As you can imagine this has been a week of disappointment, doubts, questions, bouts of high hopes, weeping, and praying for us as a family. We have come to a decision to "go forward" and keep pursuing N and A. When God told Moses and the Israelites to go forward, there was nothing in front of them but the Red Sea! We don't know that the outcome will be like that of the Israelites when God parted the waters and made a way out for them. But we do believe with all of our hearts that He can and will make a way if that is what is best for N and A and for us. We have been asking God what He wants to do regarding these two children because we know that no matter what we may think seems best to us, His ways may sometimes be different and as always, His ways are higher and better! Nonetheless, after praying and waiting we don't feel any interest in considering other children yet.
I love my husband! Immediately after the phone call (that he stayed so composed through while I sat silently in disbelief with tears dropping to my shirt) Chuck had the following thoughts. Just because something is difficult, looks impossible, is time-consuming or inconvenient doesn't mean we should choose the easiest route. There has been such a stronghold of evil over this region where over 5 million people have died in the past decade and we are going to just say, it's difficult so we should give up?! Some things (and lives) are worth fighting for. Maybe there needs to be someone to "blaze the trail" and try to open up a pathway for many other children to make it out of Goma and into a family.
I loved his train of thought because my heart was of course attached to these children. We have been praying for them by name several times a day for months now. We have their pictures blown up big side by side on our refrigerator. They already feel like part of our family. Then I had to allow my dreams of having them soon and young to crumple away as I have been praying and praying that they would make it in time to adjust a little before beginning Kindergarten and pre-school! Looks like they could be older yet and we might miss even more of their childhood in waiting. Or... it may not happen. It is a "risky adoption" kind of like a high risk pregnancy. There are many unknowns and no child has yet been successfully adopted out of Goma that we know of. I think there have been a few adoptions out of the Congo altogether. (If you are reading for the first time, you may want to read our post on "How did we choose the Congo?")
Many of you may be wondering how it happened that we were matched with "unreachable" children. I want to affirm that we have a SUPER agency who is in a pilot program with Congo. They were very upfront that there will be many unknowns as they chart new territory. We don't fault them at all. We think we may see God's perfect timing in letting us get in at the beginning while they were still even considering Goma. Remember while we were in Uganda and pursuing Ugandan adoption God seared the word "Zaire" into my heart and mind and the very next day our agency opened up a program in the Congo?! I don't think this was coincidence. Had we started the process now, we would have missed these kids because Lifeline is now focusing only on the much safer and sure city of Kinshasa.
Potential contacts that have developed in a matter of days that give us hope that God might be making a way to adopt N and A from Goma:
- A dear student at Princeton whom Chuck has been mentoring weekly for 3 years now is named Moses and is from one of Congo's bordering countries, Rwanda. When Chuck told him the news, he phoned his mother right away. They now live in the US but still have family in Kigali, Rwanda. She gave us contacts of family members in Rwanda who know people in Goma and the surrounding region. These contacts in Goma and Rwanda have already expressed eagerness in helping us in whatever way they can. It's not clear whether these contacts will actually assist us in this adoption, nonetheless, this was promising news within just a couple of days after our disappointing call.
- Another dear friend, Matthew Pearson, just took a new job working for Living Water International and will be traveling into Uganda and other nearby countries often. If paperwork needs to be transported (there is no courier system in the Congo) he may be able to help somehow in that process. Also, he will have many trustworthy contacts through his work.
- Our agency called today and had just talked with our attorney in Kinshasa this morning. They seemed much more hopeful that it could happen but it could still take a long time. Next step for prayer. Someone from the orphanage must travel (where travel is difficult) about 30 miles to the kids' hometown of Masisi to gather appropriate information and documentation that they are in fact orphans. They know the story but it must be documented in proper legal format. He has to learn from Armand, Lifeline's attorney in Kinshasa, how to do that.