A very good friend of our family – Allen, the pastor who leads my parent’s church – spent a week in Haiti last July. He has visited Haiti many times in his life, but he was there this time as a part of a pastoral training/teaching team, helping local ministers and church leaders.
More than anyone one I know, Allen is the type of person who walks his talk. Whether it’s giving generously, offering wise counsel, or raising his children, this is a man I really admire.
During a break from his training, he set out one evening to explore Montrouis, a small city about 90 miles north of Port-au-Prince. He was walking through the streets, praying and sharing the good message of Christ, when he stumbled upon some Americans in a fenced courtyard.
After introducing himself he was surprised to learn that the Americans were part of a crèche, Haiti’s version of an orphanage/adoption agency. They welcomed him in and began to tell him about their mission and the hope they had for the children to find Christian homes in the United States. As he was walking, he says he “tangibly felt God leading him through the halls” and the profound sense that God was saying to him:
“These Children are PRECIOUS to me.”
He told me that he had never been more aware of the Holy Spirit’s leading than in that moment (which is saying A LOT).
As you might imagine, he returned to New York incredibly excited about what he had seen and heard from God. He shared his pictures with his church and encouraged his entire congregation to pray sincerely about adoption. In the book of James it says ‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.’ And since Allen is a man of God he takes those words very seriously!
After his sermon my sister called to fill us in on what Allen shared. Obviously adoption is very close to our hearts and we’ve been pursuing the adoption of our next child for almost two years. We eat, think, and pray adoption all the time! So when she said “maybe you should look into that?” and I laughed. We had already chosen our adoption path… we are fully approved for our domestic infant adoption and we were just “waiting for the phone call” to tell us our child was born. We had thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours invested in our domestic adoption. It wasn’t the time to change our minds.
Out of respect and a little curiosity, I sent a brief email to the director of the crèche asking about the work she was doing and explaining our situation. She replied and kindly outlined the long and intense process involved with international adoptions, the significant hurdles and expenses that it would entail, and the incompatibility of our domestic approval with the Haitian process (all of the things that made me very grateful that we had decided to pursue a domestic adoption instead!).
And so, with the click of an email and the satisfaction of a plan well made, I politely put it behind me. We chose our path, we just have to wait, we could get a call tomorrow… Just be patient.
The funny thing was though, Nature Boy couldn’t seem to get Haiti out of his mind…
He kept asking me questions about how the international process worked. He wanted to re-read the emails and look at the information again. He just couldn’t seem to shake it off.
I reminded (sometimes more nicely than others) that we had “chosen our path” for domestic adoption and that we couldn’t change course to go international. I reminded him about how much money we had invested already and that we couldn’t get a refund. And I reminded him that international adoptions are HARD and SCARY and COMPLICATED. We just need to be patient for a little while longer.
And that’s where we were… Nature Boy wondering if we might be able to adopt from Haiti and me redirecting him back to the clear path we had chosen. A few days would go by, and then he’d ask “can I see that Facebook page again?” Jeesh!
About three weeks later, as my extended family was on vacation together, I received a new email from the Creche Director saying that she was very interested in speaking with me. Apparently there was a little girl who was due to be born this fall and her birth-mama had decided to place her for adoption.
Despite the fact that newborn children are often the simplest adoptions to place, there didn’t seem to be an obvious family ready for her. Several families seemed to be available and then for one reason or another weren’t able to follow through. She had been praying about it, and despite the fact that it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense, she kept thinking about us.
And so, she wondered, would we pray about whether we were supposed to adopt this little girl?
And in that moment, my world turned upside down…