think I have a much more accurate view of the diversity of God’s kingdom and the eyes of my heart have been opened to more of what His heart truly is.” They both agree that seeing the world through the lens of a transracial family has also opened their eyes to God’s heart for justice. Trey adds, “My eyes have been completely opened to issues of justice and race in our country. I have worked to increase my awareness and educate myself about the issues.” The gratitude this perspective has given them is incredibly obvious as you speak with them. You can clearly see how this deepened understanding has enriched their lives in tangible ways.
When asked what wisdom they would like to share with a couple considering adoption, Emily says, “It’s not about you. It’s about the child. This understanding changes the way you think about and do a lot of things. Make sure that in what you are reading and who you are talking to that the voice of adoptees are represented and not just the perspective of other adoptive parents. The philosophy of our adoption agency is to find a family for every child, not to find a child for every family.” This mindset keeps the focus on the child, as it should. She also adds, “Understand that there will be curves along the path. Be open to where God leads. Fears, doubts, and worries are natural, and it is an opportunity to trust God through it. He doesn’t take those things away, but He works through them.”
“It all comes back to following God’s plan for your life and trusting that He knows best,” says Trey. He pauses for a moment and looks at me with obvious emotion, “There is not an ounce in my body that ever feels like our daughter is not our daughter. She is and always will be.”
Story Written By: Gina Fimbel