*** edit: this post was taken down during our in-country process for safety and security issues. Therefore the date published shows the date I am republishingYes I know it's long.
Grab a blanket, a snack, or coffee, and see what God did over the course of a few weeks.
Here's how our family went from four to five.
We pray this brings GLORY to His name.* * * I want to be respectful of the previous party involved in this story, so I won't be using names.
However, it is a part of this story of how J came to be a part of our family, I will try to share as vaguely as I can, but wanting to give the full background of what God did, making good of an unfortunate situation.
Remember when......July/August 2014:
Some of you will remember that I traveled solo to Uganda to meet Carver and Macy, I spent my ENTIRE time in Uganda AT the baby home. The staff was gracious enough that because I was there by myself, they graciously welcomed me to sleep, eat, and spend my day there. This means I got to know these women who take care of these children, and of course all of the children there for almost two solid weeks around the clock.
January/February 2015: Beau and I traveled back to Uganda for court for two weeks, again spending lots of time at the baby home. It was another chance to spend time with Carver and Macy, the staff, and other kiddos.August 2014 to August 2015:
For public blog purposes, and to make a long story short, our sweet seven year old had been previously matched with a family for over a year. We were once connected with this family through a mutual friend on social media, and I would send photos of "J"to the family, on several of my trips to UG, and walked through the process together for this year (as our case for C&M was moving at the relatively same pace as "J's" adoption). They ironically lived in the same state as us, and we would often talk about the future when all three of our adopted kiddos would be HOME and just a couple hours from each other, and discussed meeting places for Carver, Macy, and "J" to see one another as they grew up! From Uganda to Iowa- maybe life long friends!
The reason her case is moving so quickly now that she's been matched with us, is that during this year the family was matched with her, she was submitted to, and had several court dates. For reasons I won't be sharing here, the family was unable to attend those court dates, eventually (for unconfirmed reasons to us) no longer moving forward with her adoption. With that being said, her case has been 'grandfathered' into the court system per say, and just needed her new family's paperwork from stateside, to be resubmitted with her case.
When Beau and I found about her being available for adoption again, well......God started to move. :) Here's that story below.
It started when I seemingly, randomly, texted Beau while he was at work with a "You're never going to believe this!" text. Briefly sharing with him what I had just come to find out. Heartbroken, frustrated, and wondering what in the world had happened. Heartbroken for "J", who was old enough to know what was going on- and left waiting again.
And so it begins.......
Thursday, August 20, 2015.After Beau's astonishment after sharing with him what I had come to find out, I texted back and said half joking, yet oddly familiar from a year prior, "Man, I almost want to email "Betty" (name change, but she is the person in contact at the agency this girl had been referred to.)
** Side note: The agency that "J" was referred to, is a different agency than we used. As in, there are two different agencies that are partnered with this baby home. The one we went through for Carver and Macy was in Iowa. And this agency is in a different state. I had known this gal from all the times I would reach out with pictures on children I spent time with on our trips, to pass on to their families matched with those children.)....back to it, I texted Beau saying, "Man, I almost want to email "Betty" and tell her WE'LL TAKE HER!" Beau waited a while and texted me back, "We'll talk about it when I get home!!" (Ironically again, we were on our way to have family (of four) pictures that night, ha!) My mouth fell to the floor by the way. I expected Beau to say, "Uh. No way!? We just came home with two kids!?" And in talking to him after, he said he had a big long text typed up saying "no"/you're crazy ;) - then deleted it and said "lets talk". Ah! Is that not the Spirit working? His immediate flesh response was NO. Jesus intervened. BeauOur night of family pictures continues, my heart and mind, TOTALLY distracted, and semi-nervous to bring it back up to Beau again.Friday, August 21, 2015.Well, after talking together, and with Beau's permission, I eventually reached out, telling Betty that if "J for SOME reason becomes available for adoption again, (not revealing how I knew, but that I did know!) we would be interested if they couldn't find a family for her."
I can't explain WHY Beau and I were united on this. Or WHY we reached out. We were nuts. We weren't looking to add to our family. Certainly not this soon. Certainly never thought of an "older" child - and Beau had dreamed of another boy if we ever did add, so Carver had a wrestling buddy. ;) LOL but no. People, we were DONE. We were smooth sailing. We were 1,000% content with our family of four. We had a flawless transition for the kids when they came home. We have all adoption fees finally paid off from the first go around. Celebrating with a vacation come December, THAT confident we were done-zo. (See last post for all our reasons to say NO!)That Friday morning I reached out, "Betty" responded almost immediately. She was super kind, super professional, thanked us for reaching out, of course we knew she couldn't tell us details if "J" was indeed available, why, or anything. But we at least had thrown it out there.August 22-31, 2015It was left at that. Thinking, well she can get ahold of us. We later found out, that she was on vacation that whole next week. Oh the agony. ;)
So the following week, then Monday, Tuesday went by, and I was going crazy. I mean nuts. Like the kind of nuts that was happening before Carver and Macy entered our hearts in a process that wasn't in our timing. I'm telling you, my mind and heart were steadfastly searching God's word, praying ceaselessly, seeking wisdom and asking friends to pray for God's will. (SUPER COOL to look back in my prayer journal from these days!)I knew something was happening. Praying that He would bring a family to her SOON. Still thinking it wouldn't be us, because, seriously you guys, WHY WOULD IT BE US? This was INSANE. But God wouldn't let it go. I kept telling a few friends, that I could NOT get her off my heart and mind. We shared with Carver that we were praying for a family for "J". He would randomly ask to stop and pray for her. And sometimes, even telling me, "Mom, she can be my sister!?!?"....SO matter of factly, it kinda scared my pants off. We just said we would pray for God to bring her to a family that would love her and love Jesus.Wednesday, September 2, 2015.We still heard nothing. I reached out to a friend and asked her what I should do. Wait to hear from Betty? Or reach out on Wednesday night to just ask and see what had happened to "J"? Had she been matched? She encouraged me to reach out and explain to Betty why we were reaching out, that we were serious still, etc. it couldn't hurt. ;)I think I texted a dozen close friends/family asking for them to pray over the email I sat over, shaking, and praying over. Then I pushed send, knowing it would be waiting for Betty first thing Thursday morning. Thursday went by.Friday, September 4, 2105.Friday, I received an email (now two weeks after our initial inquiry). Betty thanked me for reaching out once again, sharing with me how sweet and amazing it was that we cared so much for J, but that she was in the process of matching her with her *hopeful* forever family. And also, that according to the state the agency was in, weren't allowed to match a child with a family who came home with adopted children within six months.So it was a "no" again. The second time we were shot down. I kept calling out to God asking Him why I kept feeling as if He was saying she would be ours? But hear "no" over and over again? This poor lady at the agency probably thought we were just as nuts as we thought we were! Part of me, although unsettled with hearing no again, would be lying if I told you we weren't the slightest bit "relieved". We seriously could not get over how crazy this situation was. What were we thinking?I continued to ask Him to bring her a family, take her from my heart and mind, and give me peace.A friend encouraged me that sometimes God gives us situations to see if we will obey and say yes. That sometimes He wants our "yes", but doesn't always need or use it in that moment or circumstance. But later on He may. For the same situation or for something different, months or years later. I was at peace with that. I was also still sorely disappointed. Beau was so good to me in those days. I was going nuts. Was this all in my head and heart Lord? My desires or yours? Or WAS THIS YOU? Tell me!Sunday, September 6, 2015.That bummer of a weekend of hearing 'no' again, ended with a timely sermon at church. It was in Ecclesiastes about making our decisions, little and big, in light of the Kingdom. In light of eternity. Instead of in light of "the world", and our average of 80 years or so on this earth. Obeying. Even when it doesn't make sense. Even when it seems crazy. But it makes sense because that's what Jesus is asking of us.We left church, and on the way home I told Beau that although I was bummed to hear "no" again from Betty, it was awesome that "J" was being matched with a family again. Worst case scenario here was that she would be matched with a family that wasn't us? That's a pretty awesome worse case scenario!
I told Beau that I was confident that we gave God our "yes". We obeyed when it didn't make sense, and people would think we would be crazy for reaching out for a third child, a second adoption, all so soon.
I continued to pray that this family being matched with her would be a family of believers and love her soooo much. (Previous family to our knowledge were not believers. I really struggled and wrestled with that for the year of knowing she was matched. I prayed and told God I knew that my own children who would grow up hearing the name of Jesus, still may not choose to follow Jesus. So Lord, I know you can draw her to yourself no matter what family she was in!)Tuesday, September 8, 2105.Monday was Labor Day. And then Tuesday came, and I knew that my friend "L" was returning from her two plus trip to Uganda. (She's the founder of the baby home) I called her to see how the trip went, how the kids and staff/my friends/sisters were, etc. Eventually she said, "Oh Kendra, did you hear that "J's" family didn't come to get her? They're no longer adopting her? That the day before they were to come get her we took J to get her hair styled for court? And then they didn't come? She was heart broken."Ummmmm yes. Yes I did know. But my heart broke hearing that she was left waiting, all "done up", for the fourth time, and now knew she would be waiting still. With no family coming. "L" went on to tell me that she got down in front of J and told her how sorry she was, but that she knew Jesus would prepare and bring a new family that loves her so much, soon. Little did "L" know the turmoil my heart had been in, and that we had contacted Betty twice to be her new family all the while.I filled her in all about our previous two and a half weeks of emails with Betty and prayers over her, and that we had offered for her to come home to us. :)I thought "L" would think we were crazy. That she would gently tell us, it was a nice gesture (which she did) but that we have Carver and Macy, that it was soon, that we were crazy (confirming what we already knew to be true), but she didn't. She told us that she actually needed to call Betty later in the day to fill her in on her trip, and give updates on other children that were matched with that agency. She said that if "J" wasn't matched, she was going to recommend that Betty match J with US.HOLD THE PHONE. WHAT?!Although my hopes were lifted, I reminded "L" that I knew "J" had already been rematched. And that the agency's state didn't allow us to accept a referral because we hadn't been home long enough. She said she would call anyway.Wednesday, September 9, 2015.Wednesday goes by. We hear nothing.Thursday, September 10, 2015.Either my control-freak self, or a prompting from the Lord, called "L" Thursday morning."L" sure enough confirmed what I already knew. "Turns out Kendra, they had already placed J with another family." (My heart sank, still feeling it WAS TO BE US, I literally said under my breath, "ok Lord. Another no. I hear you. I already knew this. But man. It stings still!") she finished with, "but Betty told me it fell through a couple days ago. And she didn't have a family for her yet. So I told her I had a family in mind, the Christiansen's!" (Now my mouth dropped. And heart shot straight back up with hope and shock.) "L" asked about the six month rule, and turns out we totally misunderstood the email stating that. We were home long enough indeed, we had received our ruling and placement long before the time line of not being able to proceed. WHAT?!?And "L" went on to rave about all the reasons we were capable of taking J in, that C&M would be familiar to her, her "siblings" once in Uganda, would be waiting for her when she walked in the door in Iowa, that I had met and stayed at/near the orphanage many times upon my three trips, and even Beau had met her.We finished our convo. Soon after, "L" texted me, "Congrats!"I texted her back and said, "oh "L", don't do that to me. Until I hear it from Betty, I have to guard my heart here!"Her response? "Check your email"Right then, I heard a "bling", with a new email. It was a forwarded email from Betty, confirming with "L" for the go ahead to contact us, to refer "J" officially with us!I lost it. Right there on the floor while changing Macy's diaper. I lost it. In that moment, God literally parted the Red Sea of my mind and allowed me to see a slideshow of the last year, and more specifically the last three weeks of heartache and praying and wondering if this was my desire? Or His? And He in that moment confirmed, "it was Me. I wanted your yes. You weren't crazy. Now Trust and obey."I am forever grateful for how black and white God made it in that moment. I hate gray. And he blessed me with black and white. Grateful that He allowed me to know in certainty that it was Him the whole time. That the constant chorus of "Trust and Obey" hymn that was in my head the last three weeks....was simply preparing us.
Thank you Jesus. Thank you.Oh- did I mention that earlier that morning, Carver randomly told me in the Sam's club cart, "Mom, I'll share my toys with "J" when she comes home!"??????Oh, to have childlike faith.Knowing that we could be getting what's called "the referral call" any minute, I knew I needed to call our social worker and even see if we could be approved for another child, her age? In the middle of my phone call with her, and her telling me she indeed would----I got a random out of state phone number beeping in.This was it.It was "Betty".Long story short, she stated she was extremely happy to be calling us, and hoping we were still interested (after telling us no over and over) in pursuing "J"? I think I was a babbling idiot in that moment- telling her the crazy reasons I basically have been waiting three weeks for this phone call. I told her about praying, and how God wouldn't let her go from our minds and hearts, and Carver's comments, etc. She told me about "L" recommending us, and how we were good to go with the rule of how long you have to be home, etc. (we had previously misunderstood an email about that. COOL!)I told her a big, fat, "YES!" She told me she would immediately send us "J's" file, the requirements for their agency, the fees, the application for their agency, Etc.After getting the email with "J's" file....I wondered what her birthday was. I found the attachment that had it listed....."10 September, 2008".Our sweet girl, Jesus brought her a family,
and us, our now oldest daughter,
on her 7th birthday.
Glory, glory, Hallelujah.