A few weeks back I wrote a piece for our church’s newsletter about how we adopted our son, PJ. Writing it in such a short form reminded me of what an amazing story it is, so I’m sharing it with all of you.
Miracle 1: In 2007 a high school student went on a church mission trip to Uganda. She was so touched, she convinced her parents to let her go back—alone—two days after her high school graduation. Miracle 2: A Ugandan mother, Eva, dying of AIDS, managed to keep her infant son alive even though she dared not nurse him for fear of passing on her disease. Miracle 3: After her death her friends took the 9 pound, 15-month-old baby to Mercy House orphanage. Miracle 4: The high school student, Jody Schwartz (now Hoekstra), arrived in Uganda the day after Eva’s dying baby was taken to Mercy. Jody asked if she could try to save the baby’s life, and she did.
The miracles kept coming. Seven months later, I went on our church’s 2008 mission trip to Uganda. I spent a lot of time with Jody and the little boy she’d named Patrick, and thoughts of adoption began creeping into my mind. One night on the trip, I prayed, “Lord, if You want this, please talk to Dave about it. I don’t want to adopt this child based on my desire alone.” The night after I returned home, Dave said, “While you were gone, God kept bringing Patrick to my mind. I think we should pray about adopting him.”
Still more miracles happened. When Patrick’s biological father, Abusolom, was discovered to still be alive, we were advised to abandon the adoption, but Abusolom, weak with AIDS and unable to care for his other children, was glad to hear Patrick would be in a family (this is truly a miracle!). The U.S. approval was completed in record time, and I flew to Uganda exactly one year after my first trip. Five weeks later, after Orphanage Director Wilfred and I witnessed countless miracles in the court process and with government officials, Patrick and I flew home.
And on February 13, 2009, all six of us Underwoods were together for the first time.