Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

When did the journey of our hearts begin to look at adoption as a part of God's design?  For me, it began in a rural boys' orphange on the outskirts of ElDoret, Kenya, East Africa in the summer of 1998.  I was on a summer mission trip with the University I attended and on a very poignant day in my life, we spent the day with some marvelous boys.

I stepped out of the van that had bumped throught the dirt and mud streets of Kenya, to be greeted by a cherub faced boy (about age 4) wearing an oversized, blue snow coat (quite obviously, his one and only prized possession which he wore everywhere) along with no shoes and a terrific smile.  He and I walked hand in hand as we were given a tour of the orphanage bunk houses (from what I can remember, there were 4 bunks in each bunk house - a 10X8' room with four children sleeping to a bed) and the garden of vegetables the boys were growing to subsidize the lack of food for so many children.  Once our tour was over and everyone scattered to play football, tag and other games, my friend and I sat down on the dirt watching the storm clouds pass over the outlying villages and larger town of El Doret.  We clapped for the boys playing football, I rocked him and sang songs in Swahili and English while he wove his chocolate colored fingers in and out of my own lily white hands, making patterns out of the mixture of fingers.  He spoke little but did not want to go anywhere but to stay on my lap.  It was the day God spoke to my heart first, about the love He has for children such as this sweet one.

It was a perfect day.

But then the day was done.  This sweet boy would be left with no one to call him special, sing to him,   love him without condition.  The orphanage director came to me as we loaded back into the van and said, "Thank you for today.  That boy may not receive touch and care such as that for another 6 months and you just made today significant."  It was horrible...  I know the director was trying to make me feel that my time was meaningful, but it just felt me feeling stale and useless.  I remember saying to some friends on the van as we were debriefing our experience together, "I don't know how or when, but God is calling me to something else than just this day in the lives of orphans here." 

My husband and I were married in the summer of 1999 - we began dating soon after I returned from Kenya and as we shared our goals and dreams for life, I remember asking him to promise me that he would, one day, return with me on a mission trip to East Africa.

Neither of us had any idea what that mission trip would look like - but here we are, almost eleven years later, taking our trip to East Africa and bringing the most precious gift back home with us.  Our third child - the child of our hearts.
Which brings me back to our story in the present day.  What began as a single day of singificance, God intended to create a lifetime of signficance for a child in Ethiopia that we will soon bring home to join our family and have the honor of calling her our daughter.  Our son (7) and daughter (5) are anticipating her joining our family.  We are all looking forward to bringing her from our hearts to our home.

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