THE VOICE Winner Todd Tilghman Discusses the Pain and Joy of Adoption

Photo from Brooke Tilghman’s Instagram

THE VOICE Winner Todd Tilghman Discusses the Pain and Joy of Adoption

By Movieguide® Staff

Before pastor and musician Todd Tilghman won season 18 of THE VOICE, he and his wife Brooke adopted two daughters from South Korea.

However, Tilghman recently shared the joy and pain he experienced after adopting daughters Judah and her sister, Olive.

“When we were on the airplane I wanted to help Brooke, but I couldn’t because the girls hated flying back home,” Todd, 43, told PEOPLE. “They didn’t want to come to me.”

Tilghman, who also shares six biological children with Brooke, said that he eventually connected with Judah and Olive personally and uniquely.

“With Judah, I was playing with the boys on the floor, and she had been home maybe a month. Not very long. Long enough for me to feel bad. I was down on the floor and she just climbed up on [my back]. The rest is history,” Todd said. “With Olive, I basically made everyone get out of the house except me and Olive. We sort of had a come-to-Jesus day that day. We were just together.”

The couple recently published a memoir about their entire family—including sons Eagan, Asher, Shepard, Hosea, Louie, and daughters Judah, Olive, and Wilhelmina—called Every Little Win: How Celebrating Small Victories Can Lead to Big Joy.

“I think we all get an opportunity to live a great story and I wanted to share our story,” Brooke said. “We’ve had some real highs and some real lows and I just wanted it to be authentic.”

“I tell people all the time, adoption is a beautiful thing. It really is. But a lot of people forget: adoption is always born out of loss,” Brooke explained. “That child has lost so much.”

Brooke noted that she and her husband are honest and transparent to Judah and Olive about their adoption.

“Don’t make it a secret. Don’t make it a shameful thing. Make it a positive thing,” Brooke encouraged other parents. “Make it an open conversation, so when they do have their struggles, because they will, they’re willing to come to you and talk about it.”

Despite the ups and downs of life, faith in God is at the center of the Tilghman family.

Movieguide® spoke to Todd after his win on THE VOICE:

Tilghman, 41, is the oldest contestant to win the singing competition show in the history of 18 seasons and said that he trusted God through the entire journey, from audition to the eventual win last May.

“I want to say, I can’t take credit for it, but I just sort of fell into it backwards,” Tilghman said.

The father of eight children also pastored a church in Mississippi, the very same state in which he grew up. Tilghman told Movieguide® that since winning THE VOICE, his ministry both grew and went through some changes.

“God has given me a lot more opportunities that are not necessarily traditional ministry, to minister,” Tilghman said.

Tilghman said that suffering is an integral part of any journey and is especially important for Christians to realize in current circumstances. One of the scriptures that Tilghman mentioned he clung to during his journey is 2 Corinthians 4:17.

“The Bible says that our affliction is light, and it’s temporary, and it’s working for us and an eternal weight of glory,” Tilghman said. “And that, to me, is a big deal. Because a lot of times we forget that suffering is part of it, you know, people of faith, forget that, that suffering is going to be part of it sometimes. Now, that’s not the whole of it. And that doesn’t mean that our spirit and our attitude has to suffer alone.”


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