July 16, 2007Bob ’88 and Dannah Barker Gresh ’89 currently reach thousands of teens through their abstinence ministry Pure Freedom. Dannah is the author of And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity. Troy ’89 and Donna Payne VanLiere ’89 are close friends of the Greshes. The following article is reprinted with permission.Bob and Dannah’s Family is Expanding!
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us ? whatever we ask ? we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14, 15
Autumn is 13. She was adopted by Chinese parents when she was two months old. When she was nine her adoptive father died of a stroke. When her mother remarried she chose not to take Autumn with her into her new family. Since that time, her adoptive mother has also died. As of October 2006, Autumn was in the orphanage system of the People’s Republic of China.
In November 2006, one of Bob and Dannah Gresh’s best friends, Troy VanLiere, traveled to China with Christian group NewSong to film some footage to promote international adoption for Holt International. He met Autumn and fell in love with her. He returned with a heart to adopt her and with a great sense of urgency. You see, on October 6, 2007 she would be turning fourteen and will no longer be permitted to be adopted, as Chinese international adoption laws “age-out” children on their fourteenth birthday. Since international adoption can take up to two years, Troy knew this was an urgent situation. Due to the fact that Troy and his wife, Donna VanLiere, were already approved to adopt David, a beautiful orphaned baby from Guatemala, they could not adopt Autumn.*
That’s when Troy called Bob. “You need to either pray that we can figure out a way to adopt her or that God opens your heart to adopt her.” Over the course of two weeks, God inexplicably opened the hearts of Bob, Dannah, Robby and Lexi to adopt her.
The miracles have proven to come one after another. Bob and Dannah did not have the $25,000 necessary to adopt Autumn and felt called to completely ask God to provide this in His way. In December, they received a gift of $12,000 from one donor specifically to adopt Autumn. That left $13,000 right?
In January, Pure Freedom secured a new accountant who discovered that the Greshes had been reporting Dannah’s royalties incorrectly to the IRS. He investigated the past few years of income reports further and found that the IRS owed them $13,060!
A great crisis came in March when the Greshes petitioned the United States Immigration and Citizenship office to bring an orphaned child into the United States. They quickly informed the family in writing that they could not process this piece of paperwork in no less than six weeks. This was confirmed by two petitioning congressman’s offices after they put in requests for expedited service. IF this paper was available within two weeks and everything else went perfectly, the deadline of Autumn’s fourteenth birthday could be met with no room for error.
Dannah emailed about fifty praying friends. They passed it on and passed it on and passed it on. On March 6th there were thousands of people praying. Dannah chose this day to ask daringly for God to “speak it and it will be .” Donna VanLiere wrote to Dannah “If God can get Peter out of jail, he can get a piece of paper out of the USCIS!” On March 7th, the USCIS agreed to release the paperwork within one week based on humanitarian need. They had a complete change of heart.
Please join us in welcoming Autumn Cloud into the Gresh family.
*Most international adoption agencies will not allow two adoptions to occur within twelve months unless they are siblings.