When I was very, very young I was an early riser. (That's where Calvin gets it.) As a senior in high school I got mono (and not from kissing anyone, trust me...) and that seemed to totally reset my sleep threshold. Add to that four years of college where naps are a rite of passage, and I became a very good sleeper in my 20s. I can literally fall asleep anywhere. Those of you who have been around my blog a really, really long time know I spent almost a year in bed sick and tired. If sleeping were an Olympic sport, I will be in medal contention.
It started with a glance at a post from a dear online adoption friend who was in Ukraine to bring home her new daughter. She mentioned two special boys that were in this particular orphanage who tugged at her heart and who she believed needed (and had somewhere!) a family of their own. It was as if God had put these two boys on my friend's heart, and she wasn't going to rest until she found them families. Oh, be careful what you pray for - they are heading back to Ukraine very soon to bring one of these guys home as their new son! (More on that later in the post.) The other little guy caught that spot in my heart that can take your breath away. His name is "Lance".
"Lance" is a 6 year old boy who happens to be HIV positive. I confess, while Mark and I have had some surface conversations before about HIV adoptions, we never really felt any specific call to it. We didn't have a lot of information, and God seemed to be pressing some other things on our hearts. But whew. I couldn't sleep for this "Lance". Literally couldn't sleep. 3:00 AM and all I could think about was this boy who had a smile that could light up a room and who ached for a mama and papa of his own. It ate at me day and night. Especially at night.
Finally I spilled my heart to Mark and we agreed that praying for "Lance" would be our personal mission. Meanwhile this boy opened up the discussion again about adoption and specifically what adopting an HIV positive child might look like. Mark asked me questions about raising a child with HIV, and I had no real answers so I spent some time online learning about life with HIV. It was eye opening. Did you know that most people's perceptions about HIV are rooted in data from 1998? There have been so many advancements, medicines, and discoveries since HIV was front and center in the news, and there was much for me to learn. I like to think I am fairly up to date on a variety of information, but even I held on to some "old wives tales" regarding the virus.
Each night Mark and I would pray for our family and always add sweet "Lance" to our prayers - that God would call his mama and papa (and soon!) to come get him. I would check his listing on Reece's Rainbow faithfully and literally beg God to unite him with his family. My heart hurt each night as we prayed for sweet "Lance", and I felt like a runner at the starting blocks waiting for the gun. God, I am ready to go get him if You tell us to. One of the great blessings of my marriage (besides my husband's wicked sense of humor) is that God put together a mercy wife with a discerning husband. I have learned through some good times and some really, really rough times that Mark and I are a terrific team and if a heart stirring is from God, Mark will sense it, too. And while I truly love "Lance" and know God was not going to let me sleep over him, I also realized we probably weren't his parents. And so at night...for hours...I would ask God to clearly call "Lance's" mama and papa to come. To come quickly. To let nothing hinder them. To be bold and to never pause.
Tonight I will finally sleep.
"Lance" is being adopted. His family has found him! Can I get a woo-hoo and an amen????
I don't for a minute believe that my sleepless nights caused "Lance" to find his family. God has had plans for this guy long before I ever saw his picture or heard his story. But can I just say - what an honor it has been to pray for this child? My heart has been forever changed because of this sweet boy, and I pray for his future and his family. What a blessing he is already!
Mark and I are talking again about adopting. We aren't saying we definitely will, but our hearts have been opened again through watching "Lance's" journey. We remember how amazing and life changing adoption is - for everyone involved - and we want to do what we can to help folks who are in process. We may or may not adopt again, but we will always have a heart for adoption. "Lance" has made that clear.
Meanwhile, we want to help support our friends - the Dewberry family - who first introduced us to our prayer buddy through their faithfulness in adoption. I would LOVE it if you would check out their blog, and if you can, help get them back to Ukraine to get their precious son Steven! You can make a tax deductible donation, and they have a matching grant that will in essence double your gift. Any amount is a blessing - not just to pay for plane tickets and paperwork, but to confirm for them that they have folks behind them cheering them on as they adopt their third child!
It is 10:42 PM. And I am going to sleep.
Thank you, Jesus.