I have journals for each of our kids. I started our first two children’s journals when they were still in the womb. I started our third child’s journal pretty soon after we began the adoption process. Sometimes I’m really good at writing in them; some times they go months untouched collecting dust on the shelf. They have everything from Bible verses to paragraphs copied from books to little scribbled quotes to my prayers for them. But mainly they are just love letters from me to them: reciting our moments together, little glimpses of their lives; small moments that I could easily forget to share, big moments that I could forget to ponder. I wrote the above words in our third child’s journal two weeks ago today (on August 24).
The day before, Thursday, we had gotten a call.
Actually, Ben got a call … a call from Leah, our adoption coordinator.
I was sitting at our dinning room table, my journal open when he texted me that Leah had called him and he would call me in a few minutes.
It’s not normal for him to text me every time someone calls him, so I sat on pins and needles for several minutes with Tuck and Libby in the room next door oblivious, and my journal closed and forgotten. I knew there was some kind of news. I just didn’t know what kind.
Just a few days before someone had asked us: “How long before you bring your child home?” We gave our standard … “not really sure, but maybe another year-and-half or two years” reply that we had been giving for months. It wasn’t what we wanted, but we had accepted it as reality.
My phone rang.
Our standard reply was about to change.
Leah told Ben that things had sped up tremendously and that THEY HAD A CHILD FOR US.
IF we felt comfortable moving forward.
This would reduce the wait time to bring our child home to about 6-8 months AND our time to raise the funds to the same (could be more, could be less … as we are learning; who really knows?). Our fundraising efforts would have to move from a slow and steady jog to a full-on sprint.
Ben came home late that night, and we sat on the couch stunned. We talked and prayed. And we went to bed with no clear answer but with one question spinning in our minds: “How could we say no?”
The next morning, we woke up with pretty much the same thought … we were scared (OK, terrified — about the money), but we were taking the leap. Our child was waiting for us in Africa; we would sprint all the way there if we had to.
He had faithfully provided each step thus far; would we stop trusting Him now? We needed to raise nearly $20,000 (I know what you’re thinking … trust me, I feel like I could throw up just typing that number).
$20,000 (could be more, could be less depending on cost of flights… who really knows?) in six months.
That afternoon, we sat at the dinning room table again, Ben’s laptop in front of us, and we “met” our child. I held up Ben’s phone and took pictures of us to capture the moment.
We sat there huddled together, devouring every piece of information they had on the first seven months of our child’s life, and we stared at the five pictures we had, trying to memorize every detail of that sweet face with the big brown eyes.
“Today everything changed.”
I think Ben and I walked around in a daze most of the weekend, our thoughts going a million miles an hour trying to process how much had to be accomplished, how much had to fall in place before we could make her an official part of our family. But there was also a new overpowering strength welling within us … our child had a face, a gender, a name, an age, and we would knock down walls, we would scale mountains, we would fight like never before to not leave her as an orphan — to bring her home. My heart felt like it was going to burst with happiness while my mind was struggling to trust, struggling to wrap itself around our reality.
I opened up my journal flipping back to Thursday, the day we had gotten the call. I couldn’t remember what I had written before Ben texted me, and suddenly I felt compelled to know. One sentence:
“For Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us …”
Sunday morning, we went to church and shared the few details we could give with our Sunday School class and asked for prayers as we proceeded. After class, as people filed out of the room, a couple we barely knew pulled us aside and handed us a folded check and said “hope this helps a little.” I gave the wife a surprised hug, and we ineptly tried to express our appreciation. Ben and I walked down the hall to the worship service, and he opened the check and handed it to me.
That still small voice “I will fight for you. I will scale the mountains. I will knock down the walls. I will not leave her as an orphan.”
I cried as I walked: overjoyed by His faithfulness, overwhelmed by the generosity and beauty of His Bride, overcome by all that had transpired, all that He had accomplished in just four days.
We still have a long ways to go, but we are not running alone.
We have a little girl to bring home!