Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's Time!! And You are invited!!

In June of 2012, Anne and I made a decision that would forever change our lives.  The thought of adding to our family excited us both, but at the same time it brought reservations.  We were excited at the possibility of sharing our home with a child that would otherwise miss out on the life we could provide, and yet fearful that we were not at all prepared for the journey of adoption on many levels.  
Many family and friends stood up beside us and decided to join us on the adventure.  Adventure may be the most accurate word I can come up with at the moment.  Although the decision seemed so clear to us at the time, we would be challenged beyond belief over the next two years.  We originally planned on adopting a little boy, and when that fell through we were devastated.  From there we thought we would adopt through the Congo, and when that became clearly not the path, we were again disappointed.  
We were ready to give it an A for effort and enjoy our family of four.  And yet that thumping on our hearts just kept coming.  God kept telling us that He had a big plan for our family and we just needed to have a little more “faith”.  And so this became our mantra…FAITH!  We decided we couldn’t put our expectations of others so high on our list.  We couldn’t worry about the way others reacted when we told them of our plans.  We couldn’t go through this process and not be an example of how awesome our God really is!  He made a promise, and we needed to trust Him.  Faith.
So, in May of 2013 we traveled to Haiti and met the most beautiful girl in the world.  Gracie quickly stole our hearts and instantly became our daughter!  As a dad I made a vow on that visit that I would do anything to protect her and provide for her the life she deserves.  I didn’t know at the time that making that promise would involve more than going through a routine adoption process and bringing her home shortly after. 
Sometimes when you make a promise or say something out loud with your faith, I think that God accepts your challenge and makes you prove yourself.  I know that God enjoys watching His followers fight for Him and His people!  My simple words to Gracie were accepted by Him, and our faith was just starting to be tested.  
Over the summer of 2013 our adoption process began to fall apart.  Things weren’t as they seemed, and we were in jeopardy of losing everything from finances to Gracie.  Thankfully we only lost money and a little time.  It was a lot of money, but in the end we were able to walk away with the relief that Gracie was now somewhere safe, and our adoption would be allowed to move forward.  
This past April, Anne and I were able to travel to Haiti andbe present for court appointments and paper filings that declared us as her legal guardians.  We met her biological parents and watched as they signed away their rights.  It was one of the most surreal feelings in the world to see one mom sign a notebook stating she could not provide a quality life for her baby girl, and another mom pick up the same pen and sign on stating that she would do anything she could to give this little beauty a life she will never forget!  Two moms and two dads, all at the same spot in time but declaring their best intentions for one little girl that meant the world to all of them.
From there our process has moved rather quickly.  We were blessed to become great friends with the people that run Gracie’s crèche and to be in touch with them regularly about her care and needs.  A number of our family and friends have been able to spend time at NLL with Gracie and see what an amazing place she is currently calling home.  Both Grandmas and her two big brothers have even been able to enjoy loving on her.  
Which brings us today!  The day we have all been waiting and praying for.  The day that your prayers and support have literally made possible.  The day that a year ago looked to be so far away, and even impossible at times.  
It is with great joy and tears in my eyes, that we are able to share with you that...GRACIE IS COMING HOME!!  She has one more appointment to get her official Visa in two weeks, but she is coming HOME!  On October 16, at 4:20pm, Gracie Peters will be the newest resident of Brandon, South Dakota!  We will land in Sioux Falls at that time and would love to share the moment with you.  If you have supported this journey in any way we would like to invite you to be a part of Gracie’s homecoming at the Sioux Falls Airport.  If all travel goes as planned we will glide down the Sioux Falls escalators and hold our baby girl, and your prayers, high in the air!  
This adventure has taken our family to places we never could have imagined.  Across oceans, into dark hallways, and down paths of fear and doubt.  Yet in the end it was the prayers, support, phone calls, hugs and ultimately the “faith” of so many that has made this all possible!  

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