Song tells child’s story

Video By Katherine Pullen and Sarah Palmer

Lily McFadden, 8, plays on the swing set in her backyard in Humbolt, Tenn. The McFaddens adopted her from Guatemala after a two-year process. | Photo by Katherine Pullen

By Katherine Pullen

In an orphanage in Guatemala, one less seat is filled at the table. One less bed is crumpled in the morning. One less child waits for love to find her.

Greg and Sheila McFadden, of Humboldt, Tenn., spent nearly two and a half years adopting their 8-year-old daughter, Lily, from Guatemala. They completed the adoption in November 2009 and now, less than a year later, the story of Lily’s adoption has been heard across the country.

“After our adoption, Matthew West, who is a singer-songwriter from Nashville, picked up our story and wrote a song called ‘One Less,’ not just for our adoption, but really honoring adoptions,” Greg McFadden said. “He has recorded it, and it is now being sung on radio stations across America.”

Beginning in February, West asked listeners to submit stories from their real-life experiences to provide inspiration for songs on his new album, “The Story of Your Life,” released Oct. 5. The McFaddens’ story was one of 11 West wrote and recorded for the album.

In his submission, Greg McFadden wrote, “The joy we shared when we arrived (home with Lily) reminded me of what it must be like when one of God’s children finally makes it home. We left Guatemala with no fanfare and a few tears. We arrived at our home with church members lining the street with banners, cheering and sharing great relief.”

The song begins, “There’s a child, been abandoned out on the street. Now she’s waiting for someone to be her miracle. There’s a wife, somewhere halfway around the world, begging God for a little girl she can call her own. Well, worlds collide and colors fade and a man and wife brought their little girl home today! And there’s one less, one less, one less broken heart in the world tonight.”

West will be performing a concert at First Baptist Church of Humboldt along with Josh Wilson and Johnny Diaz, Oct. 29, as part of his “The Story of Your Life” Tour.

“Lily knows she has a song and so it excites her when it comes on the radio or we’re playing it on the CD,” Sheila McFadden said. “She’s like, ‘That’s my song; that’s my story.’”

From the beginning, the McFaddens saw Lily’s adoption as a clear call from God

“I had been on a mission trip to Guatemala a year before we started the adoption and got an e-mail that they were going to adopt out 40 children who were adoptable,” Sheila McFadden said. “And God just laid on my heart that there was a little girl in Guatemala that we were supposed to adopt.”

The process of adoption for the McFadden family was a long and trying one. They began in August 2007 to adopt Lily from a children’s home in Guatemala, facing delay after delay from changing local and international adoption laws.

In April 2009, Sheila McFadden moved to Guatemala to foster Lily until the adoption could be completed. It was seven months before Lily and Sheila McFadden returned home to Tennessee.

First Baptist Church of Humboldt, where Greg McFadden serves as senior pastor, played a huge part in supporting and encouraging the McFaddens on the often rocky road to bringing Lily home.

“The church embraced the whole process,” Greg McFadden said. “We’ve prayed together; they’ve agonized together with us.”

Lily’s life has changed dramatically since her move from Guatemala to Tennessee.

“Her life is full and busy, and hopefully she’s learning what it means to have some stability — that isn’t going to change,” Greg McFadden said. “She is a part of our family forever.”

Multimedia by Katherine Pullen

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.