We wanted to share some exciting news and invite everyone to walk along side of us in pr*yer as we dive head first into a whole new challenge. I wanted to keep this post short and simple, but I also wanted to explain the intricacies and details to present a more full picture of how the Father’s hand has been involved. So please excuse the length, but keep your eyes open for the Father’s presence in every step…from the beginning.
Three and a half years ago, my husband and I were living here in the Horn (prior to being married). The last three months of the year that I was staying here, I was living and volunteering at Grace Centre, where we are currently serving. At that time, there were about 12 children in “temporary care” at Grace, awaiting a family through adoption or waiting to be re-unified with their birth family. Most of them were babies, although there were a few older children from 3-13 years old. Since then, the oldest (now about 16) is close to having her adoption finalized. The middle-aged girl has been re-unified with her family she never knew existed, and one toddler and an infant (now 4 and 7) have also been re-unified with families. From this group, 8 of the children remain in care at Grace, and about 25 more have joined them.
Since my first time at Grace, the government has forbidden adoptions to take place internationally through the Centre. Until Grace is awarded their license as an orphanage, these children will grow up in the Centre, unless their families are found and by the grace of the Father, are willing to take them back. The other option is to be locally adopted by a national family (VERY rare), or to be locally adopted by a foreign family living here.
The Father has His purposes and His timing. In the past couple of weeks, our re-unifications officer has found a mother of a child who very badly wants her child back. She abandoned her in despair, and since then has remarried and has a 9 month old baby. Assuming her child would be adopted and in Australia by now, she lost hope of ever seeing her again. Our re-unifications officer found her, and her and her daughter met for the first time in 4 years. Had adoptions not been prohibited when they were, this re-unification would have never happened.
When I left for the States after my time at Grace, two little boys, at the time ages 1 and 5, remained in my thoughts. Although all the children had stollen my heart, these brothers kept crossing my mind. Assuming by now they would be gone to Australia with a new family, I continued to pr*y for them, but pushed aside all hopes of ever seeing them again.
Once we arrived in country as a married couple and family, I was again remembering these boys. Upon touring Grace Centre for the first time since our return, I was surprised to see the same children in temporary care. My heart leapt a little bit to see them again, but I was saddened that they were still without a family after all this time.
Plagued with questions about our future; how long would we be here, when would we start trying to have another baby, would we adopt, what will work look like in the next few years….I felt my mother instincts begin to overcome me. I wanted to be patient and wait on the Father for clarity, but selfishly, I immediately wanted to work towards growing our family. I couldn’t stop thinking about these 2 brothers still. I wasn’t sure why. I had no special connection with them than I did with the others. I didn’t hand pick them as my “favorites”. And I can’t say that my heart was just broken for them, because when I visited the children’s home, my heart was (and is) sincerely broken for all of the kids.
I knew the boys had a living mother. But I also knew that the government would never allow her to have custody of her children unless she was miraculously healed and proved to show some major change in behavior. She has what we call a “crazy card” from the hospital, stating she is psychologically incapable of taking care of her children. “Andrew” (we’ll call him for now), the youngest, had grown up in Grace with very little time in his mother’s care. “Rich” came at about 4 years of age. When they were in her care for a short time, she became abusive and overwhelmed at the responsibility of being a mother. The oldest especially was having emotional, and probably spiritual attacks due to her involvement in his life at that time. Nonetheless, their mother loves them very much.
One night as I was lying in bed, I could not stop thinking about these boys. I felt the Sp*rit urge me to pr*y for their mother, for her healing, and for their re-unification. My selfish desires did not want to pr*y for that. I wanted to have the opportunity to raise these boys. But I asked for strength to have the ability to pr*y sincerely for her. By the grace of the Father and the power of the H*ly Sp*rit, I found the desire and ability to lift this request up. No sooner did I utter that pr*yer, that I sensed an extreme love for the boys.
I missed them as my own, and felt that they were supposed to be a part of our family and were not. I felt like we were supposed to adopt them, and we were supposed to encourage their relationship with their birth mother (something I NEVER thought I would EVER be open to). It was this voided feeling, like a mother being away from her child. It was the feeling I had when I left Esther for the first time. I was in tears and couldn’t process why I was feeling what I was feeling. I generally believe I am “sp*rit led” and Alan and I certainly make big decisions after much pr*yer. However, I do not have those moments often when I feel the Sp*rit speaking to me plainly. I knew this was one of those rare moments.
I got up out of bed and I pr*yed some more. I wrote what I was experiencing to my family and some of my closest friends. I asked them to pr*y, but had no idea what this meant. After hours of sleeplessness and longing for the boys, fatigue overcame me and I slept peacefully the rest of the night. I shared with Alan the next morning what I had experienced, and the longing I was still feeling at that point.
We began to talk and pr*y about the boys, adoption, timing, the Father’s will…
While Alan certainly trusted me, and believed me that when I said what I felt was directly from the Sp*rit, he had many questions and reservations. What about the other kids at the home? How would they feel and react? What about the mother?
As we pr*yed and pr*yed and asked more questions and sought more wisdom, the Father (amazingly) began to unite mine and Alan’s hearts. Myself being a “heart” thinker, and Alan being a “logical” thinker, the Father gave Alan the logic he needed to know that this was indeed what He wanted us to do. We realized that the boys ultimately had 2 options. One being that they grow up in the children’s home, seeing their birth mother weekly. The other option being that adoptions are allowed through Grace again and they get matched with a foreign family, likely never to see their birth mother again. Knowing that we want to spend the rest of our lives in the Horn, we realized we could give the boys both of these things. We also realized that by adopting them, it would cause us to be more involved in the other kids’ lives as we would have sleep overs and be checking up on them at school while we were checking up on our boys.
And so we begin…
We are still guarding our hearts. Many things could happen to thwart the process of adopting the boys. We have not approached them yet, as we wanted to be a bit further along before talking with them. However, the Father has already led us through 2 huge hurdles. The first, regarding a rule stating that in order to adopt locally, you must have lived in the country for two years. We were unsure we would pass this rule (or likely be an exception to the rule) as we have been in America for 3 years, and I myself only lived here for one year prior. However, it seems that the government agency involved in child affairs is willing to support our decision and approve our adoption.
Second, we needed to let the mother know. She has been approached and she knows that “someone” wants to adopt them with the intentions of maintaining a relationship with her. She was very happy at this opportunity for her boys. To me this shows how much she really does love them. As I mentioned before, she loves them very much but emotionally and psychologically can not handle being a mother.
Now, we have begun to gather documents and letters to submit to the court and our prayer is that the mother will continue to be supportive of this decision, that the boys will be excited and desire the adoption, that the other children in long-term care will be excited for their friends and that they do not feel abandonment, for all of the paper work we need to be gathered, and for our documents to be approved by the court.
We know that with adoption comes many costs and sacrifices. Local adoption here, in comparison to international adoption, may not have the same financial costs, but there are many emotions and relationships involved that would likely not be so if we were adopting from another country. This makes the situation somewhat fragile…but we have faith that the Father will provide us with the right words, will guard our hearts and the hearts of those involved, and will make all of the doors open in just the way He wants to time it.
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
The ultimate sacrifice for adoption was HIS Son. Any sacrifices we may make are nothing in comparison to what He has done to make us a part of His family. We are thankful for the support we have been shown by our friends, family, and local body in the States and certainly could not proceed without the wisdom, support, and guidance of our dear friends at Grace, and our sweet local friends who are a huge encouragement and are excited for us and the boys.
So here we go….