Church = Family
When God first called us to adopt from Ethiopia, we prayed that God would bring Ethiopian families into our lives. Around the same time a couple started attending our church. They were also adopting from Ethiopia. And our stories and our family's lives began to intertwine. During our wait God took them out of the line for Ethiopia because their children were actually living in Uganda...two little boys. So we were no longer adopting from the same country but we still shared the same heart beat. We have laughed, we have prayed, we have cried, we have screamed - we have lived this journey together. Our journeys different but in many ways the same. And I think that is what bonds our kids together in a way that cannot be explained in words.
Our first Sunday home, we wanted so badly to be with our church family but knew that we needed to just stay home. On week two and three, one parent stayed behind with Elie while the rest of the crew went to church. She was not happy about us separating and really wanted to go. So the fourth Sunday home we decided to try it. I knew that our church family would love on her and be supportive but I was also nervous about what would happen. I should know by know that God would provide... after all we have been through it is crazy that I still worry about anything. And He did show up.... through the love of another little boy who not so long ago experienced his "first day at church".
He told his mama that he was going to be Elie's friend because he remembered his first day at church and how scary it was. And he did. He sat by her eating a snack. He went with her to class. He played with her during the entire classtime. He understood her heart in a way that none of the rest of us could understand. And could show her love in a way unique to a newly adopted child. Even though they are from two different continents, the longings of their hearts are just the same. She needed a friend and God provided that through a little boy who understood that need.
I thought back to the days of waiting. The nights where my girlfriend and I would cry out to God to make our church a place that loves orphans and cares for adoptive families. It is beautiful now to witness the birth of this dream and to see our children being a part of healing one another. We continue to pray that God would bring many more children to our growing church family. We pray that a new generation will rise up to spread the love of Jesus by caring for the least of these and fighting for freedom and injustice all around the world. What a wonderful family!