I apologize for my lack of updates and posting...
I feel like Proverbs 13:12 sums it up pretty well.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy."
I returned to Africa in November, being hopeful that we would be able to all come home together, but also feeling like I was supposed to be ready to leave the girls again. Leaving our eight kids here at home was a thousand times more difficult than last time. There were so many tears and so much anxiety. Understandably so. The last time I left them we told them it would be a few weeks or less until we came home, and it was two months!
The night before I left I laid with our eleven year old and eight year old daughters before they went to sleep. They were literally begging me not to go. My heart was breaking, I felt strongly I was supposed to go to be with our daughters. When they asked me if I would be home for Christmas, I knew it was very important to them, so I gave them all my word I would return before Christmas.
Throughout my month in Kinshasa, very little happened to move our case along. The man who could sign our letter was out of the country most of my stay, which meant that there were no meetings to be had. I booked my tickets to return home Saturday, December 14...but then, you guessed it, just before I was to leave, I got a message that the man had returned and that he would meet with our rep on Tuesday! I spoke with Brian and quickly changed my ticket. I truly felt like this was "the meeting". I had not been truly hopeful up until that moment.
Brian had a very positive meeting with the DRC's Ambassador to the United States earlier that same week. He left feeling positive and encouraged. No, there were not any promises made, but she gave Brian her word that she would be in touch with our contact and would do what she could to help. "A good-hearted woman" is how Brian summed up his time with the Ambassador.
"The meeting" I was waiting in the DRC for was moved to Wednesday and it did take place. At the meeting the man asked our rep to come back after Christmas--which is where the Proverb comes in. I had such a high hopes that the girls would return home with me, and not only was my heart sick, but so was my body. In fact, it is likely I had gotten strep throat from the girls early in the month I was there, so I had been packing it around for at least three weeks. I was VERY sick when I got home and even landed myself in the Emergency Room when the strep got so bad it felt like I couldn't breathe early one morning. I'm better now, thankfully...I'd like not to get that sick for a very long time!
When I got home it was time to scramble around and get everything ready for Christmas. We had several (5) Christmas Eve Worship Experiences where our kids sing in the choir, so I did plenty of running kids. :) All in all, it has been a wonderful few weeks being with our kids and my husband. Without school, the kids and I have had a lot of snuggling time. I finally feel rested and well.
And, in the meantime, God has been laying some things on my heart, that I feel strongly I need to share.
Though this process has been very difficult for us to understand and absolutely the most gut wrenching thing we have ever walked through as a family, we want to be clear: we believe that the officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo truly do have the best interests of the children of their country at heart. Because we don't have a clear picture of all the pressures they are facing, it is easy for us to say "just sign the papers and let our girls go". However, that is just not fair. We don't know what they are facing. The truth is, this process has taught us so much. YES, YES, YES, YES we want our daughters to be home with us, we wanted that months ago. However, our daughters are no more deserving of coming home than the hundreds of other kids waiting to go home to their families, nor are we more deserving of parenting them than the hundreds of other incredible parents we have been blessed to meet throughout this process.
The reason that they have shut adoptions down is because some people (likely only a few) have not been following the adoption laws that the country has in place. I even heard about some families who, more than likely, got their children home outside of the steps outlined by the DRC, which caused me to be bitter and angry because if that is true, those families could be causing further difficulty for the many families who are waiting to leave.
However, in more recent days, I have really been convicted that it is not my responsibility to "police" how anyone chooses to get their children home, and because I wasn't there, I don't know whether their means of exiting was "legal" or not. What I believe my anger and frustration is communicating is that I do not trust fully that Jesus will bring our daughters home in HIS perfect time, despite what others do or do not do. He has not placed me in authority over any other family and the steps they take to get their children home. Instead, He has asked me to do what is right and honoring before Him. I/We are responsible for how WE behave. We are responsible for our actions. Yes, I believe that we as adoptive parents should speak out, advising those who are just starting their adoptions about steps we can each take to ensure OUR adoptions are ethical, but I do not believe Jesus is asking us to condemn those who choose not to follow the law. I would be lying if I told you that we had gotten our process perfect. What I do know is that we have learned a lot. By the grace of God, I do not believe we have done anything immoral or unethical, which is what Jesus is asking of us.
The other thing I am learning is that lots of times, we as Americans have a view, and dare I say arrogance, that our country knows how other countries should be be run. This could not be further from the truth. Like I said, it's easy for me to say "What do they care about our girls? They should just sign the papers and let them go!" But the reality is that they have laws and rules and we are asking for them to make an exception to two of their laws, for our family and for our daughters.
At the end of the day, I want ALL orphans to have the opportunity to have a family, not just our four little daughters. I want my life/our lives to be about the interests of others before our own. I want to invest in and be a part of an adoptive community that shows love and support, not hate and judgment. And what's true is that sometimes, all of that means heartache and sacrifice for our entire family. I know with all my heart that my loving Father is in the business of redemption and that is exactly what I am asking of Him. That He would use all this heartache for His glory and etch into us a heart that is more like His and brings Him immense glory!