Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ADOPTING TWO: Our SON with Dwarfism!

We are overjoyed to announce 
that in addition to Haven

we will be bringing home 
a 2-year-old little boy 
with dwarfism from China!

In order to explain what has happened here, 
we need to tell you about our other son 
who went to be with Jesus last week.

This story is his legacy.

This is the story of our family... 
of broken people walking towards Home. 


I recently received a message from a missionary friend serving in China who is a Sister to me.  Her family actually adopted the first boy I ever advocated for in Ethiopia.  

"I thought about you and Haven a lot yesterday.  I spent the afternoon at the orphanage in our city.  There is a new baby...he has dwarfism.  He has a lot of health problems and is very weak..."

My heart skipped a beat as I opened the pictures.  His future looked dim, but this email was presenting an opportunity to change that.  

What if he was adopted?  I knew that in order for this to happen, a family would have to personally petition the orphanage director to create a file for him and then hope to be matched with him - all very unlikely and extremely difficult.  

Nevertheless, I sent the pictures to Paul.

And we knew.

This was our son, 
and we would fight for him.

We wrote back, asking her to petition the director for his file on our behalf.

"Please tell them to get me his file...His name will be Aaron...this is our son."

I sent several emails to set an adoption process in motion;  then I pushed back my chair, walked into the den, and got on my knees in the exact same spot where I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ not too long ago.  And I pleaded for Aaron.  

"Please Jesus, bring our boy home."  

Then I sat in silence at the Mercy Seat, still on my knees.  I felt a strange assurance; it was as if Aaron was already home.  That night, I fell asleep in prayer while staring at his picture.

"Bring him home, Jesus...
Bring him HOME."

And He did.  

Around 11 am, while I was praying in petition, Aaron's lungs flooded with fluid and collapsed, and he died.  

As I read this news, my heart broke and filled with joy simultaneously.  Whole, complete, and no longer in pain, our son entered the presence of Jesus Christ and was renamed once again by His Maker, while this mother whispered prayers of redemption.    

We FAIL these children over and over again, 
and yet He never does.  

Nothing is lost in Him.  

Not this baby. 
Not the others we have "lost". 

They are Home.  

We are the ones who wait, 
and we do it in the certainty of Hope.  

The missionary saw a glimpse of this Hope more clearly than I could have at the time:

"I believe, if only for a few hours, Father allowed that boy to have a Mommy."


That same day, we heard there was a new file for a waiting 2-year-old boy with dwarfism.  We requested the file but I could not bring myself to open it, because the only funeral that would be occurring for Aaron was currently underway in my heart.

I opened Haven's file instead, 
and read her story for the thousandth time.

I thought of my beautiful girl
waiting for 6 years.


I thought about what I would give for the chance 
to have lifted her out of that crib years ago,

to have traded the years of waiting 
for a waiting family.

Just like Moses and Miriam.

I thought about what I would give 
to have brought her home when she was two, 

which was the year that all the hope 
seemed to disappear from her pictures...


 I realized that I would trade anything for 
a chance to rewrite her story...

But I am not the Author.

So with trembling hearts, 
we opened his file, 

And Mercy was granted.

Paul and I agreed; 
the yes had been written on our hearts long ago, 

and this story about a boy and a girl 
was strangely familiar...

This past Monday, 
we were officially "matched" to our son.

And so it is with great pride
 that we introduce our legacy,

 Aaron Onesimus Roepnack.

He is two years old 
and he has dwarfism
(and looks great in pink!)

just like his big sister Haven

We chose his name 
because just like Aaron in the Bible,

he will be the brother of Moses and Miriam,

And these children have been 
brought home by way of the desert.

Just like their father, Paul.

Onesimus was the apostle Paul's adopted son, 
who was twice redeemed from slavery.

We pray that Aaron Onesimus will grow up with 
the Word of God on his lips and Christ in his heart;
 because what a story he will have to tell.

One thing is certain...

God's picture of this family
just keeps getting better.

"If we are out of our minds, as some say... is for God...
for Christ's love compels us
because we are convinced that One died for all...
that those who live should no longer live for themselves
 but for Him who died for them and was raised again."


A Home for Haven:

Haven's Facebook Group: 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Haven's Care Package

Days after we were approved by China to adopt her, we received word that a traveling family would be visiting Haven's orphanage and was willing to deliver a care package.  Our 3 daughters quickly began picking out treats for their "big" sister, including a tiny purple Princess purse and a Hello Kitty flashlight.  Necessities, really.

Lilly had waited for MONTHS for the word "MATCHED" to appear beside Haven's picture on the waiting child list online, so she picked out matching lady bug necklaces with a tiny Bible verse etched on the back.  She insisted on taking a picture with her gift so that Haven would understand what the necklace was for.  

"It's for matching."

Her file says she likes dolls.  

We weren't sure if this is the standard checked box for every girl with a file from that orphanage or if it is specific to Haven, but we made sure to pack one.  

We named it "Hope".

As I wrote our letter to Haven explaining that she was being adopted and that we were her family, the immensity of communicating with her for the first time hit me.   These words will make up the first page of what will eventually spill out into the story of a life spent together, and will be passed on to Haven's children as their heritage.  

Dearest Haven,

We are so happy to be your new and forever family.  On the first day that we saw your picture, we knew that you were our daughter and we loved you very much.  We think that you are a beautiful treasure!  We are excited to come to China and bring you home to America, where we will take care of you and love you with all of our hearts, no matter what and forever...

I tucked the letter in with the album, and Lilly asked everyone to kiss the doll.  I wiped away tears as I slid our future across the counter to a Fedex employee, who was now also crying as she taped the box shut.  

A few days later, the mama who delivered the package told me about her visit and emailed each picture to me, one at a time, over a slow connection from a hotel room in China.  She refused to go to sleep until I had confirmed that we received all of them.  

The first picture we opened was of a nervous little girl. 

I can only imagine the confusion of this moment 
as people translate and cameras are pointed at her face... 

Does she even want to be adopted anymore?  
Had years of rejection hardened her heart?  

But joy emerges as she begins to absorb what is being said, and our beautiful daughter reaches out with both hands to accept our family.

It's not too late.

She is told that we are coming for her, that we chose her
and that she has 4 brothers and sisters 
and a giant dog named George.

Then, she points to MY picture and says the one word 
that makes us all a family forever....

 She says, 


Yes, Baby.  


And as each picture loads to our screen, 
we learn something new and precious about 
our daughter, our sister, our legacy...

We learn that while she is physically 
much smaller than we had imagined, 
she fills up the room with her BIG personality.

We learn that true to her file, 
she really does love dolls.

We learn that waiting until spring 
for this precious girl 
is going to be harder than we thought.

In the final picture, she flashes a smile as she goes back to her everyday life, which is unknown to us and which we pray is filled with love. 

Her caretaker carries her Hello Kitty flashlight for her, and our daughter carries a tiny purple Princess purse in her hand and "Hope" on her shoulder - inside of a pink backpack.

And I whisper it once more, 
because He has always known, 
and He was always there...

"I will not leave you as orphans.  
I will come to you."

Hang in there, Baby.

We WILL come for you!