So much has happened since that day. Anahi came to live with us only about one month after we met her. She loved Timothy from the beginning. Julie was an incredible mother; a dream had come true in her life. God had given her a little girl, whom she named Esther because she had arrived in our home for such a time as this.
Esther became part of our family. We went on our first family vacation a few months later. We had popcorn and movie nights. The kids and I played after work in the afternoons. Julie was able to see God answering her prayers and satisfying her deepest longings to have a baby girl. Between September 2011 and April 2012, we had such wonderful times. We were very busy, living life and doing ministry together in Paraguay.
Anahi learned to walk with Timothy. Julie and I got to enjoy not only the Latin American spring, which officially begins September 21st, but also a spring season in our marriage and our ministry. We had been married for almost 12 years. The year before had been extremely busy and hard personally. Since Timothy was born seven years earlier, we had not been able to have more kids. Only two years before the arrival of Anahi, we had moved into our own home.
We had seen the ministry of the radio station grow and succeed into autonomy and have an impact in the Paraguayan community and were getting ready for our fourth trip back to the States for furlough, a trip we took every three years to see families and friends in the States. Tickets had been purchased; we had our itinerary laid out.
That’s when the accident happened on a cold, foggy April morning on our way to Asuncion.
Later I realized how Julie is definitely on furlough, enjoying the best ice cream and the best road system (she always told me she missed the paved roads of the USA). She and Timothy have made it home.
Anahi is only five now. As she grows and understands, I will be telling her the story, a story of redemption, grace, and so much love. First the love of God the Father, and then the love of Julie, who was a voice for the abandoned and homeless. And finally the story of my life, of how God has changed me in the process, from not considering adoption to embracing first Anahi and now two more kids as my own. Today, I cannot fathom my life without Anahi.