This morning I found myself in church thinking about my next blog post. The priest was speaking about giving alms and it being more than the sharing of your money, but also being about sharing your talents and time. He mentioned the parish’s food pantry and nearby medical clinic providing services free of charge as examples. He challenged everyone to love their neighbor. Now I know I am FAR from perfect and fail God daily with my sin, but when sitting in church with Odette next to me I can’t help but think of the homily being a missed opportunity to remind us all that the Gospel calls us to care for the fatherless. It was then that I began to think about the plight of orphans on my heart. We’ve got Odette home, but that doesn’t seem like enough.
As you know, we are waiting on the results of a third party investigation for A before preceding with our i600 immigration request. Friday we received an email that made things look incredibly grim. I read it and said, “I knew it.” I had become extremely pessimistic about the prospect of him coming home and the email seemed to confirm my doubts. It hurt to read and Jeff and I were devastated. We turned to scripture and renewed our desires that we want God’s will to be done even if that means A isn’t a part of our family. We laid awake Friday night talking about accepting that maybe our role in A’s life was to love him from afar, pray for him daily, and to support him in the orphanage. Yes, we talked about not understanding God’s plan, but always trusting that He is ultimately in control. We discussed how difficult it is to not know how to proceed. Do we go to the ends of the earth to fight to bring A home (even talking about moving to DRC for some time if that’s what it took)? Or do we accept that that isn’t God’s will? How will we know? Together we concluded that we would pray for clarity in our decision making. We are willing to be in for the LONG haul if we are supposed to be.
Saturday we were on the campus of Notre Dame for the football game, and with the great Catholic foundation of the university they have a beautiful grotto where people often gather to pray. Jeff and I have gone to football games for years but have always spent our pregame time visiting with friends, shopping at the bookstore, and tailgating. Yesterday we decided that we should go to the grotto to light candles and pray. We lit a candle for my grandma and for our kids. I stood before the candle and prayed for Odette’s happiness, health, and that we may be able to always give her the love she needs. I prayed for our little baby girl. I prayed she may grow and develop to be born a happy healthy little girl who will bring us great joy. Then I prayed for A. I prayed that he may feel our love and God’s love. I prayed that His will be done. I prayed for peace in our hearts to accept God’s will. And being a little selfish, I prayed that we may know sooner rather than later what God’s will is.
I am a realist. I was pretty convinced that A wouldn’t come home. I even mentioned to my mom last night that we can’t live our lives speculating that A may come home. We have to live in the moment and make plans for what we do know. We’ve spent a long 10 months imagining A in our family and making many decisions based on that idea, but as the case unfolds it looks less likely. We need to begin to think about crossing the bridge when we arrive there instead of letting it dictate our lives.
When in church today, I felt God’s call to care for the fatherless loud and clear. I thought back to conversations Jeff and I have had recently. If A doesn’t come home maybe we will adopt again. But maybe we won’t. Maybe we will be forever scarred by the process and decide adopting again isn’t for our family. Maybe we will dust ourselves off and give it another shot. But today I heard God say that He never promised it would be easy. I heard Him say that we aren’t finished.
I walked out of church, climbed into the car, and did, what sadly I always do, (need to work on my idols..) I picked up my phone and checked my email. Imagine my sheer and utter shock to have an email from Congo with news that our investigation is complete, had favorable outcome, and additional paperwork has already been secured!! I shouted and forcefully high-fived Jeff in beat GOD IS SO FRUITFUL! It might have been intense enough that poor Odette got scared and cried a bit at my reaction. (To my credit she had a very long day and late night yesterday and was a bit grumpy and sensitive). I quickly explained that I was just super exited to get good papers for A.
We couldn’t believe it! But, as quickly as the joy came so came the guilt. I felt unworthy of this drastic turn of events. I don’t deserve God to once again show His sovereignty and greatness. I doubted too much to receive this incredible gift. But then I remembered that I was faithfully trusting of Him. I didn’t doubt God’s plan, I doubted that A would come home. I steadfastly prayed that God’s will would be done. Praise the Lord that it is looking more like this is for A to be in our family!
Let me add, I don’t think that we have a punishing or rewarding God. We don’t earn His grace. Jesus died for us. It is who He is.
If Christ Jesus is not a part of your life, I pray that you may open your heart to Him. There is simply no way I could have made it this far without Him. No matter who you are, where you’re from, or what sin you have, God is waiting with open arms to love you.