He’s With Us: The Lane Family Adoption Story

Jennifer Lane
Jennifer Lane Amarillo, Texas

In January of this 2013, my husband James left for his third mission trip to Africa.  That trip James was going to camp out at an orphanage in Juba, South Sudan.  The night before he left, he turned to me and asked, “What if I sneak one of those little guys home in my suitcase?”  God used that little joke to begin to stir rumblings on adoption inside my heart.  James spent almost two weeks in Africa, and he arrived home late Saturday night, just in time to have a few hours of sleep and get up and have church with City Church Sunday morning.  As the invitation portion of the service came, I had a clear calling from God.  This calling to adopt a little boy from Africa was so clear, I wanted to rush the stage and share my new command with the whole congregation.  I held myself back because something told me I might want to discuss adopting a child from another country with my husband first.  After church, I was surprised to find that I was afraid to talk to James about my calling.  I was afraid it would be my idea or something I was pushing him into.  I hoped that God knew this marriage had two people in it and that He had already talked to James for me.  When I finally got up the courage to tell James, the words out of his mouth were, “I already knew that.  I knew that before I even left for Africa.”  Turns out, I was the last to know.  

We knew of a family who had adopted a daughter from Ethiopia.  We made arrangements to talk with that family about their experience.  After talking with that family, we applied to join the first agency’s Ethiopia program in March.  It took about 10 months to complete our home study and dossier.  January of 2014, our dossier was sent to Ethiopia.  The summer of 2014, I traveled to Ethiopia and ministered at orphanages in Addis Ababa.  The next summer James and I both traveled on the orphan care mission trip.  And this last summer, our oldest daughter Lucy and I went on the summer orphan care trip.  These trips have really helped prepare our family to understand the African culture and orphanage life that our son will come from.

Coming home from visiting family for Thanksgiving this year, I got a text from an adoptive mom that I had met on that first mission trip.  She said that I should really look at a different adoption agency’s website.  I looked at their waiting child list, and 4 & 1/2 “A”’s little face was the first one I saw.  We immediately emailed to ask if he was still waiting for a family.  It took about a week to find out that he was still waiting.  We prayed about pursuing adopting “A”.  It would mean changing agencies and paying agency fees that had already been paid.  Even though we knew it would not be easy, we both knew God wanted us to do it.  (Please read our update about this.)

Even though the path from our calling to adoption and now has been long, I know God has been with us every step of the way!

I am so thankful that God gave us this calling.  All of the waiting, trusting Him, and opportunities to participate in orphan care have changed our hearts and lives forever.  We have made dear friends on this path, and our whole family is anxious to love our little boy in person.  I’m anxiously awaiting the day when we will have our little guy in his forever home here, in Amarillo, with us.


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Lane 6674”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
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Raised to date by 22 people
 of  $20,950
73 days left

My Story

In January of this 2013, my husband James left for his third mission trip to Africa.  That trip James was going to camp out at an orphanage in Juba, South Sudan.  The night before he left, he turned to me and asked, “What if I sneak one of those little guys home in my suitcase?”  God used that little joke to begin to stir rumblings on adoption inside my heart.  James spent almost two weeks in Africa, and he arrived home late Saturday night, just in time to have a few hours of sleep and get up and have church with City Church Sunday morning.  As the invitation portion of the service came, I had a clear calling from God.  This calling to adopt a little boy from Africa was so clear, I wanted to rush the stage and share my new command with the whole congregation.  I held myself back because something told me I might want to discuss adopting a child from another country with my husband first.  After church, I was surprised to find that I was afraid to talk to James about my calling.  I was afraid it would be my idea or something I was pushing him into.  I hoped that God knew this marriage had two people in it and that He had already talked to James for me.  When I finally got up the courage to tell James, the words out of his mouth were, “I already knew that.  I knew that before I even left for Africa.”  Turns out, I was the last to know.  

We knew of a family who had adopted a daughter from Ethiopia.  We made arrangements to talk with that family about their experience.  After talking with that family, we applied to join the first agency’s Ethiopia program in March.  It took about 10 months to complete our home study and dossier.  January of 2014, our dossier was sent to Ethiopia.  The summer of 2014, I traveled to Ethiopia and ministered at orphanages in Addis Ababa.  The next summer James and I both traveled on the orphan care mission trip.  And this last summer, our oldest daughter Lucy and I went on the summer orphan care trip.  These trips have really helped prepare our family to understand the African culture and orphanage life that our son will come from.

Coming home from visiting family for Thanksgiving this year, I got a text from an adoptive mom that I had met on that first mission trip.  She said that I should really look at a different adoption agency’s website.  I looked at their waiting child list, and 4 & 1/2 “A”’s little face was the first one I saw.  We immediately emailed to ask if he was still waiting for a family.  It took about a week to find out that he was still waiting.  We prayed about pursuing adopting “A”.  It would mean changing agencies and paying agency fees that had already been paid.  Even though we knew it would not be easy, we both knew God wanted us to do it.  (Please read our update about this.)

Even though the path from our calling to adoption and now has been long, I know God has been with us every step of the way!

I am so thankful that God gave us this calling.  All of the waiting, trusting Him, and opportunities to participate in orphan care have changed our hearts and lives forever.  We have made dear friends on this path, and our whole family is anxious to love our little boy in person.  I’m anxiously awaiting the day when we will have our little guy in his forever home here, in Amarillo, with us.


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Lane 6674”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
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Meet Hezekiah

September 21, 2017

Meet Hezekiah – Adoption Update

 

It has been months since I’ve posted anything about our adoption on my social media or blog.  I apologize for keeping quiet.  

I have some news I’d like to share with you.  We have been referred a sweet 2-year-old boy.  He is not yet ours, but we are doing everything we can to get a chance to go to court in Ethiopia and make him our son.

MEET HEZEKIAH

IMG_6427.JPG

HERE’S THE SHORT VERSION, THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS I GET ASKED MOST OFTEN.

We don’t know when our court date might be.  The most likely guess is sometime between December and March, but it could always be longer because we are dependent on the Ethiopian government and that is unpredictable.

We have paid all of our agency fees.  We were able to fundraise and save all $26,000 we needed to pay our agency.  There were so many people who gave generously to our adoption.  Our adoption wouldn’t be happening without those donations and the provision of our Faithful God.

We still will need to pay for our travel.  When we travel for court, that expense is completely up to us to provide.  We estimate that it will cost around $8,000.

We will be able to bring Hezekiah home when we travel for court.  Whenever we are finally able to travel, we will be bringing our son home with us when we come home.  We will need to be in Ethiopia for three weeks.

This little boy is not the same 4-year-old boy, “A”, that we were hoping to adopt at Christmastime.  You can read more about that below or in our last blog post.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, shared about our adoption, let me know you were praying for us, donated to our adoption, or participated in one or more of our bazillion fundraisers.

I really am appreciative.

HERE’S THE LONG VERSION OF THE STORY, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LOVE MORE DETAILS.  

The weekend after Thanksgiving, we were driving home from visiting my family in Ft. Worth when I pulled up a waiting child list and saw a precious little face.  The waiting child list was on a private webpage and it included children that they had not been able to find a family for from among the families adopting through their agency.  This little boy was just the age we had hoped to adopt, and we knew we could be a home for him.  We emailed the agency (which was a completely different adoption agency that had been using and paid all of our fees to) to see if this little boy still needed a family.

A week later we had found out that this sweet little boy was still waiting for a family, and we were trying to make the difficult decision of switch agencies to try to adopt him or stay with our agency with no end in sight to our waiting.  The biggest factor was money.  We had paid our current agency about one-third of the money required for an international adoption, and we wouldn’t get any of it back if we switched agencies.  Also, we would need to pay over twice the amount we had paid thus far and pay for yet another home study for the new agency.  It was money we didn’t have, and we would have to trust God to provide it.

We took the leap.  I have the conviction that God does not view money the way we people do, and I never want to make a ministry decision based solely on money.  We switched agencies and began fundraising.

From the first week of December until the last week of February we fundraised like mad people.  We did bake sales, present wrapping, garage sales, barbecues, craft sales, and online auctions.  We downright asked for handouts.  We made a video asking everyone to give $2 and invite 10 friends to do the same.  Our Paypal account was flooded by generous people.  After a few months of constant fundraising, we were still about $7,000 short of paying all of our new agency’s fees.  Paying off those fees would allow us to sign the contract that would make sure that we would be the family that would adopt this sweet boy.  We were so sure that this was the boy God had in mind for our family.

One afternoon the last week of February, I was pulling into the craft store parking lot.  I was in the middle of making more crafts for yet another fundraiser, and my phone rang.  It was our new social worker on the phone.  She had some tough news to share about “our boy.”  My first thought was that he was sick or worse.  She shared that without their knowledge, the remote orphanage that our sweet boy was at had contacted a different agency to advocate for finding a family.  Another family had stepped up to adopt him through another agency.  They had already completed their home study and all of their paperwork.  This family had paid all their agency’s fees and signed a contract of adoption with the orphanage.  All of this had been done weeks ago without our agency’s knowledge, and the orphanage had decided to let this other family proceed with the adoption.

This news was devastating.  I mourned this loss hard.  In the middle of grief was tremendous guilt.  Wasn’t I happy that he was still healthy and still was going to be adopted into a family?  Hurt mixed with guilt is a recipe for some awful thoughts about yourself.  I felt so selfish for being so upset.

I just kept thinking, but we had worked so hard.  We had spent every free moment for months fundraising, working on our new home study, and rebuilding our adoption paperwork from scratch, every single paper had to be resigned because our old paperwork was too outdated.

I was also so confused by this news.  We had felt so sure that this boy was the reason our family had been called to adoption.

It took a few weeks before the hurt began to subside in my heart.  We could have easily walked away from the idea of adoption after this huge disappointment, but we didn’t.  Both my husband and I had seen the faces of children in the orphanages we had visited.  We had held the babies and played games with the children.  We knew we had to keep going.  We had to trust God that He still had a plan.

About two months later, we received the phone call I had been dreaming about for four years.  Our new agency called to say there was a little boy they would like to refer to our family, meaning that if we were ready to adopt him, they would help us do it.  She didn’t give us any details about the little boy, other than his age.  She said that the agency would email us his file in a few days that would have all of his pictures and information.

We were so anxious to receive that email.  Two days later, we received the email.  We were blown away at how precious this little boy was, and we were in shock that we were going to get to adopt him.  Our giddiness lasted only a few hours because by that evening we had learned that the Ethiopian government had suspended international adoptions with no reason given or timeline for the suspension to end.

It was the 21st of April, and the spring and beginning of summer is a blur of setting in my backyard trying to focus on anything besides the adoption suspension.

I’d like to tell you that during that season, I completely leaned on the Lord, but many times I leaned on Dunkin Donuts frozen coffees.  Worry was so present in my mind those days that it would completely fog my brain, and the only thing that seemed to make me feel like a human was a big dose of sugar and caffeine in the form of a blended corporate concoction.  It was also clear to me that my vitamin d levels were suffering from the inside life I lived all winter.  A typical day this spring included me doing the minimum school work to finish up our home schooler’s first-grade year while taking every opportunity to refresh my email, search keywords “adoption and Ethiopia” on Twitter, and stocking all the adoption Facebook groups for any clue of what was going to happen with our adoption.

By the time James came home from his work at the church, I was a mess and we would get in the car and get our frozen coffee fix for the day.

Sure I prayed and I would tell you that God was in control, but if someone else said that God’s timing was perfect one more time I would have thrown my frozen coffee in their face.

Would God give us a picture of a beautiful boy who needed a home and then tell us our adoption journey was done?  I honestly didn’t know.

I kept telling God that this whole adoption was His idea, not mine.  Why would He give us this calling, allow our hearts to be fully devoted to the idea of bringing an Ethiopian child into our family, and then threaten to let us fall on our face?

The hard questions weren’t just directed at God.  I accused myself of not really caring about this adorable little boy but really being upset because I would look like a failure if this adoption I had so publicly pursued would end without success.

I spent a lot of time in my Bible that spring reading the words of the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah.  God’s promise of redemption through His Son was centuries away from those generations, but God was determined to give His people hope.

I needed hope more than frozen coffee.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

— Isaiah 30:18 ESV

I hit some real low points in my faith life during that season.  I feel shame for these low points asking ugly questions about God and doubting His sovereignty.  I also feel thankfulness for these low points.

I was completely empty.  I was completely powerless.

I had nothing but Jesus to hang onto because each of those low points let me see God better.  The answers would come with tears and the Spirit.  God was loving and sovereign.  God was present in my troubles.

As the calendar turned to July, we began to see the light at the end of our waiting tunnel.  Good news about the future of Ethiopian adoptions began to trickle in, and we were able to continue on our journey.

Our newly redone paperwork was sent to Ethiopia on August 17th, and our last immigration application was received by Homeland Security on September 7th.

The application process with immigration will take about 3-6 months.  Along with this approval from the US government, we are waiting for an approval letter from the Ethiopian government too.  There is no estimated timeline for that letter.  We are just hopeful that we will receive the letter in the same 3-6 months that the immigration approval will be approved.

There is a decent chance that this could happen, but there is also a chance that we could be waiting longer than that.

We definitely need prayer.  Continue to pray for our Hezekiah and our family.

I will update the blog as we know more, but it could be months before I have anything to post.

Thank you again!

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He Restores My Soul – Adoption Update

March 26, 2017

We have some disappointing news about our adoption.  Monday we got a call from the case worker at our new agency.  She called to let us know that because of the breakdown in communication in rural Ethiopia, something unexpected had happened.  Because little “A” that we had been working towards adopting the past 3 months was on the waiting child list for so long, the orphanage directors had reached out to other adoption agencies to advocate for him.  One of those agencies found a family wanting to adopt “A.”  This family already had their dossier complete and updated, and they had all their agency fees paid and were able to sign an official referral with their agency.  It had already been two weeks before our agency knew this had happened.  Our agency told the orphanage that we were working hard to adopt “A” and very, very close to having our dossier (fancy word for official adoption paperwork) updated, but the orphanage made a judgment call.  The orphanage decided to allow this other family to proceed with adopting “A.”

This isn’t something that happens often in Ethiopian adoptions.  These were unusual circumstances, but after visiting orphanages the last three summers, I could see how this communication breakdown could easily happen.

We were very disappointed to hear this news Monday, and it has been a rough week dealing with all the feelings that bubbled up after hearing this news about our adoption.

We know we cannot give up, and we are not supposed to quit trying to adopt from Ethiopia.

Our friends and family have been so generous helping us raise money to pay the adoption fees to adopt “A.”  We were so very close to having all of our agency fees paid.  We have raised $20,600 since the last week of December!  We were only short $7,000.  That is amazing!

Our home study should be finalized any day now, and our dossier only lacks our final home study copy and about 5 other documents.

Being so close to having everything we needed to adopt “A” made it really hard to accept that we were not going to be able to adopt him.

We are honestly happy that “A” will have a forever family.  He will have a home.  That is what we wanted for him all along.  We are just disappointed that home won’t be our home.

All of the money we raised and work we have done updating our home study and dossier can be used to adopt a different child through our new agency.  Our agency has given us a time line that we can expect to be matched with a new child in the next 6 months.

We are going to continue to gather the last of the paperwork needed to complete our dossier, and we will continue waiting for the child God has to place in our home.

It has been hard finding our confidence that the Lord has a plan when we felt so sure that “A” was the boy God had chosen to add to our family.  But God has been slowly speaking into our hurting hearts this week.

On Monday, when I got the heartbreaking call from our agency, I was sitting in the Michael’s parking lot about to buy paint.  The plan had been to make as many wood signs as possible this month to sell at a craft show this weekend.  I had just started a new sign.  I picked a Bible verse completely randomly.  I was looking for a Bible verse that was universally loved.  I didn’t even think about what the verse or sign said on Monday when I started making it, hoping to make several to sell at the craft show.

On Tuesday, when all I wanted to do was watch mindless television and eat Captain Crunch, I realized that God had given me this verse that I would need before I even knew I needed it.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

— Psalm 23:1-4 ESV

God is restoring our soul.  God is planting dreams in our hearts and reassuring our family that He is leading us.  He has a plan.

 

*NOTE We received our new home study update in the mail ready to send with our new dossier.  This big step being completed is giving me some hope for what God is doing in our adoption and in our family.

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Comments

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Angela

Sep 21, 2017

“Much love friend”

$35

Hidden

Apr 26, 2017

“James and Jennifer, We are thankful for your work for the Kingdom of God, and hope that this helps in your adoption process. Our God truly does own the cattle on a thousand hills, and will surely provide for your needs! Be encouraged! Blessings!”

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Kelli

Apr 22, 2017

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Cindy

Apr 18, 2017

“Praying your boy home.”

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Apr 12, 2017

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Mar 28, 2017

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Angela

Feb 11, 2017

“I love you dear friend!”

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