I went to visit the youth Pastor at our church yesterday, Patrick McCrory, both because I had a children’s book about Ethiopia for him to give for his two year old, and also because I was curious to find out how their Ethiopian adoption is moving along. It is impossible to have our lives moved, shifted, altered and drastically changed by adoption and not come alongside others who are in the waiting stage. It’s a compulsion to support one another through our adoption journeys.When I was pregnant, every day I lived with a background fear that I could be told the heart beating inside my womb had stopped. It was the worst case scenario I had to touch and be able to know I could survive with God’s care if I had to face such a tragedy. In adoption that fear translates as a knowledge that any day news will come in that the international laws have suddenly changed and what was supposed to be two months could now become a year or more of waiting. Meanwhile, the child is growing up without you. Separation, in either case, causes a raw festering heartache. We all need to gather around those walking the waiting road and give support, love, and prayer.
The legal situation in Ethiopia has drastically changed recently. They want to cut their annual adoptions by ninety percent, which also means where they once processed fifty cases a day, now they want to cut it to five. This means the parents waiting to adopt will wait an elongated time between referral and bringing home the child. The reason for the cut? Fear that babies are being trafficked, sold for profit. So everyone who is doing it the right way suffers because of a few who cheated. It’s no different in some ways than how Jack complains that his recess was shortened because one kid ruined it for everyone. Ultimately who suffers? The child.
Thankfully, in Patrick’s adoption case they may have been within a few hours ahead of the changes. Not long after fearing they may be affected by the cut backs they received their court date for April. It’s a relief on one hand, but more cause to pray on the other because an adoption is never done until it’s done. I have committed to pray that there will not be any obstacles between now and when they are able to bring home their baby. And my heart goes out to the unknown many who are realizing their wait has just multiplied exponentially. Personally, waiting the thirteen months to bring home Kira from Uganda was one of the most difficult trials of my life. Laying her to bed in her own room was exactly the same feeling I had every time I brought a baby home from the hospital. I am still surprised to experience how God can move my heart to love an adopted child with the same intensity as I loved a child born from my body.A friend in Uganda wrote to me lately when he read about all the sponsors we are trying to gather for the orphans in Kyengera, “thank you for carrying Africa in your heart wherever you go”. He is right, I do carry Africa in my heart, and on my hip wherever I go. When we decided to adopt a child from Uganda it was after I fell in love with the people of Uganda. It was because God changed our hearts and showed us we could take one child off the world’s orphan list. We adopted because God put Africa into our hearts. Once we could offer a forever home to one orphan God wasn’t finished with us, He gave us an entire orphanage to support. The love and care we give Kira extends to all of them. And as Patrick said to me, “once you are in with the cause of the orphan, you are all the way in”, and he is absolutely right. There is no turning back or putting a period on that sentence, it just runs on and on and on. It has become my life work, and for once, the work (and there’s a lot of it) feels like a perfect fit with all of who I am. It was an answer to my plea to God to show me what I could do for Him.
So how could I not carry Africa in my heart wherever I go? The needs are so great there. Here in America we have needs, but we also have opportunity with free education. But in Africa it is impossible for a child whose parents have either abandoned them or died to realize all the potential God built in if there isn’t a sponsor to help get them into school. That’s why I am working every day to help match these children in the orphanage with sponsors who will care about their future. A child should not be alone in this world. I believe one child at a time, we can make a difference.
There is a way to help our orphans in Kyengera. This weekend, March 18-19, in Katy, Texas there will be a big consignment sales event at the Merrill Center on Saturday and Sunday. Tot2Tot is run by Valerie Pearson, and she asked me if this event could donate 5% of its profit to our orphanage in Uganda. Of Course! So if anyone needs children’s toys, furniture, strollers, or clothing this is the place to get the best quality at the lowest prices, and help the orphans in Uganda. To find out more about this event visit their website: http://www.tot2tot.net
I thank you to all who have come forward and connected your lives with one of these children. Yesterday, I got a response from one of Craig’s friends from high school that they want to sponsor Gideon. Their eight year old child is learning about the life of a child in Uganda who has no parents, and he wants to help. It is beautiful for me to imagine the eyes of American children opening to see what life is like for children all over the world. God will work miracles in this relationship, I am so certain of that. I can just see Gideon’s face when he is told that a little boy in America knows that his parents are gone, and he cares. Someone knows it is important for him to be able to go to school and grow up smart, and really this means he can know he is not alone. This is an answer to Gideon’s prayer as he has asked God every day to send him help. A little boy with a big heart on the east coast of America was how God answered Gideon’s prayer. Sincerely, I am so humbled and in awe to be useful to God so these connections can be made. I can’t wait to kneel down and look Gideon in the eyes and show him the picture of the family in America who cares about him. That smile will make me cry.