God is faithful, A homecoming story
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26.
You may remember Flint, who we have advocated and prayed for multiple times over the years, and whose story we shared in a China Waiting Child advocacy post here. In a world currently consumed with news of uncertainty, Shelby & Leonie Goertzen’s journey is a MUST READ story and reminder of God’s faithfulness through the most challenging of circumstance.
Shelby and I would like to share Isaacs’s story with those of you who have had a part in it. I will attempt to recount the many ways God’s hand moved over the whole adoption process. We submitted our dossier to China in October last year with the intention of adopting a little girl under the age of three. Ever since Luke, our 6-year-old, has been home from China (over 2 years), he has been asking for a little sister (he’s even started a little sister collection jar). And we have longed for a little daughter. The first of many miracles was the Loving Ambassador trip to China in itself. When I signed up to go on the trip last year, I had no idea how God would use that experience and the trip to transform our lives.
As we prepared, our team began to pray for the children who would be participating in the program. Immediately, we noted that “Flint”/Isaac would be aging out in January 2020, less than three months from when we’d be meeting him. How could a child that close to 14 be adopted in that time frame? As we all began praying big prayers for each of the children on the list, God began to work on my heart regarding “Flint”/Isaac. It was a distraction, really, because we were going to adopt a little girl! But He persisted, and as I wrestled with God, I came to a conclusion. I told God, “I am going to need positive confirmation that this is not just my crazy idea, and you are going to have to get Shelby on board without me begging and pleading.”
After meeting “Flint”, my heart was even more burdened, and I felt so drawn to him. I began praying more specifically for clearer directions. That evening, my roommate’s son, who also has cerebral palsy, chose to pray for “Flint,” and his simple prayer seemed to be directed right at me. “Dear Jesus, Give Flint a Mommy and a Daddy right now.” The next day, we went to the zoo with the children. I put myself in “Flint’s” group. As I watched him walk the whole two hours even though I knew he was exhausted, my heart went out to him more. I approached our family coordinator to discuss whether considering his adoption was even possible, given the approvals that would be needed in such a short window of time. After a wild flurry of communicating back and forth, they came back with the answer, YES, they thought it might just be possible.
“Okay God, now there is just one other major fleece to put out: Shelby.” I called him and told him all that had happened and how my conviction was continuing to grow. His first response to me was that if God was speaking, then we had better listen. God can send us a little girl when He wishes”.
On Wednesday, November 20, we committed to trying to adopt “Flint” and doing whatever it took to bring him home in time. We knew this would be no small feat! For those of you who have completed an international adoption, you will realize what a miracle this whole timeline was. It was 46 days from submission of our letter of intent (LOI) until we traveled.
We were encouraged to set up a fundraiser to help with expenses because many had been following “Flint’s” case, some of them for years, and wished for an opportunity to help. Once again, God moved. We opened the fundraiser on December 5, and exactly 7 days later we had reached the target of $20,000.00. The donors were largely strangers to us. In our experience, this is not how any of these processes work! It was a big sign for our adult children that God’s hand was in this!
We traveled to China and met Isaac at 7:30 am on January 13th. His official adoption paperwork was signed on January 15th, with two days to spare before his 14th birthday, upon which he would have become ineligible for adoption.
We arrived home on January 25th just as the coronavirus was shutting things down, and once again we were reminded how perfect God is and how He has everything in His hands. Had the virus flared just one or two weeks earlier, we probably would not have been allowed to travel and get Isaac, and his window would have closed. As I write this, there are many adoptions sitting on hold.
We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to each of you for your part in bringing Isaac home; whether it was through prayers, or donations, or by physically helping us through the many steps. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you in moving mountains to write this chapter in Isaac’s story. We ask for your continued prayers as we continue to adjust and bond as a family as well as for the many children who continue to wait.