When we were told that we could buy our tickets to fly to Liberia and get our children
we were ecstatic and a little scared. I believe you fantasize about sweeping off to another
country to pick up your newly adopted children.. then the reality hits. I will be flying
thirty hours to a strange country that is dangerous, disease ridden and completely foreign
in language and traditions. I also would be taking this trip with my sixteen year old daughter
who had never left the country
Even though all our paperwork was in order, I knew from other international trips that
anything could happen. Would they approve us at the embassy? Would there actually
be someone at the airport to meet us? Would someone be there to walk us through the paperwork?
How would our newly adopted children react to us? How would four new children ages 8 months,
2,3 and 7 fit into our family of 15?
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Tim 1:7
I knew from other adoptions and just life that the fear I was experiencing wasn't coming from
God. He alone had opened all these doors and he would see us through...
So we took off on our adventure..... supplied with Malaria medication, medication for dysentery,
every shot you could imagine for diseases, medical kits, emergency medical insurance, tons of
I have to say that the trip going to Liberia was relaxing. We slept, read, and just enjoyed being together. We had no idea how much we need that rest to get through the next week.
After being picked up at the Liberia airport we headed off to our accommodations. We were staying with Missionaries. It was a compound with brick walls topped with bobbed wire and manned with an armed guard, standard practice for Americans in Liberia.
Our room was a standard room that you might imagine in a motel, beds,crib. The thing that
set it apart was the extreme heat and humidity and no air conditioning. I have never been
so extremely grateful for one small fan in my life! The heat was only increased by the mosquito
nets we were supposed to keep over our beds at night. I just continued to pray that no one
would get sick on this trip.... and left my net off.
The next day we went to the orphanage to pick up our kids. It was raining so hard we were drenched after walking from the car to the orphanage door. Immediately I was handed a precious
baby girl when I walked in the door. I had prayed that she would immediately bond to me and again that prayer was answered, because from the minute she entered my arms she refused to leave, even to go to her known caregivers. We walked a few feet more and there stood our other
three children. My first reaction was pure shock! The little boy that was supposed to be three was just a baby, my guess being not more than one year old. My first thought was that I had three babies!! Deep breath..... and then.... I could see they were the most beautiful children in the world and they were mine. I immediately put my arms around them... holding them close and Praising a wonderful SAVIOR that would give me such a precious gift. After a tour of the orphanage and a wonderful time singing and dancing by the children we headed off to our temporary home.
The children were all so sad looking. There is a look to children who have little hope, I have seen
it many times. A blank look in their eyes..... my children not only carried a look of no hope but were still traumatized by lack of nutrition. My one and two year old still had huge bellies and skinny limbs, constant diarrhea, parasites, orange hair and a hunger for food that could not be satisfied. I KNEW that all of this was temporary. I had seen the hunger both emotionally and physically before, and I witnessed that transformation back to life, by my loving God. They were now on there way to healing in every sense of the word.
It was a long week of adjustment but I know now it was so necessary for us. It was time to bond, get to know one another and spend time learning about the Liberian culture. We visited beautiful
beaches, stores, a hospital, and other missionary's homes. One moment be basked in such immense beauty, the beach and the lush jungle, then we were driving by bombed out buildings, dirt roads, and primitive living condtions, constantly kept my emotions in turmoil.
Exhausted and wondering how I was going to handle three babies on the plane even with my older daughter, we boarded the plane for home. My daughter immediately took two of the children, even fighting her own exhaustion, and settled into her seat. (I am convinced I NEVER COULD OF DONE THIS WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER PAIGE!
I will be forever grateful for her.) The older children fell quickly asleep (thank God) but the baby
would not be comforted. A motherly stewardess found a car bed and attatched to the wall in front of me (I didn't know planes had these) and she went quickly to sleep.
So many people stepped up to help, carry a car seat, talk and calm a child, hold my bags, even fill out paperwork in Africa. Were these all Americans? No! I had as much help from the African people as I did from my own country. Jesus shows his face in all nations and in every heart.
Some experiences just change your life, leaving an imprint on your heart forever. God didn't just have us adopt four children, but had us adopt a country.... a missionary field in our hearts.
My daughter Paige longs to return and I believe she will in God timing. And my heart... well
it is already there in ministry and in spirit.....