Stacy and I were up and out of the guesthouse a little past seven.
We chatted anxiously with our attorney as she negotiated Managua's morning rush hour traffic. We were heading to our first appointment in what would turn out to be a very full first day. None of us really knew what the next few hours would bring. We only knew that we had been brought together for just such a day.
Of course there was much excitement... three and a half years of waiting and wondering, hoping and praying will do that to you.
We passed large buses and smaller "expresos" packed tightly with workers making their way downtown. Motorcycles and scooters zipped on either side of us creating extra lanes of traffic. After a half an hour the bigness of the city gave way to smaller neighborhoods. Little stores (tiendas) dotted the sidewalks. The narrow, congested streets were lined on both sides with uniform-clad children walking to school (public not private we were told).
Arriving on time, we parked in front of the agency that was handling our adoption. Stacy and I said a prayer before stepping out to follow our attorney through the gates and inside. Everyone was very professional and gracious. They seemed like people who took their jobs seriously which we appreciated because their work is vitally important. We did notice that the area with the most activity was a closet-sized room off reception that housed the coffeemaker. It appears that the start of the business day ritual is without borders.
We were introduced to several members of the staff including the new executive director. About 8:15 the person assigned to our case greeted us in a warm business-like manner. She held our case file against her chest like a mother holding a baby. The legal-sized folder was easily four inches thick and as we made our way to the cars she commented that everything about us and about our girls was contained inside. How many hands had its contents passed through? How many sets of eyes had scanned its pages? How many signatures had been required and stamps needed just to get us to this morning? Yes, senora, hold onto it tightly because we are so close now.
"That seemed to go well," we said back in the car. Some short introductions, a few pleasantries, and then instructions on how the next few hours were to go. The ride to where the girls lived took about 45 minutes. Leaving Managua proper we went further and further into the interior.
Along the way we talked about the length of the process and the theological virtue of "patient endurance." Only that morning could we more fully appreciate how our hearts had been prepared during this time of anticipation and hoping. We shared an experience we'd just had at Ada Bible the Sunday before leaving for Nicaragua. In his teaching from Genesis that morning, Jeff talked about Joseph's excruciatingly long imprisonment. He said that your faith is either forged or dashed during times such as these. We were humbled by how Joseph's faith was strengthened to the point where he was able to serve and offer comfort to others despite his own pain and suffering. After more than a decade as a prisoner, Joseph fully expected to be released after interpreting the cupbearer's dream. But he was forgotten and remained in prison a full two years more.
During the sermon Jeff used as one of his examples, "almost adopting." He also used the term "resolution." While both had special meaning to Stacy and me, the latter was of special significance since this was the actual term used to describe the critical judgment we had just received from Nicaragua that allowed us to meet and be with our girls. It was just one more word of confirmation that told us, "Go, until or unless you hear a no."
The last few miles of the journey led us through narrow and deeply rutted, dirt roads. We came to a walled off compound with large metal gates. Inside were our girls. They had also been waiting a long time for us. And their hearts too had been prepared. "Mama y Papa!"
O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your Name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago in perfect faithfulness! Isaiah 25