How we came home from Addis early

Addis Ababa                April 5, 2012

By Tuesday, our kids had made it clear that they needed us home, but it was still 8 days before our embassy appointment, plus two days for Aseres’ visa and a day and a half of travel.  It is not comforting to tell your kids that you hear them and love them and should be home in 12 days.  We heard that lying to the embassy might get us home quicker — make up an emergency or go every day and wait, but we weren’t going to betray an integrity we had hung to through our whole process.  Could we instead go to God who united us with our daughter and then changed the “if” we could return home to “when” and ask for more?  Wasn’t that selfish?  We decided it was honest, so we went to God with an awe and a thankfulness which we should have always had and confessed our neediness and our lack of faith and asked to be home for Easter, but above all for us to glorify him wherever we are.  And we meant it — it wasn’t a weak prayer of whatever your will God, but a recognition that he is sovereign and his will is best for us.  We knew that now.  If we weren’t to be home for Easter, we trusted he would be the perfect father to our kids in Texas just as he had been to our daughter in Ethiopia before.

When we finished, I emailed the same embassy who had frustrated us at every turn for months.  “We are trying our best to make it until the 11th, but we miss our kids at home and they miss us.  If anything opens, please call me” and I gave them our local phone number.

I walked back to our room, but before I could lay down next to my beautiful wife sleeping with a glow of a new mom mixed with a tension from her separation from her older babies, my phone rang.  “Mr McGlothlin (it was the consular’s office at the embassy).  I was confirming your phone number.  I received your email.  I understand how hard it is to be separated.  We will call you the moment we receive your daughter’s file from Nairobi and get Aseres visa ready the same day.  Even if it comes in Friday when we are closed, I will have someone come in and meet you so we can get you guys home.”

Thanks.  Thank you so much. (But I thought you were evil) We want to go home.

The file didn’t come Friday; it came Wednesday night.  The embassy called and we went in on Thursday with our daughter who was one interview and 28 hours of travel from being as much of an American citizen as any of her new siblings.  The interviewer had a smile instead of a pitchfork and congratulated us as she slid Aseres’ approved papers to us.  I called our travel agent when we returned to the guest house.  He asked if we could get to the airport in two hours for the last few seats on the plane — bulkhead in business class; no fare increase.

Marissa packed and Aseres slept, and I was back in the garden face down in the grass.  The weight of the story God wrote on our lives and his power left me without any words.  We were prepared to stay in Ethiopia forever if it was his will, but his will was for us to stay just a little while.  I should have just been excited that all our prayers were answered, but I worried that the communion and closeness we felt through a two and a half year process which had redefined us might ebb.  “God, don’t let this be a high water mark when I look back; don’t let me return to the man I was.”  I noticed it was almost a micro version of Moses’ “if your presence will not go with us, do not bring us up from here” then a peace overcame me that we worship the same God as Moses.  He promised Moses that “my presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” and he still intervenes with the same power and mercy.  So I got up and helped Marissa pack.  Aseres was up and we kept telling her she was going home — a term with yet no meaning to her.  We caught our flight and the next three over 28 hours.  Aseres may have fussed a total of 15 minutes.  We hugged our kids at the base of the airport escalator, and introduced Aseres to her brothers and sister, along with her grandparents and about 20 adults and kids from our amazing church family who had each prayed her home.  And then we went home, the six of us, and rested in his presence.  Hallelujah; all glory be to God.

Photos courtesy of Holly Bollinger

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bonnie & Todd huckabee
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 18:20:23

    Totally moved by your writing. . . .thank you for sharing it with us. . . praying for your family as you all adjust. . . .humbled by God’s goodness to us all. . .


  2. morelovetogive
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 22:37:03

    We serve an amazing God who even cares about the little details. I love it!!! So happy you are finally all together. Thank you Jesus! – Holly


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