Just over a week ago we found out that our baby girl will not be coming home. (You can read my initial post about that staggering development here.) We will miss Kivren–always. Yet amid our sorrow and bewilderment, we know God loves her and has a plan of beauty for her from this situation which appears to us as ashes. His arm is not too short to reach her and protect her. Her life was spared at birth. Her health restored for a purpose, and we pray that she will shine for God wherever life takes her. She will always be a daughter of our hearts and of our prayers.
In His providence. God placed a second child on our hearts even while we believed we’d be bringing Kivren home. A short time after committing to Kivren, we began to pray that God bring forth a a family for a little preschool-aged girl who has been at the orphanage about a year. Almost simultaneously both Ken and I were surprised by thoughts that maybe that family for her was was… ours! We prayed, discussed the different considerations for bringing home an older child in addition to an infant, then finally approached Compassion for Congo and Pastor Didier to ask about adopting her along with Kivren. The initially response from pastor Didier was enthusiastic, and we briefly began to visualize her as part of our family even though we had not given an absolute commitment quite yet. We’d not announced anything publicly yet, but we had discussed the likelihood with the caseworker doing our home study and were beginning to make plans to bring both girls home.
A week later, as we were about to commit fully, we were told that one family adopting multiple non-biological siblings at once puts the orphanage’s reputation at risk as it can be perceived as child trafficking in the Congo and that we could not bring both girls home together. We agreed to honor their wisdom, and do what is best for the future of the orphanage.
Interestingly, while multiple-child adoptions may look more like trafficking in the Congo, this is quite different from how things are perceived in the US. In order to avoid appearances of child trafficking here, our home study allows us to adopt multiple children at once, but not to do separate adoptions in a short time frame. Wyoming approval required we sign that we would not even initiate another adoption until the first child or children had been in our home a full year–which would mean at least a two year delay total. We’d fully committed on baby Kivren, but it seemed we must leave the other little girl in God’s hands (and the devoted care of Pastor Didier’s family) for the present–and perhaps forever. We were perplexed, but there seemed no other options.
The brief window in which we began to think of this smiling little girl as “ours” happened to coincide with the finalizing of our home study and with our submission of the first phase of paperwork to the US immigration agency USCIS. Because of this timing, our home study documents mention her by name alongside Kivren and our first phase of immigration paperwork accommodates her as well. It is amazing to us to see that God orchestrated the timing so that she’s named on our paperwork from the beginning!
Although our bruised hearts ache from losing Kivren, the reasons we initially began on this path remain unchanged, and our love for the second little girl has only deepened. We are proceeding with joy at the prospect that God may yet bring her to our family. Her new name is Kiffanie–it is similar to her name in the Congo, but altered so that she will feel at home amongst all the K names here. What a blessing and provision that even while we sorrow over Kivren being lost to us, we can rejoice at the prospect of Kiffanie coming home!
Kiffanie is about 4 years old. She’ll be nearly a “twin” to our youngest, Kieran. Pastor Didier printed pictures of our family to hang in her room, and they are already calling her by her new name.
We know that the future is in God’s hands. International adoption is not a well-charted course, and we do not presume that we know what our family will look like a year from now. We believe, however that we should proceed in faith for bringing Kiffanie home. Not as a means unto an end (although we do pray that the she’ll soon be sitting at our breakfast table, swinging on our swing set, and snuggling in our laps for story time!) but in love for her her in the present, and trust in the Lord who has placed her on our hearts for His purposes and glory.