Well, God does write amazing stories.
I have some exciting news to share, but first, thank you all who prayed for Scott’s and my getaway. It really almost didn’t happen. We were 2 1/2 hours later leaving than we had planned (due mostly to continuing issues that needed to be talked through with a few of the kids), and then about thirty minutes down the road, I broke a tooth. That nearly did me in, and we almost gave up and went home. But it never started to hurt, so we just kept going. In the end, it was such a wonderful trip; it was, possibly, the best trip we’ve ever had together in our forty-one years of marriage. We are so very thankful that God blessed us with this time away, and we do feel much more ready to face Lilyan’s surgery on Monday.
Now . . .
Scott and I did our first adoption in 1998. From that point forward, the longest we ever went between adoptions was two years and four months. Until now. It has now been three years and two months since Nolan came home to us in August 2015. We felt pretty sure he would be our last adoption.
We were wrong.
We are adopting again, but this isn’t like any other adoption we’ve ever done. If you’ve read our first book, Swaying in the Treetops, then you may remember that our adoption journey started with a little girl named Raiza Sangueza in 1997. She was not eligible for adoption, but came to our family from Bolivia as a medical-foster situation at the age of seven, and her entrance into our lives changed us forever and proved to be the conduit for our first actual adoption of Nathan. It all started with her.
She lived with us for about a year on that first visit and became very much our daughter in our hearts. This story is a very long one, and maybe we will have a chance to tell it fully someday. But over the next few years, Raiza came to us two more times, staying as long as two years at a time. The last time we saw her, she was twelve years old, and it broke our hearts, and her heart, that we could never adopt her. When she returned to Bolivia that last time, we all lost contact with each other for a decade.
Again, it’s a very long story, but God eventually answered a million prayers and brought us back together. You may also remember that she and her daughter, Jhannel, arrived here in America a few months ago and have been living with us since that time. She is twenty-nine now, and never stopped calling us, or thinking of us as, Mom and Dad. I will never forget that hug when she got off the plane — our first hug for each other since October 2001. It’s such a miracle that she is here and back in our lives.
We are slowly learning about the really tough things she went through during that decade we were cut off from each other. But that is her story to tell someday when she is ready. We will say that she is going to be a very bright light for God’s kingdom someday, and will have so much help to offer others when the time comes. Her story of healing is a beautiful one, and it’s such an honor that God is allowing us to walk by her side for this incredible part of her journey.
We learned just a couple of months ago that, in the state of Ohio, it is possible to adopt an adult as long as there was a parent-child relationship between the adopters and the adoptee while the adoptee was still a minor. And as long as adoption is what both parties want.
There was. And we do. It is what we have all always wanted since God first brought us together.
So on November 19, our family will, one last time, gather in the Butler County courthouse as Judge Randy Rogers finalizes one more Rosenow adoption. On that day, Raiza Sanqueza will officially become what she has already unofficially been now for twenty-one years — Raiza Jane Rosenow.
We want to invite anyone who would like to attend. If you think you might like to be a part of our huge celebration over this miracle, please jot us a note to let us know. We will give you the rest of the details at that time. We would so love to fill the courthouse that day with people who have been a part of Raiza’s story in any way through the years and/or anyone who would like to join us during this very, very special time for our family as we officially adopt our 23rd child (who was actually really our first non-biological child). We are still shaking our heads in surprise at God’s revelation now of His plans all those years ago.
She will also be changing Jhannel’s name to Jhannel Amalia Rosenow, our precious and so-loved granddaughter.
Here is a beautiful picture of Raiza Jane and her daughter Jhannel Amalia. Just a quick story about the name. We used to, jokingly, call her Raiza Jane when she was a child, and when it came time to choose her new middle name for her adoption paperwork, she asked if she could have this one. The very cool thing about this is that the name “Jane” means, “gracious gift of God” — which is also the same meaning of “Jhannel.” This daughter and granddaughter are truly very gracious gifts from our God. We are awed.