Some things in life just can’t be anticipated. Some things just strike us from an angle that we never saw coming. When the United States Embassies halted their printing of over a half a million visas worldwide over two weeks ago, we became stranded in Latvia, a bordering country to Russia. The rippling effect of that snafu forced the cancellation of our five flights back to the US, financial issues, physical stresses that–I prayed–didn’t land us in a foreign hospital, and an uprising of faithful prayer warriors.
A few other waiting adoptive families, along with my husband and I, traipsed around Riga in a state of shock with our children in tow. For over a day and a half, we had a new mission–trying to sort out our circumstances and what our future scenario might look like. Deep down we knew that we found ourselves in a very real problem. As if flying at this point in history wasn’t nerve wracking enough, the current conflicts in Eastern Europe were more personal because of our location on the globe. We felt like we were standing too close to the frying pan. So, my husband and I huddled in the park with a few other waiting families, and prayed over our options. Would we mom’s need to watch our husbands board a flight home so that they could return to work? Would we need to hunker down with our children, share housing, and offer each other help and support until those printed visas arrived? When would the visas come? What about our children in the US still waiting for us? We had more questions than answers.
Sunday arrived with hopes of seeing God work in our waiting. A taxi brought us to a little church gathering that had a big heart, a big faith, and was planted right in the middle of the city. It was the turning point for my husband and I. We were welcomed foreigners,loved on, prayed for, fed, and encouraged in the truth that was translated just for us. What we found were new Latvian and Russian friends, that were loving people right where they lived. These sweet people were in the middle of their own crises’–so we took our burdens and anxieties and cast them at the foot of the cross together. The situations we faced were all beyond our abilities to fix and yet–when we left the church that day–peace and assurance began to sink in. Our peace didn’t stem from printed visas, but from experiencing God’s hand holding our family in Latvia for just a little bit longer, all to show love to the people around us.
We became equipped by God to love those that either didn’t speak our language or those that knew limited English. Through us, His love splashed onto the waiter and waitresses at our favorite family restaurant. His love splashed onto the pastors and their wives. His love splashed onto a teenage ballerina from Tennessee, adopted as an infant from Russia, and going to ballet camp in Latvia. His love splashed upon the new adoptive families whose children we saw on a photo listing only two years ago and His love splashed onto an elderly woman who smiled when she gave up her seat on the tram for our daughter Karis. To the women who spent their time escorting their out of town clients around our hotel or to the two clinging young ladies dining next to us at the beach–God’s love was simply modeled by our presence. All in all, after much prayer and personal surrender, I realized that God allowed our family to remain in Europe to love each other a little longer as well and it became a gift.
When Monday arrived with a call from the embassy to pick up our children’s visas though, our elation was off the chart. It would then be a few more days of waiting around Riga and an evening of washing our laundry in the bathtub before flights carried us to Frankfurt, London, and into Chicago. Now, I’m so happy to report that our larger family is in tact, at home, and life feels so surreal. Home feels like home more than ever before. The adoption process we’ve taken on in dangerous times is now a memory but it’s also a testimony to the faithfulness of a loving God and Father that affirms and guides our steps towards the fulfillment of His loving will. He alone gets the glory for equipping us for every intimidating task in this adoption process, intervening into our troubling situations with mercy, providing for our needs in His grace, and relentlessly loving the orphan beyond measure.