On Jon and Joy’s first date, it was Joy who popped the question: “What are your thoughts on adoption?”
Since high school, Joy had felt a burden to save and help the lost and hurting children of the world. The Holy Spirit had overwhelmed her with compassion for orphans.
And Jon—”Obviously I hadn’t put nearly as much thought into it as she had,” he admits. “So at first I said, ‘Yeah, adoption would be great.’”
Jon and Joy Mostinger married in 2004, and in 2010 they began the adoption process to bring home their sons, Seth and Ollie.
They knew they wanted to adopt younger children, and they wanted to adopt two at once. Many of their social circle had adopted from Asian companies, so they looked there first. But the Motsingers hit obstacle after obstacle with the requirements of each Asian country. They were too young, or didn’t make enough money, or didn’t meet the other qualifications. So they turned to Ethiopia.
After 16 months of travel, paperwork, and prayers, the Motsingers grew by two–Seth, three, and Ollie, 13 months–came home.
“I’m so glad we chose Ethiopia,” Jon says. “It’s a great culture and we’ve enjoyed learning and discovering about the Ethiopian culture.”
Jon and Joy spend a lot of time with Ethiopians in Lubbock. They also recently took their sons, now ages seven and five, to an Ethiopian heritage cultural camp. “There were some first generation Ethiopian Americans,” Joy says, “but mostly it was white parents and Ethiopian kids. I felt it was empowering for [Seth and Ollie] to see, ‘This family looks just like mine—a white mom, a white dad, a brown brother.’”
Now, Seth desires to return to Ethiopia to help people in need. He tells his parents, “When I grow up, I’m going back to Ethiopia—I’m still going to be your son—but I’m going to go back to help all those people so the families don’t have to be separated.”
Of course, like other seven-year-olds, Seth has other ideas for his future as well: He’s also considering a future career as a fireman, a vet, a cop, and a builder.
Seth’s heart to help others, like his parents’, has resulted in open arms for the next chapter in their family—fostering.
“In our minds, we always thought we would foster,” Joy says, “but we expected it to be 15 years down the road. Then we just thought, ‘Why not?’ We have resources, a home. So we started the process.”
The Motsingers have welcomed eight foster kids into their home in the past 21 months. Joy says, “We tell [Seth and Ollie] we’re helping families. We just took the summer off [from accepting foster placements], and the boys asked, ‘When are we going to help more kids?’”
Now the Motsingers’ reach is growing again—from a passion to help children to a passion to help others help children. They’ve partnered with their church to not only bring awareness of the needs of orphans, but also to provide support and solutions for those fulfilling the needs.
“We wanted to start something at Redeemer that people could at least network, or talk, or get questions answered,” Joy says.
“Not knowing what to expect can be daunting,” Jon agrees. “So we say, ‘You’re interested in this–here are some people we can connect you to.'”
“With Redeemer’s orphan care ministry, we want to raise awareness of orphans. At least have that in people’s minds. There’s a well-documented Biblical mandate to care for orphans and widows.”
They want to alter people’s perception of what that entails. As Jon explains, ” You don’t just have to have an orphan living in your house. There are so many other things you can do to support orphans, other than just physically caring for a child. So many people think they can’t adopt or foster, but there are other ways.”
The Motsingers admit they haven’t got it all figured out. Jon says, “I don’t think there’s anything special about us, that we’ve adopted or do foster care. It’s just something God put on our hearts and has given us the opportunity and ability to do. A lot more people could do a lot more, if they realized what they could do.”
Joy agrees, “If God puts it on your heart, just go for it. Take a step forward…If God puts it on your heart, just do something. Anything.”
Jon and Joy took the first step forward—that step that started with an honest question on a first date. Now almost a dozen children’s lives have been positively impacted as a result of their obedience. And they want to see more.
Jon says, “We’re doing this not to improve our family or be more diverse—it’s a reflection of what’s happened to us. We are serving Christ by serving others.”
Adoption is a picture of their salvation, the Motsingers agree. Jon says, “It’s a picture of our adoption into the family of God, and seeing that played out in our family. These are our children that we’ve been able to take into our home. They are our children. They weren’t, and now they are. We’ve accepted them with their faults and flaws…We talk about being saved. But it’s more than that—we’re not just rescued, we’re a part. We’re family now.”