My earliest memory of hearing about Africa is from my kindergarten year of elementary school. A married couple, American missionaries on furlough from Ethiopia, came to my small, Christian school and spoke to us of the history and culture of the country, the tragedy of the starving people, the dying children, the orphans.
Over the next twelve years I would encounter numerous Pastors and missionaries who’d become intimately involved in African ministry. I started taking notice of adoptive families, the ones who stuck out in a crowd because of their variety of skin tones. Still, I never imagined myself becoming one of those families and I certainly never imagined myself living in Africa in order to become one.
Yet, in God’s wisdom and by His sovereign will, here I am.
I don’t want to be here. In fact, some days I’m certain I want to be anywhere but here. As soon as noon rolls around I can think of nothing else but the arrival of 12:45 when Brad and I can Skype for about 10 minutes before he heads off to another day of hard work, followed by an exhausting evening as a single dad to our three daughters. Some days we are able to have a real conversation but more often than not we just make faces at each other and exchange yawns as I wrangle babies and corral my ornery toddler. Today, not unlike some others, we cried together, each of us silently asking God why our family is separated by more than 8,000 miles, desperately trying not to let on that our hope is waning.
Still, I see grace in our story. Every, single day I see grace, mostly in my relationship with Jecoah, in the way he trusts me implicitly, the way he hugs my neck tight and kisses me big anytime I ask and, sometimes, even when I don’t.
I see grace in the roommates and friends God has provided for me in this place. They are funny and kind, they are good mamas to these beautiful little people, they are the only women on planet earth who will ever truly know the depth, the breadth, the impact of adoption from this country on a mother’s soul. They are my sister wives without the weirdness on every level of a shared husband.
I see more grace in technology and the ability it gives me to stay connected to not only Brad, my girls and my parents but also to my extended family, to you, to everyone who has loved us and loved us well throughout this journey. I love hearing about what is happening at home, what the weather is like, that your children won an award and even about the salad you ate for lunch. Nothing is as good as really being there, but the internet might just be second best.
I see grace most in your words of encouragement, your support, your love for my husband by feeding him and sparing him the extra work of preparing meals, praying for and with him, your patience with and love for my daughters as they navigate this time without their mom. Thank you isn’t enough.