|Gabriel~from Guatemala (Winter 2007)|
This is how it began. In 2007, the Lord led us to the little boy you see above. Gabriel. No middle name. No last name.
He was named by someone at the orphanage, we were told. Through several circumstances and prayer, we decided to move forward to adopt him, should he become adoptable. This was approximately November of 2007. December 2007, adoptions were closed to the United States. We believed God had led us to this little boy and for months we prayed as he was our own. Several months into prayer, we were convicted to pray for his reunification with his family, if at all possible, through "Seeds of Change" a devotional, we were doing. We began praying for him to be reunited with his family, if it was safe and the Lord's will. In July '08 (approximate-I'm horrible w/ dates), I ran into my neighbor at the end of our lane, with whom I had never previously had a lengthy conversation. We began discussing adoption, and I shared about Gabriel. She told me the story of a mother who was led to adopt one child, only for that adoption to fall through, and to be led to another child. A preparation of the heart, perhaps? Because... Upon returning home, I popped onto email. In my inbox, there was an email from Donie (female), the founder and director of the orphanage. There is was one word in the subject line, "Gabriel." As I read the email, I had many emotions running through my mind at once. Whoever said you can only have one emotion at a time, anyway? She explained that Gabriel's family had returned for him. That he left the orphanage. And that was it. We were overjoyed for him and his family. We were thankful the Lord had prevailed in keeping this family together. We were sad for us. I think Jim dealt with the grief and sorrow that night and in the days to come. It's taken me a lot longer to process. I've come to realize that the emotions I've experienced are probably somewhat similar to a miscarriage, though I don't have the experience to back that up. The Lord has been prompting me to deal with this, so this is my way of dealing: praying, writing, sharing.
We knew the Lord was saying this was a beginning and not an ending.
We began to pray for God to lead us to the child He had for us. During the process of praying for Gabriel, another name was laid on our hearts: Ana. I sometimes would wonder if Ana was Gabriel's mother, I suppose she could have been. We'll most likely never know, barring a miracle. The Lord clearly, at least it's clear now, wasn't as clear then (walking by faith, not by sight), led us to adopt from Ethiopia. He also showed us we were to adopt two children at one time. A clear sign about this aspect of adoption was that Jim believed this first. I'm pretty much the one saying, "Let's do this. Let's do that." and then I wait for Jim's yea or nea. We committed adopting two children to prayer for some time. One day I finally told Jim, "I think we are to adopt two." His reply: "I knew that. I was just waiting for you to know that." My response: "What?! Why didn't you just tell me?" He told me he wanted me to know from the Lord. Oh my-to have his patience and trust. So, our decision was made to adopt two children, age range of 0-12 months. We knew early on their names would be Gabriel John and Ana Grace.
In the process of waiting for our children to come home, the Lord laid on our hearts to make a trip to Guatemala, to the orphanage where Gabriel lived for the first year and a few months of his life. We flew out of Newark on July 11, 2009, heading for Guatemala. Jim's and my seat got split on the plane, so Jim ended up sitting with Rick and Cindy Erdley. Only God knew at this time, they would accompany us our trip to Ethiopia less than a year later, to pick up our son and daughter. Our son, Gabriel John Kibrom, whose birthdate was declared to be July 11, 2009, by the Ethiopian government-the very same day we flew to Guatemala.
Gabriel and Ana are now 3.5 years old. It's almost unbelievable. Gabriel, from Guatemala, will be 6 years old on March 18. We look forward to the path the Lord has before us. We are blessed beyond words for the children God has given us in our family: Cole, Julia, Gabriel, and Ana. May we continue to walk the path the Lord has, by faith, not by sight.