There is someone we want you to meet.
Well it’s been a while since we have checked in, months and months in fact. It is time. In fact this is a perfect time. The main theme of this blog over the years has been family, specifically a large family in Alaska, and Costa Rica. One of the mirror themes over the years that has dominated this page at times has been the adoption of our last child Jojean. It has moved to the forefront over the years as the years ticked by, as all hope was fading, as it seemed the adoption was not meant to be. We shared great moments of joy, we shared our deepest moments of pain. We moved away, staying in touch, but thinking that it was not to be. We moved on, thinking that perhaps God had just wanted us to be part of her life, part of his life, but not her immediate family. We came to terms with that, and although disappointed, we understand that what we want is not always what is best. We prayed, we studied, we shared and we kept on going forward. We never lost contact, we never cut ties, we just accepted the less than ideal terms that we had been thrust upon us moving to our next adventure, never to return to the Last Frontier. Then came a phone call.
Our journey had lead us to Kingsland Georgia, a small coastal town on the border between the Peach State and the Orange state, it was a fruitful time. We loved the area and we were slowly adjusting to the new lifestyle, the cheap food, the cheap gas, the ability to drive anywhere, the ability to order online and get something the same day. It was rough, with Glenn working nights, to create a “normal” life. Then one of the long nights his phone rang. It rang at 3 am. An odd time for a phone call. On the other end a great Alaskan friend to let him know that Jo’s dad was going to jail. That the context was not good, and that she would need a home. It was a Sunday morning call, the morning that Tracy was going to sing at church, the first time in that church. Should I tell her? Will it make her nervous? Will she be mad at me if I don’t? No matter it was time to act, she had to know. Could we get her to Georgia? How long would it take? What would we need to do? The next few days were a blur. I don’t remember them much, other than they ended with the decision that we had to get back to Soldotna, and fast.
It took several weeks before we got back.Selling stuff quickly and storing what we could not fit in our luggage. Little did we know that challenges had just begun. I will not go into details, because they are sensitive, but she wasn’t allowed to be with us for a while. There were others that wanted her. The state was its usual bureaucracy, slow, nonsensical, unyielding and generally frustrating, exactly the way I remember my former employer.
There were obstacles, lots and lots of obstacles. It had been over seven years since this journey began, and yet we had never been so close. We dared not get our hopes up on every small victory, the visits, the placement, the court rulings, they all were good, but they had been good before. This time we would try to contain our exuberance. Perhaps a lack of faith, perhaps not wanting to endure the pain that had scarred use three years prior. Yet we could not help but feel this was all part of God’s plan. All much bigger than us, bigger than our imagination, bigger than our vision, but it seemed to fit. We still had a house that had not sold. I found a job that had literally opened up within days of us moving back, which in turn lead to another better job that was created within weeks of my getting the first job. Our friends, still here. Our church, still here. Doors opening where walls had stood. We just had to continue to open them and walk through. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t exciting it just was what we knew we had to do. It was a very slow journey with many walls, some familiar, some new. But each one had a door, and we just kept walking through. Eventually that lead to a giant set of double doors. Doors manned by guards and metal detectors. The doors that lead to justice.
The doors were the doors to the Kenai Courthouse. on August 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm the judge signed the decree that officially made Jojean the newest member of our family. What what seemed lost had bee found. The impossible turned to the inevitable. Seven years from the time she first stepped into our home and into our lives. Three years since she had been torn from our arms. Sixteen months after our return to Alaska. Two moves out of country, one move across the country, countless life altering experiences, and many lost days, it was finally official . What we had felt in our heart many years ago had come to fruition. A multitude of prayers answered, an even greater amount of tears redeemed, all with the drop of a gavel and a stroke of the pen. I expected fireworks, exhilaration, great joy and excitement. But it was not like that. It was more like it had always been. More like she had always been our family. More like this is just a necessary step in man’s eyes to validate the extra body claiming a seatbelt in our car. It was natural. It was like a marathon. A marathon where we finished in the middle of the pack, but we had pushed so hard we had nothing left to give. Not enough strength left lift our arms in celebration. Excited beyond words, but too exhausted to celebrate.
So in closing we would like to introduce you to Jojean Elizabeth Godfrey. You can’t miss her, she is full of smiles, has a lot to say and always keeps a hug loaded to deploy. But when you meet her for the first time don’t be surprised if she stumbles a bit on her new name. Don’t worry, she’ll get it, after all she is a Godfrey.
And most importantly we would like to give the Glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We always knew you had a plan, we just didn’t always like it. Please forgive us for our impatience, and our lack of faith and thank you, thank you, thank you.