There’s A Need
Some people listen to Matthew and Melinda Hanley recount their story with Grayson* and Stella*, the two children in their care through Jonah’s Journey, and just shake their heads. “I could never do it,” they say. “Are you kidding me?” “Will you get to adopt them?”
“They just don’t get it,” says Matthew. “But it boils down to this: there is a need. Who is going to fill that need if not us?” In a world where it is more common to pursue foster care as a means for adoption, people can’t grasp that Matthew and Melinda are willing to give the children back to their mothers once they transition from prison back to society.
While Matthew openly admits he would be thrilled to adopt Grayson and Stella, he recognizes God didn’t ask him to step out in faith and fill a need that would, ultimately, satisfy himself. “You need to be willing to do what He tells you to do. We pray these great prayers and sing these wonderful Christian songs about faith, but so many of us aren’t willing to listen. It’s a two way conversation.”
When Matthew felt God point him towards Jonah’s Journey, he hesitated… at first. It’s a bumpy road. There are hills. There are obstacles. What if it ends in heartbreak? How would his wife handle it? “But you have to remember our God is bigger than all of that,” says Matthew. “We can’t live in fear. If this is the path God put before us, who are we to say no?”
Knowing deep down in his heart that the end goal is to reunite Grayson and Stella with their biological mothers is difficult. But to trust God enough to step into the ministry means realizing His plan is greater than. “You have to be kind of crazy to do it, but again… There is a need. This is the church stepping up. We’re saying that we’re willing to go above and beyond. If not us, then who?”
*names have been changed to protect identity