In the middle of packing up this temporary home and filling out paperwork that I am quite sure I have blotched, I want to take a minute to recall and remember God’s faithfulness throughout this calling. But I also want this post to serve as an encouragement and a place to read a little information that I have gathered over the 4 months of living here. Shew!
I have received a hand full of emails from women I do not know who are asking about the adoption process in Nicaragua. I understand the need for information as Nicaragua does not have a crowd of people who have adopted. I also hope that this blog will be a place where people can get an honest picture of the struggles that one might face through this process. This has not been easy and is not something to enter into lightly. It has been straining on SO many levels. As in any calling, it is as my husband said recently, “This is NOT for everyone but it IS for the Gibson’s”. And I’m grateful that it was, because although straining and hard, I have seen God’s faithfulness through the provision of these precious girls, known His presence more deeply, and been driven to cry out to Him when there was no one else that I could turn to for rescue. I hope these remembrances can serve as an encouragement and help others gain better insight into the process. My friend recently said that no two adoptions are the same in Nica but ANY info is better than none here.
I REMEMBER in 2010 praying through adoption, honestly examining our motives- a nice mixture of selfish and unselfish, routes to pursue, backing out of certain country pursuits and agencies that seemed to have red flags, pursuing dead ends, crying out to God, getting lots of wisdom, REPENTING, and then seeing His Gospel promises that compelled us into the joy of following him into His mission to love the orphan in Nicaragua. I am grateful that He kept moving us forward and that pride and fear did not cripple us from this pursuit.
I REMEMBER setting July 1, 2010 as a date to finally make our decision. We Gibson’s need dates like that because decision making is not our strongest point. Now I see that Katy was born just around that date and Khloe quickly followed.
I REMEMBER making a prayer card and passing them out with some that are still on friends’ fridges now. Emotional, physical, and spiritual protection was one of my first requests for our unknown child. As I now know their stories, I see a GREAT protection in the midst of a lot of brokenness, destruction, and evil that they seem to have been shielded from.
I REMEMBER waiting and waiting (2 years) on God to provide a child for us to love and now see His timing as perfect in so many ways. Waiting has been a place where He has done His best refinement in exposing my need for Him.
I REMEMBER getting the call for 2 healthy sisters “almost 3 and 2” in need of a family without any names, pictures, medicals, or information… then saying a scared but ALL IN yes!
I REMEMBER my church body coming behind me and helping me pack for this HUGE journey in 4 days. Good community both here and at home is necessary to pull this off. We have not done this alone.
I REMEMBER our stomach in knots as Dax and I tried sleeping the night before but all we could do was pray.
I REMEMBER Monica picking me up at 4:30 in the morning to catch my flight and us both crying in the corner of the airport praying. I remember her reminding me by saying, “this is a good thing” and it stuck with me ever since.
I REMEMBER flying over Managua and seeing my new temporary home and just repeating, “help me Jesus” the whole way.
I REMEMBER riding to my first casa (house) with Chris catching a view of my new surroundings, still repeating “help me Jesus.”
I REMEMBER my first night sitting in my bed alone, scared, but knowing and feeling that His presence was with me.
I REMEMBER meeting the girls for the first time, humbled and amazed by the gift in front of me. I remember Khloes’ far away stare and Katy barely looking at me until I finally won her over with a leap frog toy.
I REMEMBER loading them in the car with nothing but themselves and Katy staring at me with a funny grin until they both fell asleep.
I REMEMBER 3 solid weeks of great bonding in the midst of heat and exhaustion. His small and big provisions (like an awesome bowl of soup) kept my eyes seeing His faithfulness and my heart from falling into despair.
I REMEMBER the sweet reunion of family and 3 great weeks of more bonding over some really neat Nicaraguan experiences. We have formed some awesome memories!
I REMEMBER the hard goodbye that began my toughest stint with the 4 kids filled with homesickness, new Nica germs, and an AWFUL stomach bug.
I REMEMBER “Nicaraguan school” around the table with the kids and pushing through bad attitudes to get work done. Donuts from Pan Ticomo always seemed to help.
I REMEMBER the provision of transportation from helpful new friends when I needed food or just a bit of sanity.
I REMEMBER lots of waiting on adoption news that often said…”no news, you just have to wait.”Ahhhh!
I REMEMBER making great new friends who I will always think upon and know that God provided a temporary community to love and support me through this calling. When we were gathering information about international adoption in 2010, one place we called was the Chalmers Center, an organization committed to helping impoverished areas. They are also the men who wrote the book, When Helping Hurts. We asked a lot of questions and expressed our desire for an ethical adoption process. One thing that was helpful was that they explained that adoption is only one piece of the pie in helping. Orphan care, prevention, family reunification and strengthening are all important ways to help. It did not change our desire to adopt but it helped shape our thinking. Many of our friends here are doing AMAZING work in these areas and I’m so glad to have witnessed it and be a part of it as we continue to love and serve in this country.
I REMEMBER our social work visits from the government division called Ministry of Family. Our worker, Rosario, was an older lady who clearly loved what she did and cared about the children she visits. Ministry of Family is completely in charge of EVERY aspect of adoptions from the abandonment to matching with families willing to adopt. Agencies, orphanages, and lawyers do not have any role in this process which is actually signs of a healthy process in International adoption. And adoption is only a tiny piece of what they do everyday in helping children. There plates are full. They are overworked, understaffed, share one car, comprised of women like Rosario, who generally have a heart for these children and their protection. They do not get paid ONE penny of our adoption money and are very proud of their work. They do not want any corruption in their system and if bribes are paid it generally HURTS families’ cases rather than furthering them. We have been committed to walking out the process (although slow) because it is THEIR process. They make thorough investigation of these orphans. First families and IN country adoption (although rare) is the priority. EVERY missionary and local that I have spoken to (and that is many) testify to an ethical process that goes above and beyond and many times too far in reuniting children with their birth families. Foreign families clearly are NOT the priority. Our desire has been to be a blessing to them rather than a disgruntled American family. Others who have asserted their rights and taken illegal measures in the name of “rescuing orphans” have caused adoptions to be completely shut down in the past thus ruining an orphans chance for a family. You CAN be a blessing and light in International adoption specifically in Nicaragua. In a day that International adoption is often criticized with cynicism and skepticism, lets make every effort to be that light and walk out any process necessary to meet a need without cutting corners. If you can’t sign on to this process (and I get it if you can’t), I just suggest not doing it.
I REMEMBER the final declaration of abandonment and matching that ended my status as Nicaraguan foster parent to Katy and Khloe. It was a relief beyond words.
I REMEMBER the declaration of the girls as Gibson’s in that tiny court office filled with government representatives. That was another relief beyond words.
I REMEMBER four long months of gathering information on the girls’ culture and falling even more in love with the country as a family. I look forward to returning…. although not anytime too soon. I have heard it speculated that the government has adopting families here so long simply to pour money into their country. Ehhh doubtful as you look at the incredibly small number of adoptions taking place. To really pull that off they need to cut the travel period so as to actually get more families here. There are not many families that can pull off a 3-5 month stay. My humble thought which was echoed by a local here familiar with adoption, is that since they do not get paid for adoption, they make parents count the cost through their time. They want to make us WORK for this privilege. Plus, once you take at least one visit here, you realize that sloooow is how they go.
I REMEMBER the timely provision of friends, Rosa and Erica, and doing life with them daily. Bearing a burden together is a priceless gift.
I REMEMBER the faithfulness of so many friends and family that sent me emails, scriptures, VISITED me, and loved on me from a far. Again, we did NOT do this alone.
Ok. I could remember more but I really do need to get on that paperwork due Tuesday so we can get home!
The girls and I had a little moment today where we wrote one of our favorite verses for this journey on a rock and placed it in a corner around the Pink House. I wanted to take some time to remember His faithfulness and maybe even another adopting family can come behind us and see it and be reminded of His presence in their calling as well.
Also, the following writing was sent to me by my friend, Susan. It described really well my experience during this 4 months in Nicaragua…..
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance;
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision;
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure;
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again. –Annie J. Flint
My Life Is Crazy Too is a series of reader submissions. Your life is a story – this is your opportunity to share stories about life, love, and mommyhood to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. “Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the STORY of your love.” Psalm 89:1 If you would like to submit a story to this series, email me at email@example.com. Today’s crazy guest is Michelle Gibson, adoptive mama. She is home now with her forever family of 7.