In part six, I closed with the news I learned around September of 2007, that we had to either move to Thailand or at least hire a Thai lawyer. We both felt so certain that the Lord had called us to move forward in faith to do all we could to adopt Deer, that we actually seriously considered both options. I began right away to research both avenues.
Our friends Dave and Shirley Callahan were, at that time, working at the Im Jai House. They now run a ministry called Faithful Heart. They both worked hard to help us from the ground in Thailand. They had just processed some legal work through a Thai lawyer who was a Christian. I was thrilled when they emailed me his phone number in Chiang Mai, Thailand. What a blessing! We knew a total of three families in Chiang Mai and one of them had a lawyer to refer to us, and not only that, he was a Christian! I didn't need the yellow pages--God had already provided the perfect contact. His first name was Thanakorn, but his nickname was Joe. In Thailand, you say "Kuhn" before names to show respect (like Mr. or Mrs. in English). So I gave Kuhn Joe a call.
It was a painful conversation, to say the least. I'm sure I had to call about 378 times before the line actually connected and I reached an English speaker who could put me in touch with Kuhn Joe.
I was really wanting some solid answers. I had huge questions like:
Is this possible?
Do we need to move to Thailand or can you get the job done with us here in Japan?
How much will this cost?
How long will this take?
This will work, right?
You know what you're doing, right?
Instead, while I yelled into the phone trying to overcome the static on the line, he seemingly whispered really unsatisfactory replies. The whole conversation was murky--I hung up the phone with only a hint of hope that we might possibly have secured a lawyer and that we may perhaps be making progress.
While we waited to hear back from Kuhn Joe--which was a few months between our first murky phone call and his first just as murky mailing to us--we investigated the possibility of moving to Thailand. We knew God had called us to do all that we could to be Deer's mom and dad and if that meant moving our family of five to Chiang Mai, then we would do it.
We shared this conviction with our closest friends here in Okinawa, our pastor in Denver, and our boss within Cadence. We were met with what felt like strong opposition. It was such a tumultuous time for us. We felt a supernatural conviction and passion to rescue this child and make her our own and yet those whom we confided in said things like, "God may call you to leave Deer in Thailand. His greatest call on you may be that you have to give her up." Because the Lord had given us an overwhelming drive to go and get her, our poor boss felt blindsided by our strong emotions and asked us to give it some time and allow him a year or so to make such a transition. In that moment we were only operating out of a momma and papa bear love and any obstacle in our way seemed horribly wrong. God gave us such a passion for her that any hand held up to slow us down was simply swatted away by our strong words.
I remember vividly us pacing the floor in our living room wrestling with the Lord and our own feelings. Every fiber in us wanted to go NOW to Thailand and bring her home. And yet there were some very real obstacles, not the least of which was a lack of blessing from all the people mentioned above. We labored to come into submission to those in authority over us. We knew that we had spoken out of turn as we expressed our desires. We repented to our leaders and asked them to pray for us and to help us submit to them and go get Deer at the same time. We wanted to do both, but our parental passions were winning.
The holidays hit, which in our world of hospitality ministry means full throttle living and hosting. We dove into the events of the season and prayed our hearts out for God to make a way to either move us to Thailand or to give us a lawyer who could get the job done.
It wasn't until January that we received a package from Kuhn Joe outlining the work he was willing to do for us. Allow me to share a paragraph from his cover letter, just so you can get a feel for how uncertain the whole situation felt:
"We will responsibility to investigation and survey the child information for all way. We can not guarantee or insure the information or evidence will enough for the case or not, but we will try it. Also the juvenile court is free will and independent of control."
Mark and I read the pages over and over trying hard to discern what in the world the lawyer was telling us he would do. After several phone calls we finally figured out that he was basically going to research the situation and see if Deer was even adoptable. A court case would ultimately decide that question, as her parents had passed away. The judges had the power to say whether or not anyone else could be her mom and dad.
After we figured out how to wire our money in America to his bank in Thailand, we held our breath as Kuhn Joe took the first steps in investigating the situation for us.