Seventy-two hours ago I was supposed to be landing in Guatemala. Instead my flight was delayed and I arrived almost 10 hours late. Not a great start to an already super short trip. Today, I am in the air again, racing back north in time for the final in a country concert series the kids and I have been singing our way through this summer.
A month ago, when the judge declared our court date the day before tonight’s concert I said Jesus was going to have to fix it. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull this one off. Being that I will land in Cleveland in time to get to the concert, we have decided that Jesus is a country music fan, or values family time, or just loves to answers our prayers, no matter how ridiculous, because he loves us.
The last few hours have been short on sleep and long on answered prayers.
On the first leg of this flight, in my blurry eyed, not-enough-caffeine-yet brain, I was reflecting to the very first flight back from Guatemala. I had only just met this 13 year old kid, and yet I sat with uncontrollable tears leaking out of my eyes on the way home because of the way my heart hurt for him. I thought I was losing my mind. If you had told me then, 2.5 years ago, what today would look like, I would never have believed it. Now I know for sure, I absolutely did lose my mind. I still don’t know how God managed to absolutely wreck my heart, in the span of a breath, for this kid, but in that broken-hearted moment, God created a new family. I guess that was miracle number 1 in the line of them that pave this journey.
Last night, this now 16 year old kid and I made a celebratory dinner of spaghetti – he cooked, I helped. We laughed and played cards and talked about how we both get tired of the rain and school and how math might be the death of all of my kids and how he’s just ready to come home and how he sees himself as my son, and yes, it’s ok for other people, and us, to call him that. My heart, oh it’s never ever going to be the same.
On the very same day as our extra bedroom addition was finished, we went to court for the 3rd time. It’s a good thing that bedroom is finished…and if I didn’t believe God was so far ahead of us on this it would be one more in a long line of coincidences. But God. This story is laced with his grace and mercy and healing, and his sovereign, supernatural, miracle giving power and not one piece of this has been a coincidence. There is no separating this story from Him, it is His from the very beginning. We were a part of it before we ever even realized it was a story.
Yesterday, as I sat, alone, in the lobby of children’s court, fear was gripping my heart. Flanked by police officers, who just happened to pick the empty seats next to me, I wondered what in the heck I was doing. Seriously…what is the love of this child getting me in to? He is stretching me, and my faith, in ways I didn’t know were possible and driving me to embrace two things that God values, and I struggle mightily with, helplessness and vulnerability.
So, why the Italian-dinner-in-Guatemala celebration last night? We were thanking God for the ways in which He continues to answer our prayers. CNA showed up to court with the letter that they delivered to the Embassy last month. It was our first opportunity to see what they had written. As I understand it they expressed, very clearly, their willingness to proceed with the adoption. Secondly, they have fulfilled another of the judge’s earlier rulings and created a list of children, let me say that last part again, CHILDREN!, who are available for international adoption. And our son is on that list! I still haven’t fully processed all of this. This is going to happen. Our son is coming home. There are still lots of steps between where we are and my dinner table but God’s got this.
And, beyond our very personal prayers being answered, the door will be opened for more children to find family. Thank you Jesus!!
Finally, the judge has asked for documentation on both the international and domestic sides to ensure we are all proceeding in accordance with all of the Hague laws as this will be a ground-breaking, precedent setting case. We have 3 months to gather this but if everyone is ready before that he has agreed to move up the next hearing. It seems like the need to make this request is a real possibility.
So, my bold prayer, is that we are celebrating Christmas under one roof this year.
As I look at all of this laid out I can’t help but praise my God who is a good, good father. He has challenged me, and comforted me, and and shown up over and over and over through this entire process. He has answered prayers in ways big, most recently, our adoption application continuing to be moved forward when no one thought there was even a chance of that happening. (I didn’t even tell you about that whole part of this crazy journey or the fact that a new director of CNA was named last week and our team is hoping to meet with him next week!) And in little, not-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things-ways like my ability to end this day (that started at 3:30 am) at a concert with 4 kids that God has given me, my kids and their friends. Family, in the truest, least biological, sense of the word. And countless other big, small, and everywhere in between prayers that have been cried, whispered, and barely even recognized ways over the last months.
CNA, country concerts, and Christmas together as a family. He is writing this story and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I know that no matter what, even if all of this falls apart tomorrow, I will be ok. My family will be ok. I don’t know how we will be, but I know that we can trust in the plan that God has laid before us. Nothing is too big, or too small for God and that, more than anything today, is where I have to take a deep breath and just find rest.
One thought on “CNA, Country Concerts, and Christmas”
Oh Ashley I am so thrilled for you!!! How exciting, earth shattering and incredible our God is! What a miracle he has wrought in your lives and we are blessed to witness this! Love Beth
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