Meredith Andrews: You're Not Alone
- 2008 16 Jul
To North Carolina native Meredith Andrews, God’s providence is everywhere in her life, and you just can’t miss it.
Meredith, a new recording artist on Word Records, recently released her debut album, The Invitation. As someone who wasn’t looking for a record deal but claims it just landed in her lap, she doesn’t for a second doubt that it’s where she’s meant to be. Recording and songwriting are not the only roles set before her to fill. As a newlywed, a worship leader, a sister and a daughter, Meredith seeks to make room at the table for more. In her steadfast search for the heart of God, she asks, not just for herself, but for everyone around her “that we would love like Jesus loves, whether it be [loving] husbands, wives and children or neighbors, friends and even enemies.”
Beginning her new marriage to husband Jacob and embarking on her own familial journey, Meredith’s idea of family growing up was never conventional. Many people struggle to love their own flesh and blood, much less choosing to love someone who wasn’t born into their family. It’s always been Meredith’s desire for more, and she didn’t hesitate to ask at an early age.
“When I was eight, I remember, Mom and I were talking one day,” Meredith explains. “We were in my room, and I was like, ‘Mom, how come all my friends have brothers and sisters and I don’t? That’s not fun; how can we change that?’ And I actually said to her, ‘I’m praying for a baby to appear in your tummy.’”
It wasn’t long after Meredith’s innocent request that her parents investigated adoption and were ready to move down the road toward adopting internationally. With all the research completed—comparing costs, timetables and countries—Meredith was certain she was ready to receive a baby sister from China. However, her parents found themselves in conversation with their pastor and his wife, who, at the time were foster parents. For the time being, the Andrews’ international adoption plans were intercepted, and they first became foster parents.
“When my parents came home, they told me we were going to have a little girl come live with us that next week and that she was almost two and her name was Nicki. I just flipped out! I was doing cartwheels all around this itty-bitty room. I was so excited, and that’s how it all started. I was still eight, in the second grade; and I took Nicki to show and tell.”
Foster care can be a tougher means of providing a stable home life due to the impermanency. Foster children are placed in fitting homes temporarily with the goal that, despite the hard circumstances they may be facing with their birth parents, they will either be reunited with their parents or placed in a permanent home situation.
Meredith acknowledges, “Foster care and adoption is definitely something God gave us a calling to and a heart for, and I watched my parents and how they loved these kids like they were their own. It was the hardest thing in the world to give them up.”
Admittedly, many of us shy away from relationships, especially when we know they are temporary. What makes it even harder is to choose to love someone well, particularly children in broken situations, who need to be loved deeply despite the small amount of time you may have. “We had 20 kids come through our home. Some of them were in a situation to where they couldn’t be adopted. I just know my parents were so intentional about showing them the love of Jesus, trying to instill the truth of God in them and making it clear that He was real and that He loved them, no matter how young they were or how long they stayed with us. It was hard seeing these kids go.
“Nicki left and went back with her parents,” Meredith adds. “Nicki is 18 now, and I haven’t seen her since she was three. We just have to trust that God had a reason for bringing her and every other kid into our home and that He’s going to somehow reveal Himself to them.”
Foster care opened the door to adoption in the Andrews’ home. They have permanently adopted three boys, Meredith’s brothers: “Derek was three, and Rusty was two. Jonathan was a day old when we adopted him. They’re 18, 17 and 12 now and wild as boys can be. They’re all I’ve known, and they’re our family now. It’s just been so cool to see how God fit them in our family; they’re a perfect fit, you know? I mean, they even look like us. I love those boys!”
Beyond witnessing adoption in her own life growing up, Meredith has a deep desire to keep adoption and orphan care very much a part of her adult life. “I’ve done a lot of work in a couple orphanages, one in Guatemala and one in India, specifically [through] HopeGivers,” Meredith says. “I really have a heart and my husband, too, has a heart for international adoption. We’d love to adopt from overseas and have a multi-cultural family someday.”
Oftentimes, it’s easy to see these children as being without—without parents, without a home, without people to love them, without care. But the great thing about relationships is that as much as Meredith has given, she has received much in return. Not just love, but a realization about her own life and walk with God.
“They’re the happiest kids I’ve ever met, even though everything they own is in a box and they only get two meals a day,” Meredith says, referring to some orphans she met while on a mission trip overseas. “They’re so dependent on God for their very lives, for His provision and protection. I remember going to this orphanage, and there is this old worship song that says, ‘Let’s forget about ourselves and concentrate on Him and worship Him.’ We’re in this church called the Martyr’s Chapel, and kids everywhere are singing this song, and it made me think, ‘Who am I?’ These kids who have nothing are singing this song from their hearts so sincerely, and it drove me to pray, ‘Lord, forgive me. I’m so selfish and materialistic.’ I’ve been so changed by these kids, and I want everybody to know about it.”
© 2008 CMCentral.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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**This interview first published on July 15, 2008.