“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward,” the words penned by Soren Kierkegaard (an 18th century Danish philosopher) are still true for us today. The prayer journal I kept throughout our adoption journey is one of my most meaningful possessions, as it provides a vivid memorial of God’s intimate involvement in our adoption journey. Our family and friends prayed specifically for the many hurdles along our adoption journey and as each was overcome, we received strength and courage to continue.
The Ebenezer (memorial) you build will magnify God’s love, glory, and power to others who need Him. Your memorial is not just for you, but also a powerful story for those who are around you and those who will follow you.
My prayer is that Aselya will never question that God’s perfect plan for her life included being adopted into the Dotson Family. We were not His second best for Aselya. Our adoption memorial (30+ specific answers to prayer) demonstrates our belief that “adoption is a God ordained way to build a family,” AWAA.
Aselya’s story, while difficult and unconventional is a beautiful picture that demonstrates God’s perfect plan for her life.
Ann and I went before the Russian judge on the morning of October 17, 2003. The 50-something year-old female Russian judge seemed pleased by our answers to her questions…
- Why do you want a fourth child?
- To Ann, “Is your husband pressuring you to adopt?”
- How much money do you give to your church? And who determines how it is spent?
- Do you believe God has told you to adopt?
Ebenezer moments accumulated as the hearing proceeded. Friends and family were praying specifically for this court hearing that our petition to adopt Aselya would be approved and for the 10-day waiting period to be waived. We were told specifically the judge would not waive the waiting period due to increased scrutiny by authorities enforcing the federal law.
As the judge questioned the orphanage pediatrician, he said Aselya was very sick and susceptible to threatening illness and infection if she remained in the hospital or the orphanage. (Miracle # 17) A woman from the Department of Education, which oversees the adoptions, shared that Aselya’s mother had left her in the hospital due to significant health conditions at birth and never returned for her. Then a representative from the District Attorney’s office said the “state” supports the adoption petition and recommends waiving the ten-day waiting period so Aselya could get to the US as quickly as possible and receive appropriate medical care. (Miracle # 18)
At the end of the 30-minute hearing, we were perplexed as the judge broke with the normal protocol of ruling on the petition immediately. The judge adjourned saying that she would render her decision at 3:00pm. We returned to the courtroom promptly at 3:00pm waited anxiously. The judge entered the chamber and immediately began reading her decision. Our translator simultaneously spoke in English yet all I remember were his words, “Adoption approved and the Court waives the 10-days.”
We will never know why her decision was delayed until 3pm, yet it is no coincidence that it was exactly 7:00am in Raleigh, when our community was specifically praying for us. A group of 25 men at my church gathered for the weekly Bible study and prayer begins at 7; our children (Hillary, Bennett and Hunter) were at the breakfast table praying in Raleigh, as well as others. (Miracle # 19)
Our faith grew stronger as the Ebenezer grew accumulating answers to prayer proving that Jesus is real! There was no way this was a mere coincidence. Our faith was rock solid and we were ready to face whatever obstacle lay ahead. We had no idea what was coming.
Ann & I rushed to the Internet café to send an e-mail to our family and friends announcing that Aselya Fedorovna Isalieva is officially our daughter, Lillian Aselya.
What story are you capturing for your family? Do they see God’s power and love come to life as your families’ story unfolds? How strong is your Ebenezer, will it give you the courage needed for the journey ahead? You need to start marking these key moments today for the strength you may need tomorrow.
My Ebenezer prepared me to face Goliath two weeks after our arrival home.