In a few hours, my wife and I will leave for Dallas, TX. Hannah is headed to spend the night with her good friend, Rebekah Nicewander, before boarding a plane to Ethiopia on Sunday evening at 5:00 PM. Hannah is headed to Addis Ababa to make final preparations for our adoption. I will be leaving for Ethiopia a week from Monday (November 6th). This trip marks the end of a five-year journey to complete our international adoption. We have been matched with a baby girl for two years. The process from start to finish was only supposed to last 18-24 months, but here we are, 60 months later, finally traveling to get our daughter and bring her home. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
To say that we are overwhelmed is a major understatement. We are elated and terrified. In a matter of a few weeks, we will be a family of seven. We have prayed about this almost every night since the beginning of the process. Our children are watching God answer the prayers that they have been making since they were old enough to speak a word. Our faith in God and His will for our family has not been and is still not very comfortable. An emotional, financial, and physical toll has been exacted upon our family. Yet, we have grown to know and trust God more in the process. As 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 tells us, the God of peace Himself is sanctifying us through obedience to His will. Through this trial, He has been at work to present us blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, working to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). He who called us is faithful, and He will do it.
Even still, I hate the prospect of putting my wife on a plane alone to start the process a week before I can arrive. If, however, there is any woman that can do it, it is my wife. She has been a rock through this entire process. I have never witnessed such resolve. “Many women have done excellently, but she surpasses them all” (Proverbs 31:29). Also, the whole process has been fraught with difficulty, which often makes us cautious about getting excited. We are praying that faith will drive out the fears and doubts that remain.
So, here is what I am asking from you: pray for us. Set a reminder on your phone, write it on a prominent place in your home or office, or whatever you need to do to be reminded to pray for us. At times, making such a request has seemed awkward, but the more I read the apostle Paul, the more convinced I am that it is right and good to ask others to pray. Here are some of the ways you can pray for us:
Pray for my wife as she travels alone to a foreign land to deal with a foreign government that has proven less than helpful and cooperative at many points in this process. Pray for her safety and strength. Pray for clarity of mind and the ability to rest. Pray for Willow as she prepares to meet Hannah. Pray for Willow as she grieves leaving all her caregivers and friends in the orphanage. Pray for Hannah and Willow to begin the attachment process smoothly. Pray for Willow to have a peace that passes understanding through Christ’s grace. Pray for our other children in Shreveport as they will be separated from mom and dad for nearly two and a half weeks. Pray for my travel to Hannah in Ethiopia. Pray for the church that I pastor while I am away. Pray that all of our documentation will be where it needs to be in Ethiopia. Pray for a smooth immigration process. Pray for our health. Pray for our travel home. Pray for anything else that God brings to mind. Above all, pray for God to be glorified in everything.
Over the next few weeks, I will attempt to keep you updated on the process. In the meantime, please pray for us and share this message with others who will pray for us. We believe that God hears our prayers because of Christ’s mediatorial work on our behalf. We believe we have bold assurance before His throne of grace. Let us, then, approach the heavenly, mercy seat with faith-filled requests for God to demonstrate His greatness as we bring our daughter home.