Mary from the Amani Baby Cottage called around noon today to inform us that they've chosen a baby boy for us! His name is Charles, and he's about two months old right now. Their guess is that we'll head to Uganda to finalize the adoption and pick him up around June or July, when he's about six months old. Although Mary didn't say this explicitly, I gathered that he was abandoned. This is not uncommon. We plan on changing his name, which they said was very normal to do. "Charles" is probably the name given to him by the orphanage since they most likely never met the biological parent(s). I've already found a couple cool websites: one that lists common African names and their meanings and one that translates words from English to Luganda (the native language of Uganda) and vice versa. We'd like to pick names with spiritual significance, African flavor, and a good sound.
I've already been told that he looks like me, and a good friend even said that he looks like both Cindi and me. Well, apart from the obvious, of course. Our prayer is that in future years he will look like Jesus, and that from his descendants will arise generations upon generations of those who love and fear the Lord our God.
We are aware that God is utterly sovereign and unceasingly good in all of this. Charles is a beautiful gift from our ruling and benevolent God, as all children are. This has struck me in multiple ways today. As I was about to share my joy with a seminary class this afternoon, a fellow student spoke up and shared about how he and his wife found out during their ultrasound yesterday that they had lost their unborn child. Then I read an email from a good friend of Cindi's who had just had an ultrasound and had watched with her husband as their baby girl did a complete somersault in the womb, curled up into a ball, and went to sleep. A few days ago some dear friends of ours had an emergency c-section and gave birth to a two-pound fourteen-ounce baby girl who is being tested for Down's Syndrome. On Sunday I was talking to a family at church in Oklahoma who had come within a week of bringing home an adopted girl when everything fell apart and they had to start all over again. And on Monday, my family celebrated my mom's fiftieth birthday, fulfilling the happy statement in Proverbs 31:28: "Her children rise up and bless her." These circumstances are all different, but the same God oversees them all.
We are not ignorant of the grace and rule of God. He does what He pleases among all the hosts of heaven. We are glad to concede and to rest beneath the shadow of His wings. This is His doing. He has started it, and He will bring it to pass if He wills. Between now and when we plan to pick up our son, anything could happen. Except God losing control, ceasing to be good, or choosing to be faithless.
Please pray for Charles and for us. Mingled with our joy is the sobering responsibility of leaving footprints that never lead away from Christ but always toward Him. This will demand grace by the truckloads, which in turn means lots of prayer. Please ask God to save Charles and to use him. In a different but very real way, we echo the words of Hannah: "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:27-28).
This is my son. We stand in awe of the one true God who is not only Creator and King and Savior and Judge and Sovereign, but Father. We are happy and content to follow Him, and to love this little one in His name.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling (Psalm 68:5).