Jun 2

Our Story

>

In 2008 our family went to China to adopt a little girl named Hope. It was a wonderful adventure, and God shared with us his radical heart for orphans through that process. A few months before we left for China I attended a Heidi Baker conference in Pasadena California. If you don’t know who Heidi Baker is, well let’s just say she is a mama to many orphans. She and her husband Rolland are the leaders of Iris Ministries which feeds and houses orphans in Mozambique, Africa.

During this meeting I got rocked by God. Absolutely. Rocked. I was worshiping Him, and just had one of those pivotal moments in life that I will always remember. Long story short, I left that meeting with a deep knowing that we would have a son from Africa one day, and I was overjoyed. At the time we were preparing for our journey to go get Hope in China and knew that it would be some day in the future.

During the meeting I had asked God what our son’s name would be and I heard:  Zion Bridge. I thought ‘Bridge’ sounded interesting, so I asked Him why that middle name, and He said, “He will be a bridge for my people.” I don’t know exactly what that means yet, but can only guess that maybe Zion will be a bridge to help people come into their destinies. Only time will tell!

Over the past two years since that experience, we have talked about how Zion would one day be a part of our family. In the mean time life has been very busy and transitional, from Hope assimilating into our family, to moving and adjusting our lifestyle in response to the recession and decreased income. This past December we had the opportunity to move inland and buy a large five bedroom house for almost the same price as our rent was on a 1400 square foot condo in Orange County. We are blessed to have all this space and all the while have been preparing our hearts and home to be ready to one day adopt Zion.

As we prepared paperwork, we were praying about which agency to choose, and didn’t feel a leading about any of them. So we waited until God gave us the next step. One day, when I got on my face to seek Him about who Zion would be, I saw a vision as I prayed. I saw a very old grandfather’s wrinkled hands holding a scroll, that I knew represented his family. It was falling to pieces and crumbling, and I knew that this grandfather was deeply grieved and that he felt he was literally losing his family. I knew he was Zion’s grandfather. I felt that Zion’s mom was gone, and that she was no longer alive, and that this grandfather was now taking care of him. I shared this vision with Todd, and after a process of praying this through and asking for confirmation, we felt to look specifically for this grandfather.   In the meantime, I began to have a series of five experiences with God, all about a black little baby. In one dream, I was nursing him, another I was with him picking out a baby carrier, another about a baby cradle, another where I was holding this baby, and another where I was being connected to a baby by an umbilical cord. All the dreams felt real. I told Todd that I was beginning to feel like Zion was a baby, because of all these dreams I was having.   It was weird because it went against the idea that I had originally at Heidi Baker that Zion was 3. But the dreams were coming so strongly that we decided that Zion was probably a baby, and that maybe I had seen him originally at some point in his future.

Anyway, at this point, we were needing to narrow down and choose an agency. We called and emailed every agency for Ghana asking if anyone had a child available who had a grandfather that could no longer take care of him. Only one orphanage knew of this type of situation. The man at the orphanage told our contact here that a grandfather from a village about 40 minutes outside of Accra had contacted him 3 months prior when his daughter died in childbirth. He was unable to take care of the baby. The orphanage had turned him away, because taking care of a baby is something that orphanages rarely do in Ghana, due to the intense needs of babies, and the expense of providing formula, etc. This man agreed to go to the village and speak to the grandfather for us, and assess the situation. When he got there, it was confirmed that this grandfather was unable to continue caring for the baby, and was struggling intensely trying to do it. The baby was now 3 months old. The grandfather lives in an extremely impoverished area in a village in Ghana. He has been struggling to provide for his family by working in the fields, but was just unable to provide for their needs.

We were sent a picture of the baby, and told that the baby has 3 siblings- an 8 year old girl, 5 year old boy, and 2 year old boy. I first of all was in shock, to have found the grandfather from my vision, but was also deeply concerned because there were siblings involved, and I hadn’t planned for that…I had only seen a baby in my dreams, and this grandfather in the vision. I was realizing that God hadn’t given me all the pieces of the puzzle, just some key factors. At this point, we told the orphanage that we would like to adopt the baby and that we would advocate for the siblings to have a home. I was finding myself going back to the picture that we were sent of the siblings again and again. There was something about the 5 year old that I just couldn’t place. I felt like I had seen him before, or that I knew him somehow. I kept brushing it off, and literally trying not to think about it, because after all, we knew that we were supposed to adopt a baby, and adopting more than one child was just never in our frame of reference. I began trying to advocate for the siblings, asking friends if they would be interested. I was finding myself feeling almost devastated when I thought of that 5 year old boy going to live with someone other than me. I couldn’t believe I was having these thoughts, and didn’t tell anyone. At all. I kept everything to myself, because my mind was sure that it was going to be just the baby.

Then one night I had a dream. In the dream, I was with my kids on the living room floor hanging out. The baby was there, but also the 5 year old boy was there. I remember thinking “why is he here?” It didn’t make any sense. In the dream, he was looking very sad, just like in the picture we had of him. I said to him, “please smile, Im going to tickle you!” and when I reached over and tickled him, he broke out into a HUGE smile, and I said out loud in the dream, “There it is! I recognize it! That’s Zion’s smile!” and then I woke up. I remember rationalizing the dream when I woke up. It was confusing, because the baby was supposed to be Zion. Why did I say that in the dream? Maybe it was just a silly dream, I thought. But the dream stuck with me. I couldn’t shake it. I thought about it often, and about that boy. Why was I feeling this way? Was I crazy? I was feeling sick over the thought of leaving him in Ghana, and just taking the baby. Even though there were 2 other siblings, why was I not feeling this way about all of them? Why just him? What was going on? I spoke to my friend Maita on Wednesday, telling her how I was feeling literally sick about just taking the baby, and why would God do something like that, to just lead someone to adopt the baby, leaving the others behind. She told me to get on my face with God, not go any further, until I had an answer from God. I spent some time with Him when we got off the phone, then I needed to hurry and get to a Wednesday night Bible Study. When I got there, the message was about God’s personal will for your life, and that sometimes God makes things so abundantly clear of which way to go, but when you get there, it may look differently than you thought that it might look, and that you need to surrender yourself to the Lord’s will and trust His plan. I wondered if he was speaking about the siblings, and asked for prayer from the women sitting at my table. I came home wondering what God would do, how he would take care of these precious little children, how it would all work out.

A series of events unfolded, and on Saturday, I got a phone call from someone who is working with us in the adoption. She broke the news. She said that because this is a sibling set of 4, that the Social Welfare office in Ghana doesn’t feel comfortable only adopting out the baby, because it would make the other 3 less adoptable. She said it would be hard to find a family for 3 children, and that they wanted to split up the children in the following way: the baby with the 5 year old boy, and the 2 year old boy with the 8 year old girl. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At first, my brain didn’t know how to process it. I wondered what we should do. We had come this far, finding the grandfather from the vision, finding the baby. But we couldn’t adopt 2. That would make 6 kids in our family. Or could we? The thought started to dance in my mind. My tummy started to flip flop. I couldn’t believe it when I heard the words out of my mouth telling her that we were highly interested, and to please send the older boy to the medical appointment on Monday with the baby.

I came home and told Todd. After about 5 minutes of talking about how crazy it would be to adopt 2 kids, a smile broke out over his face, and he said, “Lets do it.” A feeling came over me that I can’t describe. It felt the way you feel when you are madly in love, and you decide to get married. I was overwhelmed with love. Love for my husband, my family, the baby, and the 5 year old boy who would be my son! I couldn’t believe we were going to go through with it. It was intoxicating, I couldn’t believe how happy I was feeling, doing something that the world tells me is the wrong decision. How could something so wrong feel so totally and completely right? We got out his picture. We looked deep into his eyes, trying to figure out what we would name him. Nothing seemed to fit. I received an email from my friend with just one question, and that’s it. It said, “  Which one is Zion?” When I read that, I felt goosebumps over my whole body. I remembered my dream. It suddenly all came clear. Why I had felt like I had recognized this boy. I suddenly realized, HE was Zion! I ran downstairs to Todd’s office, I ran in the room screaming, “Oh My Gosh! Oh My Gosh! The boy is Zion! He’s Zion! I knew it all along!!!! I knew him, my spirit knew him, but my mind just had to catch up to what my spirit already knew!” We both started crying, and I fell to the floor weeping, laughing, praising God, outrageously amazed at the providence of God. How did I ever feel like I needed to “help” God out? I am but mere dust in His presence, He is so mighty, so powerful, so amazing. There are no words to describe His greatness! We spent the rest of the night, hugging, praising God, dancing, and singing of His greatness. We realized that at the time when God spoke to me about having a son in Africa, Zion was actually 3 years old at that point.
We named the baby Jireh Daniel, meaning God is my provider, and God is my judge. We were so elated to be adopting both boys. About a week later, we got the terrible news. Jireh had fallen sick on a Friday night with a fever. The family in the village had no way to contact anyone in the city, since they had no cell phone and no car. They tried frantically to find help to get Jireh to the doctor as he continued to get sicker and sicker over the weekend. Finally, on Sunday they were able to find someone with a car to take him to the city. On the way to the city, Jireh passed away. It was very heartbreaking to hear this news. We were totally not expecting it. It took a few weeks to fully process it, and still to this day, we are still processing it. You hear the statistics, that 26,000 orphans die in Africa per day due to preventable causes. But its somehow just a statistic. But it hits you when that statistic has a name, a face, and is your son. It slapped us in the face, and woke us up to the horrific reality that so many children face on a daily basis. We will never forget little Jireh Daniel, and although we deeply grieve at the loss of being able to parent him, and bring him into our family, we know he is with his heavenly family, and we look forward to one day meeting him in heaven.

On a positive note, close friends of ours have committed to adopting the siblings of Zion and Jireh. So we are all in the adoption paperwork process at this point, and we anticipate being able to bring home our kids in the first half of the new year.

We are so thankful for all that God has done, and look forward to all that God has for us. Thanks for reading our story, and for your prayers.