Friends, I am so proud to bring you this precious story of a family brought together through adoption. Enjoy!
Our story began over 13 years ago after trying unsuccessfully for several years to conceive our own children. Please grab a cup of warm tea or coffee and sit back and travel along this amazing journey with me to our Ugandan heart-born son and miracle, Malachi Kirabo Moses Coke.
My love for Africa began as a small child as my dad is a pastor and has traveled to many African nations over the course of my life. My mom and younger sister as well. So you could say that Africa is in our family roots! In 2009 we felt the call to begin the wild and crazy journey to international adoption. We began our journey with the country of Rwanda. It was something that we were excited about but yet seemed so huge of an obstacle. Our number one prayer was that Jesus would get ALL of the glory for this story and also that He would supply every single penny of this cost! I can testify that these BOTH have happened!
After months and months of paperwork, we were one month away from sending in our dossier to Rwanda and they unexpectedly closed their doors to international adoption. You see they were beginning the quest to become a Hague approved country (which is great and protects from child –trafficking) but takes FOREVER. There is a saying in Africa “TIA” which means “THIS IS AFRICA”, and what that means is that EVERYTHING is on their time table…just to give you a hint of how long it took the United States…7 years! Rwanda is STILL closed right now to international adoption.
The day we got that call my heart sank. I have never experienced a miscarriage but to be completely honest, they compare adoption to a “paper-pregnancy” and I indeed suffered a “paper miscarriage” that day. It was through the course of several weeks that I found out WHO I was in Jesus. He was my rock and refuge. This happened in August of 2010, in November we decided to switch countries and embark of the Ugandan journey.
Malachi’s story began in a small town in Uganda, Africa called Lugazi, on railroad tracks. At the estimated age of one month old, a man whose name happened to be “Moses”, watched a woman ride up to working railroad tracks on a Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi) and place a small black bag on the tracks and ride away. This man assumed that there were “valuables” in the bag so when she left he walked over to see what “treasures” were in the bag. Upon opening it, he found a baby with a scarf wrapped around his face crying. He immediately took the baby across the street to the local police station, which just happened to have a child abandonment unit in and explain the situation.
Through the course of events this baby, named by the officials, Godfrey Mukasa was placed in a Social Worker’s home. Little did we know at the time that this Social Worker happened to be the sister of our attorney, Victoria! I will never forget that call in May of 2011 at 7:03 am from our dear friend in New Hampshire letting us know that we had been “MATCHED” with a two month old baby boy! She said that WE got to choose his birthday since no one knew. What an amazing gift from Jesus! She said he was born sometime in April so we chose April 7th since in the Bible it is God’s number of perfection and he was already perfect to us! It was a surge of feelings and emotions…extreme excitement, nervousness, sorrow all wrapped in one.
To be completely honest my heart ached and still does for his birth-Mom. No one knows the situation she faced when she made the decision that day, (whether right or wrong). But I can tell you that Jesus does and I pray for that woman to this day. I’m just thankful to my Jesus that “Moses” was there. In fact, when the courts were doing their mandatory orphan investigations leading up to our adoptions they had to talk to every witness that had contact with Godfrey. They were never able to find “Moses”! In my heart of hearts I fully believe that “Moses” was an angel sent by God to protect our baby because what Satan meant for evil, God had already anointed this child for HIS work and He saw to it that He was protected.
While living with our dear friend Christine (the social worker) for the 2 months until our paperwork was complete, another attorney’s Mom gave him the name Kirabo (pronounced Cheer-a-bow) Moses. In Uganda’s Luganda language the name Kirabo means “Gift from God” and Moses as a middle name because he was being drawn out and adopted. My husband Kevin and I had already chosen the name Malachi because it means “Messenger of God” and we had already given him back to God before we received him and knew that one day God would call Malachi back to his native land to share the message of salvation to his people. So his full name is Malachi Kirabo Moses!
If you meet Malachi instantly you will fall in love (not just because He is ours) but people are truly drawn to Him. His smile is infectious and his personality is so tender, caring and loving. Believe me when I say this boy LOVES Jesus with ALL of his little 4 year-old heart!
His story doesn’t end here; it is riddled with many stories of God’s provision and protection while “in-country”. We were in Africa for 39 days and I will tell you that we left a piece of our hearts there and God is opening some pretty big doors and opportunities for us in the near future in regard to Ministry in Uganda!
Marissa Coke lives in Pennsylvania. Her husband is a Children’s Pastor and Marissa is very involved in helping with that ministry along with running a residential home cleaning business and being a full-time mommy to a 4 year old cutie! In her “free-time” she loves to spend quality time with her family and continue to work on developing her ministry in Uganda, Africa.