(Here was the first photo we saw of him, just over a year ago. He was 6 months old.)
Well, we decided not to continue pursuing adopting him for various reasons, but basically because his remaining bio family (an aunt and a few other extended relatives) couldn't agree what they wanted to happen with him. Every one who had been involved with helping him and his family had said the same thing, "This is the worst situation I have ever seen! Something must happen to help him." He had an uncle that was an addict, who repeatedly beat people up, everyone was sick and he was slowly starving, they couldn't get money to feed themselves due to the drug issues and his aunt had had enough and wanted him placed for adoption.
I was able to meet the aunt and grandma, who both really wanted Ezra to be safe and healthy, but also shared that she (the grandma) felt grieved he wouldn't be able to be involved with his culture, extended family and heritage. I felt that, it saddened me too. I really liked them, could see the difficulty of their situation, but also there love and hope for Ezra. And I also felt like we must allow them to make this choice in their time and with the freedom to make it final however they felt best. And for us, that meant walking away and leaving it alone.
We left knowing that he would most likely stay in that bad situation, but that was also the right thing given the circumstances. I had only asked the ministry involved if they've been checking up on Ezra to see how he is doing, but then lost track of the man who'd been helping this family. I wrote a prayer for Ezra and committed to being his "mom of prayer" before the throne of God... and felt that if that was all I could do it was important.
While I was in Uganda getting Isaiah's adoption completed I passed by the area Ezra was in on several occasions... it was etched in my brain... I know with out at doubt I could get their any time or any day with out help... and that is saying a lot because it is a maze of shacks, winding up a hill, all looking alike. The times I passed by I always started to cry.
One time my driver (who had on another occasion taken Ezra to the hospital, prior to my first trip) said, "Marci that is where your other son is... do you know that place?" When he said that it startled me, "my other son." It was hard and good to hear all at the same time. I said, "Yes, that is where he is..." adding to myself, "I hope".
Quite honestly, I didn't want to know what happened to Ezra. I didn't want to go back there. Not because it would be sad, because we didn't go forward to adopt him, but because I feared the worst... that he'd be hurting, hungry and possibly dead. I dreaded knowing what I thought the truth might be.
After my first trip I thought about finding out how he was... but didn't feel right about it. So I prayed, "God if you want me to know what happened with Ezra you will have to bring him to me." It was a wild and open prayer. I doubted anything would come of it at all.
Until one day I was waiting (that is done a lot in UG and in adoption). In the waiting room was a familiar man, I knew him, he was the man who was overseeing the care through a ministry that had first told us about Ezra... what?! In a city that has a greater population than my state... and I see the ONE man who knows about Ezra... Yeah. Very odd.
I sat and looked at him... he didn't recognize me, my hair was drastically different. I thought... "Do I really want to know? What if he is dead? What if..." But I did it, when the man looked up at me, I re-introduced myself. In an instant he remembered me and said, "Do you want to know about the boy Ezra?" I said yes. He said, "It is really a good thing. The aunt was able to move out and not live with the bad guy (they always called him that). They are safe now. I look in on Ezra, he is doing better and is growing some. They are glad that you came, because it helped the other family members to realize how bad a state they were in, and now the family is helping them... if you had not come, they would never have taken such note of Ezra."
It was like cool water, those words. It erased the worry, the fear and the dread.
For months I had worried that my coming was a negative thing, that it might have caused harm, that if we had just waited he would have been placed for adoption eventually... but that was only from my vantage point. God had used us, but in an entirely different capacity. He knew we wouldn't be willing to push, we would respect and hope for the best and that we would be Ezra's prayer parents, if nothing else.
That was one of the most amazing things to ever happen while I was in Ug@nda... it simply stunned me. Of all the days, I met him. Of all the times of that day, we were both waiting there. And his news was what I needed to know.
Some orphans have family... just not ones that are willing to care for them. BUT if they are willing they need to be helped, not hindered in caring for their child.
We have always held to this, and are so thankful to have seen such a perfect case right before our very eyes of what families CAN do, despite all odds to care and protect their children... when we step back and give them the chance and tools to do it!
Last night the pastor of the ministry that helps Ezra sent me these photos of him.
He looks SO amazing to me! What sweet sweet news to see!!!
(Ezra with his aunt and cousin, looking good, and healthy!)
Will you pray with us over Ezra today?
Here is the prayer I wrote to pray for him, after my visit, when I was hurting and sad about not being able to be his mom and uncertain where God was taking us...
God does help!
We thank You for allowing us to know Your child Ezra, his needs and the amazing and awesome work of Your hands that he is!
We bring him to You.
We know it is no coincidence his name means “God helps.”
We ask that You would always be his help, be near to him and answer his cries.
We ask that You would claim this boy as Your own and hold him in Your righteous right hand, for Your glory alone!
Like a mother hen guards her brood, we ask that You would cover Ezra with Your wings and protect him;
From hunger, fill him with Yourself when he is,
From sickness and disease,
From evil men that would do ill to him,
From danger, violence, abuse and unrest,
From drugs and alcohol,
From all things that entice and promise falsehoods,
From the Enemy of orphans, family and Your perfect Plan,
Like a mother hen, surround him with Your wings of love,
Impart Your faith and hope,
Impart Your peace, presence and power in his mind and deep in his soul.
Allow him to see You, hear You, feel You and witness You in others.
Allow Christ-followers to see him and know he is a boy who is claimed as Your’s, give them charge over him.
Holy Spirit, we ask that You be this boy’s Helper and Counselor!
We boldly ask that evil would not prevail and that we and many others might experience Your power in the life of Ezra.
We remove his name “Causing trouble, and give him the name “Let’s trust in God.”
Allow him to know you greatly and bring great glory to Your name.
We thank you for changing us, making us more like your Son through this little boy.
We pray that Your holy will prevails and that we will be used by You in Ezra’s life however You see fit.
It is in your holy and powerful name we pray, Amen!
Here are some ways to help families like Ezra's raise their kids!!! Family preservation is also part of Orphan Care... with out a doubt the most important part!
Compassion Mother and Child Program - http://www.compassion.com/help-babies.htm
Family Preservation in Uganda - http://www.dellchallenge.org/projects/abide-family-center
Action for Children Uganda - http://www.actionforchildren.or.ug/