Monday, April 16, 2012

From Liberia, with Love

I am wide awake at 3:45 am, Liberian time.
I have been in country for nearly a month trying to finalize the adoption of our 11th and 12th children, two boys who captured our hearts over a year ago. Our path has lead us to many months of frustration dealing with an incompetent adoption agency out of Indiana, and 3 trips to Monrovia. I was able to connect to a wonderful agency from California, and now the adoption worker is one of my sweetest friends. I can thankfully say now that these tiny boys are now sleeping beside me, beautiful trusting souls who now carry our family name.

I would be the first to tell you, IT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST YEAR OF MY LIFE! It has tried my marriage, my friendships and my family. It has cost far beyond our planned expenses, and I have been through situations I never could have envisioned being in. I have cried, yelled, gained weight, lost weight, experienced physical and mental duress, and nearly given up many times. I have faced officials with highest hopes, only to have them dashed at the last minute. I have learned how strong I can be and how much I hate being without my family. I have learned to Love Liberia and hate it at the very same time. I have resolved to spend the rest of my life caring for two disabled children, knowing in my heart that they will far exceed even my expectations. I have also determined I will do all I can to relieve suffering of the littest orphans in this war torn city, and I will look for ways to minister peace and comfort to the best of my ability to the vulnerable ones here.

I did not start out to be a pioneer, a champion, or a hero. I just wanted to be a mom. I am far from perfect, and my children will tell you how determined I am to follow my heart, but sometimes I fail along the way. I am starting my family on the hardest endeavor we have ever done, but I am also very proud of the way all of them are embracing the change ahead. I have learned things about the older kids that has encouraged me along this difficult path and I have delighted in the youngest of our family that waits our return now with open hearts of love for the brothers they have only known in pictures. I have found out that this "paper pregnacy" is far more difficult than the most difficult pregnancy I have ever had or even known of, but it is now over and I am almost home.

I couldn't have made it even half this far without the support of so many. My oldest children, who have busy lives of their own, have surrounded both Mike and I in the most tangible ways, making us more than proud at how they have all pulled together to support us. The family members who have prayed, babysat, brought meals, and the friends who have done the same and more. Right when we felt our lowest, someone was always there loving us back to reality, that "this too, shall pass."

I am amazed, over and over, how GOD has been my strength, my shield, my father, my hearts desire. I have been lonely for family, but have never felt that GOD had left my side. I was aware of how He had come before me, guided me daily, and gave me peace in some of the most difficult moments in a foreign country. I know He has a fabulous plan for these boys lives, and one day they will bring Glory to Him for the way He will restore their broken bodies and we will be able to experience their spirits soaring !

I am almost home. I can't wait for everyone to meet these beautiful creations of God, who has known them before they even grew in their mothers wombs. I KNOW they had a rough start to life, but they have all the potential to have a bright future.

I would say that International Adoption is not for the faint of heart, but looking at the sleeping and peaceful faces of my beautiful African angels, I would encourage anyone to step out of your comfort zone, and see what God has for you! Maybe it's not the path I took, but there is a path that YOU can take that will make your heart sing and your life at peace because you stepped out and did the extraordnary.

I am still not a hero. I am a small town Mom who followed her heart, and now it is big enough to hold two more special angels. And that makes me one happy momma!
Even all the struggles of the past year can not change the fact that I have been blessed beyond measure and I can not wait to get home!