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.

IMG_0005

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.

IMG_0074

IMG_0072

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.

IMG_0095

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.

IMG_0114

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.

IMG_0159

IMG_0164

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

IMG_0163IMG_0162

IMG_0155

The Supicas sent us this box.

IMG_0108

IMG_0104

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

IMG_0187

IMG_0183

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.

IMG_0327

IMG_0202

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.

DSC_2618

IMG_0259

DSC_2620

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.

IMG_0350

IMG_0326

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

IMG_0179

We boarded a plane bound for Uganda.

IMG_0193

And landed to the most beautiful of African sunrises.

IMG_0374

IMG_0379

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.

Zion’s first pets…

The Sunday before Spring Break we decided to take Zion to purchase some pets…IMG_0578Baby ducks!! He was nervous at first…IMG_0586But he loved them…He named them Suubi & Bridgetti…Suubi was the name of the place we stayed in in Uganda. Bridgetti is the name of a friend we made while we were there. She was three at the time and there was an incident in the store where she found herself dripping her diaper contents and then trotting through them in her flip flops. Zion thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. When we first got the ducks one of them pooped in the box and then proceeded to walk through the poop. He made the connection to that day in the supermarket in Uganda and named the duck Bridgetti. Love that kid.
IMG_0588
Talitha loved the ducks as well…IMG_0728
Although she was a little distracted by Malachi, Demarkus, & Zion doing handstands in the living room…
IMG_0723
She actually grabbed a duck by the head and then sort of threw it…
IMG_0726
Due to an unrelated incident, the ducks are no longer with us. They made it three days. What can I say? We’re not the best pet people. It was short and sweet.

There was a touching burial in the backyard the next day. Not sure how soon we’ll try the pet thing again.