The Ladd Family has something to share. It’s big, bold and urgent.
Many of you have followed along on our family’s journey. (Here’s a link to a silly story of us coming together as a family.)
You might have been there in Tennessee when Chris gave up his passion for trail running and mountains to move to Africa. He came as a single man, willingly surrendering his desires for a family and the mountains. Or perhaps you remember me finding deep fulfillment in my family counseling career and painstakingly giving my therapy licensure back to God, choosing to stay permanently in South Africa to care for Lifa. He has no birth certificate and the circumstances were messy, so I accepted the likelihood of being a lifelong single mom without any legal way to protect my child.
There have been dangerous and difficult times since we said “yes” to God’s call in our lives, many of them better left unspoken. But we have also learned when it’s important to speak, and today is one of those days.
Today, we can tell you that surrender, the gut-wrenching, wholehearted, painful surrender counts. Every bit of it. And it’s worth it.
This week, we see the secret surrenderings over all those years, even the midnight ones were not hidden from God. They’re worth something to Him, and He’s restores what we lay at His feet in the way only He can do.
Yesterday, we took a risk and shared our story with some family lawyers.
We have decided to pursue legal co-guardianship of Lifa. That means Chris, myself and Lifa’s biological father would all have parental rights over Lifa. He has never been counted and has no legal rights. With guardians, Lifa could be safe, secured and provided for.
He can be a kid. With parents
A human being. With rights.
We weren’t sure we could even afford the one-hour consultation cost, so we prayed, researched and made phone calls first. We decided that these particular lawyers would be the best stewardship of our family’s resources. As it turns out, the family law advocate we will trust to take our names and future to the South African High Court lives on the same street that we will move into next week. It’s the very street and its residents God has been prompting me to pray over for the past 3 months!
The lawyers soaked in every detail and document and then spelled out the process. They said, “Within a few weeks, you could easily have co-guardianship of Lifa.”
They just said it like it was a normal sentence.
They said it like heaven hadn’t just come down to earth, as though they couldn’t hear the chains falling off over the sound of their pencils scratching facts on legal pads. They said it like breaking off generational curses is their day job. (It basically is.)
They told us the cost and the steps:
First, they will write affidavits for parental rights for myself, Chris and Lifa’s biological father. Next, Chris will have to fly across the country to Lifa’s father, have the affidavit translated and explained to him so he can sign and legalize it. Then, we will bring it back to the lawyers. The advocate (who will be our neighbor by then) will submit them to the High Court. With the favor of the court, LIFA WILL HAVE GUARDIANS WITHIN 48 HOURS OF SUBMISSION.
He’s been invisible for 9 years.
|South African High Court in Cape Town|
He’s been invisible for 9 years.
It’s been 7 years of fighting, striving, surrendering, and doubting.
And it’s time for payback.
Since our arrival to Cape Town, God has kept us tucked into His favor. He has restored my husband to the mountains. He has even given me a place to exercise my passions and use my clinical counseling skills. He’s paid back those small surrenders that seemed so big at one time. He’s paid them back with more purpose and abundance than we could have dreamt on our own.
And now… Even now…
He’s paying back what Lifa’s never known he didn’t have.
He’s paying back the prayers of a parent’s raw, rendered heart.
He’s paying back 6 years of sleepless nights.
He’s paying back all those tears and struggles with identity.
He’s giving Lifa a name and a place.
He’s recognizing me as a mom and Chris a dad.
Even Lifa’s father, who’s never had a name or an identity, is becoming a dad. His name will be written down for the first time in history.
He pays back what we didn’t even know we needed.
He deposits more into us than we could ever spend of ourselves.
Pray for a smooth and easy process of establishing legal co-guardianship of Lifa.
Pray for Lifa’s name, his father’s name, our family’s name to be written, sealed, secured.
Pray for our finances to pay for legalities, our communication with Lifa’s father, Chris’ upcoming travel, family relationships, favor with the High Court, wisdom and discernment.
Pray for all the dead dreams being resurrected into something bigger and better than we ever imagined. Pray in faith with us, and remember it.
This same payback is available to you – maybe even more. Whether it’s your midnight or your morning, your prayers and your renderings count. Share your faith with us and share in the bounty of this testimony.
Everything you spend counts for something. Everything you give for God comes back exponentially. Don’t stop in the middle of the night, whether it’s been 7 years or 70. It counts.
If you would like to give toward our upcoming lawyer fees or join our family’s monthly support team, click here.
Joel 2: 12 "Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart… 25“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. The crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. 26You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.