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Adoption Rally Spotlight: The Hastings Family

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dwayne and Marla Hastings from Franklin are the recipients of the Adoption Rally grant for the Saturday, Feb. 18 men’s basketball game against USC-Upstate. Game time is 6:30 p.m. The Hastings are in the process of adopting their third child, 5-year-old Dang Fu Yun or “Hudson” as he will be called once he comes home. The Hastings expect to travel to China to pick him up sometime next month.

Dwayne serves as vice president of communications for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Marla is a homemaker and swim coach. They are active members at Clearview Baptist Church in Franklin.

Why are you adopting?

We thought our family was big enough–three boys and two girls–back in 2005. Our oldest daughter was 26. Our youngest–twins–were 14. Life was good.

But God’s plans were different. And life became so much better.

Surrendering to the ministry later in life, many folks thought I was crazy when I took my family of seven to seminary. But the decision we made to adopt, three times over, some years later is truly crazy–in the world’s eyes.

In 2005, Gracee (Chun Ying) was embraced by her “forever family” at 17-months-old. And before the plane carrying their family home landed, I knew God was calling us to adopt again. So in 2008, we traveled to China again to meet James (Li He).

It didn’t take long for us to realize that God was stretching our faith: What we thought we could handle in our own strength, God was and is gracious enough to bless us by allowing us to live in His strength.

And in 2011 God unexpectedly told us they He wanted us to begin the process of adopting another special needs child. After the exhaustive paper chase that is an integral part of every adoption, we received our long-awaited Letter of Approval from the Chinese government in mid-January to adopt Fu Yun (who will be named Hudson, after the missionary ­– Hudson Taylor.)

Once Hudson is home, it will be a whirlwind of doctors’ visits, including an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist. Little Hudson has waited over five years for his family to come and bring him home. Now we wait as well, sometimes not so patiently, for the paperwork that will give us permission to leave for Henan, China.

We’ve been asked on more than one occasion why at our ages (50 plus) we would still be growing our family, instead of just settling back and enjoying the good life?

Our answer is that we are gripped with something much bigger than we are. A “crazy love” that compels us to live out the love God had for us in “adopting” us as His children in Christ. A “crazy love” that recognizes there are sacrifices but that God is calling us to invest in the lives of His little children who need a mommy and daddy. A “crazy love” that calls us all in obedience to do difficult things for Christ’s sake and to not expect the world to understand. 

For us, I don’t think life could get much better on this earth given our rich blessings from God of 7, soon to be 8, wonderful children.

What led you to adopt from China?

Early on in responding to God’s call to us to adopt, we recognized there were several different avenues to explore when it came to adoption. We know that while domestic adoption was certainly a possibility, it might prove more difficult because of our age and given that we already had six children.

We knew that there were more than a few countries where children were waiting for a mommy and daddy. We settled on China for two primary reasons at first: we were moved by the fact that young girls were “less than” second class citizens in that country and were often abandoned (or worse) simply because they were girls and because the adoption process was relatively stable and predictable for both the child and the adoptive family.

For our second (and now third) adoption, we opted to return to China and adopt special needs children, both boys. While we considered other countries, we determined it would be valuable if our adoptive children shared the same cultural history. We also grew to love the Chinese people and their rich heritage.

What else is unique about your story or your family that people would be interested in knowing?

We don’t view it as unique but others certainly do. While most families in the U.S. have less than two children if they have children at all, we bust that average with eight children once Hudson comes home. It is also rather special that our youngest biological children are 13 years older than our oldest adopted child. Obviously it took us a while to figure out that God was calling us to grow our family again!

Lipscomb University's Adoption Rally program was created to help families in middle Tennessee raise money to defray some of the mounting costs of adoption. At each men's basketball home game, an adopting family is chosen as the beneficiary of all of the single-game ticket sales revenue for that game. The families are chosen by the Adoption Rally Advisory Board made up of Lipscomb alumni and friends who have either adopted children or were adopted themselves. Families that are chosen simply try to get as many people to attend their game as possible. The larger the crowd, the more money that goes towards their adoption. For full details or to apply for an Adoption Rally grant, visit