Boy Meets Girl
I was interested in adoption from a very early age – blame it on the Cabbage Patch Dolls or Disney movies, but I have been always interested in expanding my family through adoption. Evan was a bit more hesitant. Actually, to be more accurate, Evan was downright against adoption. There were legitimate reasons for his feelings. When we got married, adoption wasn’t on the table for discussion.
In July 2010, God spoke very clearly to me about orphans through Isaiah 1:17 at a retreat in Georgia. At that same retreat, Evan had a conversation with a friend whose family was in the middle of a third adoption. The friend shared his heart about adoption, orphans, and their family’s experience and something began to change in Evan’s heart. When we returned from the retreat, conversations continued about what adoption might mean for our family.
Girl Goes to Africa
Then I went on the trip that changed my world even more. I had the opportunity to go to Rwanda and Ethiopia to visit orphans in the January 2011. In a room of two-year-olds, my heart was shattered for the fatherless. One by one I held each child, praying for them and feeling the weight of the burden for the fatherless. Although the children were well cared for in that orphanage, it was abundantly clear that the children recognized the importance of being loved, hugged, and cared for in a family. When I had the next chance, I emailed Evan about the idea of adopting, not as a “someday” option, but as our first step to expand our family. As God had already been working on Evan’s heart, he was open to the idea of adopting.
Boy and Girl Do A Lot of Praying
When I returned from Africa, we committed to fervently seeking God’s heart for our family in adoption. Fortunately, our church had started 2011 with a fast, which we used to seek God in this matter. After 21 dedicated days of prayer and fasting, we felt like God had confirmed both in His Word and through prayer that this was a path for us. We started research agencies and the process, specifically with an eye to adopt from Ethiopia.
In May 2011, we had raised enough money to move forward with the adoption only to find out that the agency we wanted to work with had decided not to accept new families into their Ethiopia program due to the recent instability in international adoptions there. So, we resumed praying and seeking God. Knowing we felt called to adopt from Africa, we looked at various countries to see what options were available. Then, in August 2011, we found the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Knowing there are an estimated five million orphans, we felt moved to find an agency that was facilitating adoptions in the DRC. We submitted our application on August 26, 2011 and were accepted into the Congo program on August 29.
Boy and Girl Meet Baby Shows
On October 4, 2011, I got a call from our agency about a little infant boy. After they told me about him, I called Evan. “The agency wants to know if we’re ready to be matched with a little boy.” We prayed. We asked some close friends and family to pray with us. Then, they sent us this little one’s photo.
On October 6, we accepted the referral and started going into fundraising overdrive because our timeline just got shorter. Amazingly, God provided every penny. We had approximately $40,000 in adoption expenses. Not one invoice or cost went unpaid.
Girl Goes Back to Africa
In May 2012, “Baby Shows,” whom we had decided to name Ephrem (“fruitful”), was ready to come home. On May 27, I left with our dear friend/family, Robin, to bring him home.
After four flights (and an unexpected stay in Brussels), we arrived in Kinshasa, DRC on May 29. In the airport parking lot, I held our son for the very first time. We started our journey home on June 5, arriving in Orlando on June 6.
They Lived Happily Ever After
We are now in the midst of everyday parenting. We’re dealing with less trauma and more normal toddler stuff every day. And each day, we find ourselves more in love with this little person that God entrusted to our family. And hoping each day that we’re honoring God in His gift to us.