Todd Phelps, the associate pastor of Mosaic Church, is still finding himself.
Phelps was adopted when he was one month old. Karen and Glen Phelps adopted him because they were unable to have children of their own.
"When they told me I was adopted, I think I understood, but I didn't know the true impact it would have on my life," Phelps said.
Phelps, 33, grew up in Charleston, S.C., and was raised in a Lutheran church. His adoptive parents filed for divorce when he was 14.
"I was like any typical teenager after that," he said. "I didn't want to be accepted by God or by my parents - only by the popular kids."
His family influence kept him in church while growing up, but it wasn't until his college years that it became personal for him. When Phelps was 19, his adoptive mother began inviting him to SeaCoast Church in Charleston.
"She would call and call. I resisted for months," he said. What finally got his attention was a bribe.
"She said there were cute girls there," he said.
Phelps became involved with their college ministry; it was also there that he became saved, got a job and met his wife, Shannon, in 1998. The couple married in 2001.
Naeem Fazal, the lead pastor at Mosaic Church, and one of Phelps' friends, began pushing for Phelps to move to Charlotte.
"We took a bad financial hit in 2008, and it took us two-and-a-half years to sell our house, but we knew it was the right move," he said.
Phelps began working for Mosaic immediately after moving to Charlotte. After eight months, he was asked to become the executive director of Royal School Uganda.
Located in Mityana, Uganda, Royal School is an orphanage that houses more than 600 children who have lost their parents to violence, famine and disease. As the executive director, Phelps works with the school, helping to locate sponsors for the school and children individually. He also organizes and sends teams to Africa two or three times per year.
"We actually have a medical team, composed entirely of volunteers over there right now," he said.
Is it not ironic that a man who was adopted would direct a program for orphans?
"I think it is ironic, yes, but I also believe it is part of my journey. It has helped me realize who I am," he said.
Phelps still has an important chapter missing from his life. Eight years ago, Phelps requested information about his biological parents. The file he received was extremely limited. According to Phelps, his biological mother abused drugs and was only 17 when she had him; his father was 27 and in the military. The file also stated the reason his mother put him up for adoption was to give him a better life. The file did not contain their names, addresses or even his birthplace, making it extremely difficult to locate them.
Since obtaining the file in 2002, new laws have been passed in North Carolina to help reunite willing adoptees and biological parents. This has given Phelps hope.
"What can I say? I'm still finding (Todd) Phelps. I'll just take it one step at a time," he said.
Todd and Shannon Phelps now have two children of their own. Their daughter, Skylar, is 2 and their son, Gavin, is 8 months. Phelps will preach at Mosaic's Easter services on April 4 at Mallard Creek High School.