For anyone who has taken time to get to know me, they know that I grew up in a broken home. A home that was filled with drugs, abuse, anger and chaos. I grew up with two parents that had little to offer other than their DNA. A mom who was strung out on drugs and a father that was so drunk that he didn’t see anything wrong with beating my mom. At the age of 14 I began attending my home church, Calvary Chapel East Anaheim. A year later at the age of 15 I ran away from home as my life was constantly in danger. But I share all this not because this blog is about me, rather it’s about something far more important and something that is so close to my heart…loving the fatherless.
To be honest with you I have heard countless sad stories that make my story seem like a fairy tale. I’ve met orphans that hearing their stories will bring you to tears, even if your a grown macho man. It truly breaks my heart that so many children go through life without having parents or even worse having parents that abuse them. This sad reality reminds me that we live in a broken world and for me that’s why I find hope in Christ. Since I was younger I’ve had a heart for loving the fatherless and I have been blessed by opportunities to help at orphanages and mentor youth but one thing that really touches my heart is seeing a loving family taking in the fatherless as their own.
One family in particular that has truly touched my heart and has truly lived out the idea of “loving the fatherless” is the Richards family. I met Paul & Stacy Richards when I first started attending Calvary Chapel East Anaheim at 14. At that time they had three wonderful children: Timothy, Trinity and Isaac. Fast forward to today, September 29th, 2015 they now have a beautiful family of nine children! What amazes me though is out of those children, eight of them are adopted. In knowing the Richards family I can honestly say that they treat all nine of their children with the love and care that is just humbling to see.
So why do I share all this? Well this past Thursday I had the honor to go to the airport with the Richards family as Stacy arrived home from China with their newly adopted son Titus. I had a chance to see Titus meet his family for the first time an I wanted to share these sweet images with you as well as a little bit of why Paul and Stacy adopted Titus.
Three16 Photography: If I may ask, can you tell me a little bit of the back story about how you heard about Titus?
Stacy Richards: Advocating for waiting orphans in China is a huge passion of mine. I was advocating for a little one with Down Syndrome on one of my advocacy boards when I first saw Titus. A long thread had been started with photo’s & info. on all of the children with Down Syndrome that we were all advocating for….as I was scrolling down to add mine, I saw Titus’ sweet face…I could not stop thinking about him…I just knew he was our son. After several days of praying, we stepped forward in faith that God would provide & guide our journey and He did. Our process was absolutely smooth & fast. We are completely taken with our precious son…he is such a treasure & we are humbled & blessed that God chose us to be his forever family.
Three16 Photography: What got you into adopting and particularly from China?
Stacy Richards: Twelve years ago, God placed adopting from China on our hearts. The need for adoptive families was and still is great. As soon as we were eligible, we began our first adoption to China. Our precious Cana came home in July 2007…our sweet Solomon came home in September 2010…and now our amazing gift, Titus, came home September 2015.
Three16 Photography: Nine kids, all I can say is wow, that’s awesome. How did that happen?
Stacy Richards: (We actually have 10 smile emoticon Our precious Zemirah is in heaven) Often we share with families that adoption is a huge faith journey. We didn’t set out to have 9 children but when God calls, you take one faith step at a time and trust God to guide each step.
Our adoption story is very simple. God closed our womb after having Timothy. Our hearts greatest desire was to have a big family…adoption became a very natural choice once we realized that is what God had planned for us. 🙂 We truly can’t imagine our lives without our children. they bring us a deep joy we never even knew existed.
Paul & Stacy with their children: Timothy, Trinity, Isaac, Cana, Solomon, Sarah, Jubilee, Titus, Simeon.
Three16 Photography: Do you see yourself adopting more in the future? I won’t tell Paul :-p
Stacy Richards: I hope so 🙂
Here’s the deal…..Paul & I are blessed with an incredible marriage…the need is great…once you see, you can’t forget…& we are absolutely able & willing to love on these precious ones. 😉
So….we’ve stopped saying ‘no more’…we just trust the Lord to make it clear if we are to adopt again. We were not seeking out our last 5…God brought them to us in amazing, crazy ways that made it clear they were ours.
I can honestly say I am truly touched when I see a family like the Richards seeking out ways to be loving on the fatherless. I’m blessed to call this family my dear friends. If it’s ever on your heart to do something loving for the fatherless please let me know. Whether it’s adopting or you just want to support an awesome organization like Tori’s Torch or Nightlight Adoptions I’d love to get you connected.
Grandma, Grandpa and Dad with Titus at the airport in Los Angeles.