Dottie Mae Hines Day!

On the morning of January 29, 2021, friends and family gathered on Zoom to watch and listen to the much-anticipated ruling of the court. I was humbled and privileged to be asked to witness her adoption hearing.

Being that I’m adopted, I watched in awe as this precious family went through the process. First, being sworn in, then answering questions, and finally getting to hear those blessed words declaring that this little girl, whom Jon and Lacey Hines have loved and cared for since birth, was now their forever daughter. The whole event affected me much deeper than I thought it  would. The words pronounced by the judge were more than a ruling by an earthly court system. Her words were a declaration, a proclamation.

But I knew these words were ordained by a higher authority who placed His holy seal of approval on this case, stating that the Hines, by His design, were fashioned to be Dottie Mae’s forever mommy and daddy before time began. And just as my forever parents’ names were placed on my birth certificate as my parents along with my new name, so too with the Hines and Dottie Mae. With tears flowing down my cheeks, watching this spunky, almost three-year-old little girl, wiggling on her mother’s lap with a lollipop, I reflected on this family’s long journey—a journey Living Real has followed closely from foster parenting to forever parents. First was little Levi, whose adoption was finalized in 2020, and then in 2021, the finalization of Dottie Mae’s adoption. Oh, what a beautiful expression of God’s love and the Hines’ love all wrapped up in this endearing family.

Witnessing the adoption process gave me a tender glimpse into how my own parents’ unwavering desire must have played out. Nine years of marriage and one miscarriage later, God grew their family through adoption. As Jon and Lacey testified before the judge, I pictured my mom and dad doing the same with me, and again two years later, with my adopted sister, Michelle. 

The Hines’ parenting journey has not been an easy one, but their humility and patience has proven that fighting for what God has called you to is worth it all. There were ups and downs, joy and sadness, accomplishments and disappointments, and lots of foster children who experienced great love during their time in the Hines home. With every step, God has gone before them, walked with them, and surrounded them with His presence and peace. And Dottie Mae Hines Day? It was the icing on the cake!

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  — Psalm 139:13-14 ESV

Life is the most precious gift God has given us. 

Life is the entrance into our searching for and being invited into an eternal relationship with Him. To be in relationship with the Father, we first must be adopted into His family by grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Adoption is a beautiful picture of Christ grafting us into the family tree.

And when you’ve experienced both like I have, it is overwhelming to think of how deep the Father’s love truly is for you and for me.

Life is a miracle that only God can perform. For even under the direst of circumstances, a life conceived is a life God-breathed. Knit together by our heavenly Father in our mother’s wombs, we were fashioned exactly as our Creator deemed fit for His purpose, plan, and glory, and only He is privy to the number of our days. (Psalm 139:16-19)

Adoption is one of the most beautiful options for preserving and valuing the life of one of God’s greatest blessings—children. Whether through the natural route of having children, or the exceptional route of adoption, those who choose life make God’s heart smile. And everyone who is adopted into God’s forever family? Well, that really makes His heart sing.

A personal note to Levi and Dottie Mae Hines:

Adoption is now part of your story too, my precious little ones. Remember to make the anniversary of your adoption days a big deal. Never forget to thank God for your life and your family. You two are so blessed with an amazing forever family, and you are deeply loved. Jesus knows you best and loves you more than you can ever imagine. I can’t wait to see how His story unfolds in your lives  in the years ahead.

With tons of love and loads of confetti,

— Mrs. Melanie 


Besides being the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Living Real Magazine, Melanie is an author, speaker, podcast host, and musician. She adores all things Christmas, coffee, and comfy.  Her heart belongs to Jesus, but her heartstrings are firmly attached to her husband,  Rick, and their two grown children. 

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