Happy New Year from Virginia! As 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to take some time to share all that has happened over the last 12 months.
As most of you know, in 2014, we were working hard to raise funds for our adoption. We were adopting Mahesh, from India. Things were moving along and we had decided to go visit him for Thanksgiving in 2014. A few weeks before we were set to go, we got a phone call letting us know that someone in his family was blocking us from adopting him. We felt like our hearts were breaking in two. We allowed ourselves some time to grieve and to try and mentally process all that had happened.
In the meantime, we had met a family that was in the process of adopting 3 children from Ukraine. We got to spend a lot of time with this family and sort of became their respite family for the 2 boys, Mark (13) and Alex (16). We would spend time with them and loved getting to know them.
Since our adoption fell through, we contacted the agency we were working with to be matched with another child. After looking at what seemed to be 1000s of profiles, we chose a sweet little boy, only to be told another family had just locked him in. Then we chose a second boy. We were told that our home study was good for every country in the world, except for the one he was from. And, it would cost $2500 to update our home study for his country. Yikes! We definitely felt like God was closing the door for our adoption, even if just for a little while.
We had been house hunting for over 5 years and had just found our dream home. A 3 bedroom, 2-½ bath home on 24 acres, sitting at the end of a gravel road. We decided to put adoption on hold for a little while. We figured that we would buy the house, fix it up, move and then start the adoption process again. Our offer was accepted on the house and closing was set for the end of January.
On January 12th, we received a phone call asking if we would temporarily take Mark and Alex. There were some things going on and it became clear that it was not safe for the boys to remain in the family that adopted them. We immediately said yes and we picked them up within a few hours. The next few days were crazy as we heard what the tentative plans were for them. Group home, foster care and then, eventually, possible deportation. We sat in church that Sunday, listening to our Pastor preach about serving others (generosity) and stepping out in faith. We came home knowing that we were meant to be Mark and Alex’s parents. We told them a few days later and they were excited to be able to stay with us forever.
We recently were granted sole custody of the boys. We now have to wait for the adoptive father’s parental rights to be terminated so we can adopt them. Then, there is the grueling task of immigration to make them U.S. Citizens (yes, we will be doing more fundraising!).
Has it been easy? Nope, not even close. Each day we learn how to parent better. And each day they settle more into being part of a family (growing up in an orphanage did not teach them about family!).
What happened to Mahesh? He still lives at the Jackson Mission School. He knows that we love him and pray for him everyday. And he knows that God must have some pretty big plans for him in India to keep him there! Our friends at Big World Project send teams to India every few months. We are able to send letters with them and hear updates on how Mahesh is doing. He is growing and doing well. His picture is still on our fridge, a daily reminder to pray for him. And we hope to one day take Mark and Alex there to meet him.
God has blessed us more than we ever could have imagined in 2015 and we are excited to see what He has in store for 2016! We invite you to follow our story: www.journeywiththethurstons.blogspot.com. And we appreciate all of your prayers as we continue to work on the house and settle into being a family of four.