• Immediate Needs

    updated 8.29.11

    We do what we do as missionaries supported by people like you.

    We also prefer to give away as much content as we can, and not cloud that issue with a lot of public requests. That said, we do have specific needs that are met by people who believe the work we do has value.

    If you'd like a short list of immediate financial needs, you can find it HERE.


    Note: This will be updated regularly

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In The Interest of Full Disclosure

A few days ago, I posted an update on The Compound and received a comment that I chose not to publish because I wasn’t sure it was a discussion I wanted to get into in this public forum.  Instead, I emailed the writer directly (I do not know them personally), but the email bounced back.

Since then, I’ve talked it over with Kelsey, and we decided to go ahead and post both the comment and my response.   I’m hoping that it will help you frame a more complete picture of who we are, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it.

I’m printing the comment in its entirety in order to insure that I’m not coloring the question by creative editing.

Hi! I read your blog sometimes and enjoy it and am challanged by it too. Challanged to be God’s in everyway and put loving others above posessions etc. Which is hard to do! I guess I’m trying to understand the notion of obedience and blessing…know what I mean. We are in ministry full time, my husband and I, and our son is begging us to paint his room orange and we have a hard time finding money in the budget for that. I guess I’m just trying to understand how or why you ask for donations to fund your adoptons when you can afford to build/renovate a new home especially in these times. I’m not questioning you or your morals but well, I guess its just a question. – Trac

Unable to answer via email,  here is my response.


One of the downfalls of blogging is that a reader feels they get an understanding of a situation when in reality, they’re only seeing parts.   There are a lot of factors involved here that you couldn’t know unless you were close friends of ours.  I’ll only go into a few.

The house is far from a ‘new’ house.  In fact, I laughed about that – it’s about 80 years old.  It boasted a furnace that was installed when John F. Kennedy was the President.   The massive renovations I’m talking about are not simply upgrades – they were to make it liveable.  Things like toilets that work, windows that seal, an oven that cooks, etc.  Perhaps I’ve made it sound opulent in this forum…if so, it’s because I’m incredibly grateful to the Lord for giving it to us.  I feel rich, not because of what we have, but because I know where it came from.

This house wasn’t a whim. It’s part of a multi year track we’ve been on that includes having a senior family member live with us for the past ten years, sharing expenses, etc.  That family member will continue to live with us in a studio apartment in the house.  Without their participation, we would not have this home.  We’re blessed to have them with us on a multitude of levels.  Not knowing this might have skewed your perspective.

This old house was purchased simply because we needed the room, having gone from 3 children to 7 in under 3 years.    We got a great deal in this market, if that is important to people or not I’m not sure.   I do know the soft market and good interest rates allowed us to get into it without increasing the mortgage payment from our previous (much smaller) house.

Truth be told, we live pretty simply.   We have bare bones health insurance.   We budget and we make do.   We own two old SUV’s – the newer one has 120,000 miles and the one I drive has 175,000.   The wipers quit at about 150,000, but we haven’t had a car payment in about 7 years.   I could tell you more about our financial situation, but I’ve already told you more than my closer friends know or have cared to asked about.

Even so, if our house was a palace and our cars were new….there are factors at work that you’re not aware of.

You might not know that the twins were adopted in a 24 hour period when the opportunity dropped in our lap.     There was no ramp up, no time to plan, only a sudden window of time to move to save two little girls.  The house may have been years in the doing, but we had hours to say yes to this.     In asking for people to join with that, we’re inviting them in to the miracle.

A lot of people have a heart for adoption but are not in a life-station where they can do it. Our girls’ adoptions have been financed by people who knew in their heart adoption was right and cared enough to want to do something about it.  We have received $1000 checks from business people and jars of change from children.   Many have chosen to partner with us, and I’d do it again in a second and I’d ask people with like-hearts to help, without shame.

I’d go so far as to say that adoption funding is the work of the church.  Everyone who adopts should consider inviting friends and family into the game, even if they can afford to write the check themselves. It allows a community to be involved in redeeming a life.   Watch for this idea to be developed further in a coming post.

Ironically, we are founders and directors of  The Zoe Foundation, which last year funneled about $50,000 into other peoples’ adoptions and will do far more this year – none which goes to our adoptions because legally, we can’t direct the foundation and receive adoption funds from it, and we’re too committed to the vision to sidestep the rules……so we’re helping pay for others while asking people to help pay for ours.

I hope this helps put it in perspective.

Now, I’ll be even more honest (honester?).  I didn’t want to post this. Not because I didn’t feel like I had a good response, but rather because I don’t like feeling as if I answer to strangers.

When the email bounced back, I figured I’d just let it die….but when Kelsey saw it, she encouraged me to post it here, not because we felt compelled to defend ourselves, but  because many people look towards this forum for input on adoption, ministry, and other things.

Our hope is that no one reading this would ever question supporting someone’s adoption based on a skewed perspective of who we are or what we’re doing.…and if that means telling you more than you need to know at times, then I guess we’re in this together.




16 Responses

  1. “I’d go so far as to say that adoption funding is the work of the church.Everyone who adopts should consider inviting friends and family into the game, even if they can afford to write the check themselves. It allows a community to be involved in redeeming a life. ”

    I’m not even a member of a church and I will give a big hallelujah to this – ties like that bind a community together. I don’t think it’s questionable at all.

  2. I always enjoy reading your posts Randy! I couldn’t agree with you more and while I understand you posting this I also don’t think other people should even be asking these sorts of questions. I think people need to keep in mind that just because people choose to live a fasted life style, God doesn’t require us to take a vow of poverty.


  3. Love how your heart comes through on this, Randy. I understand your reticence in responding, but I appreciate what you said and how you said it. I feel like I just got to know you a lot better, and I appreciate your willingness to be so open. Many people who haven’t been part of the adoption process or had close friends who have don’t understand what it’s like. I think this post will help some understand better. Blessings bro.

  4. Amen.

  5. Kelsey, I’m grateful for a heart that says “Let’s be vulnerable and transparent for the sake of the Kingdom”!

  6. Wow! Well said!

  7. Thanks for answering Tracy’s questions with grace. There will always be questions, well meaning, and not so well meaning. It happens to ALL of us. That you responded with love, not defensiveness, shows your true measure! Blessings on you and yours-Tracy-you too!

  8. I really appreciated this post. It reminded me of the wisdom of living simply. It reminded me of the wisdom and blessing of partnership. And it reminded me of the power of vulnerability and transparency.

  9. this is a new paradigm … viewing adoption as a means to redeem a life instead of simply a way to build one’s family … and it will take some time and probably lots of uncomfortable questions to answer from people who genuinely want to understand but old paradigms are in the way … as a parent who has both adopted and biologically children, i get that … i’ve had to work through the turn in thinking … but it is a God shift for a new season and your blog has been instrumental in my own paradigm shift and i appreciate yours and kelsey’s willingness to tackle the uncomfortable and be transparent … it will bring a huge return for the kingdom … bless you and yours …

  10. Randy i am really proud of you. This was a very vulnerable email and i think you needed to know that not everyone out there questions your financial choices.God is an extravagant God. Your life has been a testimony of God’s faithfulness to His statements in Psalm 127- “children are a blessing FROM the Lord”

    He loves that you can dream bigger than your pocket book and dream from His. He has shown you his extravagance for your family by getting you new suv unexpectedly, giving you more beautiful children, and being aware of all the small details that you weren’t even sure He was paying attention to….and i know there are many more things. .

    We love you guys so much!!! Thank you for Dreaming with God and letting Him be the author of your life.

  11. I know it was probably uncomfortable for you to expose your private details, but I am glad you did. It makes you REAL people with REAL challenges in life. I have enjoyed your blogs…even laughed out loud a few times! Everyone will have an opinion no matter what you do. As long as you know you are in God’s will…that’s all that matters. God will bless MANY families through your ministry!

  12. Hey Randy!

    Did the person ask anyone for orange paint yet? If not, maybe they will respond to your email and we can help them out too.

    By the way, I spent a few short years in AR. I know a compound when I see one. The jury’s still out on your new place. It will most likely be so beautiful and artistic that it won’t really qualify in the truest sense of the word. I still get it, no matter what you call it.

    Causing us wonder about things, question the status quo and search out our own Bibles is what you do best on your blog. Thanks for that. I love it!

  13. Adoption is very intertwined with missions and the church.

    When we do baby/child dedications at my church, the church body agrees to partner together to invest in the child’s life. Since we are the church, we individually agree to invest as a community.

    I was adopted, and I go on mission trips frequently. Especially since I am a young, healthy, single female, I am able to go to the ends of the earth where other people might not be able to go. Not everyone can go, but they can pray/give/mobilize. Likewise with adoption….I was adopted and I cannot adopt yet, but I can speak about the spirit of adoption and support those who do!

    I also believe that sometimes the hardest part is the humility and courage to ask for donations! Even if you know that your work is consecrated to the Lord, it’s still hard sometimes – especially when you know other people have tight finances. But if you do not ask, you may not receive! I would love to donate money for orange paint for the commenter’s room! Seriously, just e-mail me! 🙂 Without saying the need, the awareness may not be there; your three youngest blessings may not have been adopted so speedily!

  14. I appreciate the honest question Tracy left and the honest response you gave. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Having never taken part in adoption myself, I have learned that not only is it a biblical command to take care of the orphan, I have discovered that the Lord has given generously to make it possible to a willing family. I just see the Lord’s blessing all over the families I have seen go through the process. And in the end after the lights dim, you are the ones raising these children and pouring your life out for them. They aren’t trophies. You don’t pocket the money, only the love! Over and over again I have heard, ok read, the families say they are the ones that are blessed and richer for it, even when they have been rescued from some really bad sitiuations. For those of us who can’t or don’t feel they can, this is a viable way for us to take part in honoring the Lord and these precious children through supporting their adoptions. Both your transparency has helped us learn more about the Father’s heart for adoption! I for one am richer as a result! Blessings to all~Sarah in PA

  15. For some reason, we have a jealousy problem in the Church… It is similar to me hoping that my girlfriend doesn’t lose weight because then I would be fat alone… I work on that. We are supposed to be happy for what the Lord does for others and not compare it to ourselves, altho I have been guilty of this also.. But it is sin. pure and simple. And pride.
    What you are doing with your vision to save babies and place them in pre screened Christian homes is awesome… That you are a watchman on the wall is awesome. Being part of THE CALL is awesome… If I knew who Tracy was, I would send her $20 to help paint her son’s room. I am sure others would too, if they knew her need.
    Also Randy you have done an awesome job of friend raising! I love you and Kelsey and I don’t really know you! But you are in my prayers and I am thrilled with your vision and what you are doing! Keep it up!
    Sharon (from Twittering!)

  16. […] here’s one by Randy Bohlender, a post he did a last week in response to a commenters very blunt question about […]

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