Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Nichols {Part 2}

Update: You have given $500 towards bringing Rediate Zahara home!!  Things are moving QUICKLY with this family...wouldn't it be amazing if they were fully funded by the end of this month?!  They have $3,500 left to go...please give from your heart; let's get.her.home!

James 1:27 (CEV)
27Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.

Most Christians who have adopted children are familiar with the passage in James shown above. For our family, it has helped us see our calling in this world.

Prior to April 2010, we were a family of 4 children, Haley (18), Lydia (16), Zachary (7), and Ethan (7). Lydia, Zachary, and Ethan were all adopted. During the Fall of 2009, we were given an opportunity to give a home to two boys from Ethiopia whose parents had passed away. They were from an area of Ethiopia that spoke a language called Tigrinya, and they lived in an orphanage run by an adoption agency. After praying about it, we decided to give it a shot. Near the end of April 2010, we were able to bring Rewina (age 8) and Mulat (age 6) home to America to be part of our forever family. For those that have never adopted older children, it is filled with many surprises, and being able to go with the flow of these surprises has been part of our process of successfully blending our new children into our family.

One of the surprises we learned about from Rewina (now named Levi) and Mulat (now named Isaac) was an older sister, Letemeskel. They would tell us that Letemeskel would cook and clean for them. They also told us some sad stories, but it was clear that Letemeskel meant a great deal to them. They also told us that they were placed in an orphanage so “Letemeskel could eat.” After a lot of prayer and consideration, we came to the realization that by adopting Levi and Isaac, our family was now connected to their birth family. With this understanding, we asked ourselves: If any member of our family needed a place to live, wouldn't we open our home to them? Obviously, our answer to that question was yes, we would, and once we came to that answer and knowing that we are all part of God's family, we decided to try to give Letemeskel a home in America. At this point, we contacted our adoption agency and they were able to find her and let us know that we could adopt her. We knew financially it would be stretching things, but we knew if it was meant to be, God would provide a way for us.

In January of 2011, Susan made a trip to Ethiopia and met Letemeskel for the first time. When she was with her, she didn't leave her side for 2 days and slept right next to her that night in the guest house. During the time together Susan was able to see that she was going to be a tremendous gift to our family.

In April of 2011, Scott made the final trip to Ethiopia to complete the adoption of Letemeskel. While Scott was in Ethiopia, Levi was riding in the car with Ethan and Susan. It was a warm and quiet moment with Ethan and Levi both looking out the car window, and they shared this conversation together:

 Levi: "I like myself like dis."
Susan: "What do mean? "
Levi: "I really do believe now dat I can talk to God."
Levi: "I didn't believe it in Ethiopia. I was like 4 or something. Now I believe it."
Susan "What do you mean Levi? Tell me more."
Levi, "Every night I say prayer, quietly, in Tigrinya. I say for my sister to come to America. I pray like you say. Now she come to America and I believe God hear me when I talk Tigrinya or English. My life is good now... I believe God hear me."....." I hear him too. "
Levi: "Mom, why you cry?"
Susan: "I am proud, happy."
Levi: "I do not understand girls cry when day happy."

Soon after this moment, Scott and Letemeskel arrived in America where Susan and the rest of the children were waiting at the security gate. Everyone was very excited, but Levi was jumping for joy and when they were able to embrace one another as they walked through the gate, it was a moment we will never forget. Tears of joy were shared all around and we are truly blessed to be given a gift such as this to reunite these children who are now part of our forever family.

One of the great lessons we have learned as we have fostered the growth of our family into one that crosses borders across the world is that we are not special. We are not especially gifted parents with unique skills that give us the ability to raise adopted children. However, it is God's grace that has been given to us that has raised us up into parents who can now appreciate and treasure that our children bring a wealth of different life experiences into our family that we can all share together. We now see that all children are from God's family that deserve parents who can give them a loving home that fulfills their needs. As we have walked with God, he has shown us that it is our duty as Christians to help fulfill the needs of the children of the world. There are a multitude of ways of doing this, and adoption was the path that we chose to follow.

Scott and Susan Nichols


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