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Ben & Lucinda Bailey – Live Deeply

We’re CSPC members Ben & Lucinda Bailey, and this is how we’re living deeply.

Lucinda: “I’d had the girls’ room decorated in my head, even though we hadn’t met them yet. My adult daughter was going to come down for the summer; help us get adjusted, adapted. So it was sad when the adoption possibility fell through. The two girls we’d hoped to adopt were living in Ohio with their aunt, who was a single parent already loaded down with three of her own kids. We’d talked to her. She’d given us pictures and updates. But when the case came up in April –the very end of the process, we’d hoped, after eight months- the case worker said no way was she going to do an out-of-state adoption. I remember crying. My own kids are in their 20s, and I just missed having kids in my home. Ben and I had gotten married –both for the first time- in our 50s. From our dating days, we both felt God had children for us to adopt.”

Ben: “We met on eHarmony a few years ago and dated long distance for quite a while. Even though it’s late in life to some degree for us, we had the common bonds of faith and a commitment to living the Christian life the right way. So, we had the right foundation- it just seemed like we were the right people at the right time in the right place.”

Lucinda: “We were both doing the same thing, too. I had moved from Indiana to Kentucky to care for my stepmom, whose health was poor, and he was living in his family farm home in Sevier County taking care of his dad, who was not doing well. We’d get one day on the weekend –Sunday- and just spend it going to church and getting to know each other. So long distance was hard, but it was also very good for us. We learned how to communicate through texts and cards. There was a period of a couple months when we couldn’t meet on Sunday because of COVID or different situations, so we would just read a whole book of the Bible together over Zoom and connect spiritually. We started attending CSPC during COVID and stayed. Andrew Keasling married us in the chapel on July 10, 2021.”

Lucinda: “During our Sunday dates before we got married, we would go on trail hikes sometimes. And on one of those hikes, we talked about adoption. I wasn’t shy, so I just started the conversation.”

Ben: “I was a school teacher. So, I’m used to being around young people anyway. I’d wanted to adopt for probably 20 or 30 years.”

Lucinda: “And ever since I had my daughter, who’s 27, I had wanted to adopt. So, we talked about it. I asked, ‘Okay, if we adopt children, whether it be one or five or 12, will you regret in 20 years that we didn’t get to travel as most people our age do?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely not.’ I was like, ‘This is the one. This is the guy.’”

Ben: “Traveling is great. I’ve gotten to travel, and there are still a lot of places I’d like to go. But I’ve never had a chance to have children of my own. This would give us a chance to maybe do that. They wouldn’t be our natural children, but they still would be ours, because we’re all adopted. In the Kingdom, it doesn’t matter.”

Lucinda: “Four months after we got married, we took in my sister, who’s mentally handicapped. She demanded a lot of attention, so we couldn’t really move forward on adoption while we had her. After 19 months of caring for Kim, we got her placed into a great facility. I am always ready for the next thing. However, we recalled the advice we’ve gotten from many people: Finish that first year of marriage before doing anything major. We’ve only spent a little over half a year as newlyweds with nobody in our house, so –especially after our adoption heartbreak with the twin girls early in our marriage- legally pursuing adoption is temporarily on hold for us. However, God’s created a path for us to adopt, just in an unconventional way we couldn’t have foreseen. Who knew Monica and Nick would be coming into our lives?”

Lucinda: “Back in Indiana, I was a small group women’s leader for about eight years. I’ve kept in touch with a lot of those women. After I got married and had this beautiful home (Ben’s family farm home in Sevier County), I invited some of them to come visit. One said, ‘Okay, I’m going to come, but I want to bring some of my friends you’ve never met.’ So four women (three of them strangers) came down for a weekend this past summer; all moms with kids under 10. We just loved on them and spoiled them, sort of like a retreat. On Sunday morning, I did a tea party/Bible study with them. Afterward, one of these moms I’d met –Monica- and I were sitting on the front porch. She poured her heart out: ‘I’m estranged from my family. My kids don’t know their grandparents, and I long for them to have grandparents.’ I said, ‘Well, we’ll be their grandparents.’ Monica was deeply moved and shocked. After I talked to her about our hearts to adopt and the power of God’s family, she accepted the offer. They came down as a family in August: Monica and her husband Nick and their kids Caleb, Daisy, and Dahlia. The kids had already written Ben and me (Grand momma and Grandpapa) cards saying, ‘We’re so happy that you’re our family and we love you.’ When it was time to go home, the kids didn’t want to leave. The consummation of a commitment had been realized at that first visit.”

Ben: “We took them out and drove them around the farm on the Razor. They enjoyed that and looking at the cows- just kind of hanging out and playing.”

Lucinda: “So our dream to adopt has been realized- we’re adoptive grandparents! These kids and their parents are just part of our lives now. They came back for fall break and met Ben’s mom, who is Great Grammy. As Christians, we’re adopted immediately into the family of God. And that’s how we’ve looked at this- it’s immediate and forever. We have a wonderful story to share. As we introduce our grandchildren and adopted children (their parents) to others, we get to tell of how God placed adoption in our hearts for years, and when the opportunity came to adopt, we jumped right in. And the love that fills our hearts with this family is truly the work of God.”

Ben: “Monica and Nick are great parents who are just a little sad. She’s estranged from her family and her parents, so the kids don’t have their maternal grandparents in their life at all, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to. Monica lives in Indiana but her family’s out in California. She and Nick don’t even really know a whole lot of people in Indiana yet. So, I think this just kind of maybe fills a void. In our modern world, that’s what we have to do a lot because there are so many kids growing up with parents or family members who won’t speak to one another. It seems like every family has issues like that.”

Lucinda: “Monica and Nick had a need and we had desires to fulfill it, and this is what we’re doing. So, in every sense of our hearts and souls, Monica and Nick’s children are our grandchildren. On one of the visits to see us, Monica came to my Friday morning Bible study. I really loved bringing her to meet some of the people I worship with. I got to tell the story about how God did this work in our hearts and connected us as family members through adoption. It’s healthy for her to see the support system of the body of Christ. When I was raising my children as a single parent, I learned God was who He says He is. And the Church was -and is- my amazing extended family.”

Ben: “There are so many people outside the Church who just don’t know what it is. Monica, who has more of a Catholic background, has been really touched by seeing the love of the Church. There are a lot of people who just never experience it- don’t know what it is or maybe walked away from it. So that’s our role, I think, when we go out in the world: Can we be that salt and light, the hands and feet of Christ? We won’t reach everybody, but we can reach some and show them what true community looks like. A lot of people think the Church is a business or it’s a club, but it’s not. It’s a genuine, caring, sacrificial community. You can’t get that anywhere else. We go to the Saints Alive Sunday school class. Age-wise, do we really fit there? Not really, but with the gospel, we do. It’s unlike anything else you’ll see anywhere you go when it’s done right.”

Lucinda: “We will keep pursuing other types of adoption. After we finish our ‘first year’ of marriage, I think we’ll start out by being respites for foster families. We are both open to however many children God puts in our home. We’ve got enough room for eight.”

Ben: “I don’t know if we have enough energy for that, but we do have enough room.”

Lucinda: “We’ll see what God does. We don’t know if we’ll formally adopt, though right now that’s still our eventual hope. But through this adoption with our grandkids, God has answered our prayers. We have beautiful, wonderful children in our life. If God stops there, maybe He stops there. I don’t know. You just have to trust God and say, ‘You know all things, God. Our hands are open, our hearts are open, and we want what you want. So, if you want to fill our house up with eight kids or one, or if you just want us to be a place of respite for many years so we can give families relief, we can love on many children.’

Ben: “The funny thing is, we live in the same house my dad and I lived in- the same house but a different home. Dad died in January 2021 at 81. He was ornery and not well-liked by too many people. He did not have the gift of hospitality. So, I think the challenge is to make this a real home where people feel welcome, a place we can share. And it’s starting to happen. We had our Sunday school class out here in the summer. They had the best time. One of our goals is to make this a place where people are excited to come make memories. It’s not been that for a long time.”

Lucinda: “As maturing Christians, we’re definitely eating the meat of His word, and this is how we’re trying to live it. The message of the Bible is to love God and to love others. This is how they will know we belong to Him. We have asked God to give us people to love.”

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