Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finally a Family of 6....

Nearly 3 years ago our family firmly understood God leading our family into the adoption of a child. The desire to adopt had always been a hope of Mark and me since we were married, and after 10 years, through a series of promptings and prayer, we knew the time had come for us to formally purse it.

Never would we have thought that this journey would be a long and as hard as it has. Never would we have realized how much we would grow to understand the depth of God’s character-- His love for us, His love for the fatherless, and His relentless pursuit for righteousness --more than we have during these past years.

Most of you know that we began our adoption process in Rwanda. We hung on for a nearly 2 year roller coaster ride of emotions, changes in government policy, and eventual heartbreak. Despite our desperate attempt and the bold attempt by others (many we had never even met before) to bring a little girl home, that ended last spring when the government closed all active cases and ceased giving out referrals. We had lost a lot. We fought all kinds of emotions during that time, wrestled with doubt and fear, wondering if we really were supposed to be a family to a child who did not have one.

But we felt God still leading us to adopt. So, still a bit fragile and raw, I began looking into possibilities again. Fairly soon after, I stumbled upon an article from some guy who hated Christians and adoptions (amazing what God can use to reveal what He wants) and he referenced one blog in particular in this article about a family adopting in Ghana. I looked into their blog and then through research, realized we had a few “mutual friends” on facebook. That friend introduced us to this family. Not only have they adopted 4 children from Ghana, but they started an organization that works with orphanages in Ghana. It was through her that we were given the hope of adopting a little girl again.

We redid paperwork, made calls, paid more funds, and began to hope again. We received a picture of a beautiful little girl and began to see her as our own—a gift of fatherhood from our heavenly father.

We have had great people doing wonderful things throughout this process. We have had people in Ghana working tirelessly on our behalf, people at the orphanage loving our sweet girl and telling her about us. We have had people in America helping too in many ways, especially praying for our family.

And last week we finally received the news we had been waiting for, sometimes not so patiently. We passed court in Ghana and Ruth became a Hansen! We will travel for our first trip in late January. We will meet Ruth for the first time, spend time at the orphanage, and file some necessary paperwork while in country. We will then have to say good-bye and wait again several months and hope and pray for 2 more U.S. government approvals (I600 and Visa) so we can travel again to bring her home. We are excited and nervous about these next steps, but lean into our God with confidence and hope.

Due to our failed first adoption, many of our personal finances were lost. Having to start most of our paperwork over to change countries and the fact that 2 trips to Ghana are necessary, we are a bit short of funds to bring her home. Our family still needs approx. $4,000.00 to be able to pay for our “bring home” trip.

If you are at all interested in helping bring Ruth home,  a tax deductible donations can be made and send to:

The Titus Task
c/o Hansen Family
PO Box 82
Siloam Springs, AR 72761

Your continued prayers for our family are so appreciated as we know just how valuable and needed they are!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not to us...

13 years ago, Mark and I had a verse spoken at our wedding. A verse we felt that we wanted our life together to reflect His work in our hearts.

"O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness." Psalm 115:1

When we walked down the isle that day, as new husband and wife, we were left to anticipate all that would come. Circumstances both expected and unexpected...

I was driving in our van on April 17, 2012, exactly 13 years later when I received a call. This dear one on the other side of the world had been doing ALL she could to help bring a little girl from Rwanda into our family. A little girl we had been anticipating for nearly 2 years.

But when she told me this adoption would not be, my heart was exposed to a kind of grief I had not known before.

***The following is something I wrote during that time***

Her hands are bound. Tied together by a cord that bears both trial and trust. I went. I took her to the place I was told. It was a much longer journey than I thought. Days of sheer heat, nights of crippling cold. Much longer this journey, than my life seemed to hold years. Days of clearly marked paths turned into a bedlam of twisted, wicked, unknown climbs. But always to the higher place. The place I had been told to go. And now we are--this place He said to go. The alter built. Her hands bound. That cord of trial entwined with trust. My heart too, feels bound. I know He has done it before… I look around. Waiting on His provision, looking for the ram. She lays there; confusion seems to have paralyzed her body. Calming words I cannot offer. None-the-less, she is silent and still. My heart feels the weight of His ask and I do not believe it to be so. Trust, this time, can only be seen by the visible eye. Where is that ram?

He wouldn’t be asking this of me…surely not. Surely not He who provides, who spoke the earth into being. I obeyed. Walked each step. Waited. Called to Him. Heard His voice. Shared His glory. Built this alter. Where is He who says He loves me? Where is He who said “Go”?

I know. I cry out in a pain I have never known before. Pain that pierces so deep, I wonder if breath will ever return to me. I wonder if joy will be estranged to me forever. Only where pain resides?

Winching as I touch the knife at my side. Feeling its sharp tip, it would be better if it were for me. Holding it firm now, pleading for the ram to come. Pleading for Him who provides to do what He has done before. Why would He be asking me to do this?

He speaks now. Not in angels. Not in animals. He speaks now, the way He has spoken before. Gentle and firm and I know. He has spoken nothing about what will be--what will come after, but has spoken to what is now, and what I am to do.

My heart stings. My hands shake. I lift the knife. She is yours now…she always was.

And I hear, “So are you.”

Why? Why? Why? Barely a whisper comes from me. The pain. Deep. Real. Pain as if my soul has left me…why? Despair acted out in the tearing of clothes.
He speaks again. But not to tell me all the things I long to know. Not to tell me why. Only to remind me that it is He who provides. And I say, “Hear I am.”
Lifting my lifeless feet, I begin the descent from the place He told me to go. Leaving the place of sacrifice and despair. Onto the journey where the days of sheer heat are met by the crippling cold of night.

All the way down, wondering. Asking. Tears turning into verbal groanings of agony. Down the bitter path. Feeling my way back. What will happen when I get back home? How will He restore?

He who promises to provide speaks. He speaks of this journey. He speaks of His promises to me. He reminds me step by step, back down the twisted path. He provides…
Why? I wonder. Pain still raw. Could I have known it without the sacrifice? Could I understand otherwise? No…no…. To know the One who provides is to know sacrifice. The journey-- those twisted, wicked roads. To know, and to love.

Seeing the fields now from the start of the journey long ago. Fields now blooming with wildflowers of color. Relishing in the beauty, knowing it will take time. Seeing what He who provides-- beginning to understand. Not always what I want. But always what He wants to give.

Love for Him. Peace from Him. Confidence in Him. Hope—to come. Yes, He who provides, restores. Knowing it is my heart He provides for. Through sacrifice He gives. More—of knowing Him. Clinging now, I follow. He who promises to provide.

God has been generous to us. In our time of trial, He revealed the joy that James speaks of. In our moments of unbearable grief, He sustained our souls and protected us from our own confusion. And in a season of the unknown, He has revealed a measure of His goodness to us that is matchless to anything else.  

For we serve a God who is about the journey...and we are so hopeful about a new journey He is leading us on.

This blog is where we hope to share that with you.

"O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness." Psalm 115:1