Adopted Twice

May 6, 2024

{Pictured is Carol, second from the left, with Betsy and their sons}

I do not know why I was placed up for adoption at three months of age, but I can say with certainty that what seemed to be abandonment became the blessing of adoption. God gathered me into the hands and lives of my new parents, showed me an affectionate and loving marriage, and gave me a brother, Jim, who is also adopted. Jim and I enjoyed a joyful and stable childhood filled with the discipline of unconditional love. As Psalm 139 says, God hemmed me in, behind and before. 

Though my parents faithfully attended our Methodist church, they were not gospel-articulate. My brother and I attended for years, but I was not interested in Sunday School or the old hymns we would sing. However, somewhere around the age of ten, I became aware and sorrowful that I did not think of God each day. Later, I would recognize that God was calling me and orchestrating circumstances to fulfill that longing. He was about to show me that he had not only placed me with loving parents, but that he made a way to adopt me as a child of God as well.

Shortly after becoming aware of this longing in my heart, I was riding the school bus home and sat next to a girl who told me about a group called Pilgrim Girls that met at her Baptist Church. It seemed like Girl Scouts, which I had disliked; however, she was so excited about it that I invited myself to attend. 

At one of the first meetings, a man presented the gospel, a message I had never heard at my church. The Lord quickened my heart that night, and I asked the Lord to save me. There was immediate fruit as the Holy Spirit produced conviction of sin and a fervent desire to read the Bible every night. I wanted to attend this church, and since there was a church bus that could drive us, my parents allowed me to go. Each Sunday my faith grew under the preached Word, and the hymns were so much more lively than they were in my old church. 

God also gave me something else besides a new heart, a new church, and the adoption into his family. He gave me the gift of friendship with that dear girl, whose name was Betsy Zener, now Betsy Bittner. Betsy and I became inseparable throughout our junior and senior years at Marple High School. After graduation, we both attended college in the Lancaster area, then got our first jobs at Bryn Mawr Hospital working in the ICU. We had our moments of temptation throughout our teens and twenties, but God was faithful to maintain our friendship even after Betsy moved to Maryland.

After graduation, God led me to a church that preached the gospel and introduced me to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. My newfound church friends and I decided to venture to a Creation Festival. While there, I listened to these guys named C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomzack and was captivated by their teaching, at times laughing out loud at C.J.’s humor. 

I rededicated my life to the Lord and was water baptized. A few months later, I drove past my old junior high school (which had become a community building called the Gauntlett Center) and saw those two guys’ names on a billboard! They were  introducing a new church, Covenant Fellowship, that was holding its one-year anniversary. I knew I had to go. 

When I stepped into that first church meeting, I knew in my heart that I had found the church I had been looking for all these years. As Bill Patton preached the Word every Sunday, I remember not wanting the sermons to end. I was drinking from the fountain of God’s Word and learning to love it and apply it like never before. 

It was not long until I was telling Betsy all about the church, and like me, the Lord compelled her

to come. Now we are both in love with our Lord, growing in our faith and so blessed to be

adopted into God’s family. The faithful pastors of Covenant Fellowship have been used by the Lord to guide us through our single days, our married lives, our mothering and homeschooling years, and now our years of growing older. “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. Twas grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”

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