I have waited for this day long before I even met Leya. I have waited to walk into a room with the judge. In my head it was more picture perfect : Walk in hand in hand with the man that God has given me to lead and with a child that He has given us to love and we stand before this judge confident in the grace that only He has given us to be what I have desired to be, a mom and a dad. I have always wanted to adopt but oh how much I have learned and all of it has been drastically different than what I thought of adoption.
“In love He predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will….”
Leya was placed in my arms when she was just about 3 weeks. Through a series of events, she made her way to the children’s home that I was currently overseeing, and that day she was just another innocent baby that broke my heart to see how great our sin is and would be brought to live with among 56 other children who were there due to such depth of the human sin of others. I remember driving back to town with her and thanking Jesus for His glorious grace. So often I have made these stories about the rescue of the child and that it is for sure but it is ALL of us in this story. He predestined me. He chose me, in His love and according to His will, He chose me. He chose Josh. He chose Leya. I can begin to forget that I have also been rescued and this is NOT a story of me rescuing. Before time, He rescued all of us.
“To the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”
When we started this process to foster Leya we believed it would be just a few days of paperwork and we would bring her into our home after this momma’s heart had been waiting for over a year. We were hopeful, we were excited, we were nervous to step over that threshold to be her parents but days kept turning into weeks and then months and we still had not moved forward and couldn’t bring her home. During that year I questioned Him, I yelled at Him, I fell before Him in desperation, I was still, I was restless, and it was one of the most beautiful seasons I have had with the Lord. My God, He didn’t change in that season and I have never clung to His glorious grace like I did in those months as I waited to know if I could bring this little girl home.
I learned in the depths of my heart that this story that He is writing for the Hamby family was not one that we were trying to rescue but we needed to be rescued. This story is more about my heart and my relationship with my Father as much as it is about Leya having a forever family.
I am reminded of Hannah, who the Lord closed her womb for a time. She went to the temple and begged, wept, and pleaded so much that the priest thought she was drunk.
“I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.”
I know that posture. I found myself there many nights on my knees in Leya’s finished room as I wept thinking that she may or may not come and it was all out of my hands. She promised the Lord that if He would grant her a child she would give him over to the service of the Lord all the days of the child’s life.
The Lord gave her Samuel, “I have asked him from the Lord” and she weaned her most prized relationship and gave him over to the Temple to serve the Lord.
Throughout this journey we are constantly are faced with the reality that Leya is not ours and that any moment she could be taken away. I have had many nights where I find myself holding her and asking the Lord to show me how to pray over her, and I hear Him whisper to me to pray more for my heart to be like Hannah’s. My hearts and hands will ever be open with her now and for however long she has been given to us. When I have biological children this fear will not be so real, as we don’t have to keep placing the fate of our child into the hands of others but still the reality is the same, children are given to us by Him. I want to hold her close, I want to control, I want to protect, I think that what I can give her is better. Then He reminds me that even if she is not with me, she still has His love to boast in. She has a reason to sing and have hope. With our without us as her parents because He predestined her before the beginning of time. With all of my children I pray I cling to this truth and the heart of Hannah.
We were ready for Monday. We had asked for Him to be made known. We were going to the high courts to appeal to be Leya’s legal guardians. After obtaining legal guardianship we would stay with her three years and then go back to file for final adoption here in Uganda.
We prayed for our hands and hearts to be open. We asked for favor before a devout Muslim judge to see Jesus and that He would be seen as the God and all would know He is good. We asked to have grace and compassion upon her biological family, to have an outpouring of His Spirit as they would see her first time. We asked that the judge would not be harsh with me as it was told to us. We asked for His will to be done.
We walked into the courtroom and the judge looked upon us all with a stoic face and my hands couldn’t help but shake. Leya was in rare form as she wanted to sing and dance in the most tense place I have been in awhile. As the room fell quiet, Leya looked at me and started singing very loudly and innocently, ” I love mommy, I love mommy..mommy is so good to me, I love mommy.” It was then I felt Him come rushing over me and into that room.
“Commit your way to the Lord, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness in the light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 34:5-6
He could have made our case just like every other case but instead He literally moved the heart of a judge to show us favor. The judge was actually KIND to us. My hands and heart were steadied as we walked into a room full of biological faces and our little girl danced and sang still. Through it all, IT IS WELL. We walked out of the courtroom in laughter.
We await our ruling but with hands open and hearts full of His goodness towards us.
This story, the story of our adoption and pursuit of a little girl for almost three years now, it is not about us. It’s about His relentless pursuit of our hearts and in that process a pursuit of a little girl named Leya.
For we know that you are God and that you are good.