The Road to Elbasan
Originally posted on June 2, 2010 as they waited to travel to adopt their son…
We had hoped to be in the air today on our way to Albania, but we are currently waiting on some paperwork to go through here in the US. God knew we needed this extra time though. We have been so busy in May that had we left today, we would have spent much of our time in Albania worried about what we didn’t get done in Wilmore before we left. The road to Elbasan is longer than we anticipated, but God is teaching us along the way.
David’s orphanage is located in Elbasan, Albania, so “The Road to Elbasan” is partly the description of our journey of this second adoption. Also, it is a reference to the story in Luke 24 about the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Our pastor preached on this particular story recently, and again, God spoke to me personally about our adoption. Actually, He began to work on me during the praise and worship at the beginning of the service. With all of the uncertainty of timeline and paperwork, I have been scrambling to work though every possible scenario in my mind. Should we book tickets and just go as soon as we can, so we can meet David in person and hope that the paperwork will move through smoothly. But if the paperwork doesn’t come through, it could force three extra round-trip tickets for us to go back later. Everyday, we wait to book the tickets, however, the prices go up. I have been awake in the night thinking through all of this and even rehearsing our time in front of the judge. I have scoured the USCIS website and chat boards of other adoptive parents to try to get an idea of the new processes and timelines.
These questions and others have been all consuming at times, but God reminded me that he is in control though the simple chorus:
Peace be still. Jehovah God is with you.
Peace be still. Jehovah is Lord.
Peace be still. Jehovah God is with you.
Jehovah is Lord of all.
I have had the confidence that God is working, but I haven’t been acting like it. Cydil and I have done what we can for right now. It is time for me to be still, and rest in the peace that God is working.
I could have gone home renewed then, but there was more for me to learn. The disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize Jesus when he was walking right next to them and carrying on a conversation. Why? He appeared in a way they weren’t expecting. Since my dad is a doctor, he is often recognized by patients around town, but sometimes he is so far out of context that they doubt it is him. Does a doctor drive a 1948 Ford tractor through town or shop at Odd Lots? It must have been someone who just looked like him!
It was sort of like that with Jesus during his last days. Nothing had gone as expected. The disciples were sure that after the triumphal entry Jesus was going to set up His kingdom and restore Israel. But, then, days later, he was dead! They had already heard the good news from the women at the tomb saying that Jesus was alive, but they apparently didn’t believe it because their faces were downcast. “…we had hoped..” How sad is that past tense statement! A loss of hope! Could their disappointment be because they were hoping in the wrong thing? We aren’t too different if we are honest. Sometimes we pray for Jesus the Great Physician and instead he shows up as the Great Comforter, and we don’t recognize Him. In those situations, we often are discouraged and say, “We had hoped.” But Jesus was there all along walking with us.
Thankfully, we can often look in the rearview mirror to see Him more clearly. The disciples expressed this when they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Cydil and I can already see Jesus in our ‘rearview’ mirror in this adoption. From the day we first learned of David Reni, he has been our provider. On top of our great pediatrician who specializes in internationally adopted kids, He provided colleagues of my dad’s who were willing to look at the information we had and help interpret if for us. One even currently has a patient with the same rare condition! A hospital that specializes in orthopedics is located just up the road from us. A good friend and previous student who worked with us is now a social worker at the hospital. Her Master’s research – a study of the psychological adaptation of children with limb deficiencies! We were already in the process of updating our homestudy and were able to include the information about Reni before it was filed, saving us money and time of a second update. We were able to get our fingerprints renewed without an appointment last week which will potentially cut weeks off our timeline.
We don’t just want to see Jesus in our rearview mirror though. We believe he is walking beside us through this process and through the mundane of every day as we prepare to bring David home. Would you pray with us that during these next few weeks as we journey on our road to Elbasan that we recognize Jesus daily. It would be easy to get discouraged while we wait for paperwork to come through. We ‘had hoped’ that we would be on our way to Albania today. While in a real sense I am disappointed, Jesus has already used this time to teach me more about him, and I look forward to more of the walk.
Nathan and his wife, Cydil, have two adopted children, Elisona (5) and Reni (18 months), both adopted from Albania. They live at and run a missions student center on a Christian college campus in the Bluegrass of Kentucky. They love their work, sharing their passion for missions and adoption with university students. In his free time, Nathan loves kayaking, watching college football (Go Bucks!), and roughhousing with his kids. Nathan writes a weekly post for their family blog called “Fatherhood Fridays” where he writes on the topic of the heavenly Father’s heart revealed through adoption.