I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU
We had the pretty special privilege of having our meeting day with Ethan at Shepherds Field Children's Village. For those of you that don't know, this is where we met E when he was one and a half while my daughter and I were on a mission trip. SFCV was his home and his people for a year and a half. They had loved him as their own and taken great care of him during that time. Shepherd's Field was where and how we met him. I got to see first hand exactly what adoption looks like there. (Like I actually got to see one take place in person.) It was where my heart was forever changed for the Fatherless.
A lot of adoptive families don't get to visit their children's orphanages. And when they do, most of the time, it's really hard. Most of these children are not coming from ideal situations when when they meet their families. Thankfully E was soooo loved and cared for in his waiting. From his home orphanage in Hohhot all the way to Shepherd's Field. Ethan's situation was a little different because SFCV was a foster facility that partnered with orphanages by providing medical care, therapy, and education with compassion to at-risk orphans and children with disabilities. When Ethan needed heart surgery that his home province orphanage could not provide, they contacted SFCV and worked together to get him everything he needed and SFCV continued to care for him until we got him.
It was a huge deal for us to get to meet him at Shepherd's Field. Since Lily and I were the only ones that had met him before adopting him, it was really special that the rest of the family could see Shepherd's Field. That they could see what Lily and I had been telling them about for so long. It was a big deal for them to get to see him in his element with the family he had there. It was important that, as a family, we could see what we were all leaving behind.
This is what I wrote after reuniting with Ethan and spending the day with his Shepherd's Field Family.
We all played with his Shepherds field brothers and sisters for the afternoon. It was great for everyone to get to see him in the environment he is accustomed to. But to see how much the kids and his Ayis are going to miss him hurts my heart. They really love him. They are family. Cody was loving on him when he got up from his nap. He rocked him and soothed him and told him it was going to be okay. Just like a big brother.
There was a sweet big brother protective spirit in him. I couldn't understand his words, but I could see his heart. Then a translator visiting leaned over to tell me what was happening and what Cody was saying. She said Cody was telling Ethan he was going to be okay and to be brave because his new family would keep him safe and love Him. And then Cody told her “Ethan is getting to go to America with a family and I don’t get to go, so I am a little sad. But I am happy Ethan gets to go.”
It literally took everything in me not to lose it. Oh my heart. A little bit of it broken again. Sweet boy there is a mama out there for you. If only we could bring you home too. If only it was that easy. Which is exactly what Jed said when we left their house, Can we bring Cody home too, Mommy?” And all the kids in unison say, Yeah!” Oh how I wanted to say yes. Oh how I want it to be that easy. My soul groans for a day that there are no orphans.
This weighs on me as I close my eyes tonight. The ones we will leave behind tomorrow. God I pray for peace and I know you have new joys for us tomorrow. I pray for the family that Ethan leaves behind tomorrow and all the ones still waiting for family.
This is something that still weighs heavy on me to this day. The ones we left behind. Cody was one of the boys that Lily and I fell in love with when we went to China the first time. He has this infectious personality that just pulls you in. There is one other that I wish we could have brought home as well. It's funny how God aligned all of our hearts for the same children. We even inquired about Cody when we got home. Only to find out that he was only adoptable within his home province because they do not allow international adoptions. I know of several other families that also inquired about Cody.
There is one other little boy that we fell in love with and left behind too. We still pray for these boys everyday. It hurts my heart that the adoption process is so difficult. It hurts my heart that children like Brody and Cody long for families and wait for so long, when there are so many that would love to make him their own. It makes me so sad that there are so many waiting families out there longing for a child. It makes me sad that right now some of those waiting families have been waiting for so long through the Pandemic. It breaks my heart that this World is in the state it is, when sometimes the answers to fix seem so obvious. All I can do is continue to pray. I claim this promise that God will not leave them as orphans.