By Heather Radu –
The subject heading of Cinda Rachor’s recent e-mail said it best: “She’s coming home!!!” “She” is eight-year-old Amelia, who spent most of her life at Dorie’s Promise until Cinda and her husband, Jim, secured the approval of Guatemalan officials to take Amelia to their home in Michigan.
Although it was a bittersweet moment, at a farewell dinner on Amelia’s final night (May 29) at Dorie’s Promise, she and her mother offered their “thank you’s” to the Special Mothers and staff who cared for her.
Director Alejandra Diaz was pleased to see this moment arrive, saying as Amelia matured and grew more aware of her situation, she displayed more anxiety.
“We know that she is going where she belongs,” Ale says. “She was so original and different that we are going to miss her. She was always so kind and full of love for the Special Mothers. Each of those moments will remain alive in our hearts.
“For the other children, it is difficult to see her leave and know that they need to stay. However, they are so happy for her, especially the older ones who really understand what this means.”
Cinda says that while Amelia’s adoption proved quite challenging, the Lord continually provided in the midst of situations that appeared desperate and daunting.
“We’ve seen Him meet us at so many times when we thought we were at a dead end,” Cinda says. “God always said, ‘I’m in charge. I just need for you to keep following. Allow Me to lead and I’ll keep leading. I’ll allow Amelia to get home and I have a bunch of cool stuff to show you in the meantime.’”
This “cool stuff” included Cinda and Jim Rachor getting a first-hand look at Dorie’s Promise, which in 2008 inspired them to start bringing mission teams to Guatemala twice a year.
Made up of mostly teenagers from their church (Central Church of the Nazarene in Flint, Michigan), when some of the teens reach college age they return with classmates and friends. This helps spread awareness of our work far beyond Michigan.
In addition, as interest at Central Church grew, Cinda persuaded their youth pastor to lead a trip. A team of 30 will arrive on June 14, followed by another team of 30 led by the Rachors a week later.
The story of this family’s perseverance over so many years inspires me and other staff members at Forever Changed International and Dorie’s Promise.
I knew Cinda was special the day she called repeatedly to see if we would take Amelia, who had been in foster care.
The agency handling her adoption wanted to send her to another orphanage. However, after hearing from a fellow church member about our home, Cinda insisted Amelia be sent to Dorie’s Promise.
After hearing the urgency and concern in her voice, I couldn’t refuse her request, even though at the time we had little space available. I knew she would leave no stone unturned to bring Amelia home, even though that required eight years and four different attorneys.
The Rachors visited throughout the year, coming on Christmas, Amelia’s birthday every October, and with mission teams. They built thick books of documents and photo albums to verify their interest in providing a home for this little girl.
Cinda and Jim finally experienced a breakthrough last September when they found an attorney willing to argue their case with Guatemalan government authorities as well as officials at the U.S. embassy.
“For the first time someone who had power said, ‘We’ll help you get her home,’” Cinda recalls. “Before it was always: ‘We’re sorry but there’s nothing we can do.’ In front of my children I had a meltdown and cried tears of joy. This attorney said, ‘I can help you, but you have to have the support of the U.S. embassy.’”
The Rachors obtained that support despite many difficulties, including a lack of proof of Amelia’s background. Although she arrived here as an infant, no one knew how she entered the foster care system. Not even private investigators could find any traces of her family.
However, that is all behind us now. Amelia is home, with a younger sister (Hope, 7) from Guatemala whom the Rachors adopted six years ago. Amelia will have five other siblings, ranging from Annagrace, 13, to Steven, 21.
“When we first saw Amelia’s picture, we said, ‘That’s who God has sent to be our child,’” Cinda says. “Like your own children, they don’t have to earn it. They’re your family. They’re a gift. It’s your job to advocate for them and protect them, the way Christ advocates for us.”
Without a doubt, the story of Amelia’s adoption is one of the happiest we have seen in many years.