If you have been reading along with my blog, you know about Jon and I’s heart to adopt. While God continues to mold and prepare us for this journey, I feel compelled to share others’ stories. That’s why I am launching a brand new series on the blog called Adoption Stories. I pray that these stories encourage and inspire you in the same way that they have me. I am continually in awe of how God is in the details.
I am honored to have Meggan Love as a guest today to tell her story. Meggan has cut my hair for several years, and gals – you all know the intimate kind of conversations that take place in that salon chair. Through the years we have shared our moments of joy, laughter and loss. We’ve told each other stories of God’s goodness. But this one has to be my favorite…
Tell us a little about your family:
Well, the Love family before children included myself (Meggan Love) and my husband (Dane Love) and our Chi-weenie Lacey, and Jack-Russell mix Buddy. I am 26 years old and work as a hairstylist. Dane is 27 years old and works for the Monroe Fire Department. We will be celebrating our 6-year wedding anniversary in May and 11 years of being together this month…yes we were the high school sweethearts that stayed together. Over the past year our family has expanded to include our 18-month-old daughter Faith Hope Love. We are also in the process of our second adoption from Uganda. The little girl we are adopting from Uganda comes from the same orphanage and will become Faith’s older sister. We are also 14 weeks pregnant. So, in one year our family has gone from a husband and wife to a complete family of 5…plus 2 dogs!
Tell us about you and your husband’s decision to adopt.
My husband and I have always talked about adoption as part of our plan. We decided in October 2011 that after our trip to Uganda in January it was baby time. Then sometime in the Fall we would start the adoption process, regardless of pregnancy status. I have always known I wanted to adopt since I was a young girl, which sounds odd. Dane has also grown up thinking about adoption since his mother was adopted.
How did you come to choose Africa?
When we first made the decision that we would adopt I was thinking domestic and Dane was for international. In January 2012 we went on a mission trip with e3 to a region of Uganda called Karamoja. The people of Uganda captured our hearts. When we got home we were both reading the book, “Kisses from Katie” which was given to our friend by a young missionary to Tanzania. We met them in D.C. and they were on the same flight with us to Ethiopia. They let my friend read the book during the long flight and when Kristin went to say goodbye and give the book back, they said they felt God wanted her to keep it. They will never know the impact they had on us through this book. So Dane and I were reading this book separately but at the same time. While I was reading, I couldn’t help getting God’s voice out of my head saying, “You left your child in Uganda”. When I finally talked to Dane about it, he was feeling exactly the same way. We rarely ever are on the same page right off the bat; we normally have to fight our way to that point, but not on this. God led us separately to the same conclusion: our child was somewhere in Uganda. We came to this conclusion only two weeks after coming home from Uganda. So we decided to adopt our first child. We wanted that child to be our first. Next, we had to decide on an agency. Through our research and random contacts that God put in our path, we decided to do an independent adoption. For us, it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We then had to find a home study agency to do our home study. We went with Nathanson Adoption Services, which did a great job.
What was the process of adopting from Uganda like?
Basically, we were told honestly and bluntly the best way to adopt from Uganda is to move there and foster for 3 years. If that is not a viable option then you can try to get “Legal Guardianship” which is what we did. I will tell you that there is no guarantee that an adoption will be successful in Uganda. Knowing this, we made a commitment that if the adoption “failed” in the way of Legal Guardianship we would move to Uganda. We have not wavered on this commitment on our second adoption, which was part of the reason it was hard to make the decision after living there over 6 weeks.
So through that random contact I spoke of before, we found out there was an orphanage with 12 kids ready to be adopted and this orphanage was run by an American that we could trust was being legitimate. That’s how we found our daughter Faith. We then got hooked up with the 5:14 Initiative which is a non-profit ministry that sort of acts as an adoption agency for free. They got us in touch with our lawyer and we continued to do more paperwork. After what seemed like long, long, painful months of waiting we got the phone call to get our tickets and come to Uganda. We left on Oct. 17, 2012. We made the decision to adopt from Uganda on Feb. 15, 2012. So in all honesty, it wasn’t that long, but it certainly felt like it at the time.
While in Uganda, we stayed in Mityana, which is almost a 2-hour drive from Kempala (where we had to go to court, immigration, and the US Embassy). We got there a week before our court date. When we went to court in Kempala, we had to take Faith, the owner of the orphanage and the witnesses who had found Faith with us. We waited in a crowded room for about 4-5 hours and finally they told us to come back the next day. We were seen by the judge the following day and he questioned the witnesses, the owner of the orphanage and myself. It was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. A week later we found out that the judge had granted us legal guardianship. We then waited almost another week to get the decree in writing. We were then able to go to Immigration to apply for Faith’s passport. This was another 4-5 hour wait outside in the heat with a baby. The passport took 10 business days to process. During that time we had to go to the US Embassy to pick up our “Blue Medical Form” and then make another trip to Kempala to take Faith to her physical. When we finally got Faith’s passport we then made an appointment to drop off all the Embassy paperwork. Once they cleared the paperwork we then set up an appointment for Faith’s exit interview at the US Embassy. We had to wait almost a week for this appointment as well because they were closed for Thanksgiving. When we finally got to her exit interview we were hoping to go back the following day to pick up her visa and leave for home that Friday. It didn’t happen that way because the Embassy wanted to question the owner of the orphanage (not a bad thing, they are trying to stop child trafficking so it’s good to check on things, we were just so ready to go home). We finally got Faith’s visa the following Wed. and arrived home Friday Dec. 1st.
Through this process, I went into pre-term labor our second week into the trip. I was 10 weeks pregnant. So, needless to say the ups and downs and emotions of everything were amplified for us. But while we were there, we met our oldest daughter and spent a lot of time with her. We are hoping to go back for her this June.
Adoption in Uganda is not for the faint of heart. You basically have 3 different places that can stop the process: Court, Immigration and the US Embassy. If at any of these points you are told “No,” you would have to appeal the courts, or start over, or move there. Sorry, I know that was a lot of information, but I want people to be prepared if they choose this path.
Tell us the special story behind your daughter’s name.
The owner of the orphanage named our daughter Faith Hope. Our last name just happens to be Love. So she has been blessed with the beautiful name of Faith Hope Love.
What is God teaching you through your daughter?
God is teaching me that with him I can endure anything for my children. He is teaching me how to be more and more patient, which is a daily thing. He is teaching me through Faith to realize that things don’t have to always go as planned, and that’s okay. He is teaching me through Faith to sit down and play with her rather than taking all my free time to clean or do busy work. The mess will be there when we are done playing.
What have you learned about God’s love through the adoption process?
Scripture teaches us that if we follow Christ we’ve been adopted as “sons” into God’s kingdom! We have been made “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”. As Christians, we are no longer “slaves” but “sons” (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:5-7). An heir receives an inheritance from his/her parents and they receive the full birth rights of a son or daughter. What we’ve realized about God’s unfailing love is that He could care less about biology! God’s adopted us (unclean, gentile, sinners) into His holy family with no questions asked. We’ll receive His promised inheritance of eternal life even though we don’t deserve to even whisper His name. We aren’t considered welcomed guests in God’s home, we’re immediate family! He’ll never bring up our seedy past or treat us as some distant step-son/daughter. We belong to Him and our new identity is in Christ. We’re no longer orphans, we’re “sons”! Through adoption we’ve been able to see, firsthand, a small picture of how God loves and views us! By the world’s standards, our children don’t belong in our family, but we call them “sons”. Our daughters will receive an inheritance and they’ll be identified with us through our name. When we look at our children we see the Gospel in living flesh.
What would you say to a family who is considering adoption but is perhaps fearful about taking the first step?
If the Lord is leading you to adoption, do not ignore it. I don’t believe that everyone is called to adoption; however, I do believe as Christ-followers, we are all called to care for orphans in some capacity. This could be through sponsoring a child, financially supporting others adoption, or adopting yourself. There are countless scripture verses that support this belief. Here are some examples:
Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hands of the wicked.” Psalm 82: 3-4
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
If you are one of the people that God is calling to adoption, don’t let finances, or ignorant opinions (even from family), or any circumstance stand in your way from doing God’s will. God loves adoption and he will provide you with the heart and means to finish the task. Adoption, after my salvation and marriage, has been the biggest blessing of my life. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you! I leave you with this verse to consider:
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15
Thank you Meggan for sharing your story! I just love the significance of Faith’s name…I mean really, how many African girls are named “Faith Hope”? And how many adoptive parents have the last name of “Love”? Still gives me goosebumps. God is in the details, my friends.
You can read more of Meggan’s story on her blog. Also, Meggan and her husband are still working on funding to complete the adoption of their second Ugandan child. Do you feel led to support them? Click here.
Do you have an adoption story that you would like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org