“How cool is it that the same God, who created mountains, oceans, and galaxies, looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too.”
This is Martha Christlieb’s tagline on her PBA email signature. It reveals the heart of God—so in line with this year’s topic of biblical adoption, “From Orphans to Heirs: Reflecting our Adoption in Christ in Theology and Practice,” presented by The Ministry Forum at the Orlando campus, where she works as campus coordinator.
The conference will be held at Faith Hall on the campus of First Baptist Church of Orlando, where attendees will hear from national and international speakers and authors, who will provide insights on two specific subjects: 1. The biblical concepts of adoption and family, and 2. Presentations on the praxis of adoption today, such as multi/trans-racial adoption, adoption of adult children, growing up in a home that practices adoption, working with the foster system, adoption of an entire family, kinship adoption, etc.
Christlieb is passionate about all these subjects, which is the reason why she’s actively promoting the Forum. Because as she said, “this is very close to my heart, and God’s heart.” She is a firm believer that God can take the most horrible situations and turn them into good, and to use those situations for His glory.
When Christlieb was only 18-years-old, she was raped by someone she knew. To make matters worse, she didn’t have a great support system at home, and so she chose to give her son up for adoption. “I wanted to give him his best first chance,” she said. “I had not graduated from high school yet. I was basically alone and lost. I could barely take care of myself, much less two of us. I had plenty of love to give him but he deserved more from me.”
Like most adoption stories, this has a happy ending. One night in August 2016, a few minutes before midnight, she was reunited with her son. Earlier that day his mother had found Christlieb on Facebook Messenger. Her son’s adoptive mother let Christlieb know he had some questions and wanted to know if it was okay if he reached out to her.
They talked for over an hour that first night, and his first words were to thank her and to let her know he grew up with a good family, who had given him amazing opportunities. Since then, Christlieb and her son have met face-to-face and plan to see each other again next year.
“Through the midst of the rape, I gave birth to a wonderful son, who was able to bless a couple with a child,” said Christlieb. “Now I am reunited with him and he is a blessing to me every day. God takes the ashes and makes them beautiful.”
Her son has completed her family. Christlieb has been married for nearly 25 years, and has a 23-year-old daughter. They have opened their arms and hearts to her son. Last year, when she went to meet with him for the first time, her daughter went with her. “They started picking on each other just like normal siblings. Awkward at first, of course, but the two of them are figuring out their relationship as well.”
The best moment of her entire life was the day they were all together, when they went to see the Braves play in their new stadium. “At that moment, I suddenly realized that my daughter was sitting on my right side and my son was sitting on my left,” she said. “It took everything in me not to burst into tears while sitting in that stadium watching a baseball game.”
"So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir." –Galatians 4:7
The 4th Annual Ministry Forum will be discussing our adoption in Christ and how it serves as a guide to supporting the adoption community in the modern day. To reserve your spot, register today. Cost: $15, includes breakfast and lunch.