With the holiday season waning, I can’t help but think about how different this year has been. A year ago, Eric and I were still waiting on a court date in Uganda for Layla’s adoption and had been away from her for 8 months. Little did we know, we were only half way through our season of waiting with several months still to go.
Thinking back on that long year of waiting, I remember how scared I was and how everyday I worried that we were never going to get Layla. Satan would remind me of problems I’d heard about with other adoptions, and I constantly thought about them happening to us.
As you may know, there are many hoops to jump through during an international adoption. The government is unorganized, and things only move along with a showing of status or money. There is no order or timeline. Things happen when your lawyer or the judge feel like it should happen. However, the most stressful part for me was waiting for our meeting with the U.S Embassy. There, the embassy hears your story and decides if a visa will be granted to go to America. This is the VERY last step of the adoption while in Uganda, and if something goes wrong, this is where it normally happens. America wants to make sure that the child is an orphan and that no trafficking is involved. Although these were not issues with Layla’s case, I was still scared. I had heard several stories where parents had done nothing wrong, but the child was still denied a visa. Layla’s biological father is still alive and was required to go to the interview with me. The embassy wanted to ensure Layla was an orphan and that her father was unable to care for her. Her biological father did not speak any English, so I was not able to speak with him very often.
It didn’t really matter what I said in the interview. Everything depended on what her father said and thought about the adoption. I cannot tell you how many times I prayed about this interview. Saying I was worried is an understatement. Worry and fear consumed me. I thought about it more than anything else. I would ruin perfectly happy moments with Eric just by worrying. It didn’t matter how many times I heard God tell me it was going to be ok, I was not going to believe it until I saw it happen.When it was time for the interview, something amazing happened. Somehow, I completely, 100% gave everything over to God. This was the only moment in my life that I remember EVERYTHING being out of my control. There was nothing I could say or do to make them grant Layla that visa. In that moment when I walked into the interview, I finally handed everything over to God. For the first time in over a year, I had absolute peace. I was no longer scared or worried about the outcome. I did not have peace because I knew the answer would be yes, but because I knew God was in control and his outcome would be the best outcome for our family.
I wasn’t able to answer all the questions they had for me. Through a translator, I heard the biological father stumble through answers and say almost everything I prayed he would NOT say. Despite what I heard, I was not scared. I somehow knew it was all going to be ok. As I sat there, I wondered how much more amazing life would be if I lived it like I was during this interview—with complete peace and 100% in God’s hands. I had no clue what the outcome would be, but was relieved that God was in control.When we left the interview to await the decision, I remember playing with Layla in the waiting room. Unlike what I thought would happen, my hands were steady and my heart was still. I was thinking only about her and the unknown plan God had for our life. Then, they called me back in the room. The woman mentioned some concerns she had and asked a few more questions. As she listed her concerns, I knew Layla’s visa was denied. Everyone I had talked to said even one red flag would cause the visa to be denied. My heart sank, but I was still not worried. I just wanted to leave the office to collect my thoughts. The woman kept talking, but I don’t remember hearing her words until she said, “Layla is declared an orphan—her visa will be granted”.
I witnessed a miracle in that small room in Uganda with a woman whom I will likely never see again. God had complete control—just as He told me from the beginning. Everything was ok. It didn’t matter what her biological father or I said. God had a plan, and If God is on our side then nothing can come against us.
Today, I am thankful for my beautiful daughter who is in America with us. I am thankful for a God who hears our cries and who can overcome any obstacle when we give him control.