Friday, February 04, 2011

The Whole Story - Annie

(Thanks for bearing with me through what has become an incredibly long telling of all that transpired for us in Malawi! This is part 6, so if you need to catch up, just click on the titles for An Intro, Getting There, Meeting Ernest, Still Day One, and The Choice)

The only black spot on Kondanani Children’s Home as far as we’re concerned is its director, Annie. We requested a meeting with her Wednesday evening, December 1st, where she continued to insist that Ernest is a normal, healthy, talking three-year-old. She stood behind her earlier representations to us that he has great leadership potential, is the leader of his nursery school, and regularly talks. (Back in November we were able to have lunch with her here in the States and that was her response to “Tell us more about Ernest.” Additionally, when we first accepted his referral, we were told that he was perfectly healthy, normal, and had only ever needed medical attention for a perceived hip problem). When we gently (by God’s grace!) confronted her with the fact that his nannies said he doesn’t talk at all at home, might have cerebral palsy, and appeared to be older than three, she said that any delays are simply due to the fact that he lives in an institution where the nannies are just in it for the money. Annie then changed her story to insist simultaneously that he speaks at school, and is a late talker (though according to her, not speaking at "three" is not a big deal). Wanting to believe the best, we asked if we might speak with his school teacher. Annie agreed, but wouldn’t send her to see us until the morning.
That night, we hoped we might have the opportunity to make some phone calls to get council from someone a little removed from the situation. We hoped we might be able to use the internet to research Ernest’s needs. But God wanted us to depend on Him. An overwhelming rainstorm engulfed the region, cutting off both cell service and internet access. We were left to discuss the situation with my parents, read, cry and pray. We knew we were weak, tired, and not thinking clearly, so we kept asking ourselves “what would we have done if we’d know the truth before we left?” The answer to that question had come months before. We knew it would have been “no – we can’t adopt this little boy.”
God gave us the grace to sleep a little that night, and we awoke to clear skies, clearer heads and 3 bars worth of cell service. Before we even got out of bed we used that priceless cell phone Kondi had delivered, to call our friend Brian Biedebach in Lilongwe. We knew we’d be waking him up, but we didn’t care. Given the circumstances, neither did he. Brian quickly got in contact with Danny’s parents, our pastor, and some of our closest friends, the Dicks, who are missionaries in Croatia and were living with us this summer when this whole saga began. They were all able to use Skype to call us back and give us love, support and wise counsel. They basically all said the same thing: to leave Ernest or to adopt him – neither option would necessarily be sin. They asked us to consider whether God was challenging us to take on more than we thought we could handle, or if God was just asking us to walk away from something we really really wanted. Perhaps the best advice we received was to walk away - temporarily. Danny’s dad suggested leaving the orphanage for the Biedebachs four hours away, take some time to rest and recover, and perhaps return for our court date the following Monday. That became the plan, but God had ordained a couple of life-changing meetings to take place first.

1 comment:

By the Brook said...

Can't wait to read more!