In the Fall of 1983 I began college 45 miles from home at a small Christian college called Bartlesville Wesleyan College. During my time there I met Claudia Flye and Bart Fletcher. Partly because I was a student worker for one of the Religion Faculty members and Bart was a “theolog” I ended up knowing Bart a little better than Claudia. I have two very distinct memories of Bart. One he so enjoyed making fun my “Okie” accent. And the other was when we participated in an obstacle course team building event prior to the beginning my sophomore year. Let’s just say it was a time where we all learned the importance of teamwork and Bart learned to trust in a somewhat awkward situation.
In the past year Claudia and I connected on Facebook and I began following her blog Never A Dull Moment where she shares the many adventures of being a mom to 12 adopted children.
Recently, Claudia who is an Adoption Matching Specialist, Adoption Worker,and Bart a pastor in the United Methodist Church, wrote a book of their adoption story. Their story, Out of Many, One Family – How Two Adults Claimed Twelve Children through Adoption to say the least is heart warming.
This book is easy to read taking only a couple of days to finish. Claudia and Bart present their story in a clear and concise manner despite the little “mishap” with search and replace. Each chapter ends with practical things that they learned through the process.
This book will give anyone thinking about adopting practical advice and encouragement and a few reality checks. Even though, I don’t feel that God is calling me, at least at this stage of my life, to adopt it reminds me that there are thousands of kids in the foster care system that need my prayers. There are thousands of families that need prayer for determination to stick with the often long and difficult process. And the families who take the step to adopt older kids need our prayers for wisdom and discernment as they face the different situations they will surely face.
Even if you don’t win the book, I hope you will buy it and read this wonderful story.
Claudia was gracious enough to interview with me:
1. First off, how long have you and Bart been married?
Bart and I were married in June of 1996. We met in 1982 but never dated back then and it took us a while to grow up enough that we could tolerate each other. 😉
2. At what point did you guys know that adoption was the plan for you?
We actually knew that foster care was our desire before we even started dating. In fact, that is what brought us together. We were having a youth convention planning meeting while both still single in 1992 and we started talking about why we never married… and it was because we hadn’t found someone who wanted to do the risky things each of us hoped to do as single people. One of the things we mentioned was foster care. And from that conversation came a relationship and eventually a marriage. We have what Bart has termed a "missional marriage" because it was based more on what we believed God wanted us to do in the world than anything else.
Adoption because the clear plan after we did foster care for a while, because honestly, neither of us knew that there were 130,000 legally free children in the country waiting to be adopted. During our foster care journey, we found out about "waiting children" and knew that is where we wanted to invest our time.
3. What is the message you want people to get out of your story in this book?
That just because something is hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, or in other words, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. We aren’t special and the book clearly shows that I think. And if one more family chose to adopt an older kid because they read our story, it would be worth all the time it took to write the book.
4. Fun question: It’s your second day in heaven, you’ve spent some quality time with Jesus (hopefully, Bart doesn’t doesn’t criticize my theology too much) what Biblical character would you seek out to talk to and why?
I think Abraham because his journey is a lot like ours. He obeyed God and headed out into an unknown world, not knowing or understanding where he was going.
5. Part two of the fun question: What would you ask him/her?
I would ask him how it felt to pack up and start walking without a map or a clear destination in mind. I would ask about how his family and others responded to what seemed like a crazy idea and how he answered their questions. And I would ask him how he developed the kind of faith he had — or if he really had lots of doubts that he never spoke outloud or that were ever recorded.
To me, having the kind of faith to set out on a journey without knowing where you’re going, is amazing.
Thanks so much Claudia for sharing with us.
You can follow the ups and downs of being a mother of 12 children at:
Never A Dull Moment
I’ll be drawing a winner September 15 9:00 PM PDT. Please leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you. Only entries with contact info will be entered in the drawing.