Last year on this very day I found myself trying to have hope in a very hopeless situation. We had received word from our agency that Tia and Garrett were not adoptable but we knew that these were indeed the children that God had called for us to parent. After a few days of praying David and I very clearly felt that God was asking us to go to Ethiopia and be a voice for our children who had no voice. This was a very difficult task for us to both feel the need to go because we had always agreed that we would travel to Ethiopia one at a time while our children are still young. I knew deep in my heart that God was saying go yet I was wrestling with leaving Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay here for a week and a half without either of us here.
We told our agency of our plans to go only a few short days prior to our departure and they thought that we were going to be in Ethiopia on a mission trip- They just didn't realize that our mission was to get our precious kids home! Thankfully we listened when God said go and here is the journey from my journal in November of last year (broken into many blogs due to length):
Tonight I find myself in Langano, Ethiopia a place that has forever transformed my life yet tonight my emotions are overwhelming and I am not sure I can even put onto paper my thoughts. David continues to urge me to write each day but until now I have simply been overwhelmed and unable to write. So here we go......
Leaving for this trip was very hard for me- Lindsay and Jacob were weeping uncontrollably Sunday night at bedtime and it made me want to stay at home and not come on this trip. I even said to David late Sunday night that I wasn't sure I could leave and I told him that I might need to stay behind at home with the kids. He reminded me that we both felt God saying for us to both go and so I quietly argued with God about what He was asking us to do as I tried to go to sleep.
We arrived at the Charlotte airport very early Monday morning and had long flights as usual but it was nice to have David with me for once. Mike Rogers and David Haywood traveled here with us to do some survey work in Langano and so once we arrived it took five hours to get their equipment through customs. The entire five hours I was so excited to be so close to our twins yet my heart was so heavy due to the reason that we were here. So many unknowns, questions and doubts swirled through my mind. I had hoped to visit with Tia and Garrett as soon as we arrived but since it took so long in customs I had come to the reality that we wouldn't get to see them until the next day.
Mike Rogers good friend Nicco was at the airport upon our arrival and David and I were both struck by what a kind and giving man he was from the moment we met him. We headed out of the airport and piled into Nicco's car. Nicco took Mike to get a drivers permit for while he was in country and when they arrived back at the car Nicco started asking us about Tia and Garrett. He then said, "Let's go now and visit with them." As he spoke those words my heart literally almost stopped.
As Nicco drove we explained more about our situation to him and he shared with us that he was willing to help us in any way that was needed. He made a phone call to the lady in charge of our agency in Addis and she said that we could come to meet her at the Hope office. She gave Nicco directions and we quickly drove to meet with her. We were not sure what she was going to say to us or if she would even allow us to visit with the kids. Knowing that a few children have gone "missing" from the agency made me worried that since our children were unadoptable that they may have moved them to another orphanage where we couldn't visit them.
We arrived at the compound and I took a long, deep breath as I entered into the Hope office. The office was a small building with two desks- Rahel, the lady in charge was seated at one and another lady sat behind the other desk. There were also several young men sitting around the office. My body was literally shaking as I reached out my hand to greet each of them. I knew that in the next few moments we would find out so many details of our case. I quietly prayed that God would be our strength and allow us to handle whatever was ahead in this battle.
I ask if Tia and Garrett were at this orphanage and Rahel quickly said no. She then explained in a language that I didn't understand that they were at the other children's home. My heart sank as she said no prior to Nicco translating that we could go see them but that they were at the other orphanage. Sheer relief knowing that we were going to get to hold them in our arms because prior to that moment we were not guaranteed to see them at all on this trip.
Nicco continued his dialog with Rahel and soon everyone in the room had joined in the discussion- Everyone except us because we had no idea what they were saying. I knew that they were either excited or angry because the volume kept going up but I was unsure if what they were saying was good or bad. I finally broke in and ask Nicco what was happening. As he looked at me he smiled and said that Rahel had given him permission to look for Tia and Garrett's birth family if he was willing to do so.
The fact that Rahel had given Nicco the go ahead to help locate their birth family was a miracle because we were told from the owner of Hope that we could not hire a finder or be involved at any level in the process of locating their birth family. We knew from speaking to other adoption agencies that hiring a finder is very legal and done often yet with our agency we were told no. Par for the course when it comes to dealing with our agency.
Nicco also explained after looking at Tia and Garrett's file that they were in fact from an island in the middle of Lake Zway. He was also told that no one had tried locating the birth family due to the remoteness of the island. I was furious because we had been told that for months Tia and Garrett's birth family had been searched for when they had not even tried once to locate them. When Nicco looked in the file folder their birth mom's name and the name of the island were written in the file that looked as if it had not been opened in over a year. Yes, I was angry but down deep in my soul was a deep joy and hope that we could locate their birth family and be able to move forward in bringing our twins home.
We climbed back into Nicco's car and he started to explain to us that he had friends who were in the Zway area and that his brother was doing some work out on one of the islands. He quickly started making some phone calls as he drove us towards our precious children. Phone calls that would forever change the life of our family-