Therefore, We Do Not Despair…

On October 19, 2020 we posted an update asking for our friends and family to spend some time during the month of November praying with us regarding our adoption. We want to say thank you to those of you that stood with us in prayer during that time because we needed every prayer you prayed. Thank you so much for caring for us through your prayers.

God gave us His answer regarding our match and it was “not yet”.

Reflecting on Advent:

It is fitting that today marks the beginning of the season of Advent. We say this because Advent is not about checking the next 25 days off so we can open presents. It’s not about the general optimism that comes during this time of year because people tend to be kinder and more cheerful. Advent is about hope. Hope in a person. Advent is about the hope that we have in Christ.

In Romans Chapter 5, the Apostle Paul speaks of hope that comes through faith in Christ. He says of hope in verses 1 through 5, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Now these verses speak specifically to salvation, but also are applicable to other areas of our lives. So in the context of our adoption, we rejoice in the waiting, knowing that waiting produces endurance. This endurance in waiting develops our character. As our character develops (not based on anything special about us, but as we mature in Christ) we find hope. And as the Apostle Paul says, this hope will not be to our shame because God loves us and has put His love in our hearts through the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, we do not despair. We are sad. We are weary. We struggle to believe that we will find resolution anytime soon, yet we do not despair because we have the hope of Christ. During this season we look back on Christ and His first Advent. We remember what His arrival meant. The babe in the manger, came to be Lamb sacrificed on the Cross for the sins of those that would believe. We remember that the sacrificed Lamb rose as our conquering King! During this season we also look forward to Christ and His second Advent. In looking forward, we have hope that our conquering King will one day return and, as the Jesus Storybook Bible says, “make everything sad come untrue!”

This hope is the essence of Advent. Hope in a person. Hope in Christ. Hope that one day we will finally and completely be rescued from the brokenness of this world. One day there will be no more pain. There will be no more sadness. One day…there will be no more waiting.

We lit the “hope” candle on the first Sunday of Advent

Adoption Update:

While there is not much to report, we did want to provide you all with a brief update about where we stand. As we said before, we are still waiting on a match. We had several conversations with our agency during the month of November. They were not all encouraging, but one main positive did happen. As a family, we were given the opportunity to write a letter to send to FANA. This letter is the first time that FANA has officially heard from us since they approved our dossier in October of 2019. It is our hope that this letter will shed some light on where we are as a family and play a significant role in us being matched. We will keep you all posted.

We also want to report that, through your prayers, God did a work on our hearts in aligning our will with His regarding our adoption. We will reserve the details for another time, but do want to convey that this aligning has been good, necessary, difficult to wrestle with, yet encouraging. We look forward to how our adoption story will unfold and to sharing the details with all of you in the future!

How You Can Be Praying for Us?

  • The primary prayer focus for us remains the same. We want to be matched. We are hopeful that the letter we sent to FANA will provide clarity and give more options to the decision makers. Please pray that the teams at FANA and Lifeline will see what they need to see in our letter and that what they see will lead them to the right child or children for our family.
  • Please pray that we find encouragement and hope in the Lord. November was the hardest and darkest season of our adoption. It takes intentional effort on our part to not despair; there have been days when we have despaired. When we focus on circumstances we lose faith. Please pray that the hope we have written about in this post is the hope that we cling to in the seasons of darkness and that we fix our eyes on Christ.
  • Finally, pray for the health and well-being of the child or children that God has destined to be a part of our family. Pray for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Above all, pray that their hearts do not despair and that they remain encouraged and hopeful as they wait on us.

As a reminder, holidays are very important in Latin American countries. As a result, adoption processes typically are paused from about mid-December through mid-January. While we are hopeful, we do not anticipate having any specific updates to report in the next few weeks.

2020 has been difficult on us all. It is our prayer that you and your family have a blessed time this Christmas season. We pray that you find respite from the difficulties that this year has brought. We hope that, as we all look to 2021, the new year will bring joy and peace to you and those that you love.

We appreciate every one of you and are thankful for your support for our family. We look forward to celebrating our completed adoption with you all one day soon! We will see you in 2021!

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

In His Grace

The Echols Family

One of our favorite ornaments and a great reminder

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