A family’s fight to bring them home
A family’s fight to bring them home
Jeff and Amelia Davis recently returned home from Malawi with their two newly adopted children (ages 8 & 5). If there’s one thing we’ve learned from their story, it’s that adoption takes courage, perseverance, and resilience for everyone involved. Amelia’s heart for adoption began as a sophomore in college, where she spent a summer volunteering at a children’s home in China.
“I had no idea that there was a reality of kids who had nowhere to go, no family to take them in, and no future beyond living on the street in their vulnerability.”
Fourteen years and three biological children later, Amelia and Jeff seriously considered adoption but weren’t quite on the same page.
“Enter Andy and Martha Cook. They came over, encouraged us in our call to adopt, and we decided to begin pursuing this journey.” – Amelia
“I was intrigued by the idea of adopting and was at least open to considering, but I wasn’t sold. Over dinner, I asked Andy why I should adopt. He smirked and simply said, ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ To this I had no adequate response except for ‘You’re right.’ From that moment on, I was in.” – Jeff
In December 2015, Amelia and Jeff applied to an Ethiopian adoption program, completed the home study, raised money for their adoption, completed their dossier, prepared to welcome a child into their family, and waited…for 270 days. After nine months of eagerly awaiting a child, the program shut down and the adoption fell through.
“We grieved … big time.”
Knowing they were still called to adopt, the Davis family applied to a Chinese program, completed another home study, and anticipated bringing a child home from China. As they waited, they felt unsettled… “it was like something was off with this adoption.” Unable to shake the feeling that they were trying to force something, they felt compelled to withdraw from the process of adopting from China. They continued to wait, to pray, and to trust.
After accepting this period of grief and waiting, Amelia and Jeff began wondering if there was something different they should pursue. They decided to go through IMPACT training for foster care, but at the end of the training, still felt the strong call to adopt. Refusing to give up, the Davises discovered a new program in Nigeria. In July of 2018, they applied to this program and completed yet another home study.
[An email from Jeff Davis to Promise686 in July 2018]:
“It’s like we’ve already been through all the mess three times and have been grieving the whole time, but for some reason we feel God saying now it’s time… We’ll need all the help we can get. It’s a big step for us to jump back into adoption. We never gave up hope that it wasn’t over, but it’s been a heavy couple of years–both of us had job changes and our kids moved schools during this time, too. So, this is more momentous than simply saying yes. We’re saying yes again in spite of all that has occurred already and we’re excited.”
In December 2018, after completing the necessary paperwork and training for a Nigerian placement, they received an email about a sibling set in Malawi who had been in an institution for three years. Jeff and Amelia had hoped for a sibling set and immediately felt connected to the kids described in that email. Moving forward with this adoption would mean forfeiting the deposit with the Nigerian adoption agency, but that didn’t matter. They knew these were their children and within three weeks were matched. Their journey didn’t stop here.
In June of 2019, Jeff, Amelia, and their three biological kids flew to Malawi to meet the newest members of their family. They had a court date soon after landing and spent the next five weeks waiting for the court’s decision. The next step was to submit an application to return to Georgia with their newly adopted children, which meant…more waiting.
Summer was coming to a close, school was about to begin, and Jeff and their biological kids needed to return home. Amelia stayed in Malawi with the newest family members, while waiting for the US to approve their visas. This process took another eight weeks, leaving Amelia separated from her husband and biological kids (6th, 4th & 2nd grade) while they started a new school year.
“We were blessed by people willing to come over to our house at 6:45 in the morning to do the girls’ hair and get the kids ready for school. Those are the things people don’t think about when supporting a family, but were such big things for us.”
Finally, after 105 days in Malawi, Amelia and the two kids flew home to reunite with their family.
“When you know you’re in God’s will, that’s when you don’t give up. The enemy will show up, but God is faithful.”
Walking alongside Jeff and Amelia throughout this journey has been an incredible gift to us at Promise.
“While we were in Malawi waiting for the US to issue visas, Andy (Promise686 CEO) was advocating for us by putting us in contact with our US representatives. Without their involvement, we may still have been in Malawi now. And the grant we received from Promise was an amazing gift. Having an organization with such an incredible reputation that’s making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children really made a difference for us.”
The Davis family officially brought their two newest children home in October of 2019.
Jeff and Amelia feel like they can finally “start the real work” of providing these kids with a safe, loving family. The children will, of course, have much healing to do. While Amelia and Jeff have persevered to find them, they’ve endured even greater difficulties leading to the present day. Thankfully, healing happens best in a loving family.
“There is a huge need for kids to live in a forever family. Every child deserves this.” – Amelia Davis
In 2019, Promise686 awarded $270,576 in adoption grants, helping children and families connect for a lifetime. Would you consider giving your year-end gift to Promise686, helping us push forward the goal of seeing every child in a safe, loving family?
Visit promise686.org/donate or give by check:
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