I recently attended the Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia fall gathering—and had a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and to visit with some folks I seldom get to see. I had fun sharing about my work and the exciting days ahead. But the highlight for me was seeing Warren. I met him for the first time several weeks ago and fell immediately in love. So I was eager to have some quality cuddling time with sweet, sweet Warren, who is now three months old! And I was so grateful that his mom, Lee Ritchie, shared him with me!

Lee is my friend, and she minister to children and youth at First Baptist Church, Commerce. Lee is quickly learning about the joys and exhaustion that go with motherhood. When I had lunch with her a few weeks ago, I learned more about Warren’s birth—which was both a long-awaited, greatly anticipated arrival and an unexpected surprise. He came to his family through the gift that is adoption—and he is a much, much loved child.

So there at the BWIM of Georgia gathering, during the presentations, I stood at the back of the room and swayed and bounced and cuddle with Warren. He was happiest when he could see everyone and everything—Warren is an observer! He pays attention to all the things going on around him. And oh is he a busy boy. He never seems to stop moving and looking, straining to be part of the action. But the whole time Warren was quiet and happy. He only fussed a little, and Lee handed me his pacifier. I offered it to him and cuddled him up close, and while a gifted young minister spoke passionately of her work with refugees in Uganda, I began whispering in Warren’s ear—“You are so beautiful. You have a mommy and daddy who love you so much. You are a gift to them. You are so beautiful. You are so loved.” My words became a prayer as I swayed back and forth, and sweet baby Warren closed his eyes and went to sleep for a few moments.

When the presentations ended, I had to return Warren to his mother. And then I moved on to mingle and talk with several women I had never met. One of those women asked me, “So are you connected to the little baby you were holding?” And I paused, and then I smiled and said, “Yes. I am connected to him. I am connected to Warren by love.”

Warren, someday perhaps you will hear the stories and know that we prayed for and dreamed about your arrival long before you came. And someday you will know that we celebrated your birth and that we are praying for your new adoptive family as you are bound together by love and that we are praying too for your birth family, offering words of gratitude for their grace and courage. But most of all, Warren, we pray that you will always know that you are loved—you are loved by so many and you are loved by God.

Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.