A day of gifts.
Today was an amazing day. Not because of how much got done..you'll see. It was definitely a day of gifts.
We started the day with all of us (Tanis, Mika, boys, Michel) all going to the passport office where we met Jacob. Only Jacob and I went into the office the others waited. Jacob called our friend from birth registry since he knows the big guy in the passport office...we went in and met him. He was none too helpful. He first of all said we needed a letter from the Social Welfare office. No further details "they'll know, go ask them". ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. I cannot fathom going back to Mrs Munga who bid us good bye with glee a week ago.
When we stepped out of the office we looked down stairs and I saw a blond lady (kinda stands out in Zambia) and recognized her from birth registry. She was also waiting for something the first day we were there (forever ago)...she is from South Africa. Anyway she waved and smiled. We were talking to someone else and all of a sudden she's upstairs tapping me on the shoulder "excuse me...I met you a few weeks ago and noticed you are still around...so I found someone that can help you" I thanked her and she was gone. In her place was another blond lady but clearly American. We were introduced. Megan. From Chicago. I never did get her full story except she currently lives in Zambia and has helped facilitate 18 international adoptions so needless to say is very familiar with the process. She explained the letter I need. Then went over my forms and told me what I did right/ wrong etc. Later while Jacob was busy she came up and asked "why zambia" fearless I replied "God picked Zambia, we had nothing to do with it". She looked at me all smiles and simply said "amen". She then proceeded to tell me her family's story. She gave me her business card and said to call her at any time.
We left. I was smiling. I knew God had just given us hope. As we were walking away outside she was a ways behind us on her phone. All of a sudden she calls my name "JANICE!!" and asks me to wait. I do. She says " can I .... just pray with you before you go?". Ummm YES. She did and it was beautiful. Heartfelt. Real. Unrehearsed. She asked God to open doors and help our four children at home. She ended with "Lord most of all...I pray these 2 little boys ... come to know You". I left beaming. I felt I just was touched with sunshine. She hugged me and I looked her in the eye and said "You are a gift, thank you so much".
God...through the masses...sent someone to show he cared. I completely felt overwhelmed. I was a bit speechless. I said little in the car. But much to God.
Jacob and I dropped everyone off at the mall and we headed to social welfare. Mrs Munga is off for the week. The next contact : out of the country. I called Megan...she said let me make some calls. She then tells me "go to mr. mfwanga" and gave us directions. We walked all the way over there. Entered his office. He said "I've never heard of such a letter, what do I write?" I called Megan again. She told me what to write. The man said "ok tomorrow come back I'll see what I can do". I decided to talk instead of Jacob. I said "I understand how busy you are here...please help me. The passport office needs this letter before we can proceed--I have little children at home in america...please help me get home". He said "ok wait". He went and got paper and drafted a letter. My heart was beaming. He said "come back in a bit and she will have it typed up".
We went outside for a bit...made some calls to Embassy etc.
Came back and he said "your letter is ready". He stamped and sealed it. I said "we now need a copy of your ID ..." he looks and says "oh sorry...I actually forgot it at home today...you'll have to come back tomorrow". I said nothing. He said "unless you want to drive me home and I'll get it...?" I said "sure!". He said "ok please wait here in my office".
We did. In our wait--so many people came in pleading for help. If I had it to give...I would have. One lady said "I have 13 orphans I'm caring for ... I need food, clothes and money so I can send them to school" :( It was very said. She was great aunt of them all. There was no money from the office to give her.
Finally the man said "ok its lunch hour... let's go". So we walked to the car. I sat in the back. He told Jacob where to go. It was a very long drive. Then he finally says "turn left" and my mouth dropped. God may have had me stay in Zambia for 16 days for that moment alone. Here was a government official...nice suit, nice shoes, nice glasses. I could not believe where we were going. We drove where... I didn't know any vehicle could go. Trust me ... in North America there would have been a massive sign saying "ATV's ONLY!!!!". It was as 'off road' as it gets. HUGE holes...that all I could think of ... was the children falling in. We were surrounded by complete poverty. Naked children playing in old rusted out abandoned vehicles. I could not possibly describe the sight. For some reason this is the first day Iwent without my camera. But it is embedded on my mind forever. The children coming up to the car waving. My thought: you may be the closest to Jesus...they ever see". I smiled and waved and they just stood staring, smiling. I've seen the poverty of Africa. I've been in the bush. This ... was so different. There were half houses, covered in black plastic bags. The holes...I still have no idea what they were for. Massive massive holes in the ground ... all around the houses. Hazardous holes. Hazardous for adults...deadly to children. Finally after 15 minutes of driving on this insane road...the man said "stop this is my house" he turned around and said "Mrs Janice...welcome to my house". I smiled. My heart stopped. I was not touched. I was overwhelmed. He got his ID and got back in the car and said "ok lets go". The entire way back all I could think was "why would this man do this for us...?" This was all Megan's contact. We would have never met him if it weren't for meeting her. We would have been stuck for a WEEK waiting for the social welfare officers to return....if we had not met her. A day of gifts.
When we returned he smiled and said "Congrats on your twins, Mrs Janice". I gave him 50,000Kwacha for lunch. He did a full Zambian thank you.
I left--completely warmed. More sunshine.
We then went to the passport office and met with an attorney to sign and stamp all the doc's and pics. 100,000Kwacha.
Then went back to the passport office to meet with the head lady who Megan had introduced us to. She looked at my file said it was complete. I smiled. She said everything is closed now come back at 8:30am. I asked how quickly we can get it done. She said "pay for express and 5 business days". I said "madam...I fly out thursday...I will change my flight but I need the passports thursday". She smiled and said "I will do that for you".
This was all because of Megan. We never would have had the contact if it were not for Megan and Megan had intro'd us to her and asked if she would help us and she said yes.
A day of gifts.
As we left I was speechless. Jacob kept saying "you are so quiet" we stopped at Manda Hill and bought a pizza. I only at one piece of mine.
The ultimate gift today was Grace. As I was leaving Manda Hill I was overcome with emotion. Not because it was such a great day...it was the emotion of realization that I knew...I would be here another week. Beyond this week. I started to cry. As I did I looked up. The clouds. The sky. Immediately I said to God "This was your gift....a gift of Grace. The gift of one day at a time". So many have said to me "God won't give you more than you can handle"...oh you are right. But it's not what you are thinking. It's not that He's bringing me home sooner than I thought. It's that He has given me exactly what I can handle: One day at a time. If I had known before I came I would be here for 4 weeks. Sadly...I can tell you I would NOT have come. No. Way. If I had known we would lose our baby in Africa. I can tell you. I would NOT have come. No. Way. But I didn't know. And God didnt' tell me. Guess what He did? He gave me what I could handle. One day at a time. And every day-- I've gotten through it.
Ever experience how He is strong when you are weak? I know we all know it. We teach it. Preach it. Even believe it. But have you ever lived it? You know....its so easy to wait til I get home and write how His grace was so sufficient. It is not easy writing it...here. Still here. I am weak. I've been completely broken hearted, devestated, ripped away from everything I love in my life...my husband and my children...my securities. Only then...did I experience His grace. His strength. He has become my strength. I am weak. I am strong in Him. Yes I'm crying. Yes I want to go home. I'm only here and doing it...because of Him. He has become my strength. I love Him. I have come from a hard week, last week. Today...I was showered with gifts.
To those of you ... near and far...that would normally call on one of our children's birthdays. I have a request, please respect our family's wish at this time. I am asking that you not mention Azahria's birthday. Not to the other children. No one. We are completely celebrating it when we return to Pasco. It is completely tearing me inside to miss her birthday. I do not want the other children to know Mama missed the day. Thank you for understanding.
Dean--I simply love you.
Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace...keep praying...keep ticking days off the calendar. We are almost there.
XOXOX from Lusaka.
Our flights are booked. We are leaving NEXT wednesday...8 more days. We are not flying BA...instead going to JoBurg, SA direct to Washington DC to Seattle. Good news: We are not flying over Iceland. Good news: no 18 hour layovers. ... We are on a very very long flight however but it means making it home on Thursday. We are all so excited. I told Zunduka and Chazano tonight they just grinned :)
The plan tomorrow is to go to Passports at 8:30am then go to US Embassy to talk about some big issues.