San Francisco is peppered with Starbucks. In fact, there are 90 in the nearly 47-square-mile city. And on the day in May when Whitney sat in despair on the curb outside one of the five Starbucks lining Market Street, Darren Murph was working for a San Francisco-based company across the street. His office was only 50 yards away.
The daughter of missionaries Susan and Garon Harris had rebelled against God and was caught up in a dangerous lifestyle that involved addictions to drugs and alcohol. Now in a Bay Area drug rehab facility, she learned she was pregnant. While sitting on the curb, her face in her hands, the 26-year-old was overcome with
fear and called out, “God, I can’t do this any longer.” At what she says was the worst point in her life, Whitney gave her heart to Jesus and the most wonderful thing happened: God began regenerating her mind and heart.
“I was in San Francisco working for the week, Darren recalls. “And was walking to my office one morning when I felt a stirring in my heart and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have a son?’”
In Dana and Darren Murph’s kitchen in North Carolina, Dana received a word from the Lord during this same time. “The Holy Spirit told me, ‘You are with child.’ It was so clear, I knew God had spoken to me.”
When Darren arrived home from San Francisco at the end of the week, the couple shared their stories and felt something big was happening. They believed God had a child for them and the baby would come to them through adoption.
Intent on having her baby, Whitney searched online and reached out to Sheryl Naylor in North Carolina, Christian Adoption Service’s (CAS) executive director for domestic adoptions. She was desperate to begin a new life and considered moving to the east coast to be closer to her family for the remainder of her pregnancy. Naylor contacted Shea and Lee Williamson who agreed to be a host family. The couple welcomed Whitney and offered her the love and support she desperately needed during this time.
“I was familiar with CAS, so I called and set up a meeting,” Dana remembers.
Darren adds, “It all happened so quickly. We only needed to step into what God was doing. He led and affirmed us all along the way.” From the first CAS contact to the adoption of their son Maverick took only seven months.
“The whole thing was miraculous,” Dana says. “God was weaving together a beautiful tapestry for His glory.”
Things were moving so quickly in the Murph’s adoption process that when the couple received a call from Sheryl Naylor saying there was an expectant mom, they felt they weren’t ready. Dana had not finished the photo book used in helping select adoptive
parents and Darren had concerns, wondering if he would be a good dad or not. The couple once again were reminded that God was in control. Sheryl met with Whitney and she wanted to meet the Murphs.
“We agreed to meet in a park,” Darren recalls. “Dana and I saw Whitney for the first time walking over a hill and we both thought,
Darren’s worry left and he remembers thinking as she came closer,
“That’s our family. This is our future.”
It takes great courage for a birth mom to surrender her child for adoption. The Murphs understood this and have always thought of Whitney as a hero.
“I was overwhelmed with emotion the first time I saw Whitney,” Dana says. “I looked at her that day, her love for the Lord was so evident, and I thought, here is a redeemed child of our Heavenly Father.”
Darren says they were no longer just adopting a baby. The couple felt God calling them to be one as a family, and that included Whitney.
“It was God’s sovereignty,” Dana says. “Not only would we love and care for Whitney’s baby, but Whitney and her family would become part of our family. We believed this was God’s plan all along. It is His tapestry of redemption, regeneration, and restoration, woven perfectly together. God redefined family for us as only He can do—immersed in unconditional love. And we have never looked back.”
Dana says that it was Whitney who first exhibited the peace that
they all came to feel.
“It was a glimpse of Heaven,” she says. “It was the healing power
of love and the unity of the Holy Spirit that was evident to us all.”
The couple wanted to honor Whitney with the selection of their new son’s name. Dana also hoped to find a name that would add
meaning for him as he grew. During worship one Sunday, the words “ocean” and “wave” came to her mind. When she asked Darren if it made sense to him, he said it did.
Located near San Francisco is Mavericks Beach. It is a legendary location known by serious big-wave surfers, the site of one of the
most renowned surfing contests in the world. Mavericks Beach is on the Pacific Ocean, has some of the best waves, and is near the place where Whitney began her journey to the Murphs. The couple chose Maverick for their son’s name.
Whitney delivered Maverick early on New Years Eve. Dana and Darren stood by Whitney’s hospital bed as she reached her arms out, giving the couple their son. There was incredible peace and unity. Hours later as the day waned, the lights of fireworks illuminated the darkness outside the room’s window. Maverick’s birth reminded the Murphs, Whitney, Susan and Garon, and the entire Harris family that God makes all things new and restores
the broken. As the new year dawned, there was new life and hope to this adoptive family God created.
Darren says people are interested in their story, especially about the open adoption. He says the story “gives people chills” as he testifies that it is God who has done what others believe to be impossible. He says it is God’s sacrificial, unconditional love shown one for another that captures the minds of believers and unbelievers alike.
“Maverick is God’s own,” Darren says. “Dana and I are just thrilled to be the stewards of his life. We cannot wait to see what God has in store next, to see how He will continue to use Maverick to bring Him glory.”
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Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children