Kind of a strange title, right? Thank God when I lose my job, you might be thinking? Yes, you should. Well maybe if you hated your job or needed to move, or something like that you would be more likely to be ok with loosing your job. But what if you loved it? What if you weren't sure how you would provide for your family? That may be hypothetical to you, but it's not for me. I was one year in to my teaching career in Dallas, in 2008, when D.I.S.D. went public about being millions of dollars in debt. What solution did they come up with? Fire teachers and put more kids in each classroom of course. The wisdom of that decision is beyond the scope of this post, but it left me on the chopping block. I was the last hired, so I was the first fired. We had just gotten back from our first mission trip to Guatemala where we had just met Selena, who literally changed the trajectory of our lives. So being jobless less, with a little severance pay, allowed me the opportunity to go back to Guatemala, very last-minute, alone without Angela, with another team that was headed down there with our church. I traveled with them to Selena's city and that week I spent all week with Selena at the orphanage.
Hanging with Selena and having that devoted time with her really impacted me, confirming in my heart and mind, God was doing something between us. It became evident to me, over the course of that week that Selena needed a foster family. Having special needs, Selena needed, one-on-one attention. So we decided to push the envelope.
We talked extensively with our then Guatemalan lawyer and he was very helpful in guiding our steps. I think Angela and I spent every night talking on the phone about it. We didn't understand International roaming fees back then and later discovered our phone bill was over $900!! But totally worth the money. We prayed and started to brainstorm ways of getting Selena out of the orphanage. I was able to schedule a meeting with the orphanage director a day or so before our team was scheduled to head back. There was someone on our team, Taylor, that could speak Spanish really well and she agreed to help translate.
I tried, for what felt like an eternity, to communicate to the director my heart and passion for Selena. I showed her pictures of Angela and I holding Selena from our first trip, and I explained our connection and desire to pursue her, hopefully ending in adoption one day. The director was very skeptical and reluctant. She originally said no. She said it wasn't possible and that soon we would leave and forget Selena. So we talked and talked and talked some more. By God's grace she knew we were not backing down and finally asked what that would look like. We then turned to our good friend Linda DeVault. Linda is an amazing friend of ours who lives as a missionary in Guatemala. She knew Selena personally and also knew that Selena had met, in prior months, the Echeverria family while Selena was recovering from being sick.
This picture here was taken prior to us asking Mimi and Nufito about caring for Selena.
Linda called them up and told them the situation. Without knowing Angela or I very well, or even knowing Selena very well, they agreed to take her in and care for her as we would wait for adoption to reopen. I was literally overjoyed and blown away. I literally could not stop smiling. I didn't think at all that the director would back down before it was time to go. They got Selena ready soon after and Mimi and Nufito showed up at the orphanage to pick us up.
That was over five years ago.
We never thought Guatemala would be closed for so long. The Echeverria's were given legal foster family status and granted custody of Selena. They have been dedicating their lives to Selena ever since.
It is amazing to me this story that God is unfolding. I often times get lost in worry, anxiety and become depressed because of the love I feel for Selena and the inability to adopt her and bring her here. God has to continually bring me back to the Scriptures to remind me of His sovereignty, and of His rule and control over the events in my life. That very week I was with Selena, there was another precious little girl who became very ill at the orphanage and died. They had a funeral for her that week that I attended. It was really surreal. I truly believe moving Selena out of that orphanage saved her life.
So in all circumstances I'm learning to be thankful for what God has brought to pass. The good and the bad. When I have a great job and things are good or when I find out that I'm loosing my job and times are uncertain. By His grace, I trust Him with the events in my life more today than I used to. I mean just think if I hadn't lost my job...would we even be here right now in the same way? I don't know. But I do know God loves me and ordains good for me, even in the difficult places of life. It is amazing to be in a relationship with God this way. It frees you up to say crazy things like, 'to die is gain...' or in my situation, 'Thank you God I lost my job.'