We always knew we wanted to adopt. It was something we talked about before we were even married. I had a heart for Africa then and I don't know why. My feet hadn't even touched ground there. Maybe it was the country. Maybe it was my desire to travel. Maybe it was God already beginning a work that I would have no idea about until years later.
Fall of 2011 our church gave us the "ok" to plan a trip to Africa. After talking to some friends, we knew that we were to go to Sanyati in Zimbabwe, Africa to help rebuild a hospital, and a community. So we planned and fundraised. God provided my husband, brother (in law), and me with over $9,000 in just a few months. I still can't figure out where all the money came from. I just know it was God. The country and people were more beautiful than I ever imagined. The work was hard but the experience was wonderful. When I left, I knew it wasn't goodbye. I knew I would be back.
We returned home and tried to get back to normal "American" life. I couldn't get back to normal. Something in my heart was not content. In July 2012 I taught JumpStart Kindergarten at Alpha Primary. We were able to meet our new kindergarten students and help them get ready for school that began in August. That is when I met a special little boy. I immediately asked him where he was from. He had a sparkle in his eye that was familiar. I asked, "are you from here?" He said, "No! I'm from Ethiopia." I immediately talked to his mother, Chrissy after school that day. She briefly told me of his adoption journey and how they were adopting another child from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She told me there were waiting children in DR Congo. My heart immediately ached. I went straight home and researched DRCongo. I found out that there are 147 million orphans in the world and 5 million in the Congo. Almost half of children there do not live to see their 5th birthday. I knew God had placed Chrissy in my path and I knew Justin and I were about to take a huge leap of faith.
Justin and I had just bought a house which we are completely renovating so our funds are pretty (extremely) low. I knew at the same time that the God I serve can close the mouths of lions and hold back raging waters of the Red Sea can provide a way for us. We may have limitations, but the God I serve does not. I began reading the Word to make sure this was what He wanted for us and it wasn't just my discontent heart. It finally clicked. Why would God not want us to adopt? He calls us to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27) and defend the rights of those who cannot defend themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9). I knew it was time.
We started the adoption journey at the end of August 2012. Our kitchen remodel held us back in the home study process because we completely gutted it out. We decided to go with an independent agency, which God completely directed. After the long process and looking over all of the expenses we decided it would be cheaper in the long haul if we adopted two now instead of doing two separate adoptions. I emailed Amy True with DRC Services to let her know. When we finally got the home study completed we sent it off to DRC Services and sent the i600a with the money we got for Christmas. The last week in December Amy True (from DRC Services) called and asked if we would be interested in a little boy that was 12 months. My heart leaped and I immediately said yes and that we would really like to have two. She said that she would email the lawyer in DRC and would hopefully get back to us by Friday (January 4th).
School had started back on Thursday, so on Friday I checked my email every free chance I got. Nothing. My heart sank a little as I anticipated a picture. Maybe I was expecting too soon. After all, we hadn't even got appointments for fingerprinting yet. Sunday morning I got up early before church and check my email. There it was! The subject said, "Carroll Family 1st Referral." I opened it to see the most beautiful 2 1/2 year old that my eyes had ever seen! Dieu Merci Bisala was his name. His eyes were soft and looked unsure in the picture. I was in love already. I grabbed the laptop and ran upstairs to wake up Justin. It was hard to contain all of the excitement. We weren't sure if we should announce the news since we had not officially "accepted" his referral. When we came home from church there was another email...."Carroll Family 2nd referral." I opened it and I met my second son, Neema who was 12 months. In the picture he was sitting on the ground in a dirty white onesy. Absolutely beautiful.
Later that night Amy called and asked if we could sign the contract for our lawyer and wire $7,000 the following day. $7,000???? I laughed at the thought of having that much money on hand. I told her we didn't have it and there was no way we could do that. I felt tears fill my eyes. She said if we could get her at least $3,500 then she could start the process. I didn't want to lose these boys. I had already fallen in love with them. I knew they were meant to be ours. Through God's provision some very close friends of ours let us borrow the $3,500 that we needed. Who does that? People of faith, that's who. I am forever grateful for friends and family who continue to help us when we do not deserve any of it.
So here we are. Our journey to get Dieu Merci (new name will be Canaan) and Neema into our arms. We have $35,000 to raise which seems impossible to raise by this summer, but I know He will make a way. I am anxious and somewhat fearful to imagine how we can possibly get this money. I trust that our Father has a perfect plan and He is sovereign over all.
"All nations whom You have made shall come
and they shall glorify Your name.
For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God.
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify your name forever."
Psalms 86: 9-12
May this be our prayer today and every day. Justin and I covet your prayers. Please pray for Canaan and Neema and their health and safety. The Congo is an unhealthy and often dangerous place. My heart aches to be with them and hold them in my arms. Pray for us that God continues to mold us into the parents He desires us to be. And pray that He will provide a way financially for us to get these boys home to us.