God’s Story ~ Jana Jenkins

Jul 3, 2013

“Share one of your God stories?” I was asked…..I do have so many to choose….hundreds, thousands….but right now I am in an unfinished God story. I know from experience that it is going to be an awesome story because the risks are so high…potential for failure so real. I also know in times like these where you are in the middle (I hope I am close to the end) that it is good to remember your God stories.

Earlier today I was working on a project on my computer and the computer was not being cooperative. After several tries on my part, I lost my cool and wanted to chunk the thing. My daughter, Ruth, was in the room and sensing my stress (O.K. not much sensing involved…It was pretty obvious that I was upset), she came over to me, touched my shoulder, and encouraged me in calm and kind words, “So sorry, Mom…it will be okay.” She then moved from where she was sitting and sat close to me on the couch where I was working. For those of you who have teenage children, you will know how precious these times are. At that point, I could care less about my project. I just wanted to soak this moment in. As a mom of 5 kids ranging from 10-20, I know first hand how time flies. I wanted to just pause this moment.
It seems like just yesterday, and sometimes like the 13 years ago it is, when our baby Ruth came into our lives. Adoption had always been a part of our family planning. After moving to Uganda with our first daughter, Sophia, in tow,  then shortly God blessed us with our second, a boy, Caleb, and then 2 years later our second son, Ethan, was born.  We were blessed with 3 children, but we did not feel that our family was complete. By this time the old laws that were left over from colonial times had changed, and now with the new Children’s Act, non-commonwealth countries could adopt. Dave and I had discussed adoption at length through the years. When I felt good about it…Dave would have some hesitations, and when Dave felt good about it, I would have some reservations. Most of our concerns were about how our family dynamics would change. Naively, we felt that we had control over our biological children personalities, strengths, and weakness….and how each one would effect our family dynamics.
One day some wisdom from above prevailed, and after bathing this in prayer, we both were eager to go and pick up our little girl from the orphanage. We thought we were just going to tell the Director that we wanted to adopt and she would give us a baby girl and then we would do all the paper work.
Well, things did not go quite as we had planned.  At the time there were no girls under the age of 18 months who were available for adoption. We had ideally wanted a 6 months or younger infant girl. The director, a very kind women, patiently let us rattle off what we wanted and how we were going to have our doctor come and examine the baby before we saw her. Because we were so concerned that once we held her, we would bond instantly, and we were concern at that time that we were not able to care for a HIV positive baby. (Some research In Uganda at this time stated that 1 in 3 people were HIV positive and so many were dying of Aids).
We left the orphanage a bit disappointed with no baby in our arms. We began what seemed like a very long wait. Days turned into weeks and weeks in to months. We would get phone calls from the Director, Mama Joyce, and she would say, “We have a baby for you. Come!” I would ask is it a girl…she would say, “Oh, I thought you wanted a boy.” I would say, “No, we are praying for a baby Ruth…a little girl.” This situation happened a few times.
Waiting is hard, but it also can be very clarifying.  The longer you wait…the more you know what you want. This was no exception. As a family every night we would pray for baby Ruth.  I knew she was out there, and I would pray that wherever she was that God would please take care of her and help her know that she is wanted and that there was a family who was anticipating her! In the night I would wake up and think of her….the waiting was so hard, but I also felt God’s comfort.
We went on a family vacation to a Game park, and one early morning as we were on a game drive, the children had high hopes we would see the elusive lions. I began to pray and ask God to let the children see lions, and before I knew it, I was saying and let them see a male lion with a huge mane and let it be a sign that you will answer our prayer and give us baby Ruth. I almost gasped out loud because it is not my custom to ask for signs like that. We turned the corner and up on the ridge underneath a tree was not one but two male lions. They were strikingly beautiful, strong, and young! The kids were so excited. I quietly shared with Dave about my prayer. We thanked God for allowing us to see the lions, and we waited in hopeful faith to see how God would answer my prayer about Ruth.
When we arrived home from our trip, we had a phone message from Mama Joyce saying that she had a baby for us. My heart leaped as I fumbled to dial her back. It was late in the evening, and as she answered the phone, I prepared myself for the mistake that she might have made. “Hello, Joyce,” I asked, “Is it a boy or girl you have for us?” She giggled and said, “We have 5 baby girls that have just come, but we have chosen a baby girl for you. Please, can you come in the morning?” Mama Joyce asked. “Yes, how early can we come in and see you?” I asked excitedly!
Needless to say, we did not get much sleep that night. Dave and I went the next morning to meet with Mama Joyce eager to hear more details about “our” baby girl. I still remember the excitement I felt as we walked into her office. She began to explain to us how this week the police and the local hospital had brought in several orphan/ abandoned baby girls but how they had one picked for us. Then in Luganda (one of the languages in Uganda) she spoke with a care giver and said, “Go and get Mary” I thought did I just hear her right? Are they bringing the baby now? What about our plan? I looked at Dave and before we could say any thing, they had popped her into my hands…oh, what gorgeous eyes you have with beautiful long curly eye lashes! It seemed like an instant we bonded with this bundle of joy. It was as if time stood still as I oohed and awed at sweet Ruth. I was a goner totally head over heals in love with this little girl. Dave and Mama Joyce were discussing about us being able to take her to the doctor and about us seeing the social worker and signing foster papers…..but I could not pay much attention….before I knew it we were leaving the orphanage with a baby—a baby girl—just about 6 weeks old.  God you are so good! What a wonderful gift! Please, Lord, help her be healthy….We saw the doctor and she said that if we were serious about keeping the baby not to take her back to the orphanage because she had an ear ache and thrush, and she was concerned for her health being so young and being close to so many other babies where sickness could be passed so easily. Not that I needed any excuse –no one was taking my baby from me! (This turned out to be great advice as the next week several babies came down with pneumonia.)
We called Joyce and she said we could keep Ruth overnight, and we needed to come back the next day and sign papers etc…. We drove Ruth somewhere where they were doing Aids testing, but the government clinic was closed early as it was a Friday.
We stopped at a store on the way home and bought diapers, formula, and bottles. What are we going to do for clothes? We were not prepared…. As we were driving up our windy road we saw our older 3 children who were coming back from a walk. All were surprised we had baby Ruth already. As we had told them in the morning that we would not be bringing her home today….except Caleb….he said he knew! They were all excited and took turns holding her. My mother was living with us at the time and she also held Ruth. We took pictures! Sophia got out her doll clothes so we had clothes for her to wear.
I remember that first night. Long after everyone had gone to bed I heard Ruth cry for the first time. She was hungry. I fixed her bottle and feed her and held her! It was all dark outside, and as I rocked her our dogs were barking at something…I saw fear in Ruth’s eyes, I held her close, told her she was safe now, and I would not let any thing bad happen to her! Her eyes seemed wise beyond her short few weeks of life. What had she seen? I began singing to her and she fell asleep.
Ruth has been such a wonderful gift to our family! She is such a gift giver, so kind in spirit and brings us so much joy! Over the next few weeks and years as we finalized the adoption and all the paperwork, God continued to open the doors and make a way for this family to fold in another. I have learned so much about God’s love and relationship with me as I mother Ruth. I cannot imagine our family with out Ruth, and I am so convinced that this was God orchestrated and one of my favorite God stories in my life!

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  1. Student Mommy

    You truly are blessed!

  2. Anonymous

    Love this!! Great job on the article!! Sweet Ruthie!

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