An orphan no more!

On Wednesday night, Gwen Oatsvall described the scene, more than six years ago, when she saw Emily:

“I was standing there in that governmental building in China, with eleven little babies, and there was my Emily. To walk into that room where she is an orphan, and then for them to place her in my arms and she is an orphan no more, is probably one of the most powerful experiences of my life.”

Gwen and Scott Oatsvall are the parents of six children, four of whom are adopted, and they gave us a glimpse of their inspiring story as they shared a “living illustration” last Wednesday in the auditorium class. Gwen went on to explain one of the reasons why her experience with Emily that day in China was so powerful:

“Because that is our relationship with the Lord …we are at one point not His child … and then we are. It’s that fast!”

Gwen’s inspiring words about her experience with Emily reminded me of Peter’s inspired words about God’s experience with us:

“But you are a chosen people…a people belonging to God … who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”—I Peter 2:9-10

Emily was the first of four adopted children God has brought into the Oatsvall family, two from China and two from Africa. As you listen to both of them describe their experiences, you realize it’s not part of a strategic plan they developed years ago, but the result of them being open and responsive to the prompting and call of God.

As expensive as international adoptions can be, it’s easy to wonder how the Oatsvalls could possibly afford four additional children, two with special needs, on a school teacher’s salary. I love the phrase Scott used as he was describing some of the financial steps of faith he and Gwen have encountered on this journey:

“God funds what He favors!”

The Oatsvalls’ “living illustration” will be available online soon, or you can order a CD from the Brentwood Hills office (615-832-2541). You can also learn more about their passion by visiting

Brentwood Hills
Church of Christ
5120 Franklin Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37220
Phone: (615) 832-2541
Fax: (615) 832-2583