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Today’s guest is Greg Helton.
We go deep today talking about:
- How and why to take improvement in fatherhood and family seriously
- The results of a drastic reduction in Greg’s content consumption diet on a week-long work trip
- What it means to be “quick to obedience and quick to action”
- Ideological and practical considerations to combat a scarcity mindset
- Brutal honesty in your relationship with God
- Two tales of adoption, and how to consider if it’s right for you
Greg Helton is a father of 3 and has been married for 13 years. He runs a San Diego based video production company and is currently working to build a family brand focused on investing in family, adventure and love.
Podcast: Fight Hustle, End Hurry by John Mark Comer & Jefferson Bethke
- To Hell with the Hustle: Reclaiming Your Life in an Overworked, Overspent, and Overconnected World by Jefferson Bethke
- The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World by John Mark Comer
#162. Slowing Consumption, Battling Scarcity, and Adoption - Greg Helton
[00:00:00] I didn't want to rely on my parents money from as young as I can remember. And on a deeper level, I don't want to have to rely on God. I don't like it. I don't, I want to feel like I can do something. I can accomplish something. And because of what I do, things are going to be good that I'm going to be provided for.
[00:00:23] And God knows my heart in that. And so my. Entire career journey has been one predicated on having to rely on him.
[00:00:38] Welcome back to dad work podcast. This is Curt Storing, your host, the founder of dad work. And today I'm joined by Greg Helton, who I met only recently in Colorado as part of this integrated mastermind. I've been talking to you guys about it and a real quick, Greg, you're a father of three, been married for 13 years.
[00:00:52] Curt: You run a San Diego based video production company, and you're currently working to build a family brand focused on investing in family, adventure, and love. [00:01:00] Bro, that's amazing. And the thing that I want to kick us off with is just, this is like not your business. I talked to a lot of guys who are in the masculinity or the coaching or the development space.
[00:01:12] Curt: And they're like, of course I want to be on a podcast. , I know that we met and we're sort of in this brotherhood now, but what is it about talking about fatherhood, family, faith, all that kind of stuff that you even care enough to be here with me today?
[00:01:23] Greg: Yeah, that's a good, good question. Good way to start. I'm stoked to be on it with you. I was, stoked to just be able to hang out with you in Colorado. And yeah, I think this is a conversation that's worth having. fatherhood in general, like the older I get, the further I get into parenting.
[00:01:41] Greg: My oldest is nine years old and then I have a two and a half year old as my youngest, and then a seven year old, who will be eight. In less than a month. And so the further I get into parenting, the more I realize how little people [00:02:00] invest in learning about parenting, how little people invest in like trying to become better parents, like for whatever reason, I don't know if it's a cultural or societal thing, but I think we get stuck on believing that we have everything we need.
[00:02:18] Greg: To just be great parents, which we don't. And you and I had a conversation, we can dig into this more if it makes sense at some point in this conversation, but through the process of adopting our son, I've found that like, you have to go through extensive training, learning, and. It's honestly stuff that I wish all parents had to do just to make the process better.
[00:02:47] Greg: Yeah, so ultimately back to your question, why I think this is a worthwhile conversation is because my hope is that other men We'll really start investing [00:03:00] in their fatherhood, in a deep level. It's so easy. I own a business. I've owned a business for 14 years. It's much easier to be amped up about the business.
[00:03:13] Greg: It's much easier to be amped up about growing something like that, about. Our kids, not as a passive thing, takes a ton of work. And so, yeah, my hope is to just continue to be a part of that conversation.
[00:03:31] Curt: The, I'm really glad that you started us with the, the thing that everybody knows, but nobody wants to say, which is it is a hundred percent easier to get amped up about building a business. And I think about that regularly, that of course I'm ready for Monday. And of course I'm ready for every single day because I get to build, I get to create, I get to do all this stuff.
[00:03:54] Curt: And I've even been thinking recently, why don't I have this level of excitement? Building the [00:04:00] family culture. And I think for me, at least, I just didn't know, like, I didn't know until very recently that there was wisdom to go back to, that there was a way to sort of create a culture that leads to a multi generational family.
[00:04:17] Curt: I just, for the longest time assumed kind of like you were saying, where people just think they have it all, everything they need. That you just sort of suffered through it. And so I love that that is something you said, because I think a lot of guys aren't willing to say that aren't willing to say sometimes being a father is like hard and sometimes it almost sucks, but how do we get past that?
[00:04:37] Curt: And maybe I should just ask you, have you found a way to start to be excited about that? Like, is that sort of what this adventure thing is about? Or is, uh, we can dive into that at some point, but yeah, what have you thought about getting excited about family?
[00:04:49] Greg: So it's still a daily challenge. If I look back to my early parenting years, I very much. [00:05:00] Was like, man, this is cool. Like I love my kids, but as you deal with the constant challenges, one of the things that I recognized is I'm like, this is cool. But I look forward to 18 when I get to do the things that I want to do.
[00:05:16] Greg: And , that, that feels super selfish. and I'm getting to this stage in my life where I'm willing to share my sinful and negative thoughts, and how I'm working to change that. And I think part of that is, part of that is we. Culturally have a wrong view of our role as parents, and I've been learning that, through the integrated stuff that we've been a part of, in a book I'm reading right now, and so I think just recognizing like that parenting. is not only important, but it's going to be needed far past the time when our children turn 18, become [00:06:00] adults. And it's obviously critical while they're in our house, but if we can be having this perspective of who they are. Not just now as children and dealing with, the tantrums, the hard emotions, the working through things that are really frustrating, but actually be thinking of like, man, what is my relationship currently with my parents, which I'm blessed to have a really strong one.
[00:06:30] Greg: And what do I want that to look like with my kids as their adults? And how do we cater that now? And obviously it's. even more important and critical when it comes to faith. So I don't remember exactly what your question was to stir that up.
[00:06:47] Curt: that's good. And I want to continue on that. And I'm first of all, curious what the book is that you're reading.
[00:06:51] Greg: Yeah. So I'm reading a great book right now. It's. Parenting, it's something like 14 lessons or something, but [00:07:00] it's from Paul David Tripp, and he's a pastor. But the key foundation, I'm probably like four chapters in, I spent, I was on a business trip recently. Which was really hard on my family and found that I've had to limit that.
[00:07:18] Greg: That's another topic, but. In that trip, I decided to just take time off of social media. I got off of YouTube, I got off of TV, no ESPN. Like, I basically shut down everything other than work and Bible reading and reading some books and prayer and journaling. And this is the book that I brought with me as I went there.
[00:07:45] Greg: But the general premise of this book Is all centered around grace and the importance of grace, not only in our lives, in our children's lives. And so he says something to the [00:08:00] extent of, we often assume that we're able parents. And if we were able parents, we wouldn't need Jesus. And the truth is that we each and every day need the grace of Jesus to even be able to somehow come close to good parenting.
[00:08:21] Greg: And so, so many of the things that we get distracted by as parents are these temporal, small anger, like all these little things that the kids are doing that frustrate us, but. It's actually trying to step back, take a look at how much we need grace and truly be pursuing Christ in that process of parenting every single day, where we're not going like straight into that psychological fight or flight, as men.
[00:08:52] Greg: We can ramp up, kind of get frustrated, for me, the biggest thing is feeling, not [00:09:00] feeling appreciated or respected, which your kids, 95 percent of the time do not do that. They don't fill you up on that side. And so this book so far has just been a super big help. To remind me that not only in my failures, am I not equipped to do this and it's okay to fail because it's only through Christ that I can do this to another level, but then truly living out with your children, what does grace look like?
[00:09:32] Greg: How have I failed? Not only just in my life, but in my parenting and then helping them to see why we all need grace and just kind of actively work through that. So the rest of the book is more about the practical side and trying to think through tactics and different things that we can be doing to, live that out practically and not just be a head knowledge.
[00:09:59] Greg: [00:10:00] But it's been super, super fascinating.
[00:10:02] Curt: Yeah. I read, a book by a guy of the same last name. can't remember exactly which one it was, but the point of it was,
[00:10:08] Curt: The heart of the book for me was like, yeah, like you said, the latter half was very tactical, very practical, but the beginning, well, Oh, I think it's called shepherding a child's heart. And the whole idea is that all misbehavior quote unquote is actually a heart issue. And if you look at it like that, it's how are we turning the heart toward God?
[00:10:28] Curt: And turning the heart toward things of God, rather than like, I'm going to punish you because I'm annoyed or whatever. It's like, Oh man, I've got to help you because your heart's not like right ordered right now. And that did so much, even just flipping that script in my head to going, Oh, the outcome is way beyond my own interests right now.
[00:10:49] Curt: And it's, eternal. And I'm really glad that you got into, by the. The grace of God and through Christ alone, because that has been the story of the last [00:11:00] number of weeks for my life. And I even heard it, our Bible study last night. Someone was talking about even faith. Comes from Jesus himself.
[00:11:10] Curt: Like we, we would be so faithless if it were not for him coming by and picking us up every day and just saying like, come with me now. And I think that's so amazing to finally realize, or I should just, I'm not going to realize this cause I've got eternity to do this. Thank God. But the drop of realization that comes from knowing that like, man, I must become less than he must become greater.
[00:11:34] Curt: And I used to think. That was harsh and a punishment in a sense, because I wanted to be me. I wanted to do me. What about my life? What about my interests? You made me this way, God. And then, over this last couple of weeks, I'm like, Oh, his ways are so much better than mine. And if I just put him on instead of me, it's not that he wants me to do this only to please him, which he [00:12:00] does.
[00:12:00] Curt: He wants me to do this because it's good for me and he loves me. So anyway, I'm just sort of riffing on this, Christ alone sort of thing. Can you tell us more about the social media thing and just like turning that off? Did that come from you struggling with this before? Is it just a season you're going through? Like, what did that, first of all, what did that come from and what does it look like?
[00:12:19] Greg: yeah, yeah. So without going too deep into the social media story. I guess it's going to get somewhat deep. I was in college when Facebook came out. So I was one of the first people who was able to be a part of it. Cause it was only for universities and. It was also, I think, started with just California universities.
[00:12:46] Greg: So we were one of the early schools that got to be a part of it. And I loved it and was all about it. And then over the years, as times got on, I just found different. patterns with it [00:13:00] that were pretty negative for me. And so other than LinkedIn, I haven't had personal social media in a very long time.
[00:13:07] Greg: I only have business stuff. But even with that, a social media just becomes a distraction for me. Like there's so many different things and know, the main one I use is Instagram or LinkedIn and Instagram because Basically, every three posts isn't even someone you follow, like they've purposely changed it.
[00:13:34] Greg: So it's just supposed to keep your attention. It's not necessarily supposed to be connecting, which was the original intent and vision of social media. So ultimately what I've found is I just get distracted. I lose my motivation. I don't. I'm not as productive and something from the integrated [00:14:00] retreat that I've been trying to work on and is something that's honestly new for me.
[00:14:04] Greg: So I know in our conversations, you told me that, , faith and Jesus is relatively new to you. Whereas I grew up in a Christian family and, came to know the Lord at a very young age. But the thing that was kind of new to me is just more of this. actually seeking God's voice and seeking Jesus speaking into our lives.
[00:14:31] Greg: , and for whatever reason, I've, I've grown up. Like I'm super like thrown off by anything that feels cheesy. , so, as much as I think he's done some really good stuff, like when Kirk Cameron is like the lead actor for something faith based or, a lot of Christian. Films and shows and all these different things.
[00:14:55] Greg: Anything that feels cheesy or makes me like, ah, is that real? [00:15:00] That's how like my natural inclination is to like praying out, Jesus, what do you think of me? Jesus, what do you want me to be doing? Like asking these open ended questions and then sitting in silence. Honestly, I think it fills me with fear.
[00:15:17] Greg: Like, what am I, I'm just being an idiot. If this faith thing isn't real, and I'm just saying utterances, and this is coming from someone who's had faith for many, many, many years, but I think I'm wired to not want to be a fool. And so. And maybe that I'm sure there's deeper things from not feeling cool as a kid, all these different things.
[00:15:40] Greg: I don't want another reason to not feel cool or, but back to the social media, I know that if I keep putting, like, I just want a dopamine fix. That dopamine fix can come from going on social media, that can come from pulling up ESPN, and just looking at sports scores.[00:16:00] it can come from checking my email constantly, just in the hopes that a new inquiry or opportunity comes through. And so, I wanted to be able to set those things aside. I didn't fully set aside email, but, and just like be purposeful in sitting in silence, sitting in times where I'm just not doing anything and I have to actually deal with boredom, which obviously there's. Plenty of scientific studies about the importance of boredom in our creativity and how our culture, especially the younger ones who have grown up fully in social media, that's being taken away.
[00:16:43] Greg: And so it was this big mix of trying to go through all those things, but ultimately I wanted it to be a time where I could actually try to connect on a much deeper level with the Lord, and try to hear his voice.
[00:16:56] Curt: Hmm. And how did that go?
[00:16:59] Greg: [00:17:00] It was mixed results. I'd have to go back through my journal, because I've been doing journaling with it. And, one of the big things that I've been learning, and strangely enough, right after our retreat, I got connected with these other guys who are... All YouTubers, a lot of them in the video production space, which is where my YouTube channel is in and what I do, obviously.
[00:17:27] Greg: But it's a Bible study of a bunch of guys from around the country and multiple guys had just gone to a, I don't know, conference retreat thing, that I think is loosely framed around the book Wild at Heart, which I know. I never read, but I know a ton of guys love it. But they were going through a similar thing of journaling through praying and asking God.
[00:17:53] Greg: And so they had a PDF with some different prompts and things to be praying, [00:18:00] which I'd be happy to share. And if you feel like it'd be helpful in the notes, we can add that in the notes. So I've been using that as well. And so. The thing that I liked from Integrated is the guy, Steve, who was leading us in did he call it imaginative prayer?
[00:18:17] Curt: Yes.
[00:18:18] Greg: Okay. The thing that he always started with on that was praying, Lord, would you please silence the enemy? Don't allow the enemy to be speaking into me in this silence. And Lord, would you silence my own thoughts? So I always started with that. But the area where I felt like it was kind of iffy was also you should always be checking what you write and what you hear with scripture because if you're not.
[00:18:46] Greg: Actually, if you feel like God just told me that two marriages is better than one,
[00:18:52] Curt: Ha ha ha
[00:18:53] Greg: scripture, though, the old Testament folks did not listen to the Lord on that, [00:19:00] the scripture is pretty clear on that, but, in the PDF, one of the things was like, ask for a verse, ask for different things like that.
[00:19:06] Greg: And I think I was trying a little too hard on the verse side because the first time I was like, man, I don't know why, but I don't remember. It was like Samuel five, seven. We'll just say that's not what it was. But, and then I went. After, I'm eagerly waiting to finish my journaling time. I'm like, I can't wait to see what this is.
[00:19:26] Greg: And first of all, I'm like, Oh yeah, there's first and second Samuel. I'll read both just to see. And neither made any sense to what I was brain about. And so I was like, okay, whatever. And then a day or two later, I was doing it again. And like first Corinthians 5, 19 came up, something like that.
[00:19:47] Greg: Again, that's not the right reference. And I'm like, okay, it didn't work out last time, but let me try again. And I go and. That chapter of 1 Corinthians went to verse 14, there was Noah 19.
[00:19:59] Curt: Mm [00:20:00] hmm.
[00:20:00] Greg: And so far, I feel like I've been trying a little hard. But what I think I have found is that whether or not it's literally.
[00:20:12] Greg: Jesus's voice that I'm hearing. A lot of what I've been writing down, it reminds me of the scripture that tells us to meditate on God's word day and night. So often the things that are coming to my head are actual pieces of scripture, little segments of verses, and they're just core truths that we're learning about in the Bible about who we are and who God calls us to be.
[00:20:37] Greg: And some of them were just related to like, trust me. And so I think the biggest thing that came out of that week was a prayer that I did of completely, like, just laying down my, business. Like I said, God, I think I've been holding on with [00:21:00] clenched fists, the business, the things that you've allowed me to be a part of. And I love it. And I've never felt like I've been able to come to the place where I say, Lord, if you don't want that for me, or if you have something else for me. I'm willing, I'm open hands, here it is. , so I don't know why I felt led to have that prayer. I don't know if that means something's changing or whether that's God just wanting, kind of like the situation of Abraham bringing Isaac up to the mountaintop.
[00:21:33] Greg: Like, I want you to trust me fully. That doesn't mean I'm going to take that thing that you're trusting me with. but I need to know that you are willing to give up anything for me. So yeah, that, that's the biggest thing that came out of that.
[00:21:51] Curt: Man, that's wonderful. And I really like the surrender piece and I've done the verse [00:22:00] thing for sure as well, like even before I became a Christian, as I was reading the Bible, because that's part of the research that I did, I was like, well, I'm just going to read it, see what it says, see how dumb it is. And then every time I'd read it and be like, Oh no, it's real.
[00:22:12] Curt: So I have my father's Bible. Don't know where I found it. He's been dead for eight or nine years now. And I would skim through that thing, looking for underlines. I was like, Oh, just give me the perfect underline. If there's something underlined here, I'm going to know it's real. And then it'll be led to whatever.
[00:22:28] Curt: And there's nothing like there, he had underlined random things. And I'm like, this doesn't make any sense. And it was, frustrating, but an underline that was really the first touch that I knew that I had with God, even though I rejected it for a few more months. Came from an underline, but it came from me reading through the scriptures naturally.
[00:22:48] Curt: And I think that's a really interesting thing because in my daily walk now, every morning is just the Bible in a year plan that I'm doing. And I'll come to things that either hit me. [00:23:00] Which has been happening a lot recently, or my dad will have underlined something, 30 years ago, 35 years ago, and that's a wonderful gift.
[00:23:09] Curt: But the thing that I came upon in my reading, rather than looking for it specifically was Mark 6:50 And I was just two or three months in, I was reading through the gospels for the first time, and I had heard someone say, just pray, God, if you're here, reveal yourself. And it's like, okay, God, if you're here, show me.
[00:23:31] Curt: And I'm reading, I'm reading. And Mark 6:50 is when Jesus is walking on the water towards the boat and his disciples and they're freaking out. They think it's a ghost and he basically says, take courage. It is I do not be afraid. And my, my dad had underlined a number of passages throughout the Bible, not a ton, but a few dozen, which is really nice for me to get a sense of who he was, but this one, he double underlined.
[00:23:56] Curt: And this comes right in the time when I had said, God, if you're here, show [00:24:00] me and there's Jesus double underline saying it is I I'm like, Oh, I basically had to shut the book because it was so confronting to everything that I thought I knew. It was like, I really, he just showed himself to me. So I think that there's something to.
[00:24:16] Curt: Trusting him even in what he's willing to show you and when the revelation and the timing of that, which is like, just come to my word and trust that there's going to be something in there for you. So yeah, I'm really glad that you shared that because those are really important. Things to be thinking on.
[00:24:32] Curt: And I think maybe that's the most important thing of all of this is like, you're thinking about things that I wish, like you said before, with fatherhood and parenting that everyone was, why do you think that you think like this, because I talked to guys on this podcast who were thoughtful, but I also get approached by dozens, hundreds, thousands of this point, men who.
[00:24:52] Curt: Are looking for my help or guidance or whatever who don't. And I'm always looking for like, what is that piece that [00:25:00] makes the man so interested in needing to get this right? Because for me, it seems obvious. It's like the most important thing. I was terrible at it. I needed to save my life, my children's lives and my marriage by getting better.
[00:25:11] Curt: And I was like, Oh, you can do this well, but it's not common. So I'm curious if there's a story there or some reason why you think you're so into this.
[00:25:19] Greg: Yeah, that's a good question that I'm trying to think through. I don't think that there's like a catalyst or like some specific moment that changed my perspective, or I think it's just been this incremental thing over time, but one of the things that God has wired me for is to always want to be better.
[00:25:49] Greg: I'm a challenger, I like putting things in my life to test if it makes me better. So that could be, like, I'll take [00:26:00] a month off of TV or Netflix or anything like that. And, Just kind of how my schedule is wired. My wife and I typically wake up at 515 Monday through Friday, and then maybe I get asleep till six. Once in a blue moon seven on the weekend. So between taking the kids to school, doing that whole morning routine, going to work, coming home, going, go kiddos, and then putting them to bed, like Mentally, I'm toast, and so typically what I feel like is going to be uplifting and helpful is to just lay on the couch with my wife and watch a show or something.
[00:26:53] Greg: But I rarely feel filled by that, but my mind tells me every single day that's going to fill me. [00:27:00] And so, like, all these different little challenges are aimed at what can I do? to make sure that I can try to be better and learn from that. And so when it comes to being more proactive, like what can men and fathers do? I think the first step is being willing to be quick to obedience and quick to action. I referenced when we were, I think we're doing my introduction at Integrated. One of my favorite books ever is one called You and Me Forever by Francis Chan. And one of the things that he says in that book, so that book is, Theoretically, a marriage book, but it's more about our relationship with Christ and how that should impact not only our marriage, but also our [00:28:00] family.
[00:28:00] Greg: But he gave this analogy about watching a documentary on thousand pound people. And so as he was talking about this, he was like, they're bedridden. They can't get around by themselves and they can't even feed themselves. They're being fed constantly. And then. He referred that to specifically American culture.
[00:28:23] Greg: And I would guess in Vancouver, you probably share, some very similar cultural ideals. But essentially like the American Christian community at this point is often like feeding, feeding, feeding. Like, I'm going to take this podcast. I'm going to take this book today. I'm going to listen to the sermon and in a week's worth of time.
[00:28:47] Greg: You've listened to five, seven, 10 different faith based things, the average American isn't actually implementing one of them [00:29:00] or putting any of the things that are learning into action. And so. What ultimately led to being one of the things that led us to adopt, which we talked about, is he mentioned like, what if you read in scripture that it said we need to care for orphans and widows, and rather than being like, all right, God, open the door if you want to want me to adopt, what if you said, I'm going to start the process of adoption because the Bible says that.
[00:29:29] Greg: As believer we should do this and I'll allow God to close the door if he doesn't want me to do that. And so sort of that action first mentality. And I think even like for those who are just starting to like evaluate faith in general, like, is God real? The place that you were in, like sometimes, We take this position of like, I'm going to allow God to prove himself to me before I take any steps [00:30:00] of action.
[00:30:01] Greg: But I think sometimes that, or I don't think it's sometimes, I think that it's through our obedience and taking steps of obedience before the feeling that we see some of the greatest impacts. And so I think that anytime we can put into action, try to learn, learning is crucial and then. Try to put into action and actually allow God to show himself through it. It's probably the best insight I can have
[00:30:32] Curt: Yeah. I really, I really like that being quick to obedience and quick to action. And what you said about the consumption, it's so easy to forget that even though it may be edifying content. If you're just eating and eating and eating and not actually working out or running your race, as Paul would say, you're just going to get, obese and you're not going to be healthy.
[00:30:56] Curt: And that was even on a podcast, on a podcast I was [00:31:00] listening to this morning on rest, they talked about, the need for silence and solitude and introspection to stop hurrying. And I've been thinking about that even with my Bible in a year plan, it's a very. ambitious plan. There's a lot of stuff in there every single day.
[00:31:19] Curt: And my granddad made mention of something and it's just had me turning over in my mind. What if I just consumed one book a month and every day I just read through that book and then studied that book and then thought about that book and stopped consuming anything else for just a period. And I wonder what that would do.
[00:31:41] Curt: Because there's more space then I noticed in my podcast, listening, some of it's entertainment, some of it's at the gym, and I think there's some, that's okay sometimes, but when you come across an idea that makes me stop and put it in my ideas category and notion, [00:32:00] for example, I'm like, Oh man, yes.
[00:32:03] Curt: And I let the podcast keep playing. And then I listened to another one after that, without reflecting on that amazing piece of wisdom. Like, what is the point of me having written that down only to collect them? It doesn't make any sense. So I really liked that. And that actually spoke to me personally and convicted me as you're saying that to become more serious about how I consume so that I'm meditating on things.
[00:32:24] Curt: Not just getting fat.
[00:32:26] Greg: But the truth is like. It's hard. Like, this week that I just like kind of praised as like the special week of taking time off during that week, I read the word I. I listened to Jefferson Bethke's book, to hell with the hurry. I was reading the parenting book and I think I listened to a podcast episode on Shabbat and [00:33:00] Sabbath.
[00:33:01] Greg: I still brought all these things. Because I think one of the ways that I'm specifically wired and I'm curious to hear if this is how you're wired too, it's like, I like, you were asking, how do we get people to sort of want that change and want that growth? I'm kind of wired where like, it's to the next level where I feel like I need to be at all times.
[00:33:25] Greg: Like I buy probably eight books for every book that I read. So I don't read seven of them is because I'm like, Oh, that could change my life. That could change my life. This could. And so I think that's a, an interesting challenge and maybe one I'd love to do with you is maybe it's in October.
[00:33:49] Greg: What's right around the corner is just take a month and dedicate, like, don't read other books. Don't consume other podcasts. Obviously go to [00:34:00] church, have your sermon but actually dive deeper into investing into that one thing. And finding what are the things that I can put into action from this one thing, write what they are, and actually after that month, start to see what kind of changes have I seen. if it's a book of the Bible, how has my perspective changed on that book? What were things that were always weird or confusing to me that now aren't? And we'd probably get a lot more value this could be applied to our businesses as well, right? Instead of trying to implement five different, complete different systems to grow your business.
[00:34:44] Greg: What if you went full bore on one of them for a month, three months, six months, and actually see the benefit rather than just fattening up with knowledge, but no action.[00:35:00]
[00:35:00] Curt: man. I feel as though you must have been watching my life over the last number of weeks because all the things you're reading, all the things you're talking about, the challenge is so real for me right now. The podcast that I mentioned talking about rest was Jeff and John Mark Comer. I think his name was, they had a joint 10 episode podcast about his book or about each of their books.
[00:35:27] Curt: And, , it's the relentless. Pursuit of, I can't remember what the book is called.
[00:35:31] Greg: The ruthless elimination of hurry.
[00:35:34] Curt: That's it. Yes. The podcast is called fight, hustle, and hurry. And it's just 10 short episodes about each of their books. And I would love to take you up on that challenge. So please let's continue to connect. And I think that would be very useful for me.
[00:35:48] Curt: And I am a hundred percent the same when it comes to consuming. And being worried of missing out an opportunity. That is why my [00:36:00] brain stays on for business. Even when I'm away from work, that is why I will sit at my desk for eight hours, even if I have one hour of work that day, because I might miss the next thing that's coming across my desk.
[00:36:12] Curt: And I'll just be racking my brain about I'm missing something. I've got to stay here. What is it? What's the thing? What's the thing? And it makes me anxious and it's a scarcity mindset. I know. Because I'm worried about missing the one break I'll ever have. And yeah, the same goes for books. I've got I'm looking at my Kindle charging underneath me here.
[00:36:32] Curt: And I know there's like a ton of books on there that are like, they still have that new label or they're not even downloaded yet because one day they might be like, it might just be the perfect thing. So yes, I am like that. I'm trying my best to remove this scarcity mindset and be abundant. And one of the things that gives me the most hope for that when Jesus fed the 5, 000 and the 4, 000, like he's God, he knows how many people are there.
[00:36:54] Curt: He does this miraculous thing with the fish and the bread. He could have just made the exact right amount. [00:37:00] And it's like, oh, wow, look at this guy. He fed all of us with like these few fish and few lows. He made abundant the amount of resources that he gave to the people following him. They had to clean up the pieces of bread and fish after the feast.
[00:37:15] Curt: So I love that idea, because while I am absolutely so far against the idea of the easy Christian life, I do think it's wonderful that Jesus has shown his willingness to abundantly bless us. And I think I really need to like, continue to just work on that piece against the scarcity of my own mindset. So I don't know.
[00:37:38] Curt: Do you have any thoughts about that?
[00:37:39] Greg: Yeah, that one's tough, and something that I highly struggle with. Before I speak on scarcity, one thing, so I also read the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. And one of the things that stood out for me, stood out to me from that book was just talking about our [00:38:00] limited nature as humans. And actually accepting being limited beings, I think there's been no better time than our current time in society, where we can see with the development of AI, the development of, all these different technologies, Elon Musk trying to make Neuralink, trying to connect our brains to computers so that we can function on higher and higher levels, that, it's back to the Tower of Babel, like we're trying to create a way up to heaven.
[00:38:36] Greg: To make ourselves like God and it, it goes all the way back to the garden of Eden, where the serpent told them that if you eat of this fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you will be like God. Like that's been our challenge. so I, I don't often think of it enough, but I think from [00:39:00] that book, recognizing that we're limited and actually then limiting ourselves, knowing that we don't have to reach peak potential, but that we can actually reside in what God has for us.
[00:39:16] Greg: And for me, like I'm designed to be an ideas guy. And I'm constantly coming up with ideas that probably, like, if I actually had time to pursue everyone, they could all be big things. And I'm sure there's a bunch that are really stupid and I have had plenty of stupid ideas. And so I'm constantly having to battle, like, what is me just thinking of another idea?
[00:39:41] Greg: What is of God and how do we? Not only decipher that, but then take steps of action in pursuit of it. And sometimes that may look like, for my example, this couple of years ago, I started a single episode podcast. I [00:40:00] wanted to do more, and it was called persisting in purpose. And basically at that point, I wanted to do a podcast interviewing different believers about their different fields of.
[00:40:13] Greg: vocation and talk about what does ministry and sharing your faith look like in lots of different fields, not just, what we consider vocational ministry, like the church and all that, but also in everyday jobs. And I ended up, you know what? I'm going to create one episode telling my story and I'm going to put it out there.
[00:40:41] Greg: And if God opens the door for more of this to happen, it will. And I ended up only doing one episode, but I know that it actually made an impact on multiple people who reached out to me. And so I was like, okay, maybe that wasn't the grandiose, [00:41:00] like, this could be a giant podcast that. It impacts hundreds of thousands of people, but it was like, Greg, I just want you to use your story to impact one person today. Be willing, but back to the scarcity mindset, that's a big can of worms for me, like from as young as I can remember, I've started businesses like mowing lawns, like, I was born in 1984 and so. We had some of the early computers. My dad was really into tech. We had one of the first like printers that could print color and you could like design something and print it.
[00:41:43] Greg: So I literally like sold stationary to neighbors, customized stationary. I made a skateboard company in middle school and made like three skateboard decks. I always wanted to provide for myself. Like I didn't [00:42:00] want to rely on my parents money from as young as I can remember. And on a deeper level, I don't want to have to rely on God.
[00:42:09] Greg: I don't like it. I don't, I wanna feel like I can do something. I can accomplish something. And because of what I do, things are gonna be good that I'm gonna be provided for and God knows my heart in that. And so my entire career journey has been one predicated on having to rely on him. , so I got a degree in materials engineering. In 2007 and a pastor friend of mine who is mentoring me, he said some of the most challenging but life changing words for me at this point. He said to me, most people, when they graduate college, they find a job, and then they find a [00:43:00] church or place to serve. He's like, I want you to flip that on your head.
[00:43:03] Greg: Worship has always been a huge part of your life. He was saying to me, I want you to find a church and community to use that gift in. And then allow God to provide the job. So I took it to heart and for whatever reason, I wanted to leave California. And so I went to three music epicenters in the U S which is Austin, Texas, Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, and Austin, I immediately realized like.
[00:43:40] Greg: This is, these aren't my people, nothing against Austin. Just Texas was like, I just don't think that's me. Seattle, I had a buddy's dad was the pastor of a church there. And he was talking to me about coming to lead worship for them. And it was interesting. But then I led worship for [00:44:00] this, Campus Crusade for Christ fall retreat with like, I think we usually had like five to 700 people come to this.
[00:44:06] Greg: And I got the opportunity my last year of college to lead worship for it. And this pastor, he was actually the college pastor for Francis Chan's church at the time, came to speak and I connected with him and. He afterwards was like, Hey, I heard you're going to be graduating soon, but not sure what you're doing.
[00:44:26] Greg: I'm actually starting a church in Portland, Oregon. Would you consider coming to be a part of this? And we've basically known each other and worked together for a weekend. So I went to a weekend conference with him just to hang out for a weekend and decided to move to Portland, Oregon. With no job lined up to do volunteer worship, pastor work, and like my mindset at that point, and this is how God has been changing me.
[00:44:59] Greg: My mindset at [00:45:00] that point was that. If I take a step, especially a big step, like I don't know a lot of people who've done that, right? Like gone out of college and like, I'm going to trust you. I'm going to go and just do this. So it's like, all right, God, like I'm hooking you up. I'm doing something kind of special here.
[00:45:21] Greg: So like at that point, my dream engineering job was to work at Nike, which is based out of Portland, be an engineer at Nike. Volunteer worship pastor work, have a great salary, great income, which is why I chose engineering in the first place was I'm good at math, good at science, and it's one of the higher direct out of a four year university, paying jobs. And this is early 2008 at this point, the economy completely collapses. I can't get an interview at any [00:46:00] engineering job at all. And I think I had maybe like two months of savings to survive. And so I ended up going and I saw that. They were opening a brand new California pizza kitchen, in the town, like 30 minutes away and I'd never done serving or anything, but I didn't want to be a bus boy.
[00:46:23] Greg: I was like, well, this is my best chance to go straight to being a server because I have to train the whole staff and I ended up being just a waiter and. , bartender for, I think for almost five years. And yeah, just like barely making it, we got married in 2010, so two years after I moved up to Portland and started a photography business after my wife encouraged me.
[00:46:59] Greg: But [00:47:00] basically through all this time, like I always wanted to go back to providing for myself and have extra, have plenty. And so this is a long winded explanation of the scarcity mindset. still, to this day, make decisions in the business. I make decisions in our family, worried about. Not having enough, even when things are good.
[00:47:37] Greg: And we're actually, the last couple of months, like we had this, the year was just dominating to start. We're aimed to maybe go a hundred percent increase from the last year. And last year was our best year ever. And then it like hit summer and just. Flatline and like, [00:48:00] we have our current recurring clients, but like all other new business just died.
[00:48:06] Greg: And so it's been this position of, and constant struggle, honestly, for me as a believer of at what level are we being faithful with our time and doing enough, and at what level are we supposed to just sit?
[00:48:33] Greg: And so I often operate from a mindset of scarcity because budget has always been tight. Like some of the biggest challenges that I have with my kids, especially as they get older, like my kids only need like a kid's meal level of food, but now some of them are wanting to order off of the. The regular menu
[00:48:56] Curt: I feel you hard.
[00:48:58] Greg: and like, [00:49:00] they're like, Oh, I want to add this or add that.
[00:49:02] Greg: And I'm like, we're going from , eight, 10 bucks for your food to like 22 bucks, like that means that we can not go out to a restaurant in a week or two because we've spent all of the budget on this one time. But it ultimately like internally, like I just start feeling anxious. Like we're spending more money.
[00:49:24] Greg: I don't spend this much money at a restaurant. What are we doing? And so that's one that's a constant battle with me and the Lord is just like, God, I trust you, but I don't trust you. Like, I trust you to provide, but maybe your idea of what I should have in my idea aren't quite congruent. And so that's back to that part of continuing to have to go into surrender.
[00:49:54] Greg: And just being like, for example, we have a 1400 square [00:50:00] foot house, that we're blessed to be able to own God completely ordained the process of being able to buy that house, from my parents. And we have three children, our daughters share a room, our son has a room, and we have a room, and we don't have a lot of like common space, open space, and we have a teeny backyard. And though we have a hard enough time cleaning and managing 1, 400 square feet, like I'm like, well, it'd be better for my kids, my daughters who fight to have their own room. It'd be better for us to have a bigger house so we could host people. And pour into people, like all these things that aren't necessarily bad things, and maybe they're beneficial.
[00:50:45] Greg: Maybe they reach some of those goals, but coming back to the point of surrender of like, God, if all you want to do is provide what the finances are now, and we just have this smaller house and that's what you want. [00:51:00] Like, I need to be okay with that. And truthfully, like. If we get to a point, like, let's say that God's like, you know what, the video production isn't what I want for you, even though I've blessed you with it, I've gifted it, I want something else and you're going to make even less money than you're making now.
[00:51:19] Greg: And you're going to have to sell your house and you're going to have to move. Like I need to be in a position that's open to that, even if that's not my heart's desire. So ultimately scarcity is something that I deal with on a. day to day level, and a lot of it comes down to my lack of faith that God is both the provider, but ultimately it comes down to having faith that God is good. And I need to be reminded that God is good, and his provision is perfect. And whether or not it fits my ideals, which are [00:52:00] greatly impacted by American culture, I ultimately have to come back. Day after day to position of surrender, which I don't do enough.
[00:52:11] Curt: Man, I feel extremely convicted and also very grateful because that was extreme vulnerability and authenticity, I assume felt that way, in a way that I think is very encouraging for guys because it's, it can be scary. I would assume to be so open and upfront with the struggles, particularly the struggles with God.
[00:52:36] Curt: Like I, I don't actually trust you, like, do we, of course we all feel that way. Otherwise we would be living different lives. And then there's the grace, which is I'm an imperfect human and I can't be perfect. So of course I have these struggles and he understands that. And there's so much in that, but again, probably why we got along so well in Colorado, same thing.[00:53:00]
[00:53:00] Curt: Can I, Oh, we go to the, the restaurant, can I have this, this? And I'm tabbing it up. I'm like, Oh. We've got like two of them are hardly even eating. One of them's six months old. One of them is three Inflation, oh my goodness. In fact, no, we're gonna eat at home We're gonna pregame at home with food and then we'll go out and you can have like an appetizer maybe So anyway, like I really really need to continue to work on Trusting God's provision publicly with my kids even so that I'm not going like oh, no, you can't order that how dare you think like that because that was my Assumption or story growing up.
[00:53:37] Curt: Was it like, didn't have a lot, don't you dare even ask? And so I think that's also carried along with me, but man, as you were talking about needing to be okay with giving it all up and taking less. That is the greatest fear that I feel I have in my life too. And I just read through Proverbs 30 yesterday and in [00:54:00] the beginning chapter, or yeah, chapter 30, verse seven and eight, he says, two things.
[00:54:05] Curt: I ask of you, Lord, do not refuse me before I die. Keep falsehood and lies far from me. Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. And then verse nine says, otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.
[00:54:24] Curt: And as I was reading that yesterday, I knew, I knew, I knew that I didn't want to pray that.
[00:54:33] Greg: hmm.
[00:54:34] Curt: anything, but that God bless me abundantly. Just like, the prayer of J Bez or you look at David or you look at Solomon, like they were blessed abundantly. Why not me? And yet maybe this is my lot. I don't know.
[00:54:47] Curt: So I think it's just a very real thing to challenge the cultural zeitgeist on that and say, what is my duty? That's sort of what this podcast has become. How do I become a [00:55:00] really good? And I use that word carefully. How do I become a godly, God fearing, God honoring, first generation Christian father? These are the things we've got to tackle.
[00:55:11] Curt: Like these are the realest things in my opinion, because yeah, I can go out there and crush it. Yeah. I can rely on myself for business, but if he doesn't want to bless it. I have to be okay with that. And I don't know if I am like, honestly, man. So I thank you for sharing because that's opened me up to just like really looking at that for myself.
[00:55:32] Curt: A couple of other quick points I want to make before we move on to, I know, I don't even know how long it's been, but it's been a while we've been going for a while and I appreciate this. The, my friend Omar, who I had on the podcast the other day, we talk about this kind of stuff all the time. And he was talking about, sometimes I just feel like I'm the Israelites in the desert.
[00:55:51] Curt: I'm just, the business, there's no new business coming in. It's summer, it's dead. And I just feel like I'm in a desert. And then he said the other day, [00:56:00] he's like, I look down and I'm eating steak. And it's not just steak. It's like grass fed steak. And if this is the desert. I mean, God is providing, like what a glorious God to provide.
[00:56:10] Curt: And what I think is the desert like this. So that's another counter balance to that. But the, the thing that came up for me in relation to you were talking about, do I work, do I trust what's the balance there constantly on my mind too. But again, through Proverbs, which have been, very speaking to me loudly lately, 2820.
[00:56:34] Curt: And 2819, and I read them in that order, sort of on purpose. 2820 said a faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to go get rich will not go unpunished. So I'm like, yikes, I gotta watch my heart there. But the, the piece for me there was like, what is a faithful man? Well, he trusts in God. And he glorifies God and he uses, for me, it's like, Oh, God's the CEO of my business.
[00:56:57] Curt: What would you have me do here? Kind of like what you're saying with the [00:57:00] imaginative prayer, what would you have me do here? But then 19, the one before that says he who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. And so I'm thinking about this going, okay, number one, be faithful.
[00:57:14] Curt: That's more important than working hard, in my opinion, even though that's a drastic change, in my opinion. And then work. And my mentor, Scott, tells me all the time, dig the ditches, because God will send the rain one day. And if the ditches aren't dug, then the water will just scatter everywhere and you won't collect any of it.
[00:57:30] Curt: So dig the ditches, do your best work, and one day he'll... Provide as much as he wants. So anyway, I just want to drop those last little pieces in because I think they're relevant to the conversation, but let me see if you have anything else to add, and then I want to ask you about adoption if you have a few more
[00:57:42] Greg: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I got plenty of time.
[00:57:46] Curt: Okay.
[00:57:47] Greg: Yeah. So the, one quick thing I wanted to add to that is first off, I think it's easy to just talk high level, but I want to talk practically of what I'm learning with the like restaurant thing, for [00:58:00] example, is first off, it's good to have a budget. Like it's important.
[00:58:05] Greg: And that's something as fathers that. We need to think through our finances and steward them well. Scripture is very specific about that, but I think where we can set our children up for better success is like, for us specifically, we set aside 175 a month for restaurants. Now that could get us one meal that's a more expensive meal that can get us four.
[00:58:35] Greg: Smaller meals when we're going to like a local taco shop or something, but what I need to do is have an idea before we decide to go, because a lot of times our restaurant's like, I don't feel like cooking, let's go, but try to a plan, and then B know where we are financially in that budget for the month.
[00:58:57] Greg: And then, C, let them [00:59:00] know ahead of time. Hey, here's what, where we're going. what we're trying to spend about on this. Which would probably look like you ordering this. Does that sound good to you? You know, is there something you were wanting? And get some conversation ahead of time so that they have clear expectations of what we're doing going in.
[00:59:22] Greg: And so that if a no comes later when they want a milkshake or, something else, then we could be like Remember we talked about this. Here's the reason why. And it's no longer just like a frustration, like You don't love me. You don't want to give me this thing. It's more like, no, they're working out of logic.
[00:59:44] Greg: They still want to convince you, but it's more focused. And I think for. My wife and I, it'll make the experience much better because it's like, no, it's just, it's reminding them and equipping them on something we've already discussed [01:00:00] versus having to dive into like, here's why, here's why we don't have more money set aside for that.
[01:00:09] Greg: Like all these different things. The more we can plan ahead of time, the softer and more gentler those will often be, but kids are stubborn. So they'll still probably get a little frustrated.
[01:00:21] Curt: Yeah, that, that is a very good practical tip. And I really liked that because it sets expectations and it is respectful communication and it's teaching them that these are real life things that one day they will have to be part of. And so when they become, when they're older, they're not going to suddenly go budget, what do you mean?
[01:00:41] Curt: And I think that. Man, there, there's so much value in doing that in the way that you're doing it rather than, well, I guess rather than any other way. But um, I think I'm probably going to have to adopt that as well because we've had a very hard time going out recently because [01:01:00] part of it is we've just become like super stuck up when it comes to like, we're not going to eat any seed oils anymore.
[01:01:06] Curt: We're not going anywhere ever again. And then you think about like. Every restaurant and the way that they fry things then you hear tragic stories about people going like, oh, yeah They don't clean those oil vats for Ten times longer than they're supposed to and we've been like well, I guess the only place we're gonna go is a sushi joint which is like Raw fish and the sushi joint is not the place where you're getting, 10 meals So that's been an interesting thing and our development is just like we go out less frequently now But we typically go out and say like yeah We're just going to get as much sushi as we want and it might be a couple times a month rather than weekly So anyway, yeah, I like this conversation.
[01:01:40] Curt: I like the practical element of that, but I also want to make sure that we touch on Adoption because you and I had a conversation about this. I'd I've never thought about it before other than to think I'm never doing that.
[01:01:54] Greg: Mm
[01:01:55] Curt: Particularly because I think I'm very self [01:02:00] genetically selfish. Like I, if that's a real thing, I felt genetically selfish.
[01:02:04] Curt: I don't want like, I want more of me. I don't want anyone else like that. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna love them the same. It's going to be weird. Like I'll just have more kids cause I can. What's the problem with that? And you. Shared a lot with me in terms of how you guys are thinking about it, starting with what you said earlier about that book.
[01:02:23] Curt: And when we were asked, I think it might've been Steve, or it might've been like one of the last things we, we went through, I think one of the imaginative prayers was just like, what's the one thing, or if you're taking one or two things away, what is that? And the word adoption kept coming up. And speaking of, scripture, you don't want to notice speaking of not actually trusting God.
[01:02:43] Curt: I was like, go away. Don't don't be here. That's not the word that I want. And it was just the word. So I don't have any plans. I don't, I've never really thought about it, but it was a extremely interesting thing that it even came up because I was just [01:03:00] like, So I'm curious if you would just walk us through a bit of your guys's story.
[01:03:07] Curt: And I'm trying to think about the point here. The point here for me is I want to hear it. but the point that I think would be valuable would just be opening up the dialogue because, As you've already shown, you're able to communicate things. I think a lot of people are thinking, but aren't willing to say, and I think that might just be the energy that we bring into this conversation.
[01:03:27] Curt: Just hear like, what have you guys done? Why did you do it? How has the process been? And then I'll probably ask a couple of questions that I have thought about if that's all
[01:03:35] Greg: Yeah, of course. Yeah. So, I mean, first off, I already shared the thing from the book. I think that for any family who is obviously a married couple, ideally, that you can really just take the time to pray about it. Like, even if you've never thought [01:04:00] about it, take the time to pray, God, this is in your word.
[01:04:04] Greg: This is something that you say is important and good, and this kind of goes against my point earlier, but like, God, is this something you would have of us? And he may not answer that. And that's where you have to decide, am I going to take steps of action ahead of that or am I going to do some learning?
[01:04:28] Greg: So I think the most important part for anyone should be. Spend some time doing learning, research it, find out what the local agency is. For us, our local agency has a free introductory class that just lets you learn, ask questions and prepare the process. For us, motivational wise. Adoption is done a lot of different ways. And I [01:05:00] want to clarify specifically here that like adoption, because you cannot conceive doesn't make the adoption any less. Like honorable to the Lord. And then if you adopt just because you feel called to care for orphans, like God is using that and maybe for all we know, God has allowed your infertility to lead you to caring for a child, or maybe it's just one of those like circumstantial, like.
[01:05:36] Greg: We live in a fallen world, and though you should be able to produce, you can't, and God allows you another option, but I think it's easy for us when we came, like, we felt called to adopt, whether we were able to have children, we had two biological Daughters first and still felt called to adopt, but I think [01:06:00] it's easy to sometimes over glamorize that and maybe lift ourselves up.
[01:06:05] Greg: And so I want to humbly come before you and say, like, number one, I've had sinful thoughts of that and confess those to the Lord, but to adoption ultimately is important, whether or not. The reason for it, like we do a lot of things, I believe in our Christian faith that may be ill motivated, that still bring glory to God.
[01:06:32] Greg: And let me say, I'm not saying the other is ill motivated, but all that saying, I'm just saying that no matter what direction, like adoption is important for us, being in community with people who have adopted, my wife's cousins were both adopted. We had in our community up in Portland, many. People who had adopted internationally domestic private adoption and through the [01:07:00] foster system. And so we knew that adoption was something that we really wanted to be a part of, but we didn't know the timing. For me, I came up to my wife and I said, I personally am okay with not having biological children because I know that the need is so great. What do you think of that? And she really wanted to be able to have some biological children, which I didn't not have that desire.
[01:07:29] Greg: Like, I think it's pretty incredible to see what your spouse and your genes come together and make. Like, it's one of the most incredible things that our world has to offer. And so we kind of kept waiting for the opportunity, and my wife was doing some part time work for our church down here in San Diego, when our kids were just around elementary age, [01:08:00] and she helped put on a panel discussion at our church, interviewing different people who have adopted through the different ways you can adopt, and we were about ready to like, to that first class at our adoption agency and start the process in 2019. all of a sudden my wife started having debilitating anxiety, like. There was a lot of different things going on. We were trying to figure out if we could buy our house at the time. Our kids were just going into school. Maybe she was prophetic and it could expect that COVID was coming a year away. No, I don't think that side of it was, but we, it was at the point where I felt like I need to, and she felt devastated because she's like, we can't adopt because of me, she worded it as I'm broken.
[01:08:52] Greg: And now we can't do this, I had to continue to reaffirm her. Like number one, no, you're not broken. [01:09:00] Like anxiety just happens. And number two, like. We prayed that God would give us wisdom if we need to pause or hold up. And to me, this is a clear sign that we need to wait. And so it was 2021, uh, the very end of 2020, ironically, in the midst of heavy COVID stuff, they were like, yeah, this is probably a good time to bring another child and do a drastic change to our life. And so. That's when we went and did the class and we decided to do the foster to adopt approach, which every single state in the United States approaches that differently. Some states don't really have a program to adopt through the foster system because they want reunification ideally at all costs.
[01:09:51] Greg: And then adoption is sort of like a last ditch effort, which California is to an extent. But we ultimately decided to do [01:10:00] foster to adopt. Because one, we felt called to local. Two, we felt that there was heavy need in California for children in the foster system. and three, honestly, it's a more affordable approach than any of the other adoption approaches.
[01:10:21] Greg: And I do believe that if God calls you to adoption, He'll provide the finances, whether it's, for us. Obviously, there's more expenses of raising a child, but a couple grand versus 20 to 50, 000 for most international and private domestic adoptions. So that's kind of what led us to adoption. I can go multiple directions.
[01:10:47] Greg: What, what do you feel like would be helpful
[01:10:50] Curt: I think that, maybe I'll just ask a question that should broaden things up, but I remember asking you about the question that I had, which is [01:11:00] like, do you love this child the same? Is that even possible? Like, do you have resentment at some point? And that scares me as I think about it, going like, well, if I always know.
[01:11:12] Curt: And then what if I, what if, what if I sabotage myself somehow? So I know you told me about sort of walking into the hospital. So I'm wondering if you can maybe go there and just, at least from your perspective, cause obviously it's not the same for everyone. And then maybe that'll lead us to where we need to
[01:11:26] Greg: Yep. So I'm going to give two stories. I'm going to give our story, which does feel a little romantic and on the happy side. And then I'm going to give you a hard story because I feel like anyone considering adoption should know the hard stories as well as the good ones. So for us, yeah, we were really curious, like for my wife when she was pregnant, She felt super connected right from the beginning. [01:12:00] For me, it's like, I'm connected to you. And it's kind of neat when they kick a little bit later in pregnancy, but until I met the child, it didn't really feel real. And then. At birth, it was just like this crazy connection, this beautiful thing, like, tears of joy and loved that experience.
[01:12:24] Greg: But for my wife specifically, who connected immediately to this child inside of her, to not have that, to not know, are we adopting a boy or a girl? To not know a lot of these different things that kind of for nine months, you start making plannings and things, led us to be like, I'm not sure.
[01:12:45] Greg: And, and so for our process, we did an emergency. infant placement through the foster system. So, every once in a while, one of the counties will have an infant who comes into the [01:13:00] system that for whatever reason their parents have shown that it's very unlikely there will be reunification. And they reach out to our agency and say, hey, we have a baby who needs a home. We need, and then our agency calls us and other people and they say, Hey, here's the information about them. Here's some of the health challenges. Talk to your spouse and call us back in 10 minutes to let us know if you want us to put your name in for this child. And so we said yes, three or four times.
[01:13:35] Greg: And another family was chosen multiple times. We even said yes to six month old twin boys. Which would have just been crazy, but in all of these that we, my wife and I came to this point of like, we know what God has called us to, we know that some of these things, health issues could be a [01:14:00] challenge, but they're within the scope of what we said we could handle. And we're just going to say, yes. We never saw pictures or anything of these infants. We just said, yes. and so they chose someone else for our son. And then two weeks later, we get the call about the twin boys and we're like, that's going to be crazy. But we trust that the Lord will provide and the our social worker was like barely anyone's putting their names in like if you say yes, I'm pretty sure it's going to be you
[01:14:38] Curt: go.
[01:14:39] Greg: and they ended up choosing someone else who didn't have children because they thought that would be a better fit for them. And so we're devastated at this point. And then like two weeks later, when we kind of again, got to a point of surrender, like God, we don't know the timeline, but we surrender it to you. They're like, Hey, remember that boy we called you about a [01:15:00] month ago? Well, the family who had said they would take him backed out. If you say yes, the boy will come home with you. Do you guys want to adopt him? And so we said, yes. And then he was at an acute care rehab facility, so he spent the first two months of his life in the NICU, and then three months in this acute care rehab facility, never living in a home, always being in a hospital, and it was like radio silence for the whole weekend, and we're like, All right.
[01:15:35] Greg: You just said we are, but now we don't know. And then all of a sudden we get a call two or 4 p. m. on a Tuesday, I believe. And they're like, Hey, this is the acute care rehab facility.
[01:15:52] Greg: Hey. We need to figure out when you can come meet your boy and bring him home. [01:16:00] And I'm like, Hey, I'm flying out to Austin, Texas for work tomorrow morning. Can I come like now? And it's a two hour drive for us. So we call my parents as quick as we can get them to watch our girls. Kristen and I jump in the car, drive two hours, and we're walking down through the hospital.
[01:16:21] Greg: We're being told all the different health challenges that he's had. Like, I think the social worker, because of the other family who backed out, was trying to scare us. Like, basically, like, I want to make sure you're actually going to do this. And so, We walk down and we get within like 10 feet of the hospital bed, and we can see the little boy, there, and we hadn't even seen him yet.
[01:16:52] Greg: And it was one of those, like, it truly felt like the time we saw our daughters being born. We had [01:17:00] no expectation for that connection, and we know that a lot of people, they can have six months, a year, before the child feels connected. And... The parents feel connected. And so we were just blown away and Kristen got to pick him up and she's holding him in the chair and he immediately is just locked on her, locked on her eyes, like connected to her.
[01:17:27] Greg: And so, like, when it comes to taking him home, bringing him into our family, like, he truly, from day one, has never felt any different than our biological children to us. And if he were reunified or taken from us, it would literally feel like one of our children biologically were taken from our home which is something that we didn't expect.
[01:17:55] Greg: And I don't think is necessarily a typical. [01:18:00] Experience, but as a way that God blessed us in our story now on the harder side, we know couples who have had real struggles with bonding with the child, especially an older child, children who have been through their formative years, those first few years have a lot more challenge.
[01:18:26] Greg: And baggage and the thing that they tell you about adoption is no matter when you adopt the child, all children who are adopted come from trauma of mother who isn't a mother who gives a family that infant from birth. That mother is producing stress hormones and things because she knows she's not keeping that baby that go into the baby that cause trauma, even in utero for that child.
[01:18:56] Greg: So all babies, all children are going [01:19:00] to have some level of trauma that you will deal with throughout the entire adoption process and as they're your child. But like we, we knew a couple. Who had a child who just, he never fully connected as a son, like never, he probably called them mom and dad, but there just wasn't that.
[01:19:25] Greg: bonding that you would expect. I think that's the hard truth of some of adoption is you need to be willing to be completely broken in the process and you need to be willing to not take that on yourself, which is going to be very hard of like, just because they don't connect. Doesn't mean you've done something wrong.
[01:19:54] Greg: It doesn't mean that you are a bad parent or that you are a failure. If you're [01:20:00] an optimist at all, like me, I think it's easy to go into anything with rosy glasses and be like I'm going to. Have a hero's mindset or a hero complex and like, I'm going to save this kid's life. I'm going to change it.
[01:20:18] Greg: They're going to immediately love me, gravitate towards me. And that's not always the case. And so in the process of getting ready for adoption, they ask you tons of tons of questions to dive into your own childhood. to dive into your own upbringing, into your own relationships, into your own trauma.
[01:20:41] Greg: Because if you have undealt with trauma and go into a situation of trauma, it's likely to have a lot more challenge. And so ultimately I would say there will be beautiful things in all adoptions. [01:21:00] And I would actively pray for God to give you that connectedness. But it isn't a guarantee, and it's kind of like what we talked about earlier with faith.
[01:21:12] Greg: Some of that is just acting before you feel , and feeling doesn't always come, and I don't even believe it's promised in our faith that we're always gonna feel the Lord, or feel some of those things.
[01:21:28] Curt: Yeah, that's a useful point I think across the board in this particular culture of emotional everything. Anyway, that's a whole other podcast. I really appreciate you sharing that. And speaking of whole other podcasts, I think the adoption question is one that could take multiple and there's, I'm sure there's whole podcasts on it, obviously, but I do appreciate the fact that you're willing to share your story because I think, I mean what, there's so much we can [01:22:00] learn.
[01:22:00] Curt: So thank you for going there. And I think this is probably. Sadly, a good place to wrap it up. But I've really appreciated this man. Thank you. I think I may well invite you back for another one just to, to hang out and talk, to be honest, if you're open for that. But I wonder if you would just give us a couple of places to find you.
[01:22:18] Curt: I know that this is like not necessarily your wheelhouse, but like people will want to check you out. So where can they do so?
[01:22:25] Greg: Yeah. So a couple of quick things. Our production company is the Laramore Production Company here in San Diego. And we just work with businesses creating marketing videos. But then I have our Laramore Studios YouTube channel, which is aimed at helping people who want to get into the world of video production, giving tips, advice, all that.
[01:22:51] Greg: And then Excursion Family is our new YouTube channel. That we're being, trying to basically create [01:23:00] videos that lead families to do more adventures together. And hopefully we can't quite announce it yet, but once we finalize the adoption, which will hopefully potentially be next month, we're going to try to do something pretty grand next summer with that.
[01:23:18] Greg: But yeah, those are the main things.
[01:23:21] Curt: Nice. Okay. Well, I will put links to all of those in the show notes, dad. org slash podcast, or inside the podcast app that you're using in this episode description. So links to all of that. Thank you very much. I'm a huge fan of the, excursion family idea. We moved to Thailand and Eastern Europe and did that for a couple of years with the kids.
[01:23:41] Curt: So, you guys are gonna have a ton of fun anyway. Dude, this has been incredible. Thank you again. And, until next time.
[01:23:47] Greg: I appreciate it.
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