“Sit back and watch Me move”

God writes the most amazing and unpredictable stories, doesn’t He? This story is multifaceted and could fill a book. It’s hard to know where to begin and what to include, because all of it radiates with God’s creativity. But here’s where we’ll start:

In 2014, I (Grace) moved to Lesotho to work at Beautiful Gate Care Center. Days were filled with singing, playing, diapers, dishes, laundry, and all the precious children that accompanied those activities. There was one five year old boy that had an especially unique way of filling a day with song, filling a room with his joy, and filling my heart with love. This love came with a secret hope…

How many times did I think about my future and see a glimpse of him in it? How often did I rock him back and forth as we sang and think, “Oh God, if I could only be his mom…”? I moved back to the States in 2016 and the love for this sweet boy took up all kinds of space in my heart and mind, but it appeared that my desire to love him as my son could never be a reality. I diligently prayed for his future family. In the winter of 2017, the burden I felt for him was nagging me constantly. I felt a desperation to have some kind of an answer about his future. In this time, the Lord seemed to be speaking and showing me a life with this sweet boy in it, but I hardly dared trust it. How could a single, 23-year-old with a low paying job possibly provide for a 9 year old boy? I reached out to families I knew, asking if they would consider adopting him. I asked a few trusted friends to join me in praying for his family, and for God to make it incredibly clear if that family was meant to begin with me.

In February of 2018, God spoke. In remarkably intimate ways He showed me that He was paving the way to bring my sweet boy home, making me the mother I had always longed and prayed to be.

The beautiful call felt sure. The details did not. “How am I going to raise all that money to adopt? How can I even provide for his most basic needs? And what about medical expenses? Are you asking me to do this single? God, you said you were paving the way…humanly speaking this seems completely illogical and nearly impossible.”

God’s reply was simple. “Sit back and watch me move.”

A few days later, as only the Lord could orchestrate, He would answer another long held prayer — one that began five years before moving to Lesotho. I met my husband. A couple months after meeting, Scott cautiously asked to get to know me more intentionally. There were many parts of our stories and circumstances (“So…how do you feel about adopting an older child?” “Wait, how old are you?”) that made a relationship seem like another illogical move, but God continually wove our stories into one. In the weaving came healing and love and more answered prayers.

In January of 2019, God initiated a unique opportunity for Scott to go on a dental trip to Beautiful Gate, a time our son vividly remembers as a really fun and special time getting to know “Dr. Scott”.

We got married in June of 2019, started our paperwork in June of 2020 (hello pandemic!), got matched in June of 2021, and finally got the go ahead to buy plane tickets in June of 2022. Those years were filled with God’s directive goodness, immense support from our community, joy in marriage, lots of tears in the waiting, and continued prayers answered. He provided two amazing families to foster our son as he aged out of the orphanage, He strengthened his faith and ours, and He revealed more of the unique ways our son would need to be loved. As we sat back in surrender, God paved the way, just like He said.

We have been the “VanSlam Fam” since June 6, 2022. We’ve experienced tremendous joys and countless prayers answered. We’ve seen miraculous healing in our son’s heart. We’ve also seen the painful effects of 14 years without permanency. Fear is deep and hard memories bubble out in ways that feel difficult to navigate. We are daily reminded to let God keep paving the way. With visual impairments, cognitive disabilities, and years of known and unknown trauma (not to mention the adolescent hormones flowing through his body), every day is a puzzle we’re trying to piece together in love. Through it all, we can confidently say that God is faithful. All three of our stories prove it.

January 2014—June 2022. Eight and a half years of totally unpredictable chapters. With years of amazing chapters before, and surely many more to come, to these two truths we cling:

“He will restore the years the locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

To the creative and loving author of our stories, be all praise and honor and glory, Amen!