OK, Time for a call to action. Don’t just read this post. Read it and do what it says.
One of my favorite things in the world is adoption. It is such a real demonstration of the Gospel that it brings me to tears (ok, at least to water up) every time I hear a good adoption story. Parents take a child and choose, through no merit of the child, to bring that child into their family. In most cases, it takes a child who has no one and gives them an identity. In many cases, it gives a child a future that literally had no future before.
This is exactly what God does with us. See how Paul describes it:
“14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”
Romans 8:14-16, ESV
God calls us children. He has signed our adoption papers. We are heirs with Christ! How much better can the news be for us? Children of adoption get to live this out in real life – it’s a beautiful image.
Pray Emma Home
This is Emma.
And those other two people in the picture are her parents. Yes, her legal, adopted parents. The three of them are stuck in Congo, fighting a forest of bureaucracy and red tape that is keeping them there.
Here’s how the situation is explained on their church’s website:
Right now, over 100 children are stuck in bureaucratic limbo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of these children have been legally adopted, but are unable to leave the country because the DRC has refused to issue the proper immigration papers. One of those children is Emma Harshman. She is the legally adopted daughter of Eric and Katie Harshman, who are members of our church.
The Harshman’s joined last fall and were waiting to receive word they could travel to the DRC to pick up Emma and bring her home. Word finally came in October 2013 and they traveled to the DRC to bring Emma home. However, Emma is still not home. Katie has been in country now for almost 6 months. While there have been many promises made, up to this point, they have not been kept. All they lack to bring Emma home is one signature on an exit letter.
One signature has kept them in that country for 6 months. One signature is letting a three year progress creep on for weeks and months more. One signature is keeping many of those other 100 kids in the DRC as well.
One. Lousy. Signature.
Emma is a happy girl. She loves to play and color. She builds with blocks and sings and dances. She loves her new parents, and they love her. But they can’t bring her home.
Here’s where my heart breaks. On April 20, Katie’s visa to the DRC expires. She will need to return home, leaving Emma behind while they renew visas. On April 21, Emma’s US visa expires, meaning a new round of renewals and approvals. Potentially, it could mean Katie being forced by law to do the one thing she promised she’d never do—even temporarily—when she adopted that sweet little girl: leave her behind. Because of one signature.
How you can help
First, spread the word. Share this post. Share the pages I link to in this post. Get the word out and get names on petitions. Be an activist for this little girl and the dozens of kids and families in the same boat.
Second, visit THIS SITE and sign the petition. There is a delegation from DRC scheduled on a diplomatic visit to the US on APRIL 14. We need to make it known to our legislators that this is a priority.
Third, call your representatives. Here are the representatives for Lexington, KY, where the Harshmans live:
Senator Mitch McConnell – (202) 224-2541
Senator Rand Paul – (202) 224-4343
Representative Andy Barr – (202) 225-4706
Fourth, go to THIS SITE and take advantage of the other outlets this church is offering. Send an encouraging email. Friend Katie and Eric on Facebook. Share the links they have available on facebook and twitter and google+ and whatever other social media platform where you have a voice.
Finally, PRAY. Pray for the powers-that-be to be convicted that justice should be done. Pray that they would have compassion toward the children and families being affected. Pray for the Harshman family and families like theirs to be patient, and to trust in God’s reign in the face of any and all circumstances. Pray for Emma and Katie as they wait this process out in Congo.
We do have a voice.
Let’s raise them together to bring the Harshman Family home.