On July 17, 2013, I received a text from my sister that would completely alter what our family looked like. She texted to let me know a friend of hers was working with an adoption agency that was trying to a place an almost one-year-old boy who had Down Syndrome.
My heart skipped a beat and my mind started racing.
From the time I was a teenage girl, God had given me a special love for people and kids with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome. While in high school, I surrendered my life to full-time service for God however He chose to use me. One calling on my life was to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. It was different than just wanting too. I began telling people as a high school student that one day I was going to be a mother to a child with Down Syndrome. People would nod as if to say, “That’s neat”, but not truly believing it would come to fruition. God gave me this desire. He provided it deep in my being. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The Lord was the provider of the desire. God provides.
I made a phone call to the agency and explained why I was calling. The agency director answered the phone and told me about a baby boy with Down Syndrome who was almost one. They were trying to find a family to commit to adopt him to keep him from being moved to an institution. “Institution?” I asked. “Where is this baby?” She answered, “Ethiopia.” Minor detail that I failed to think through before I called.
International adoption had never been on my radar. She asked if we had a home study already. Another minor detail…we hadn’t completed (or even started for that matter) a home study. Oh and one more thing…we didn’t have any money either. Kindly, the agency director basically told me there was no possible way to get everything done for us quick enough to keep this boy from going to the institution. I hung up the phone and started preparing to present my case to my husband, Matt, when he came home for lunch.
Matt came home from lunch and he was not expecting what I laid out on the table! I told him about my phone call and about this little boy sleeping on the other side of the world. Of course, he immediately had questions of how, when, where, how much? We prayed and he said, “Make some phone calls and we’ll talk about it more later.” I called the agency and told them we’d like to pray about it through the weekend and we’d call them back on Monday.
I didn’t want to pressure Matt into making a decision. I would say “Yes” in a heartbeat to this little boy, but I wanted him to lead in this decision. I began again surrendering this to God and asking that God would lead my husband in the way we should go. God provided Matt with an answer. With tears in his eyes, Matt tells me on Saturday morning that through the night he couldn’t sleep and began praying. Then he said, “God told me that Endale is our son.” God provides.
That weekend, I also got a phone call from a lady who I’d found locally to do a home study. She tells me that she needs to get the home study done quickly because she is also a teacher and school was about to begin. Our home study was complete in a little more than two-weeks. God provides.
Now was the question of where we were going to come up with $34,000. We had saved up $500 in a drawer hoping to eventually take our kids to Disneyland someday. When it came time to pay for our home study, the lady said she needed half the payment to begin. The total was $1000, so we handed over our $500 having no idea where the rest would come from. Five months into the process, we were fully funded for the adoption through grants, fundraisers and penny pinching in every way possible. God provides.
Fast forward to our time to travel to meet our sweet boy face to face. I have in the past struggled with a fear of flying. For the most part, I felt like I had overcome it, but a twelve-hour flight from the USA to Africa was daunting. I was on my hands and knees begging God to give me His overwhelming peace about flying when I found out that Matt would be staying in Ethiopia and I would be traveling back alone. Perfect peace as only He can give on all my flights. Again, God provides.
I could give you story after story about the way God worked out the timing while Matt was in Ethiopia with Endale. I personally know another mother from our agency that has been in Ethiopia for five-months waiting to come home. Matt came home from Ethiopia two-weeks after our court date. God provides.
Then, God provided plane tickets through long-time friends so that I could meet and join Endale and Matt as soon as they were back in the US. God provides.
It’s easy to see Endale’s viewpoint, God has provided for him a family forever to love him unconditionally. I’m certain each family member in our house would tell you that God has blessed us with unending smiles, a new sense of contentment and renewed joy for everyday life thanks to having Endale in our lives. God provides.
I don’t know what our future will look like after the adoption of our child with Down Syndrome. I know for now it means a lot of doctor’s appointments, therapy several times a week, patience in teaching concepts and learning new things about Down Syndrome every day. I know it means we may have to sacrifice things in the future. I can testify that God has been faithful to our family, Endale included, over and over again. He will provide the tools and insight to nurture our family and our son. He will give us the strength to give our son the best possible care we can for him. He will fill us when we’re empty. He will meet our needs. God provides.
Jehovah Jireh: One of many names of God that means, “The Lord will provide.”
Many thanks to Christy and her family for sharing their story! May you all find something to celebrate during National Adoption Month.
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