The Misguided Sainthood of Mrs. Kleiner

Trying to get it right with the best of intentions.

Location: Seattle, Washington

I have been married to the delicious Joe Kleiner for 6 years. I got preg in 1999 & miscarried at 17 weeks. I was depressed for a very long time. I now know I have PCOS, an endocrine disorder and leading cause of infertility. Joe and I both felt compelled to adopt foster children so we called ANTIOCH ADOPTIONS. They are committed to helping normal people adopt & to getting kids out of foster care. Our kids came home in the fall of 2001. Bret (8), Nene (7), and Tony (5). In 2004 we were contacted because the kids had a new biological sister and through God's amazing providence we now have her too. Yes, that's four-ages 12, 10, 9 and 1. This is where the mythology begins. Often people who don't know us hold to an erroneous and misguided belief that I am special, a saint if you will. That THEY would never be able to live my life. That God has not CALLED THEM to fostering or adopting. I disagree with every cell of my being. I am no saint. But I do believe that Jesus calls us ALL to care for the fatherless, to love the unlovable, and to die to ourselves. So this is my attempt to set the record straight.

Friday, September 30, 2005


The kids and I spoke tonight at a retreat for couples applying to adopt through Antioch Adoptions. I've done that a couple of times and always loved it. One time I took only Tonesha with me. There were 14 couples there that night and only 2 were interested in older child adoption (meaning over age 2). By the time Tonesha was done working the crowd--7 families were open to older kids. She is the spokesmodel for adorable kids everywhere.

Tonight was great. It was also hard. I've never spoken quite as frankly about my journey in front of my kids. Of course, they were mostly drooling and rolling around on the ground acting like clowns. When we got to the car, Bret said, "That was the most amazing speech I've ever heard." Seems like sharing your journey makes the "wisdom" you try to impart more poignant! Duh. I know that as a disciplship principle but had not made the connection to my mothering until tonight. I can be a real dolt sometimes.

It seemed like the couples were more informed about the huge need for older kid adoption. But you know some are also conflicted. I know the desire for a baby is strong. It should be. God gave us the desire. But he also calls us to master our desires--not be subject to them. We have to die to our desire. Die to our perfect picture life. Die to ourselves until all we have left is a desire to follow and glorify Him. My desire almost consumed me. I raged against God for a long time. I had finally died, repented and was being rebuilt when we welcomed our baby Nor home.

I know that's a lot like telling a single woman that when she stops looking for a husband, God will provide her with one. Remember that? I spent a lot of time pretending like I wasn't looking, too. It's not something you can fake. God's got that whole all-knowing thing going on.

Back to the retreat. It was amazing to meet some people who really want to make a difference. I know each face represents much pain and loss. Each couple has traveled a road both unique and similar to my own. All are hoping for a brighter future. I'm encouraged by the number interested in the foster-adopt program. Foster care is brutal. For a child, being removed from their home is terrible. No matter how abusive and disfunctional. It is devastating. But even worse than that--is never having their own family again. We have to do more to get these kids into homes. We need to open our minds to a life beyond two kids and a dog. To open our hearts to those who are the most vunerable. To open our arms to a child (or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5...).

To those of you reading because you met me there tonight...Thank you for stopping by. I thank God for you and I will pray. Pray that you will die to yourself. Pray that God will transform you through the renewing of your mind. Pray that your hope will not be for naught. I will pray that God will fill your home. Thank you for your courage.


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