My wife Liz and I have two beautiful daughters. Claire and Margot came into the world through tremendous labor pains; more than twenty-four hours each. For the second birth, we attempted a home delivery, but after a full day of contractions with no progress, the midwife took us to the local hospital. The doctor prescribed an emergency Cesarean birth. My wife’s uterine wall was seriously bruised; the contractions were not pushing baby the baby down, but merely battering the womb.
Both Liz and baby Margot came out of the surgery healthy, but my wife felt timid about having any more children.
A few years passed and the desire to expand our family flared up again. However, the scars of previous pregnancies lingered. We diverted our energies by caring for the swarm of underprivileged children living in our neighborhood. We invited them into our home, fed them, provided a safe place to interact with our own kids. Eventually, the longing for a larger family and the care to the local ruffians led to discussions about foster care. We talked to friends about their experience fostering several kids, but after weighing the age of our daughters, governmental hoops, and transient nature of many foster relationships, we decided against pursuing it.
Another year passed and talks of expanding our family had subsided. Liz and I grew comfortable with our rhythm. Both our daughters had outgrown diapers and begun schooling. (They could even pour their own cereal!) I began the year reading the books A Hole in Our Gospel and Radical. Toward the end of winter, I woke up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep. I slipped downstairs and read for two hours about poverty, disease, unclean water, HIV/AIDS, and the growing number of fatherless children in Africa. I felt something akin to the birth pangs my wife had experienced four years earlier. I knew I had to do something about it.
A few nights later, my wife and I watched a movie called The Constant Gardner. The film exposes the gross, medical disadvantage African people experience. One particular scene in the movie shows a child boarding a plane to leave the country. She is told she cannot go. The protagonist, Justin Quayle, argues with the pilot, who glibly responds, “I cannot make an exception for one child.”
“But for THIS child, we can help,” Quayle says.
Tears flowed down my wife’s face and mine.
Conversations about expanding our family resumed. Liz had been thinking about adopting for several weeks. As had I. Every time Liz prayed about it, she envisioned Africa. Another congruence. God was stirring us, but we wanted to be certain. During the Lent season in 2011, we fasted and prayed, begging God to make His will clear.
Within a week, He made the path luminous. We met a random family at one of our local parks whose adoptive son Jacob shared his story with us. One of my wife’s co-worker told of a recent homecoming from Ethiopia--they brought two boys with them. We discovered a network of adoptive families in our small town of Warsaw (IN). We arranged dinners and discussions. We talked with family and friends. Feedback was overwhelmingly favorable.
By the end of Lent, Liz and I agreed to move forward with our intentions to adopt. Over the course of the summer, we researched various agencies and open countries. In August we applied to the Ethiopia Program with Children’s Hope International (St. Louis, MO). After being approved, we completed our homestudy, dossier, and educational work.
Since then two years has passed. We’ve waited patiently and prayed. We’ve waited patiently and read. We’ve waited patiently and raised funds. We’ve waited patiently and crept up the waiting list.
Our plan to wait patiently, however, was interrupted in August 2014 by a friend who sent us a text message about an Ethiopian boy on a Waiting Child List. We spent a month considering the 5-year old boy’s file: he was quiet, physically challenged, and cognitively delayed. We could not keep ourselves from loving him. So in September 2014 we agreed to pursue the adoption.
Now we wait impatiently and pray. We wait impatiently and update paperwork. We wait impatiently and raise funds. We wait impatiently until we can bring our son home.
To stay current with fundraising efforts, please visit: www.facebook.com/sprankleadoption