February 2012 – Nathan led a second mission trip to Haiti. This time it was solely through Alex’s House. (If you are looking for mission trip opportunities click here!) On the last day, the group was driving to the airport but took a quick detour to see the mass grave from the earthquake. Seeing two young boys who looked hungry and ragged, they stopped and offered the snacks and water they had stashed in their luggage.
|Renel and Remy and an adult brother.
Story told, the boys were orphans. Their parents had died in the earthquake. The very ground they were standing on was likely their parents grave. Nathan was grieved and broken all over again. The group drove away, but sensing that the Holy Spirit was prompting, they made a u turn. Bill and Patrick (directors at Alex’s House) got information about who the boys were staying with and where. A few weeks later, Renel and his brother moved into the safety and security of Alex’s House! (Read the full heart moving, tear jerking account via Alex’s House.)
As Nathan came home and shared the story we both felt an incredible connection to those boys. We became Renel’s sponsor through Alex’s House. We sent money monthly and presents at Christmas. We received letters and pictures and returned the same. And we hoarded secret dreams of bringing them into our home. (Read about the day I fed Renel Spaghetti AT MY DINNER TABLE, YA’LL!)
|One of our last Sundays at FBC Fort Sumner.
September 2012 – We packed, and cried, and said goodbye to the dearest place west of the Mississippi. After two days of driving across five states and three time zones, we pulled up to the house we had chosen with our (current and future) children in mind. We dove into “settling in”. Knowing we needed to give our family some time to adjust to the move, we decided to put adoption on the back burner for six months. During that time, we still talked about adoption, but didn’t do anything to move forward.
March(ish) 2013 – Time to put this adoption dream into gear! I began to research, again. Agencies this time. I talked to friends who had adopted and combed the websites of the agencies I liked most. As I did, one aspect of adoption came into clearer focus: the COST. Before this point in the process I had seen the numbers, but not being a “numbers person” the figures had made absolutely no dent in my thinking. As Nate and I began to discuss how to fund this thing, we both defaulted to our normal responses.
Nathan worried. Calculated. And worried some more. I simply ignored the reality of our finances and declared that “God would provide”. I knew amazing stories of how God miraculously delivered the funds for other adoptions. If he was leading us to adopt, he would give us what we needed to adopt. I wanted to proceed with the process despite the fact that we had a minuscule amount saved. Nathan did not. He felt strongly that we needed to have a safety net in savings before we set out into the unknown. We both worked harder to cut corners and save more. I secretly prayed God would help Nathan see the light and step out in faith (prideful much?). We kept saving. Continued talking. Prayed hard. Had some tense conversations. And by the time summer arrived….we were still broke.
And still longing for our Haitian child.
August 2013 – We were on the way to Hartford to visit family for the weekend. The kids had fallen asleep and Nathan and I were lost in our own thoughts with the radio droning on in the background. A commercial(?) of sorts came on in between music sets. A female voice advocating for children in the Alabama foster care system. She stated the number of children in the state who were currently adoptable. 261. I darted my eyes over at Nathan without turning my head. Is he hearing this? I wondered. A few minutes later he asked, “Did you hear that?”
We were both flabbergasted. We had no idea there were so many children in our state waiting to be adopted. Looking back, I guess I assumed that most of the children removed from their homes were stuck in some kind of foster care purgatory. 261 waiting to be adopted?!?
We talked about it that night. The need. How we could meet it. But I kept going back to the desire to adopt FROM HAITI. I had been dreaming of a black child for two years. Nathan, though, was really interested in this new development. I didn’t have much time to think about it over the weekend as we were at a reunion of sorts with my family(read: doing manual labor at “The Mawmaw’s” with all the cousins). Twice during that weekend I walked in on Nathan grilling my aunt and my cousin (who both work for DHR) about details on domestic foster care and adoption. He is nothing if not thorough.
By the time we returned home Saturday, he was sold. Already looking at mini vans and planning how to rearrange the kids’ rooms to accommodate more beds. I told him several times that I simply was not ready to switch from a Haitian adoption to domestic. He didn’t push. He never does. He simply asked if he could request more information from DHR. I figured I would give him that much. What difference would it make?
A week later the information packet arrived in the mail. Complete with an application attached. He looked at it all. So did I. I felt deep emotions over those kids, I really did. But I still saw a Haitian darling when I closed my eyes at night. So after a few days, the packet got moved to “the stack”. (You know. The stack of junk on top of the fridge or side table that sits and simply collects more stuff to deal with.) We were busy.
Nathan was getting ready for his third visit to Haiti.