Adopting Zion, Part 1

A year ago today, Nate and I woke up without children for the last time. October 16th, 2012 was the day Zion was transferred from the orphanage into our care.

Just a couple months earlier, I was working at getAHEAD when Nate pulled me into the church nursery to tell me the news we had waited so long to hear. There was a four year old boy who needed a family. “They want to know if were interested.”

“Absolutely, let’s do this.”

“Good,” Nate said, “because I already told them yes.”

A couple hours later we opened an email and saw his picture for the first time.

A few weeks after that we got a phone call in the middle of Secret Church. The referral was official.

We drove five hours to meet John and Emily for lunch and give them the news at a park in Bethany, Missouri. They cried and laughed, and our joy was all the greater for sharing it with them.

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We told my family at my dad’s 52nd birthday party. He unwrapped a picture of his grandson, and we were surrounded by tears, congratulations, questions, and so much joy.

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We received a handful of pictures during August and September. I kept them in my Bible, on my desk, next to my bed. I was unproductive for weeks because I had to memorize his face and his chubby little toes.

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We scrambled to raise the remaining funds and stood in awe as friends and family slipped twenty dollar bills and thousand dollar checks into our hands.

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We took the bedroom that had housed Tyquan, Nemaurie, Carrie, Lydia, Abigail, and Amy and prepared it for our son. We hung picture frames, arranged pillows, and dreamed dreams for him.

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Jillian and Carrie came over one night to help us finish the room and brought Converse, track suits, and penguin pajamas.

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The Supicas sent us this box.

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The night before we left so many of the people we love came to say goodbye and to rejoice with us.

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We got on a plane, and I kept thinking about something Elyse Fitzpatrick said about Jesus. When He made the choice to take on a body, He was making a choice to be like us forever. Love meant nothing was ever the same again. He is still in that body and the scars of His sacrifice are even now on His hands.

Following Jesus down the path of love leaves no room for looking back.

We had a layover in England and spent two glorious days in Oxford. Nate had visited me during my time there in college, and we had walked those streets dreaming about our lives together. Five years later, we walked them again, dreaming about our son.

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We saw this sign on Cornmarket Street and wandered in to pray about everything that suddenly felt so close, so wanted, and yet so overwhelming.

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New friends opened their home to us for dinner. They prayed with us and over us, and we left them reminded that we are part of a family connected by blood spilled not shared.

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Those two days in Oxford were such a gift. There’s nothing like a cup of tea to steady the nerves before an adventure.

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We boarded a plane bound for Uganda.

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And landed to the most beautiful of African sunrises.

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We dropped our bags at our guesthouse, took a quick nap, and headed to meet our son.

Nothing would ever be the same.

But love is okay with that.

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