Meet Ruth Hansen. Ruth is a native of Ghana and a brand new citizen of the United States of America. She is the adopted daughter of Mark and Tiffany Hansen and yesterday, she finally joined the entire Hansen family in person. For many outsiders looking in, this may look like a typical adoption story but for those of us who have watched this story unfold, yesterday was a beautiful end to a VERY long, often painful and at best, uncertain 5 year journey to bring this beautiful girl home.
In the beginning, the Hansen’s were attempting to adopt from the African country of Rwanda. When the government decided to close adoptions, the Hansen’s re-applied and were connected to the country of Ghana and then, to Ruth. Years and years of prayers, pursuits, waiting, paperwork, Skype calls, visits, letters, money, more paperwork, even more money and lots and lots of pitfalls, setbacks and letdowns finally came to fruition yesterday. At 5pm central standard time and approximately 11pm Ghana time for those of you interested in jet lag statistics, a crowd of people gathered at the bottom of the escalator at the local airport to watch, some of them with tear-filled eyes, as this family, finally complete with the girl they had grown to love, descended from the arrivals area and into the loving arms of dear friends and loved ones.
Make no mistake, it was a very large group of people that were privy to this journey. People from all over the country knew the plight of the Hansen family. And although not all of them were able to make it to the airport, every single one of them played a huge role in this family’s mental and emotional stability. Many signed up for a Facebook group entitled “Pray For Ruth Today.” It was there that the Hansen’s would post videos and photos and share the latest updates on their process and the journey. I remember seeing lots of photos of a smiling girl and then, reading about lots of embassy delays, mixups and screw ups. I even remember reading about how 3 different US Senators had written letters to the embassies and government on their behalf. But what I don’t remember, is reading about the Hansen’s losing heart in the fact that this would all work out in the end. I’m sure they did, but they never showed it. Instead, they chose to believe and to trust and they did so at every crack and gap along the way.
5 years of waiting came to an abrupt end last week, when after weeks of printer “technical difficulties” and other miscellaneous excuses, Ruth was presented with an official passport. Days later, Mark was on series of flights to Ghana for an official interview. We all watched our Facebook updates to see what would happen. And we were all completely in shock and overjoyed when we learned that they had passed the interview and that Ruth had been issued a Visa. A day later, we were all excited to see a photo of little Ruth in an airplane seat, her first experience with an airplane ever. And just like that it seems, she was here…walking down the airport hallway, hand in hand with Mark, a smile and expression on those two faces that I’ll never forget. The rest can’t be put into words by anyone and especially not by the Hansen Family. And so I’m sharing a few images from the airport homecoming as a feeble attempt to try and communicate just how beautiful, how satisfying and how memorable this event actually was.
Happy Valentine’s Day….Love wins.