We finally sent in our adoption testimony to Show Hope for the wonderful blessing of the grant they gave us that helped fund our adoption. We wanted to share it here on our blog as well. We also just celebrated our first American Christmas and Ethiopian Christmas with Brielle. She is still doing so well, and I am daily overwhelmed with thanksgiving to the Lord for the gift that he has given us in her.
Just days after our engagement in December of 2000, Nathan and I began to dream about what our family might one day look like. Both coming from large families,we were excited about having lots of children. We knew that adoption would be one of the ways that the Lord would grow our family in His perfect timing. Nathan grew up with a brother adopted from Vietnam and had experienced the miracle of adoption and way it blesses all who experience it. I had traveled to Kenya and experienced the Lordʼs heart for the children there and had taken several classes at Wheaton College regarding third world issues and the plight of the worldʼs orphans. Little did we know that on July 20th 2010, our ninth wedding anniversary, and exactly ten years to the date of my trip to Kenya, we would be in Ethiopia in a little court room, having a judge pronounce that our precious Bire (Brielle) was now ofﬁcially our daughter (becoming our 4th child). What an amazing anniversary gift from the Lord!
The story our daughterʼs name and the dates surrounding her adoption still
overwhelm me every time I think about them. They are a manifestation of the intimate
knowledge and perfect love and leadership of the Lord over each of our lives even in
the midst of devastating circumstances. The beauty of adoption is that when there
seems to be no future and no hope, God provides a future and a hope in Himself--so
often through His Body. We felt led to begin the adoption process in January of 2009.
We spent months of research and prayer regarding the country and agency we were to
pursue. We were accepted to America Worldʼs Ethiopia program in April of 2009,
pursuing a girl 0-18 months. Shortly after we began the process, we decided on the
name Brielle for our daughter. We loved that it means “God is my strength” and began
praying for our daughter by name every day. When we we received our referral call for
a 15 month old baby girl a year later on May 20th, 2010, we were shocked when our
family coordinator began spelling her Ethiopian name B-I-R-E--pronounced “Brie”. We
were truly in awe of our God and the fact that we had been praying for our daughter
literally by name for over a year-even before she was orphaned! Our show hope grant
enabled us to accept her referral immediately. As a pastoral family with limited income,
Lordʼs provision through this ministry blessed us tremendously! When Brielle became
our daughter on our anniversary--a date chosen by the Ethiopian judge--there could not
be any greater conﬁrmation that this was indeed the daughter God had chosen for us.
We can not wait to tell her of the love of God for her in this way as she grows up. He
truly has our days written in his book before one of them comes to be. His ﬁngerprints
are on every single detail!
We were able to bring Brielle home on August 20th of 2010. Due to Ethiopiaʼs
two trip policy we spent about half the summer traveling and the other half packing and
unpacking. We were so thankful to ﬁnally have our whole family together! We had
been prepared in adopting a toddler for a challenging transition, but things could not
have gone more smoothly! She is one of the happiest and most delightful and engaging
little girls I have ever met! She brings daily joy to our family and all who know her. One
would never guess now that she was ever malnourished or had battled malaria multiple
times! She often looks around at all the loving faces surrounding her--family and
friends--several of whom have also been adopted and blessed by Show Hope--squints
her eyes, scrunches up her nose, puts a HUGE smile on her face and does a happy