Sometimes, I wish I could write a letter to my former self. A letter that says, Hold on. I know things are bad now. Really bad. But don’t lose hope. Things will get better. God was with you before, he is with you now, and He’ll be there in the future. I know you don’t feel it. But hold on. You won’t believe the big ways He’ll show up.
Because two and half years ago, when the U.S. Consulate told us that Joseph would never be adopted and could never join our family, I did not see the God I believed in anywhere the situation. I quite literally cried out, scared and confused and full of doubt and anger. Things were not good. Things were very, very bad.
So, this week, as I toured the U.S. Capitol with Joseph, my son, who is now a U.S. citizen, I was overwhelmed. I so wish I could go back to that time that still gives me pains in my stomach, and just whisper in that scared girl’s ear, holding a scared little boy, that things will be okay. That the Creator of all things bright + beautiful never left Joseph’s side, or mine — and He never will, even in the darkest, darkest hour. I will never take for granted what it means that I have the privilege of calling Joseph my son. And I will never fully grasp the depth and gravity that this beautiful brown-eyed boy, who was born to another woman, calls me mom. When the world shouted no, God found a way.
Since the government was shut down, we had a very private tour of the Capitol from Congressman Braley. We were so thankful to also have Will McIntee along for the ride. When Will was assigned Joseph’s case, it was Will’s third day on the job as a caseworker for Braley. And he worked absolutely effortless to cut through some of the corruption we were facing to obtain Joseph’s visa. Did I mention Will is younger than me? (I’m 25.) Will did things like going to the office at 3 a.m. so he could talk with the State Department in Nigeria when they opened. He answered every desperate email I had with hope and encouragement, and he fielded desperate calls from Jonny when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse. And I think he logged about 100 calls to the State Department. Seriously. After working on Joseph’s case, he’s navigated various government agencies to help about 25 children become internationally adopted. Those are 25 God stories, you guys.
Oh, what a great fire a spark can start.
Anyway, the U.S. Capitol…have you been? Because it doesn’t feel real. I kept looking around, thinking, am I really here? I was kind of geeking out.
Jonny was a super daddy and wore Asher in the Ergo carrier the whole time, which was so awesome because I was wearing heels and I think I probably would have fallen all over those marble floors in the Capitol. (Seriously, so much marble!) Having my mom there was a huge help, because she was in full-on Joseph duty. It was kind of torture for him to sit in the stroller, because he wanted to run up and down and up and down all of the (empty) hallways and walkways. Also, did I mention there was a big echo in the empty halls? Joseph was totally enjoying it. A police officer gave Joseph a sticker badge that said U.S. CAPITOL POLICE and Joseph was beyond himself with excitement.
I’m a little bit of a history nerd, so it was fun to hear the stories of past presidents + senators + congress people. We stood where legislation was determined about freeing slaves + civil rights. Can I tell you how incredible it was to be in there with my African-born son?
Basically, the U.S. Capitol was beautiful. There was incredible art everywhere and each hall and room and corridor seemed more beautiful then the next.
But all of the world’s most talented artists and most skilled politicians could truly not create a more beautiful story than the one God has written in our lives, in my life. My prayer is that in the future, when clouds loom, and they inevitably will, and I start to be overcome with fear and anxiety and doubts, that we will remember what the Lord has done our lives already. The world can be a dark place, but there is a light so much brighter than any of it. Sometimes we need to look back on our stories in order to look to future. Because God’s love never fails. It never runs out. It never gives up.
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