We’ve been back home now for almost a month. I regret that I was unable to keep the blog updated while we were there, but I was at least able to do some quick updates through Facebook on our Blackberry phone. Instead of doing a big summary, I went ahead and updated the timeline on the right side of the page, in hopes that it will help other families coming after us to have a general expectation of how things happen.
This morning I ran across this verse and was flooded with emotion:
Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. Proverbs 25:25
Along our journey in the DR, we received so many notes and emails from friends… many saying how we were such an encouragement to others throughout this process. I am so thankful that we could encourage others from a far country, and I pray that all of your hearts have been touched and burdened for orphans, and that your own faith has been refreshed.
But the reason that verse moved me so much… is because it floods my heart with memories of being a thirsty soul. In the U.S., we were so used to being filled, having fellowship, being a part of the Body. We were thirsty for community. We were experiencing fatigue, persecution, hardship. But God did not intend for us to go through this alone. He sent good news from a far country. This came in many forms through visits from friends and family, through care packages, through encouraging notes and prayers. But one in particular I really want to share because it came at a time when we felt we were at our lowest of lows.
After we received our certificate of no appeal, we really needed the signature of high-ranking officials to be able to start the process of getting home… and day after day, these people we so badly needed to come to work, weren’t coming. We had a deadline with our plane tickets that would be SO expensive to change, and getting 8 tickets on the same plane any other day would be very difficult as there is only one plane in and out per day and the planes fill up quickly. To make matters even more emotionally taxing, we were being financially persecuted b/c of being Americans and were being WAY overcharged in a certain area (I won’t go into details here, but it is a key detail for this story). We had filed a complaint b/c of the overcharge and our complaint was dismissed. I started feeling like a person who had no hope. It was draining. The very day our complaint was dismissed, I got a message from a distant friend, saying he wanted to give us a certain amount of money, which unknowingly to him, just happened to be the exact amount of the bill that was causing us so much grief. I cannot even begin to explain to you how God used this to lift up my head. It was like God wrapping His arms around me and assuring me that He had this. We were in the right place, doing the right thing, and we were going to persevere. This simple act of obedience on one person’s part, God has used to strengthen my faith even now and has become one of those benchmark places in my life that I can point to and say: I know that God knows my name. He has a calling on our lives, and what He has begun in us, he will bring to completion. In this world we will have trouble, but we can take heart, because He has already overcome. In Him, we have hope!
After that experience, we still had many more days to wait for those signatures, but each day that came and went with nothing happening, I was not a person with no hope. I was a person with a purpose. I was able to be available for my kids because I knew that everything was going to happen in the right time, even if that time wasn’t what I wanted or what would be convenient for me. We wanted to leave together as a family on September 5th. That didn’t happen. We decided to go ahead and get our bio kids home with the return tickets we already had, in hopes that we could get on another plane sooner with just needing 4 tickets instead of 8. This turned out to be a better plan anyway as my friend Joy helped me get the bio kids home that day and it was all we could do just to keep up with my youngest in the airport! But even more than that, David was able to share the Gospel with a man at the Embassy that September 5th that, had it worked out our way, David would have been at the airport instead of the Embassy. This man was hostile toward David when he first started talking to him. But as David shared with him, his heart began to soften toward adoption and we pray that God uses that conversation to show that man more of Himself. We also got the opportunity to meet new friends at SCORE that weekend, and spend a little extra time with some missionary friends we had met there at SCORE in Juan Dolio. It was a precious time that we had with just Asher and Lilah and I’m glad that God has better plans than our own.
Now I will leave you with a few pictures!
Kids get their first care package!
A day visiting the Entrekins
Our first date night thanks to the Thomas’
Our first trip to the beach!
Why car seats are important
Asher’s first haircut
Visit from Chris
First tropical storm
FYI: Sidewalk chalk does not come off walls. We had to paint over that!
What it’s really like in the DR…
Where we often went to burn off some energy and eat unhealthy food…
Taylor and Anna Grace’s visit
Getting the hang of swimming
Making hairbows at Lily House
Our view at the condo
Another care package from our friends at Bethel
Remembering the promise
Rebekah’s 7th bday
Time with the Judes
Visit with the Littles
Visit with McAlisters
Going to get passports
Joy came back for us!
Trip back home with Sarah, Rebekah, Micah and Noelle
We made it!
Warm welcome back to school… this one makes me cry every time I see it!
My trip back to the DR!
Sweet time with friends
Ready to go HOME!
We’re all home!
Reunited and it feels so good!
Everyone who showed up to welcome us home!
Thank you to everyone who gave of their time and resources to help us on this adoption journey. You are all truly a blessing to us!