Texas to Uganda – by Jen Blackmon

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June 19, 2013 [Your Letters, GEWife] Jen writes this great testimony to living biblically on her blog Texas to UgandaGod called me to Africa to care for orphans when I was 10 years old. He waited 25 years to send me the first time, and now I go each summer to care for children at Agnes’ Children’s Care in Jinja, Uganda. I came home from Africa after my first trip five years ago sure that we should adopt Rachel and Jacob. I had fallen instantly in love with them, and could imagine how perfectly they would fit in our family. My husband was not convinced. It’s not that he was opposed to adoption (which, at that time was not even allowed in Uganda), it was that he was prayerful, and told me that he felt like they both needed to stay in Uganda, and we would  have to love them and care for them from afar. I can’t tell you how many tears I shed over this —
How many prayers I prayed for God to show him differently, and how many family portraits seemed to me to have two people missing. Once my son met them, he and the other kids joined in too, wanting Rachel and Jacob to come and live with us. By then, international adoption had become legal in Uganda. Because I respected my husband’s decision, I didn’t push, but often wondered how we could be so differently called.  Now, over the past two days on this visit, I’ve realized something huge:  he was right. He was listening to and obeying God, even when it seemed hard. He wasn’t clouded by his own ideas and emotions about these children, and he wasn’t swayed by my tears. He had heard God in his spirit say that these two children needed to stay in Uganda, and he trusted that. 
You see, while Rachel and Jacob are both true orphans (in Africa, you are considered an “orphan” if you have lost one parent, so many “orphans” here still have a living parent), they both have families here. Jacob now lives with his great aunt in Jinja while he attends secondary school, so that he can be near one of his older brothers. Rachel came today with her Grandmother to see me. 

Her grandmother is an absolutely precious woman who was not in a position to care for Rachel when she was younger, but now is helping her as she attends secondary school closer to her grandmother’s home.  What a blessing!  I love it that her grandmother has taken responsibility for her and can help support her now. She clearly loves and is very proud of Rachel.
A life with the Blackmons in America might have been “better” for Rachel and Jacob in some ways (clean water all the time, no malaria, and more “stuff”), but it would have robbed them of their true families, and perhaps of the life God is calling them to in Uganda. Both are doing well in school, and with our continued help, they can finish secondary school and beyond. 
Because my husband listened to God, and I listened to my husband (admittedly not with a pure heart at first, but with a trusting one), Rachel and Jacob will grow up in their country, with their extended families, prepared to do what God is calling them to do. 
Jen Hatmaker has written a great series on “adoption ethics” on her blog:  jenhatmaker.com. It’s worth a read. She talks about the importance of keeping kids in their natural families if at all possible, and how we can support them there. It spoke to me a lot about what we’re trying to do at Agnes’, because about half of her children have extended families who cannot care for them full time, but the children still go see them on the holidays. We want, as the children grow up and head off to secondary school, to continue to support them and send them to school close to their families. 
I am thankful to have a husband who listens to God, four children in Texas,  and two children in Africa. 
About Jen: Jen is a great friend who first began attending God Empowered Wife classes in 2008 and then began to host them in her own home. When she moved to Austin, she began teaching and facilitating her own GEWife groups and I love hearing the testimonies that come from the ladies in her group. She is one of four approved God Empowered Wife instructors and the only one in the US.

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