Today, Brad Lindemann interviews Roland Warren, President and CEO of CareNet, the nation’s largest network of pro-life pregnancy resource centers. A graduate of Princeton University and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Roland is an inspirational servant leader with a heart for Christ and a mind for business. After 20 years in the corporate world (with IBM, Pepsi, and Goldman Sachs), Roland spent 11 years as president of National Fatherhood Initiative before joining Care Net in 2012 as president and CEO. For more information about Roland, including a moving testimony about him and his wife, Yvette, click here. Roland and Yvette are In Business For Life!
By Brad Lindemann
At the poignant turning point in the true story hit movie, Lion, thirty-year-old Saroo Brierley says, “I have to find my way back home“. Home being six thousand miles away in the Ganesh Tilai neighborhood of Khandwa, India. Born Sheru (meaning lion) Munshi Khan, when he was only five years old, “Saroo” found himself lost and alone a thousand miles from home. Had he known how to spell either his name or the name of his neighborhood, young Saroo likely would have found his way back home much earlier. But then, the world would have been denied his epic tale of hope, redemption and fierce maternal love.
My purpose here is not to review the movie, though I do highly recommend it. For insight into what prompted my thoughts to follow, you should read Michael Gerson’s excellent Washington Post op-ed piece entitled, What the movie ‘Lion’ tells us about our vision of humanity. Gerson’s keen insights led me to some of my own.
[Link to full article at AmbassadorSolutions.com blog]
The following is an excerpt from from Brad Lindemann’s forthcoming book, In Business For Life: What Being In Business For Life Has Taught me About the Business of Life.
Throughout my personal faith journey, God has reaffirmed His love for me and mine in a myriad of ways. None more moving, however, then the way He arranged for the completion of our family with the addition of our fifth child.
In 1990 we had four children, a fledgling business less than a year old and were in the early stages of recovering from devastating financial losses in recent years. That’s why when my wife started talking about adopting a “special needs” child I thought she was completely off her rocker. So much so, I assumed she’d either come back to reality or the guys in white coats would show up one day to take her away. Either way, my strategy was to wait it out. I had plenty on my plate and couldn’t begin to digest anything else, much less another mouth to feed.
His given name was Samuel Alexander. His birth mother was my wife’s younger sister. A few weeks after he was born, God revealed to Elaine that “Samuel” was going to be our son—a little secret she chose to keep to herself. A few weeks later, her sister called to ask for our help in finding adoptive parents for her newborn. She was at a difficult time in her life and compassionately chose the loving option of adoption. Having been very active in supporting crisis pregnancy centers and promoting adoption, I was thrilled to hear of her courageous decision. Imagine my surprise when I heard my wife say the words that would forever reshape our family tree—“we’ll take him.”
I nearly choked on my Hamburger Helper. Unlike when God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to give him a “heads up” that his fiancé was pregnant with the Messiah, I was clueless in Indianapolis. After all, there were a million or so childless couples in America who would have given anything to adopt this child…this chosen one. Never mind the thousand reasons not to adopt and only one reason to adopt—because God said to. Seriously, that’s the best you got? Uh ah. I’m not buying it…not yet.
If you’ve seen the movie War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, you understand something of what life was like around our house in the days following Elaine’s “we’ll take him” bombshell. We were like two prize fighters who would step into the ring, punch each other’s lights out (figuratively speaking), then retreat to our corners to rest up for the next round.
While we threw no punches, we did throw an object or two…maybe three. Pity the fool who came through that bedroom door at the wrong time. Can’t recall if we fixed that before selling the house. Though we did stop short of swinging from the chandelier, beyond that it was a three day no holds barred battle of wills.
My best friend, Tim, and I ran together every weekday morning at six o’clock. It was a bitter cold February day in 1990. Our constant banter kept our minds off the cold and our aching legs. For the last three days, we had spent every minute of our run talking about one thing…my wife’s insane notion of adopting her sister’s son. Tim and I were in complete agreement. It would be the biggest mistake of our lives. But, Elaine was standing her ground. How would we ever resolve this, the greatest conflict of our married life?
Before heading in to shower, we stood shivering at the end of my driveway praying that my wife would come to her senses. But God had us at “Amen.” All Heaven broke loose, as I looked up at Tim with tears in my eyes and said words I could not have imagined uttering until that moment. “He’s my son, isn’t he?” Without hesitation, Tim replied, “Yes brother, I believe he is.” God had confirmed what He had revealed to Elaine two months prior.
In the blink of a tear-filled eye, God changed the hearts of two best friends, confirming His plan to change the course of Lindemann family history. His name is Bradley Louis Lindemann II, named after his father. This “chosen one” will forever serve as a poignant reminder of how God can turn our mistakes into His miracles…how He still speaks to His children today…how when two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in their midst. 26 years later, from that frigid February morning in 1990 to this very moment, I have never had a moment’s doubt about our decision to adopt Bradley. He has been a wonderful blessing to our entire family who will soon be celebrating his second wedding anniversary with his high school sweetheart.
God is so good.