Friday, January 25, 2013

Our Adoption Story

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner blog today and her Show Us Your Life Adoption post.  I encourage you to go visit her blog and read the other stories of families that are or have adopted. 

Adoption is very dear to our hearts.  It is the means God used to bring our children to us and give me the most glorious of all names "Mama".  Twelve years ago, I became a mother for the first time through adoption.  I can say to you that the moment I heard about my son that I knew he was mine.  I knew that he was a gift directly from God and I didn't care if he was green with three eyeballs, I just couldn't wait to be his mommy.  When I held him for the first time, well there just are no words. 

Two years later, we would begin the process to adopt again.  This time God blessed us with the most beautiful baby girl.  She was and is more than I ever dreamed of in a daughter.  We love to tell the story of how her daddy picked her out of all the babies in the hospital nursery.  We just knew she was ours!

Both our son and daughter were adopted domestically through an agency based in Texas.  After we adopted our daughter, we felt that our family was complete.  God had blessed us more than we could have ever imagined!

Fast forward to 2011.  My husband and I were preparing for a mission trip to Uganda, Africa.  Adoption was the furthest thing from our minds.  It was not even remotely on the radar!  We love adoption, are for adoption, but felt that our family was complete. 

Well, that was until Monday, October 31, 2011.  We were in Uganda and we traveled by bus three hours to an orphanage near the border of Kenya.  We were greeted by children clapping and singing welcoming us to their orphanage.  We hugged on the children as we exited the bus.  They were all so beautiful!

We took a seat that had been prepared for us and listened as the children from the orphanage sang for us.  That is when I noticed her sitting on the floor with her legs crossed.  She was so tiny.  She was staring back at me and I motioned for her to come to me.  She got up and came and sat in my lap.  I grabbed her ebony hand and held it in mine.  She would turn and look at me with the most beautiful smile.  Her name was Brenda.  It wasn't long before she felt comfortable enough to lean back against me.  I soaked up every second of it.  She would stroke my arm and eventually lay her head against my arm.  My heart was a bunch of mush by this point.  At one point she sat up, turned around where she was facing me and began to rub my face and neck.  I remember the tears stinging my eyes and praying.  I remember saying to God, she has no idea what she is doing to me but you do. 

The program ended and it was time for her to go eat lunch.  I started painting fingernails and was able to paint her precious little nails.  Finally it was time for us to leave.  Our group started handing out suckers to the children.  I lost her in the choas.  They called for us to get on the bus.  I began to search the crowd for her but could never find her to say goodbye.  I got on the bus and the tears that earlier stung my eyes were now spilling forth.  There was no holding them back.  I whispered to God "You knew I couldn't tell her goodbye." 

We returned back to the States the first of November but I knew that a part of my heart was left in Uganda.  We tried to re-enter our lives, but coming home during the holiday season isn't the easiest when you have seen and touched extreme poverty.  They were no longer nameless faces on TV.  I had held them and knew some of their names.

Finally in January I just could not stand it any longer.  I needed to know more about this little girl that had stolen my heart.  So I just thought I would Google the name of her school and orphanage.  Much to my surprise, the orphanage had a website with contact information.  I typed a brief message and hit send.  I thought my heart was going to skip a beat.  The next day I checked my email and about fell in the floor when I saw that I had a message from the Pastor of her orphanage.  We started emailing on a regular basis and I was able to find out lots of information about Brenda.  We found out that she was an orphan.  At this point we just felt that the Lord wanted us to sponsor her.

In April, I remember having a conversation with the Lord. I was thinking of all the things that Brenda would never get to experience.  I remember saying she will most likely never have a bike and then I would think "Is that fair?"  Well no that is not fair but there are lots of kids that will never have a bike.  I happened to be in my bathtub during this time and I thought about Brenda never getting to have a bath in a big bathtub with warm water.  Again I asked if this was fair and of course it's not fair.  I did this with numerous things and then all the sudden the question changed from "Is it fair" to "Can you live with it?"  I immediately knew the answer to that...NO!  I would not be able to live the rest of my life knowing that I did not do anything to make her life better.  So we brought up the question of adoption with the Pastor at her orphanage.  It was a God moment and a God thing and it was very evident that God was leading in that direction. 

We worked like crazy getting everything together and officially started the process to adopt.  We had to have another homestudy and get all of the paperwork together.  We did it all in record time. We sent our paperwork off and finally were assigned a court date. 

This past November we flew to Uganda to appear in court and bring our little Ugandan princess home ...only things did not go as planned.

We arrived in Uganda late on a Thursday night.  We would be reunited with Brenda on Sunday and go to court on Monday.  I had played the scene of our reunion out in my mind a million times.  I was trying to prepare myself not to cry but I pretty much knew that was hopeless.  When she arrived at our guest house, I thought I wasn't going to be able to catch my breath.  She did allow me to hug her and hold her and I did pretty good about not crying.  She stayed with us in our room that night and she did so good.  We all just bonded so well and you would have thought that we had been her mommy and daddy forever. 

We went to court on Monday and sat all day waiting to be seen.  Finally we were the last family seen by the Registrar.  He had some questions about some of the paperwork on the Uganda side of things.  Our lawyer and the Pastor would work on Tuesday to get the questions resolved and we would be back in court on Wednesday.  By the end of the day on Tuesday, the questions were still unanswered and we knew we would not be going back to court on Wednesday.  By the end of the day on Wednesday, my husband and I both felt that God was saying stop.  We did not really understand it but we knew better than to force something that God was saying stop to. 

On Thursday, we had to let Brenda go back to the orphanage and I honestly thought that I was telling her goodbye forever.  Did I mention that this was Thanksgiving Day!  We were hurt and heartbroken.  We left that day to fly back home.  I cried on every flight.  Our return flight certainly would not end with the Gotcha Day video that I had scripted in my head.  The only thing that we were bringing home were pieces of a broken heart. 

For weeks I grieved and mourned our loss.  I have never cried so many tears.  Finally one night I was praying and I confessed that I could not continue living like this.  I was just a mess.  So I gave my dream of being Brenda's mommy over to the Lord.  I did not understand why He said to stop but I knew the peace He had given to both my husband and myself.  We knew that we had done the right thing even if we did not understand why we did it.  It was His peace in the midst of our heartache.  I confessed that I would be okay with Brenda never living in our house and I began to pray that God would allow me to see her just one more time in my lifetime and that he would let my other two children meet her. 

The next day, the internet in our area was out.  Finally by evening it had been restored and I was able to check email.  That is when I saw that I had an email from the Pastor at her orphanage.  More than two weeks had passed since we left Uganda.  The email was a game changer for us and we committed to pray to see what God was leading us to do in regards to this adoption.

And that is where you find us today.  We believe that God is opening the doors for us to go back to Uganda and adopt Brenda.  At this point we are waiting for some paperwork on their side to be completed.  Once it is finished we will get another court date and we will go back. 

This is the first time since we came home from Uganda that I have typed for the world to see that we believe God is leading us to go back.  So much about this process is scary.  But I have come up with the saying "I can do today!"  I declare this often to the Lord.  The future at times can look scary no matter what season of life you are in.  There are twists and turns up ahead of us that seem more than we can handle.  When I start to focus on what's ahead and the what if's, I quickly get overwhelmed.  That is when I declare "I can do today!"  I might not can handle what is ahead but today God, well I can do today!

So please pray for us!  We know that Brenda is safe and she will be heading back to school this next week.  We want to do what God wants for our family and for Brenda. We want her so badly!  If we could get on a plane tomorrow and go pick her up, well we would wave to you from the airport.  We are also seeking God's direction regarding the funding of this journey.  We had not budgeted for two sets of plane tickets so we are having to start over again as far as that is concerned.  We are looking to have a yard sale soon and are really just praying for God to direct us as to what else we need to do.  So I ask you again, will you please pray for us!

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1 comment:

Sheila said...

We are headed to Uganda in 9 days to adopt our Brenda from Uganda. :) She's almost 7 years old. The name of your daughter caught my eye.