God Doesn't Have a "Plan B" (Part 2)
“It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible.” ― Katie J. Davis, Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
Part 2 of 3 (Originally posted May 28, 2018)
To me, this excerpt from “Kisses from Katie”, very simply explains how I came to feel about my life. Even though I had dedicated my life to Jesus at this point and I loved being a teacher, we were still living mainly for ourselves, filling our house with “stuff” and getting lost in our pursuit of more. It was both painful and liberating to eventually sell all of this stuff but three years later we still fight our inclination to buy more, even here in Guatemala.
After a few weeks of intensive Spanish classes in Antigua for the whole fam, Phil began the process of finding a home and getting it certified with CNA (Consejo Nacionales de Adopciones) as an orphanage or hogar de ninos. Being a big picture guy, a builder, he was in his element and there is no doubt that in those first few months, the Lord was clearly guiding us. He brought amazing people into our lives, blessed us with a supportive community with whom we still rely on daily and provided the kids with a wonderful school full of other missionary kids and Guatemalans.
While Phil and his assistant Jorge got busy building the Hogar the kids and I started school. Since we knew it would be several months before we started receiving children, I decided to do what I know and love best, and accepted a teaching job at a small, bilingual Christian school. Six months into the job, the principal quit. He just walked out the door one day. Being the most “mature” teacher on staff I was promoted to principal, a position I have both loved and loathed for two and half years now. At the time I couldn’t believe someone would ever walk out on kids mid-year. Who does that? But now that I have walked in those shoes for three years, I get it. It’s a tough, crazy, painful, beautiful, horrible job and there have been many days when I almost ran out the door myself, but God always brought me back. He has been with me every step and I see now how he has used everything, all of it, both the pain and the joy, to get me to this place.
I think at this point I should back up the truck and give some background info about why there is such an orphan crisis in Guatemala. I mean, there are orphans in every country so why come to Guatemala? In 2001, when we lived here before, it was very common to go to Antigua and see several foreign couples cuddling their newly adopted Guatemalan baby. Sadly, some misguided people chose to exploit the system and people’s desire to adopt, and it became common for babies to be stolen and sold to unknowing families in other countries who thought they were doing a good thing. In 2008, in an attempt to stop these heinous crimes against children, the Guatemalan government closed all foreign adoptions. They put the brakes on and quickly a bad situation got much worse as children were now crowded into underfunded orphanages not prepared or staffed to properly care for all of the children.
Fast forward to 2018, there is still an orphan crisis in this country, but slowly things are starting to change. Local churches and ministries are working to break down cultural barriers by providing education about adoption. International pressure stemming from horrific incidents in government-run orphanages, are all forcing the government to make changes to the system. One change is that foreigners may now adopt IF they are permanent residents in Guatemala. This change has allowed many missionaries to open their homes and hearts to children, many of whom have been waiting years for their forever family. But there is still much work to be done.