If you have known Randy and I for any amount of time you know that we are passionate about foster care. We did foster care for awhile and saw what a huge need there is for it in the United States. Mention foster care to Randy and he will try and convince you for hours why you should do it. We had to stop for awhile because our family was growing fast and we needed to take time for the little babies that were being born. We always thought, dreamed, and planned about what it would look like some day when we started foster care again. This passion for foster care has also made us passionate about adoption. It would be hard for me to remember a time in my life where I haven’t wanted to adopt. I believe passionately that one of the biggest ways that Christians can make an impact in the world today is getting involved in adoption and the foster care system.
As we prepared to move to the Dominican Republic I wondered how God was going to use our passion for adoption/foster care in the Dominican Republic. Over the last couple years I have seen several friends and acquaintances go through the adoption process and if I was honest I would say every time I felt a twinge of jealousy. I would find myself asking, “God, when is it going to be our time?” During these times I always felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to start praying for the child or children that would one day enter our home, so I did. I can’t say I prayed every day but I have prayed often for the child that would enter our house, that God would protect them and keep them safe, and that God would prepare our hearts and mind for the time when it came. In my mind I always pictured a baby. In the last 7 months that we have been the Dominican Republic we have heard of several needy children and every time I would think, “Lord is this the one?” But, none of the opportunities really came to fruition.
During my time teaching at the Haitian School I have fallen in love with each and every one of my students. One of my students I have always felt a certain connection to is the oldest girl at our school and greats me every day with a huge smile. She is 12 years old and attending school for the very first time. I have always felt more concerned for her than of the some of the other students because I have seen the toll that poverty can take on the women in the Haitian community. Many resort to prostitution or become pregnant at a very young age. Randy and I have said many times, “If we are only doing this school only to help Merlinda we are okay with that.”
Last week I voiced my concern about Merlinda to the Pastor we work with. He told me that he agrees and worries as well about the situation Merlinda is in. Her mom has also been known to leave her for months at a time to find work. I told him that if he ever hears of Merlinda’s mom leaving Merlinda to please tell us and she can live with us. Well, the next week her Mom tells us she is leaving and wants us to take care of Merlinda. We asked her for how long and her answer was, “For a month I will probably be gone but she can live with you guys as long as you will have her.”
As of this coming Wednesday we will be adding another member to our family, a sweet 12 year old girl named Merlinda.
We are more than excited, but I am also scared. I know nothing about raising a girl who is about to reach her teenage years. WE have four kids and we are messing up the birth order by adding an older sister to the mix, how will this affect my children? WHat is this even going to look like? How do I do her hair? I have so many questions, so many thoughts, so many fears, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord has prepared us and our family for this little girl. I know that the Lord has adopted us (Ephesians 1:5) and made us his children, and what a better way to show God to a little girl and a family then to welcome this little girl into our family with open arms. I firmly believe this is the child I have prayed for over the years.
Please pray for us as we go through this time of adjustment. Pray for Autry, Claire, Addie, and Gibson as they adjust to a new family member. Pray for us as we are in completely new territory raising a pre teen girl. Pray for Merlinda’s family that they will se Christ through us. Pray for Merlinda as she gets to know a completely new and foreign way of living. Finally, thank God for adopting us as his sons and daughters and that we have the opportunity to show God’s love to this special little girl.