I don’t believe I’ve ever supported a prayer cause more than the one I’m writing about today, a personal story with a request to lift up my sister’s family separated by an ocean—and by obstacles only God can move. I’m asking you to read this, share this, and more than ever, pray for God’s power and glory to be seen as the adoption story continues to unfold.
Last night, I glanced through my Facebook notifications, clicking on the several items that really caught my attention. I thought I’d catch up with my friends and head to bed. I was moving at a pretty good pace until I got to my sister’s new cover photo. I clicked on it, but the mysterious graphic stopped me and stumped me. I mean, would YOU have known what this was supposed to be saying?
What in the world? Forget about going to sleep. I saw that Luann was online so I sent her a message asking about it. Her simple and profound answer:
Love is greater than the distance between me and my children. (That’s 7,867 miles to be exact.)
Some of you may not know what’s been going on in our extended family, so let me catch you up. I have three sisters, and Luann is the youngest. She lives in Illinois with her husband Ken and their 4-year-old son. For the past two years, they have been working through an international adoption of three beautiful Ethiopian siblings.
As an adoptive mom myself, and the auntie-to-be of these three kiddos, this is pretty near to my heart.
Ken and Luann weren’t expecting to adopt three, that’s for sure. But when they received those first photos of the children, their hearts were smitten. No turning back, they immediately began working with the agency to bring the two girls (ages 7 and 9) and boy (age 12) home. While they filled out a myriad of papers and progressed through required classes, their family and friends got busy, too, throwing a gift-card shower to help them prepare for three more kids.
In the fall, Luann and Ken picked up the pace, buying additional bedroom furniture, painting the rooms, and creating a larger playroom. Then as the days grew colder, they shopped for winter clothes, shoes, and boots for the children who were “scheduled” to join their family sometime in the winter. My own daughter began knitting pretty scarves for her new cousins, and the entire family practically squealed with excitement as the preparations progressed.
I loved hearing from Luann the weekend they bought a bigger freezer and new kitchen table to fit their family expanding from three to six.
Right around Thanksgiving of last year, Ken and Luann communicated for the first time with the children via their adoption agency. Special letters, a little personalized picture book for each, and the news “We’re coming soon!” reached the hearts of the elated children who had spent the past seven years in orphanages.
It was the stuff fairy tales are made of—the kind of precious reactions that would make you burst into tears. The oldest said, I know other kids who have been adopted, but I never thought it would happen to me! One of the little girls began asking daily when her family would arrive. And can you imagine the excitement over their new little brother and the adorable white dog waiting for them in Illinois?
Everything was pretty much set for Ken and Luann’s trip overseas. They would meet their children and spend time with them. They would finalize papers, wait on immigration paperwork, and then bring the children home,
And then it all began to fall apart. One thing after another seemed to go awry with final signatures and sign offs. And as time passed, the winter days turned into spring days, and spring into summer. The waiting game became a way of life, on both ends. Mommy and Daddy waiting for their much-loved children, and the children waiting for their forever family to walk through the door.
The last piece of news Luann and Ken just received from Ethiopia is that all systems are likely on hold for at least another six months. What? Can they really keep a family in limbo for an indefinite amount of time? Yes, evidently they can. And you know what? It honestly wouldn’t break our hearts quite so much if the children weren’t ready and waiting for their family, too. When are my parents coming? When will I go to my new home? When will I meet my new little brother? When?
So why am I writing this? I’m actually asking you to join us, to print out Luann’s graphic and tape it to your mirror or fridge, or make it your screensaver. Will you let this simple little “equation” remind you to pray daily…
- Pray for Ethiopian government logistics, a softening of hearts, and for God to move in a way we can’t even imagine.
- Pray for God’s protection and peace on these three incredible children as they wait for their new family to arrive in Ethiopia and bring them home.
- Pray for Ken, Luann, and Jack in Illinois as they continue to trust our Almighty God for the miracle that will bring their family together.
Yes, Luann’s mommy-love is greater than the miles that separate. Ken’s father-love is greater than the distance and days between. And God’s love and care is greater than we can even imagine.
As a family, we’re not stopping or putting a time-limit on our prayers. We’ll be praying continually until the children come home and this family of six has their first meal together around the same table. No matter how long it takes, will you join us as the story continues to unfold?
Love is greater than the distance between me and my children.
Now all glory to God, who is able,
through his mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
***Please contact me if you’d like to be included in prayer updates and/or send a message to Ken and Luann.
Such a beautiful call to prayer and a reminder of the power of a mother’s (and an aunt’s) love.
The power of a mother’s love, the power of a sister’s love…so moving…and more so the power of God’s love, that He sets the lonely in families. Praying that God sets three lonely orphans in Luann and Ken’s family very soon.