My name is Meredith Kruer and my husband Jeremy and I have been greatly blessed by Natalie and JT's friendship. (More than they will ever know.) Natalie asked me to write a guest post and all I could think is..on what? Well, I think I have my topic.
I'm sure you can guess, I know Natalie and JT through the blessing of adoption. When my husband and I start on this journey we began with the plan of 1 child, a healthy infant. As we continued and our friendship with Natalie and JT grew our view on our adoption changed. We decided to increase our age range and be open to a child who is HIV+.
Fast forward, we ended up with a referral on 2 kids, a sibling set. A little girl who is 6 and a little boy who is 2, both HIV+. After talking with my husband, Natalie was the next person I called. Freaking out over 2 kids. She walked me through my thoughts and helped me see clearly.
Fast forward again, we traveled in December to Ethiopia for our court hearing. Here is where things change and what my blog post is really about. While in country we were fully prepared for the sites, sounds and heartache to be seen. We knew and were prepared to see poverty, orphans, and all the emotions that come with that. What we were not prepared for is what God literally placed in front of us, a much bigger calling.
We were out visiting a town, Nazaret about 45 miles from Addis. We had a busy day of visiting a school for orphans and 2 different orphanages. We played, laughed, handed out snacks and clothes to the kids at the school. We loved on, played and laughed with the kids at the orphanages. It was a great day. To be able to open our arms to these sweet kids and just show them love was nothing short of amazing.
While at the last orphanage, when entering Jeremy and I saw a young girl preparing coffee (big thing in Ethiopia). She was stunningly beautiful and we assumed she was a young worker there. After touring the orphanage, we sat under a gazebo and watched her as she finished the coffee. As we sipped the most amazing coffee we had thus far, she sang for us. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Like angles singing from above. I watched her as she sang a song with such passion. Then I looked to our guide, he was crying. It was that moment that I knew that beautiful noise was filled with pain.
After 2 songs, our guide translated what her songs meant. The young woman was an orphan, age 15. She had written the songs herself. She has been in the orphanage for 8 years. What did Her songs mean: song 1; Her life will begin at the foot of Christ. Here on earth she has never known true love, happiness or a family. But her life will begin at the foot of Christ in heaven, where she will have love and a family forever. Song 2; Why is it that God has chosen her to walk this life, a life of no love, no family, no one to call her her own. She has watched our kids loose family and new families come for them. Why has God chosen her to walk this life.
Talk about heart breaking! Jeremy and I cried right there. We were utterly heart broken for this girl. As we got in the van to make our trip back to Addis, we just cried and cried and cried for her. Immediately once back at the Transition House we sent an email to our Sunday School class telling them about this girl and her story. We asked for them to pray for her, pray for a family for her and burden the hearts of others for her.
It didn't stop there. Word got out, emails spread, God began to work. As we left Ethiopia sad and upset about leaving our 2 children, we were just as sad and heart broken over this girl we met. Once home we continued to pray for her. Still heart broken. Our minds raced as she was running out of time to be adopted. See at age 16, they can no longer be adopted into the US. Her birthday was in August. We were told that a family with paper work already done and in country would be her only hope.
Here's the thing. If you are quiet with a still mind and heart and listen closely, you can hear what God is telling you. You just have to be open and ready to be obedient to His Will. And His will may not always be in your plans or your will. But His will is better, we just have to take the leap of faith. God doesn't promise us it will always be easy. In fact He says in Matthew 5:10, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Even though adoption is not easy, it will be hard, it is emotional and adopting older kids and teenagers comes with added challenges, they deserve a chance too.
James 1:27 "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."
It doesn't just say the infant orphans, the healthy orphans or the orphans that we don't think will be too much trouble. God means ALL orphans! It means that though we are guaranteed struggles, battles and hard times, we should praise God through them as He will continue to guide us through the storm.
So what happened to that beautiful 15 y/o girl we met. Her name is Feven and God has blessed her to be part of our family. As we listened to what God was calling us to do, we knew that she was ours. As scary as it may be to have a 15 y/o daughter who will turn 16 in August and we are 30 y/o, I know that we can do it. God will equipped us for it.
After 2 trips to Ethiopia and being surrounded by the older children, this is where my heart is. My heart belongs to my sweet Feven who is legally ours and waiting to be cleared by the US Embassy to come home. It belongs to her friends who are still there waiting for families. It belongs to the ones who will never have a chance at a family if people are not willing to open their eyes, hearts and minds to this wonderful possibility. It belongs to the ones who have already aged out and are living on the streets, no education, no food, no work, no money, no way to provide for themselves. My heart belongs to them. My heart aches for other families to be open. I was scared too and at times I still am. But I also know, these kids are the most wonderful, heart warming, caring teens you will ever meet.
What does our heart ache for? What is it that God has called you to do? I cannot answer that for you, but if you listen closely, you can hear God's whisper. He can tell you.