In February of 2009, twenty-six long months ago, we launched out on our second adoption journey. After watching God weave together an incredible tapesty of grace during our nineteen-month adoption of Judah from Uganda, we were ready to take the plunge once again. The question was never whether we would adopt again, but when, where, and how many children. For as long as we can remember, we’ve dreamed of gathering in a colorful family of orphans who could have a family, a home, a church, an education, and most of all, the gospel of Christ saturating everything. We have dreamed that our family might reflect the family of the redeemed.
Through a variety of providential circumstances, we decided to pursue two or three children from Rwanda. The Lord had already begun to provide through a surprise monetary gift collected by some dear friends a few months before. This gift taught us in the most poignant way that God is not only the divine benefactor who blesses the good pursuits of his children but also the ultimate Father who gives us the desires for those good pursuits. I used to think that I had the heart for orphans and God graciously provided for an endeavor that he smiled upon. Now I see that God has the ultimate heart for orphans and that he gives his children both the heart and the resources to express his fatherly care. When it comes to orphan care and adoption, God is infinitely more than an underwriter.
Our Uganda adoption was extremely public, and pregnant with anticipation. To some extent, four years later, Judah remains a celebrity. It was our first adoption, and filled with the rhythm of delight and disappointment. I blogged extensively through the journey, sharing both the details of the process as well as our reflections along the way. We were living and ministering in a Christian college dorm of eighty guys who were eager to be uncles; enveloped by a campus community made up of the closest friends we’ve ever had; and part of a local church family whose collective heart became entwined with ours through the agonizing process. The curiosity was consistent, the support was palpable, and the prayers streamed toward heaven.
Fast-forward to April 2011 and we’ve moved from L.A. to Louisville, from one Christian college ministry to another, from church stability to church searching, from an apartment into a home, from master’s degrees to a Ph.D. program, and from our twenties into our thirties. Life has changed significantly for us, and the last eight months have been a season of uprooting, transporting, replanting, and driving down roots once again. The California-to-Kentucky transition naturally led to some pauses, delays, and changes in our journey toward Rwanda.
But here we are again, nearing the end of a second process which is similar on its face but radically different in every other way. One of our subtle challenges in this second adoption has been the temptation to hold hope at arm’s length. We went through our Uganda adoption fixed on every deadline and moved by every update. We wanted to report and share everything that happened, because everything was significant to us. But the missed deadlines, the deflating postponements, the constant surprises, and the relentless uncertainty graciously forced us to angle our hope ever more vertical.
This re-orientation of our hope was a great gift. The lessons of those nineteen pregnant months are engraved in our souls. But we have discovered another danger as we have walked the long road toward these precious Rwandan orphans. We don’t mark our calendars the same way. We don’t eagerly anticipate every small update. We are wary of raising our hopes because we know how the fall can feel. We don’t respond with the same kind of godly wonder or psalm-like despair when we hit the ups and downs of providence. And our approach has been much more private and more measured, for a variety of reasons. In many ways, the edges have been dulled, even though our hearts are still very engaged in the process. That dulling is a gift in many ways, but a danger in many others.
Practically, we’ve found that because we’ve moved and because we’ve flown under the radar, very few of our friends and family have been able to follow along with us closely, so that very few even know how to pray for and encourage us. And let’s face it: Life doesn’t and shouldn’t revolve around any one of us and our pursuits, no matter how significant.
But we still say all of that to say this: We want you to know, we want you to ask, we want you to pray, and we want you, very simply, to be with us.
We have just been catapulted forward in this second adoption, and the last twenty-six months’ worth of decisions and paperwork and fingerprints and interviews and mailings and payments and prayers are quickly funneling into a second and even bigger trip to East Africa.
Two days ago we received word that we have been matched up with children, but we don’t know the number, their names, their ages, their genders, their health, or any tidbits of their stories (we have been approved for three children of either gender, ages four and under). Once this match (made by the orphanage) is approved by the Rwandan government, they will notify us and we will be cleared to travel. We’ve been told that this could happen within one or two weeks. We had anticipated flying in July or August based on some loose predictions, so this news came as a big surprise, especially since we had been planning on fundraising or applying for no-interest adoption loans during the next three months.
We would invite you to join us in prayer before the Father’s throne “so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:11). If it helps you to keep it simple, let me put it another way: We need prayer.
- Pray that God would supernaturally support and guide Cindi as she goes from mom of one to mom of possibly four.
- Pray that I would wisely and sacrificially re-prioritize my responsibilities and recalibrate my heart to serve, nourish, and lead our family in very new ways.
- Pray that our hearts would be content and happy with the children God gives us whatever their ages, genders, health, or histories (even if we don’t get three).
- Pray that God would provide the $15,000 we need in the next several weeks and that our hearts would jump with gratitude and joy as he fulfills his promises to care for the fatherless.
- Pray that God would prepare Judah to adjust to the radical changes in our family and to stay excited about “the brothers and sisters” when the challenges come.
- Pray that God would care for our children in their final weeks at the orphanage.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. We’re not deserving of the care and concern we receive from our heavenly Father each day, and we’re not even deserving of the care and concern of those we call friends. All the love and support we receive is a gift of grace. “Gift of grace” might be repetitive, but we receive it so repetitively that it only makes sense. So thank you for jumping in with us.
For more news on our adoption along with fundraising information, visit Brothers ‘n’ Sisters, a new site birthed out of our nightly bedside prayers with Judah.