If you look at Nathan's Story, you will see that when we started praying about Ethiopia in June both Mark and Marie came across the word "sons" in our time with the Lord. We thought maybe God wanted us to adopt 2 boys. Marie thought a baby and a 7ish year old boy - putting the boy between our sons (who were 4.5 and 10.5 at the time). Adopting out of birth order was uncomfortable and also adopting an older child and unknowns involved with that.
So, we prayed and sought council. Over time…I think by August, we decided to go with asking for a baby boy so Marie would be able to nurse him. It seemed we were not to pursue an older child, at least not at that time. There was peace in our hearts about that.
When our agency director got back from Ethiopia in November, she posted something about having lots of profiles on boys ages 3-10. Marie's heart was again stirred. She prayed about it. One morning Marie was being quiet before the Lord and wrote "supplanter" in her prayer journal. Her quiet time journal had been so important in our adoption journey and just in general spiritually that year. Marie thought it was strange - that word - in fact she was thinking about a big tree at the time and planting and bearing fruit. Marie thought supplanter was a good word…something along the lines of bearing fruit. Then, she looked it up and it wasn't what she thought. It was tripping up - to grab the heel of. So, Marie just kinda forgot about it.
When we were putting up our Christmas tree shortly after that, Mark put in the CD, All I Want For Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman. We had this CD for a couple of years before but somehow Marie never listened to the words to the song "All I want for Christmas" … until that year. Marie still doesn't know how she heard the words over the 5 kids all around her excitedly putting up various ornaments. The song says, "All I want for Christmas……is a family". It's about an older orphan boy who longs for a family. Marie started tearing up and told Mark that she just couldn't shake the pull toward adopting an older boy. Not much else was said.
The song kept going through Marie's mind. She even used it in our 2008 family photo slideshow.
During the week of Christmas Marie was thinking about the details of Mark traveling to pick up Nathan and emailed the agency director to ask if there was a way to know which kids at the orphanage have homes and which are waiting. Marie's intention was so that Mark would know when he traveled. Marie thought maybe God would have a certain child stand out to Mark at that point. The director's response was an email with attached photos of two boys. We had no idea she would do that. The second boy caught Marie's attention and so she asked what his name was. It was "Yakobe", a form of Jacob which means supplanter.
About this time, a lady who just got back from Ethiopia, Tammie, posted many updates on the children. Marie emailed her to thank her for the photos and update on Nathan. Marie asked if she remembered anything about a boy about 6 years old named Yakobe. Marie figured maybe she might have seen him but there are TONS of kids at the orphanage so she wasn't sure. About 10 minutes later, the phone rang. It was Tammie. She raved about what a wonderful boy he was and said if she could adopt him, she would. There is a photo of him feeding her son a bottle. She said he was shy and helpful and sweet. She said he was active and loved sports. He was wearing a football shirt in the photo. Mark is a football coach. Both our boys love sports. Most of our kids are somewhat quiet and shy. It seemed God had matched us with another child.
Marie was sold. It was clear to her that this boy was our son. Mark and I prayed. We struggled some with acceptance. We knew it only matters what God thinks and that life is only about being obedient to Him, but still our flesh struggled. We have heard people against us adopting saying "You have more than you can handle already". Many people thought we should've been "done" when we had 2 children. We would have 7. We prayed and Marie didn't sleep much at all that night. She wondered what God would do. Tuesday morning, December 30, after Mark took a shower, he smiled at Marie and said, "It's a yes." He said he had a peace about adopting Yakobe when he woke up that morning.
We sent a lady, Donna, who was leaving January 2 to pick up one of her children from Ethiopia, a photo album for our son, Yakobe. We wrapped it up as a gift. We officially accepted his referral Tuesday morning, December 30. The song "All I want for Christmas" kept going through Marie's head. This sweet lady passed out gifts for Ethiopia's Christmas which is January 7. Our son Yakobe opened up the gift of a family.