We are Chris & Julie. We live in the Midwest with our two bio "big kids" and our three "littles" adopted from China.
Chris' first exposure to orphans was when he was in the military in 1985. He's pictured here at the orphanage singing a Christmas carol, top right. He never forgot them all these years.
Ellie in our arms at last~
From our Church Magazine published March 2012.
I would like to introduce myself, my name is Chris Tracy, my wife Julie and our children; Summer and Wyatt, are all members here at Bethel Baptist. As many of you know, we are in the final stages of adopting a little girl from China, her name is Ellie. From the start of the adoption process, people have asked, why do you want to adopt? Or, better yet, they will say; you know, you're going to have to start all over? Sometimes I think I should just say something like, really, start over? Well if that's the case, I've changed my mind! Of course, I’m just kidding. I don't know if there is one thing which led us to adoption. Throughout my adult life there have been signs I was to adopt, however, like most people, I just chose not to follow them.
I believe the first inclination to adopt occurred when I was a young man in the Army. I was assigned to a peacekeeping mission on the island of Grenada. During one of our patrols, we discovered an orphanage and immediately took to the children. We began to regularly visit the orphanage, that Christmas, we brought them all gifts. My heart broke when I was sent back to the States, to this day; I wonder what happened to those little ones at the orphanage.
Later, after becoming employed with the State Police, I encountered countless children who were mired in poverty. I can remember one little girl in particular, who had the worst home life imaginable, pulling at my pant legs, wanting me to pick her up. Of course I picked her up and she immediately clung to me. It was very difficult putting her down and walking out of her house, leaving her behind.
Last year, I was feeling as if Julie and I should look into adoption. I just didn't know how to get started, what would Julie say, was she willing to "start over." Late last year, I was driving to Springfield, listening to JOY FM on the radio. After a while, the reception began to fade, that's okay, I thought, I'll just switch to WIBI. At first I just heard the DJ speaking with a woman. I wasn't paying much attention to what they were talking about. Then I heard the words; adoption and China. Now, I was paying attention! The woman's name was Michelle, she had just returned from China with a little girl. Michelle also talked about her ministry, In His Hands, out of Rochester, Illinois. At the conclusion of the interview, Michelle provided her phone number and asked anyone who was interested in adopting internationally to give her a call. While listening, I thought, is this a sign, is God trying to tell me something? I wrote the number on a piece of paper, just in case.
The following Sunday, the thought about adoption was all consuming, was this something I was supposed to do, am I really capable of such an undertaking? As Pastor Tim started speaking, he began to tell a story, a story about, you guessed it, ADOPTION! The story was about how proud this man was of his adopted son, how he loved his son more than anything. I've been accused of not being the most perceptive person in the world, but short of an orphan showing up at my door in the middle of the night, I don't know how much more of a sign God could have provided. I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to find Julie, I had to tell her what was in my heart!
As Chris approached me after Sunday school, I could tell he was a little nervous, "I think we're supposed to adopt a child," he stated. I'm sorry, I didn't hear you correctly, I thought you said we're supposed to adopt a child. To be honest, I hadn't thought about adoption much. A year ago, when Chris said he thought we were supposed to adopt, he told me he felt God was calling us. I thought he was crazy! Perhaps he hadn't thought this through? Here we were, parents of two half grown biological children, almost to the door of easy street, with retirement for Chris just around the corner. Adopt, a baby, start over? I thought, no, this isn't for us. There was a spark though, what if Chris was right? What if God really wants us to adopt? We talked, we prayed, then we talked some more. I reminded him babies don't sleep through the night, they throw up, they need us. We were so close to freedom; did we really want to give it all up? Chris seemed to have reassuring answers to my questions. Turns out, he knew God had been calling him all his life to adopt. He told me he had heard about an orphan outreach program for Chinese orphans. We made some calls, prayed some more, and jumped in. We didn't even research adoption agencies; God led us to the perfect one. Madison Adoption Associates People ask me all the time, why don't you adopt a child from here in the United States? There's a pretty straight forward answer. Our daughter is in China. When we started this process last year, we felt a tug on our hearts leading us to China. We briefly explored other options, but felt the door to China was the right one. God doesn't differentiate between American orphans, Russian orphans or Chinese orphans. He loves all orphans. Over and over the bible tells us what God expects Christians to do about orphans. Our particular journey led us to China. When we were first considering the idea of adopting, I asked our youth pastor, John Shaw, "How will I know if this is God's desire, or, our own?" His answer was perfect "keep walking through doors, if they keep opening, keep walking!" Great advice! Not only did doors open, they flew open! There have been so many blessings and little signs along the way, God encouraged us every step of the way, yes, you are doing what I have asked of you! People have said, I could never do what you and Chris are doing. I’ve replied, are you sure? I know not everyone is called to adopt, but many are. Many miss the blessing God has for them because they didn't want to step out of their comfort zone. Sometimes God doesn't just ask us to step out of our comfort zone, sometimes, He asks us to pole vault out! To be honest, in the beginning, as we went along I still wasn't sure about this journey. But I knew God was calling me, calling us, to be obedient. I knew God would not put anything in our way we could not handle. Once I saw her face, I knew God chose us for her, at that moment everything changed.
CHRIS' VOICE AGAIN
Late last summer, Julie and I received our referral, via e-mail, would this be our little girl? Is this the baby I've waited a lifetime to meet? Some people say they immediately fall in love with their child as soon as they see their picture. Others say it took them a while to get to know their child. As soon as I saw Ellie's face, I was head over heels in love with her! I knew I would love her for the rest of my life. I was ready to climb the highest mountain, if that was what it took to bring her home. In a few weeks, Julie and I will be travelling to China. A journey which took a lifetime to start will come to fruition in less than a year and a half.
Julie and I believe God has asked all of us, commissioned us, as CHRISTIANS, to take care of the orphans in the world. Your part could be as little as praying for an orphaned child. Maybe you could sponsor a child in need. Perhaps you could support a family who is adopting by praying them, or, donating to their adoption costs? God doesn't call the equipped; he equips the ones He calls. The only thing we need to do is be faithful and follow in obedience. Millions around the world need families. Your love and support may provide the only opportunity for an orphan to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Pastor Tim has said, for some of us, it’s time to stop playing church, will you do what God has called you to do?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
Newspaper article about our second adoption journey