This blog is primarily in order to document the highs and lows and in-betweens, of life in Port Elizabeth. Witnessing the Lord, Fathering the fatherless. As only He can do.
As Dickens said, it has been both the “best of times and the worst of times”.
We are sure that covid, and navigating the daily longing to hug beloved family members and dear friends, has been a constant ache for you.
We have been thrilled that both my parents have come through planned surgical procedures during 2021, with success. However the longing to physically see both Richie’s parents and family and my own, has been hard. We have had tears at various moments due to our children longing to visit Grandparents & family in Ireland. Photo albums and memories of time spent together have been more meaningful than ever before. And of course, there are always phone calls 🙂
Throughout the last week, we have been reflecting upon the life of Hagar from the book of Genesis. She was an Egyptian servant who worked for a woman named Sarah. Sarah was unable to conceive and so asked her husband to sleep with Hagar instead. Sarah then mistreated pregnant Hagar, to the point that she ran away to the desert.
Many times, we feel Hagar’s urge to run! But through the name “El Roi” we can see that in our absolute lowest moments, God sees our pain and hears our cries. After the Lord sends an angel to encourage Hagar, we read these words: “Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said: ‘You are the God who sees me.’ (Genesis 16:13).
“El Roi” sees Hagar but He doesn’t promise a quick fix to solve all of her problems. He sees the bigger picture, outside of the constraints of time. We are never alone because El Roi is the God who sees! It is often hard to understand why the Lord doesn’t “just fix it”, but we never have to doubt His presence with us in it.
One of the highlights of our 2020 was seeing the above 2 siblings adopted into their forever family after 5 and a half years in our care. Our 6 year old child at the very front made us laugh with her folded arms “AT BLOOMIN’ LAST!!!” she seems to be saying.
It had been a long road for all of them. But worth it! The one thing this adoptive family did not give up on is the promise that God places the lonely in families & He is the Father to the fatherless. It is who He is. They did not let go of His promises. These siblings were the children they had always wanted. Had they not been adopted by this beautiful family, the only other long term solution for the siblings would have been a state run orphanage. (p.s their international adoption took place during covid – which could only have been the Lord!)
Another highlight for us of 2020, was receiving a phone call about the above child – who we later on discovered had an older biological sibling that was in the process of being adopted by a loving family, living right around the corner from our home! This child had been brought into a government facility by her birth mother who herself was unwell and could no longer take care of her infant. This scenario reiterated to us (once again) of the need for a pregnant mothers in crisis home in Port Elizabeth. When the family who were in the process of adopting this child’s sibling, came to our haven to meet the above child – they decided then and there, to adopt this younger sibling as well. We (& the Social Worker!) were thrilled with this outcome! We have become very accustomed to exclaiming: “Only God!” in the past year!!
Three years ago, we had a 2 year old boy adopted from our care. You know a family are thriving, whenever they come back 3 years later all ready to “go again” (!) This time a beautiful, precious 2 year old girl joined their forever family. What blew me away about this story was that when their 5 year old son saw a photo of his new sister for the first time, he exclaimed: “she looks like me!” 🙂
The song below was written by an adult adoptee and here he sings along with his daughter. There are so many reasons why I love this. The song affirms all of the sacrifices, love and devotion of a God who sees the “above and beyond….& then some” that other people could never ever know, or grasp. The untold fighting, journeying and walking out of the “stuff” of biological and spiritual parenting.
Today, we praise the God who knows and has seen every single one of those tiniest details. We pray He would affirm you in all of your love for Him and His kids. We pray that today you would know the forgiveness of a Father, in all those areas where you feel you have “messed up”. You are not perfect, but you are beautiful.
He sees it all.
His love qualifies you today to start over afresh.
With confidence and trust.