One family's journey to hear God's calling, overcome our fears, and be obedient to Him!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Life After Spiritual Defibrillation

In the spring of 2000, the year Jesula was born into poverty, I signed up for a mission trip to Haiti with the church I attended at the time. I had no idea why I signed up, I just did. I had never been interested in international mission work. I was the prototypical Americanized Christian. More about me and my family, accumulating material treasures, with a dash of church and God added in for flavor. As it turned out, the trip fell through. I don't remember being disappointed. God knew I wasn't ready.

Fast forward 10 years to 2010. Through God's mercy I had experienced significant spiritual growth. I was certainly not perfect, but on the right track and picking up steam. The blinders were off. The material things had been exposed for what they are, distractions. I was eagerly searching for God's will in my life. God knew I was ready, even though I didn't know what He had planned.

In the spring of 2010, for the second time in my life, I signed up for a mission trip to Haiti late that summer. Just like the first time, I didn't really plan to sign up, I just did. I seldom watched the news about Haiti following the earthquake. I was heavily involved in local ministries at the time and was even planning to start a new ministry project locally. But, I developed a curiosity with Haiti that I couldn't quite put my finger on. So, I signed up to go without knowing why, not knowing what to expect, having no real purpose in mind. I just had this strange feeling deep inside that I was supposed to go to Haiti.

Leading up to the trip several people asked me, "why are you going to Haiti?" I responded, "I don't really know. I hope I'll find out". A few people asked me, "are you going to adopt?" I quickly responded with a heart-felt, "no, never, I assure you that is not for me". My wife and I had talked on more than one occasion about the fact our kids would soon be out of the house. The month before my trip to Haiti we vacationed in Hilton Head Island, SC. We have vacationed there for many years. We talked about retiring there one day. We even looked at property while we were there. Adopting was not even on our radar, it was for other people. Clear!

Then God hit me with His spiritual defibrillator. On August 20, 2010, I stepped off the plane in Port au Prince. I rode through the streets. Block after block, mile after mile, I witnessed the poverty. I saw the devastation. I smelled it. I met the people. I looked into empty eyes. I sensed the hopelessness. I was surrounded by hundreds of children at a school and church that meets under a tarp in the midst of a slum. They touched my arms believing they might be blessed. I served in a medical clinic treating hundreds of people that waited in line for hours for our help. I felt their suffering. They hurt for months and years with infections we cure with 2 pills a day for 7 days. They have no access to basic medical care and medicines. I was broken by the sight of people living in isolation and starving in mountain villages. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of embarrassment for how I live.

One year ago this very day, August 26, 2010, I walked onto the porch of an orphanage high in the mountains of Haiti and for the first time laid my eyes on beautiful little Jesula. I still vividly remember my first glimpse of her like it was yesterday. She was sitting alone in thought, watching the other girls play. I wondered what she might be thinking. I wondered what the experiences of her life might reveal. I wondered what her future might hold. Then I walked over and met her!


The more I have learned over the last year about Jesula's past, the more honored I am that God has entrusted me with her future. I know that God planned for Jesula to be my daughter long before I was ready.

This last year has been very long and hard. It seems like we are watching Jesula and Redjina grow up through cherished photographs that other travelers take between our trips every few months to visit them. They have both grown so much in the last year. They are both growing into beautiful young ladies. And with new found hope their personalities are blooming like wild flowers.

Over the past year, I've had plenty of time to think about just how radically our life has changed since that day, a year ago. While our arms are still empty, I can honestly say that our desire and love for our precious girls has intensified a thousand times over. I pray now with a new intensity and focus that our arms will soon be filled. And I remind God every day that I am ready!

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15-16

Friday, August 12, 2011

Adoption Update ~ Prayer Request

It has been 11 months since we started the adoption process on September 1, 2010. When we started we were told the average length of time for adoption in Haiti was 18 months, but that 10-12 months was possible.

There have been unfortunate delays along this journey. The minor delays with translation and legalization of our dossier last fall seem forever ago. In Haiti, unexpected delays are routine. Hurricane Tomas shut Haiti's government down for a couple of weeks last November. The Haiti Presidential Election brought Haiti's government, which at best operates in low gear, to a complete halt for the first several months of 2011. Haiti's government has recently blocked new President Micky Martelly's first and second choices for Prime Minister. It may be months before President Martelly has his cabinet in place. To my knowledge, President Martelly, who has been in office since May, has yet to sign a “Presidential Dispensation”. Dispensation is one of the crucial steps of adoption approval.

Our adoption file is in IBESR. Our file entered IBESR around June 5, 2011. Getting through IBESR is a big step. When our file went to IBESR we were told their process would take 2-10 months. Yes, 2-10 months. What kind of crazy range is that? Anyway, once we come out of IBESR, and have received Presidential Dispensation, we will somewhat be able to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

It has been almost a year, and we still have no idea when our girls might come home. I can tell you that all of this "not knowing" is really tough. Tougher than anyone could possibly imagine!


I ask for your prayers. Pray that IBESR will finish with our file today. Pray that Haiti's President, Mickey Martelly will sign our Dispensation today. Pray that we don’t experience any more delays with the adoption process, and that our girls come home in a blink. Pray that our girls come home so fast that only God can get the Glory!

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11