A little history... Nick and Jessica Irvin ( http://steadfastminds-ethiopia.blogspot.com/), friends of ours, adopted two sisters from Ethiopia. They came to visit and ride horses. Meron and Jessica just so happened to get thrown off on the last little ride. Long story short, everyone was ok, but Travis and Meron spent the next couple of hours snuggled up on the couch. This was the beginning of us falling in love with the beautiful people of Ethiopia.
Nick and Jessica end up adopting 2 more children from Ethiopia, and God worked on our hearts during this process. Our pastor was preaching on moving out of our comfort zones, and reaching beyond something greater than ourselves. Every sermon was like our pastor was preaching to us to do something. Do what makes you feel uncomfortable and pushes your faith to more than you can imagine. On Valentines 2012, Travis and I went out to eat and we talked about how God was calling us to adopt.
It is now October 2014, and why do we still not have a child?
Our first referral, Melat. We found out April 2, 2013 that her grandmother came to the orphanage to take her back. Ok, heartbroken does not come close to how we felt. We had fallen in love with a picture of a beautiful little girl we had already started calling "ours!"
We knew God had called us to adopt, and we would not let this stop us.
This is when "Oceans" became our theme song.
We received our next referral on July 27, 2013 (My 30th birthday). Then, in February 2014, our agency was indicted with fraud. We found out the kids in the care center had been moved, and we knew the only way we would be able to hold on to our child would be to get on a plane and go find her. We had no idea where she was, but God said, "Go!" So, within 5 hours, Travis and I boarded a plane to Washington, DC to head to Ethiopia the next morning. We asked our friend Jessica to possibly go with us, since she had experience with Ethiopia and adoption. She did not hesitate and willingly came along with us. We still cannot thank her and her family enough because this is where the true journey occurs!
Within a couple of hours of arriving in Ethiopia, we made phone calls and found our sweet little girl. Meet Mulunesh.
The next couple of days we made connections in Ethiopia to try everything we could to bring this sweet girl home. While we were there, they placed a hold on international adoption. Since then we were able to renew all of our paperwork, homestudy, etc., and Ethiopia gave us a new agency to work with. In the next few months, Mulu would have to move to another orphanage because the one she was in was shut down. By the grace of God, we found out where she was and made immediate contact with the new director.
So, where are we today. We would love to tell you that we are headed to Ethiopia any day now to bring our sweet girl home. But we are thankful that God sees the bigger picture, and we are trusting in His plan- even though it is hard.
Since going to Ethiopia in February, God placed a burden on our hearts to do something more for the children in the community where we found Mulunesh. We have been sponsoring a child through Children's HopeChest for the last couple of years, and we knew God was telling us to pursue a partnership through HopeChest. So, Travis and I with a few other people from our church were going on a vision trip with HopeChest to see exactly where God wanted us to partner. 2 days before we left, we received an email from the orphanage director that Mulunesh was going to be reunited with her family.
What? Why? I know, we are asking the same thing! Two and a half years in an orphanage, and now? We have no clue what God is up to, but to lose our second referral, especially after meeting her, we are heartbroken, BUT we have not lost the FAITH. Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
We know our journey is not over, but we do know....
This beautiful, sweet, little girl has brought us to love a nation that we are not sure we would be so in love with, if we would have never gotten on that plane in February. God has used her to bring us closer to His calling on our lives. To reach out to something greater than ourselves. To live a life devoted to Christ. To be His hands and feet!