“You have this image in your head of what it’s going to be like once they’ve arrived. I just kept thinking, Man, what a celebration it’s going to be when we walk through the airport that day.”
Four years into their process to adopt from Ethiopia, Marcus and Kayla Mackey received difficult news: The Ethiopian government was suspending all intercountry adoptions.
“It was devastating,” Kayla said. “And nobody really knew if it was permanent or if it was just a temporary thing. Everything was just suspended.”
During their engagement, Marcus and Kayla opened a savings account for the purpose of growing their family through adoption one day. “We both had influential people in our lives who had adopted,” Kayla said. “We knew adoption was something we wanted to do at some point.”
A couple of years into their marriage, the Mackeys believed God was leading them to officially start the process to adopt a little boy. They decided to pursue intercountry adoption, focusing on Ethiopia.
“The same day we got notified that our dossier arrived in Ethiopia, I found out I was pregnant with our oldest daughter,” Kayla said.
Three years later, with the addition of another daughter, Marcus and Kayla were still waiting to be matched with a child.
During this period, Ethiopia’s process had continued to slow, and the Mackeys watched as many of the families around them withdrew from the program altogether. “The whole time we just felt like this is what we were called to do, and this is where we’ll stay,” Kayla said.
When the news of Ethiopia suspending their program reached them, Marcus and Kayla began to pray for guidance amid their confusion and heartbreak.
Eventually, the Mackeys formally withdrew from Ethiopia’s program and focused their attention on India, trusting that God was not confused or surprised by their changing circumstances—that he knew where and who their son was.
“The day we withdrew from one process and were accepted into the other was the same day our son was declared eligible for adoption in India,” Kayla said. “If we would have left the Ethiopian process sooner or held on a little bit longer, Judah wouldn’t be our son. God orchestrated all of those steps to happen in his time.”
Once the Mackeys were matched with Judah, their agency warned that he lived in a region with a particularly complex adoption process and that things would likely move slowly. Marcus and Kayla prepared themselves for yet more waiting—and then, a surprise.
“When Ethiopia closed, and we thought, What in the world is happening? We didn’t know it, but our son would be home within that year,” Kayla said. “We’d been waiting for over four and a half years to know who our son was, and then it happened so fast.”
While they were thrilled the process in India was moving so quickly, it also meant the Mackeys’ adoption funds were due much sooner than anticipated. After the long wait in Ethiopia, their savings were spent.
“When [Ethiopia] shut down, a lot of money went with it. But we came to the point where we thought, Well, God gave us the money for this adoption; it was his anyway. We don’t know how, but he will provide it again,” Kayla said. “Show Hope was a big way God stepped in and provided that money.”
In fact, Marcus and Kayla found out they had been awarded a Show Hope Adoption Aid grant on Judah’s first birthday.
“I think a good word is awe,” Marcus said. “Seeing the providence of God, knowing that those were the funds we needed. He was able to use an organization like Show Hope to help us reach our goal, to help us reach the finish line of what we’d been going after to bring our son home.”
“It covered all of our travel expenses and our final adoption fees,” Kayla added. “It was a really good first birthday present for our son.”
And then, in May 2018, that celebratory airport scene they’d been imagining for so long became a reality.
“People made signs and brought balloons, and there was a big celebration welcoming him home,” Kayla said. “That night I remember thinking, All three of my babies are finally under the same roof. I’ve been praying for that for years, and they are finally together.”
Today, Judah has been home for more than two years, and he is thriving.
“It’s fun watching him learn more about things that he likes,” Marcus said. “Right now, he’s really into tools. It’s [also] fun watching him play and interact with his sisters. They love their baby brother.”
The Mackeys’ journey to their son was longer and more complicated than they could have imagined when they opened up that savings account years ago. But God proved himself faithful. And through the generosity of so many, Show Hope is a part of that story.
“We will never be the same because of Show Hope and the people who have given to that,” Marcus said. “[Show Hope] changes people’s lives forever in a powerful way. We’re grateful for the opportunity to be recipients of that.”
Show Hope’s annual Gifts of Hope campaign kicks off on Giving Tuesday, December 1! This year, our Gifts of Hope campaign is $300,000, and we need your help to launch this campaign with momentum. With COVID-19, we are seeing unprecedented impacts on children and families—from job and income losses to halted court proceedings and delayed travel, the barriers standing between waiting children and loving families have only heightened. So will you join us this Christmas in helping to reduce barriers to adoption? Perhaps more than ever, we need your prayers and support.