November is National Adoption Month! This year’s theme is ‘Teens Need Families, No Matter What.”

Ron and Karen Morlan had a family of five, including twins. They had plenty of love to give. Many of their friends were doing international adoptions, but that was not the route they wanted to take. However, Karen was interested in foster care and adoption because of several “signs” coming together at once for her.

But when she approached Ron, he was extremely reluctant. He says, “I was struggling to feel the same calling.”

This was mainly because Ron was working for a school system in which he had witnessed firsthand “the darker side” of the world of foster care, as he put it. Then Karen asked him to read a book: “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit,” by Francis Chan. He read it, and it was then that he changed his mind, and ultimately, his life and the lives of his family. As Karen pointed out, “A lot of it was we decided were not going to live out of fear.”

Soon afterwards, after taking foster family classes and obtaining their license, the Morlans became foster parents. As they prepared their home for a baby’s arrival, the holidays came and went, yet they had not received a phone call to foster except for sibling groups. Then, on December 28th, they finally got a call for a 12-year-old girl.

They talked to their other children about the prospect of having her in their home. The children were enthusiastic about the prospect of having an older sister. Ron and Karen felt the hand of God over their situation, so they were asked to come meet a girl named Lauren.

Lauren was from Colorado and mostly “grew up in the bars” and lived with her grandmother. Her mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, as did most of the rest of her family. She ended up moving to Iowa only to wind up with another alcohol family member, her grandfather. When he had a heart attack, she “temporarily” moved out and began living in various laces and transferring schools. This unfortunate pattern continued from the 5th through the 7th grade. She wound up with her grandfather again, if only briefly. Then at the age of 12, she was caught by the police joy-riding in her grandfather’s car. It was at that point that she says her foster care journey really began.

Lauren found herself at a youth detention center for a few days. She felt that the center was very strict, emotionally difficult to deal with, and “scary.” One day very soon after, she received a knock at her room door, which, according to her, was more like a cell, and she was taken to a family that was “really welcoming” and “loving.” They were so happy to greet her! But the lonesome preteen was terrified. She was with strangers and, with her history, had no reason to trust them. She felt utterly alone with only a garbage bag full of things with her.

She quickly found herself actually liking them, but the trouble was that this family, unlike anything she could ever relate to, had a very structure home, with “chores and curfews,” and she “had to go to church.” She had never experienced anything like this before. Her previous environments had been harsh and lacking any kind of real discipline.

The Morlans soon began discussing the possibility of adopting her. Lauren did not think that would work for her, but the reality was that her mother was still and addict, and her grandfather had his own issues, including the onset of dementia. She quickly figured out that this new family really loved her and totally accepted her. Finally, she agreed to be adopted.

Soon, Lauren will be the first in her family to go to college, a feat she credits entirely to Ron and Karen. She calls her new life “a miracle.” She is very thankful now for her entire existence.

The reality is that they were all blessed, both Lauren and each member of her new family.