Miracle Monday: Praying for Patience

Recently my daughter came to me and told me about an incident on the playground at school…Another student had told her, “You don’t have a real family”.
She was really upset and confused, “What does that mean? Is that true?”
She needed reassurance. We talked about what it means to be a real family. What it means to show up for the people you love. And it made me think back to how she became my daughter…….

Our daughter, Patience, was born in Ghana in 2013, a half-a-world away from Manhattan, Montana.  My husband Andy and I had been trying to adopt internationally for several years.
We had 2 biological children and knew there was more room in our hearts and home for another child.  Our family was not complete, and somewhere out there was the rest of our family.  God had made that so real to us, we just didn’t know yet what that was going to look like. Nor did we understand the steps involved.  Thank the Lord for the people at Sacred Portion Children’s Outreach here in Bozeman, who were able to help us with the paperwork and the complicated adoption process.

It was a four-year laborious journey looking for our daughter. We started the process in Ethiopia and then were asked by our agency if we’d be willing to switch to Ghana (a country that our agency had never adopted through before). There was such a risk and a fear of this unknown. We would be jumping into something that had never been done before.  There was no path to walk for this process in this country, we would be blazing the trail. It was a whole-other level of fear to tackle.  We fasted and prayed about this decision – “Where is our little girl?”

We decided that our fear was not worth the risk of not trying.  We were going to find our daughter in Ghana.  We heard there were children in foster care there who no one was looking for.

In our paperwork, we had been approved for a child up to 6 years old. Many people aren’t willing to adopt older children, but we were willing. Then we got a call about a 10-month-old baby girl. We were so shocked, having expected an older child, but when we looked at the picture of that little girl, there was no chance of us ever saying “No”.  There she was, the daughter we had been searching for who would complete our family.

Nothing is simple or cut & dry about the adoption process. We had to fill out more paperwork and take 2 trips to Ghana.

The first time I held her all she did was scream, and scream some more. It was as if she were saying, “Who are these crazy white people?” “Get them away from me!”.  I couldn’t blame her.
We even have our first encounter with her on video, where she screams and runs and hides behind her foster mother, Momma Victoria. Part of me feared at that time that we had made a mistake.  I loved this little girl, but could she accept us and would she want to become a part of our family?

Momma Victoria, who was quite up there in years, would take children who had been abandoned to the government’s care and she would love and take care of them in her home until a family could come and adopt them.  It wasn’t until later, when I became a foster mom myself, that I could fully appreciate what this woman did for our family.

We named our little girl Patience. The whole process of adoption had been filled with seemingly endless waiting, endless paperwork, endless fundraising, and numerous disappointments.  Through the ups and downs my husband and I kept praying for patience. “Lord, we pray for patience with the government and all their hoops and regulations. Lord, we pray for patience with this process and the people who ask us insensitive questions. Lord, we pray for patience”.  So, when we did finally meet our daughter, we knew her name would be Patience. That way, we could tell her, “This whole time we’ve been praying for patience. We’ve been praying for you.”
Bringing Patience home – There was never a time where I felt she was anything but MY DAUGHTER.  She was a part of our family.

When I think about Patience being told she doesn’t have a “real” family, I think about those first moments when she came to live with us.  It’s hard to explain, and I think that’s part of the miracle.  A child could come to us from half-a-world away, and be a part of our family without any history or biological connection. She is ours because we chose her.  That makes me think about how God chose us to belong to His family.  Jesus didn’t have to think it over and decide if we were going to be a good fit for heaven, He just said, “I choose you. I love you”.

That day after the incident on the playground, I also shared with Patience that a real family is the one that is “there” for you.  A real family loves you, protects you, helps you and provides the things that you need, whether you share any blood or not.  “Remember Momma Victoria? She was a real mom to you too”.
We told Patience, “You have 3 moms -- Your first mom, your foster mom, and your forever mom. Each one is real and special and different”.

What I’ve learned from having biological, adopted, and foster children, is that being a real mom requires advocacy.  You have to be the one who takes the initiative to get your child the help they need, the resources they need, protection.  A real family cares about the individual needs of each person, even if they don’t understand them.  A real mom “makes it happen”.

If you remember nothing else from my story, remember this: It’s not the size or the circumstance that makes my family real.  No matter what, my husband and I are committed to being and doing what each of our children need. We are their greatest advocates.

My name is Katie Powner, and this is just one of my miracle stories.

***Katie Powner is the author of “The Sowing Season” and “ A Flicker of Light” published by Bethany House.  Her books are available at all major book retailers, including Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Christianbook, and Baker Book House.   Connect with her at: www.katiepowner.com ****

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