Lorin: I believe adoption is a calling we have received as believers. Once, I was not a part of God’s family. I didn’t belong at his table. I was alone, and fatherless. Christ turned my life upside down when I began to understand that he wanted to have a relationship with me. He needed to take his rightful place in my life, and I have found unexplainable joy in delighting in him. As my faith grew, I began to understand that I was being grafted into his living family. I have been adopted as a child of God.
Adoption begins when our hearts break for the fatherless. I was raised by incredible parents. They provided love, stability, direction, and boundaries that allowed me to flourish and explore life. They gave me space to think, be adventurous, and make mistakes and they never pulled back their love. My heart breaks knowing that there are children right now yearning for the love of parents and a family but are left empty-handed. By God’s grace we will open our home and embrace children, giving them a forever family to love them unconditionally. We pray that these children will have the chance to know the love of God that surpasses knowledge.
We believe God’s kingdom is diverse – full of different ethnicities, races, languages, and cultures all representing the diversity and immeasurable creativity of our Father. As we embrace the call to adopt, we imagine the beauty of the kingdom on a smaller scale around our dinner table.
Ryan: Adoption is essential to my life, and for me, every day begins with the reminder of my adoption into God’s family. That is, while I was lost and undesired, a loving and gracious God came to earth pursuing me and all who would believe in him. This reality is both humbling and moving to me. And it calls me to action. Not only do we have a command to care for orphans, but deep in my heart is the drive to live out what has been given to me. In adopting a child we take on great emotional, financial, and spiritual responsibilities, and we do so with the intentions of making that child our heir, giving them our name and all the rights that go with it. I cannot think a better way to answer the gift that has been given to me, and it brings me great joy live this out.
My first thoughts of adoption came when I was about 20 years old I took a trip to Haiti with my church. Our trip took place about 2 months after the massive earthquake in 2009. We spent a vast majority of our time in a large orphanage playing with the children there. I could hardly think of a time when my arms were not full with children. They craved to be touched, held, hugged and loved, and I enjoyed giving all of those things. I remember thinking,
“I need to, I want to make caring for these children a priority in my life. I need to adopt children some day.”
To me, adoption is the gospel; adoption has found its roots in Christianity and there, I believe, it should find its greatest voice.
How We Met…
We met in the fall of 2010 in Fort Collins, CO. We both studied Health and Exercise Science at
Colorado State and were involved in ministries on campus. Through mutual friends and lab, we eventually met (awkwardly, wearing scrubs, and greasy from lab). Ryan strategically had his lab table set up next to mine so we could bump into each other, but I was not interested in him at the time! We finally had a real conversation a year later. Ryan had just gotten into PA school at
Colorado University, and was going to give me some tips on applying. We met at Starbucks and needless to say, neither of us said a word about PA school. Our encounter ended with a very drawn-out hug in the parking lot.
Over the next few weeks we discovered our mutual passion for medicine, and more importantly, adoption and family. We would stay up late talking, like most new couples do. I remember one conversation when Ryan told me about visiting an orphanage in Haiti; he told me his dream was to adopt one day. I was thrilled and responded with, “Really? Me too!” I told him how I always pictured myself adopting a child, and that vision was solidified through working with youth in Wyldlife, a Christian middle school camp. Some of the girls I mentored there were in the foster care system, or had experienced broken families. I longed to be a mom to someone without a family.
We started dating shortly after that conversation, and soon we knew that we were headed toward marriage. After 7 months of dating, Ryan proposed on the 4th of July, and we were married 6 months later in January of 2013. We moved to Aurora, Colorado where Ryan continued PA school and we connected with a local church, Fellowship Denver.
Our time as a young married couple was taken up by becoming acquainted with a new city, adjusting to new jobs, and trying to survive grad school. We were young and not ready to start a family at that time, but adoption remained a goal of ours. I began researching agencies shortly after we got married, but we quickly realized that taking on the adoption process while Ryan was in such a vigorous graduate program was not wise. So, like most Denver-ites, we bought a house with a yard, got a dog, and then last summer, another dog. They are a handful and many of our friends tell us that they are preparing us for children.
At the end of last summer we began to talk about growing our family. Since we knew adoption would happen, we debated pursuing children biologically or through adoption first. Through many conversations with family and wise couples from church along with fervent prayers, we discerned that adoption was plan A for beginning our family, but we had no idea how to start.
In God’s perfect timing, our church hosted an adoption information night where interested families got together and heard a talk from a social worker. That was the only push we needed, and we began the hunt for an agency. Now, almost 5 months later, we have found a placement agency, started our home study, and started fundraising, all with the support and help of family and friends. Our kickoff fundraiser was a massive yard sale. We collected items donated to us from almost 40 families. It was a huge success, and we raised enough money to cover our first placement agency invoice. We were blown away with how our friends and family surrounded us with support!
We have had wonderful support from family and our community at church, including other adoptive families who have helped us answer the “why” and “how” questions. For instance: how do you choose international versus domestic? Why does it take so long? How did your kids adapt after the transition? These adoptive families have been so encouraging, cheering us along as we make tough decisions.
Our families have been vital in this decision as well. They have asked great questions and been very supportive. We feel that we are developing a community here in Denver that will be vital for years to come as we bring these children home.
Love never happens without hurt, and we believe parenting will be the same. Welcoming children into our family will be a continuous process of loving them unconditionally, becoming their voice when they need one, advocating for their needs, and having the strength to protect them in their vulnerability.
We hope that our story of adoption would open eyes to the reality of the orphan crisis around the world. We dream of a culture of adoption spreading from our family to others in our community; in his book, Adopted For Life, Russell Moore describes this culture not as new set of initiatives, but as “a culture of bringing Christ’s presence to orphans.” We hope that by watching our story unfold, other families would be spurred on to consider what orphan care might look like in their family. We hope that adoption wouldn’t just be for “certain people” but that it would be a priority for everyone in the body of Christ.
The adoption process has been extremely humbling. We are relying totally on the power of God to extend his hand and orchestrate every piece of the puzzle. We deeply need the prayers and support of our community to continue throughout the adoption process, and extend into the long-term raising of our children. We ask our community to pause and imagine what it would be like to be involved in something so real – the literal, physical adoption of a child. The caring for bodily and emotional needs of someone who has been cast off. The embracing of someone who has known nothing but loss. We invite our friends to let the Lord break their hearts for what breaks His.
I have grown up in Colorado for most of my life, and come from a long line of Colorado natives – five generations to be exact. I was born near Little Rock, Arkansas where my parents were stationed while my dad was in the Air Force. We eventually made it back to Loveland, Colorado when I was three years old. When I was six, we moved out to the farm in Eaton, Colorado where I spent the remainder of my childhood.
Life on the farm as a kid was a wonderful experience. We spent the summers in bathing suits and irrigation boots setting water for alfalfa fields and pulling crawdads out of gated pipe. Winters were spent towing a chain of sleds behind ATVs and launching each other over snow-covered dirt piles. My dad built us a tree swing, and a basketball court in the front yard. Our chores involved watering the cattle, hauling pipe, and mowing an acre of grass. For my 9th birthday my dad built me a chicken coop, and I picked out 15 of the most colorful chicks I could find.
We were a very close-knit family growing up. We lived in the finished end of a massive pole barn where all five of us shared one bathroom, and my two sisters and I lived in the loft. We moved into our “real house” when I turned 12, and I got the experience of having my own room.
I attended Colorado State University and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science. While in college I worked at a physical therapy clinic, and was a leader in Young Life, a Christian ministry and mentorship program for middle and high school students.
After Ryan and I got married, I took a job with a neuropsychologist doing psychological testing on patients who had experienced traumatic brain injuries, and worked there for a year. After that, I got a job as a research assistant on a team working with veterans at the Denver VA. I decided to apply for nursing school and started a two-year program at CU Anschutz Medical Campus in June of 2015. I recently accepted a position at University Hospital as a nurse extern on the high-risk labor and delivery floor and that will start this summer. Nursing is a perfect fit for me. I love medicine and the power of physical healing. Walking with someone through pain and joy is truly an honor.
Day to day life in the Pahlau household can be quite the adventure. We spend much of our time wrangling our two young dogs, playing with them and taking them for walks. We enjoy playing sports, working out, road biking, and doing Colorado outdoorsy things like fishing, hunting, and backpacking. When I am not studying or working I enjoy crafts, cooking new recipes, house projects, and keeping up with my garden.
Ryan and I also have a great community at our church, Fellowship Denver. We have bible studies or community dinners once a week, and volunteer with Open Door Ministries in downtown Denver about once a quarter. Much of our family revolves around the dinner table. I love to cook and host friends and family. We thrive with people. There is nothing better than chocolate chip cookies, hot coffee, sitting around the fire pit, and a competitive game of Catan or Spades.
We love our neighborhood, our house, and our friends and family who help make this place a home. And we cannot wait to welcome in new kiddos who need a loving family!
I was born in Fort Collins, CO, to two loving parents. At the time, my father was a middle school wood shop teacher and my mother worked for a company editing their reports. I have an older brother and a younger sister. My siblings and I spent lots of time outside riding bikes, scooters and rollerblades. We had several neighborhood friends who would come over and play. My house was close enough to our elementary that some days we would ride our bikes to school. We often saw much of our extended family for birthday parties and nearly every holiday. We spent many summer nights outside playing games in our neighborhood and having sleep overs out on our trampoline. As a family we often took bike rides to nearby parks and in the hot days of summer we would ride to get ice cream.
In junior high school I started playing the trumpet. My grandfather had died a couple years earlier and I decided to play his old trumpet in honor of him. I thrived in band and even did extra bands including jazz and Dixieland. In junior high school I also played tackle football and ran track. I tried hurdles like my dad because he was such a good hurdler.
From my earliest memories my parents were very intentional with me. I can always remember both of them telling me that they loved me. Both showed me regular love and affection, affirmed me in my aspirations,, and I never doubted their love for me. My dad spent time with me building things, fixing cars, going camping or practicing my sports. My mother helped me with school, reading, writing, and music.
After deciding to pole-vault in school, I set our high school record and went on to pole-vault for Colorado State University for 2 years. My high school years were filled with great memories of track, good friends, summer jobs and working hard in school. I went to college at CSU with a walk-on status to the track team. I really enjoyed my college years. Early on in my time there I was connected with an on campus ministry called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
Throughout my college years I would spend my Friday nights going to bible study and hanging with my friends afterwards. I also spent some time leading FCA at local high schools. FCA was really important in forming me; I was connected with one of the leaders and he mentored me for several years during college. He challenged me and help me grow in my faith and as a young man. In these years my faith really became my own and I became passionate about it.
During my college years I discovered a passion for science, anatomy and physiology while also finding my passion in caring for people. I realized that I could unite these passions in the medical field and decided to pursue a degree and career as a physician assistant.
Both Lorin and I find school incredibly valuable and consider ourselves very lucky to have the education we have. Our marriage has been solidified through our faith and our time at our church. We co-lead a small group of about 10 adults and regularly serve at church.
For fun we like to go backpacking, hunting, take the dogs for a walk or find new ethnic restaurants to try. We both love living in Aurora as it is a very diverse place and very different from where we both grew up. We love meeting new people in our neighborhood and hope to meet more. Currently I work as a pediatric PA full time and Lorin is finishing up nursing school and working as a nurse assistant in the hospital by our house.
I feel most alive when I have time to be playful and goofy, and when I make time to be intentional with my extended family and friends. I love to take time to get out into the mountains to hunt and backpack. I love breathing the crisp cool air of the Rocky Mountains as I brew a cup of coffee. I really like coffee but I love a good espresso! I also enjoy rooting hard for the Denver Broncos – I have been a fan for my entire life and will never stop. It’s in my blood.