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A Year of Thanksgiving

As we look back and reflect on God’s goodness and his providence during the whole process we want to celebrate the work that God has done.

In mist of a tumultuous period in history, it is with great thanksgiving that I reflect upon the past year. One year ago today Olivia and I picked up her U.S. visa as the final piece needed for us to come home and be reunited as a family. Oh what a joyous day it was!

These past few weeks have been filled with many memories and some final year milestones: from our second quick trip to Rwanda, getting the notification we could finally go in for her visa interview, her visa approval, saying our good byes, and finally boarding the plane a year ago today to come home.

As happy and joyful as this day was (and believe me, it was very happy), it brings with it some very bittersweet memories. My heart longs to visit Lagos again. I miss the culture, the food, the people. The memories that Olivia once had have started to slip away, and as time wears on I know mine will too. As Olivia and I took off for the U.S. one year ago the tears burned in my eyes. We were going home, but Olivia was leaving her first home.

As I reflected upon coming home I am reminded that as Christians, we are to long for and look forward to the day when Christ returns to bring us to our forever home. Bringing Olivia to her earthly “forever home” is a small picture of this greater truth. This is a little convicting— am I longing for the day we go to our forever home with Christ with as great anticipation as I did when Olivia and I finally came home? I pray that I will – for that day will be far greater for those who are in Christ than the celebration we had the day we stepped off the escalator and were reunited with all of our family and friends.

As we look back and reflect on God’s goodness and his providence during the whole process we want to celebrate the work that God has done. He protected us and watched over our every step. He granted us good health while we were gone. He allowed us to visit friend in Rwanda twice to experience some sweet fellowship and respite. He provided drivers, friends, a church, and so much more. He worked in the hearts of leaders and officials to get our paperwork done and bring Olivia home. He made possible what seemed impossible. To God alone be the glory!

We have a whole list of people who we are have incredibly thankful for. To start our families, and our church family, Vice President Pence and his staff, especially Sarah Makin-Acciani, for Senator Tom Emmer and his staff, especially Alejandra Henriquez. We are thankful for our friends and church in Nigeria, Olivia’s staff at her orphanage, and all the staff at Morgan Hill Children’s Foundation. We also have so many people around the globe that prayed for and supported us during this time we can’t even begin to list them all.

While our story had a happy ending, we want to acknowledge that there are many waiting children and families around the globe waiting to be united. It’s quite fitting that we came home in the month of November, which just happens to coincide with National Adoption Month. So as we close out the month of November we ask that you take some time and thank God with us for the many blessings he has shown our family over this past year and half. We also ask you to prayer for a special family to us who has been waiting over a year to get their sons visa appointment and approval in Nigeria. We love this family dearly and became good friends with them in Nigeria. We long for the day when they will be able to travel back to the US and tell of God’s faithfulness in their adoption journey.

We also ask that you continue to pray for reform and progress in the adoption visa process in Nigeria. We know of other families who are stuck in the process and have been blessed to talk with many families who are just starting the process. We pray that God would work to speed along the process so that families can be united and that these children may not suffer more trauma and loss.

In closing I would like to share the lyrics to a song that speaks of the power of our God and the thankfulness we have this Thanksgiving season.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Sarah, Markus, & Olivia

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev’ry promise is enough
For ev’ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.

Keith Getty

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