After eight years of waiting, Alan and Lindsey Brewer brought home their daughter Clara Grace Brewer, a 15-month-old from Malawi, this month.
The story of the adoption didn’t work out like they’d originally envisioned, but now that they’ve met their daughter, the family feels complete.
The Brewers originally waited three years for a baby from Ethiopia, only to find out that Ethiopia had shut down adoptions temporarily and they lost their spot on the waiting list.
“God gave us another way,” Lindsey Brewer said.
A trip to Kroger started the adoption journey all over again, and this journey brought them little Clara.
Lindsey Brewer plays with her daughter, Clara, at Grace Christian Fellowship. Lindsey and her husband, Alan, adopted Clara from Malawi, and along with the rest of their family, introduced her to the Grace church community two weeks ago.
Alan met a couple in Kroger, who got him in touch with the adoption agency Second Milk in 2015, and in February 2017 they got their first picture of Clara. For more than a year, the couple and their four children have watched Clara grow up from half a world away.
“It’s loving someone you haven’t met yet,” Lindsey said last fall while anxiously waiting for a court date.
They finally got to take the plane ride they had been waiting for and traveled to Malawi to meet their daughter. After the family spent almost three weeks in Africa, Clara is officially a Brewer and a resident of the Crossett.
On April 15, the Brewers introduced Clara to their church family, Grace Christian Fellowship, and told about their time in Africa and in the Malawian court system.
The Brewers credit GCF and the community with helping them raise the funds necessary to pay for the adoption and travel expenses. The couple said it is surreal to finally have Clara in their arms.
They showed a video and talked about meeting Clara for the first time. When a handful of stuffed animals didn’t get her attention, Alan played a song on the ukulele to break the ice. She started dancing.
Alan said Clara was a little anxious at first, but warmed up to Lindsey fast.
“It was so awesome to see God work, because within an hour, Lindsey was Mom,” Alan said.
Lindsey had her own stories as well.
“After like an hour of being together, she hugged me like she had missed me,” Lindsey said.
The Brewers talked about working with the local court system and how the process went faster than expected. They knew they could potentially be there a month, but within two weeks, they were getting to bring Clara home. Alan said if Easter hadn’t been on the calendar while they were there, they would have been home in less than two weeks. The adoption agency, orphanage and Malawian court officials told Alan they were shocked at how smooth the process went for the Brewers while in Africa.
“It was a God thing, it was like we waited all of these years, but when it was time, God said ‘Here you go,’” Alan said.
Before leaving, they got to meet Clara’s biological family and her caregivers at the orphanage. They collected pictures and information they said they know Clara will cherish later.
On their journey, they were also able to meet someone else who will soon be moving to Crossett.
Jeremy and Mandy Mills attend the same church as the Brewers and they had been thinking about adoption since the Brewers first moved to their church six years ago. Mandy said they were watching a documentary on Cambodia and God really started to put it on their hearts to adopt.
“These kids need to be rescued,” Mandy said.
After spending the last three years in an adoption journey of their own, the Mills now have a match and are waiting for the Malawian court system to send them a date.
The Brewers were able to meet baby Mills and give him a toy from his future family.
GCF held a silent auction April 15 to help aid the Mills on the trip to Africa they hope to take before the summer ends. For anyone interested in contributing, there is an envelope fundraiser going on at GCF. The church raised $600 last week when the children of GCF ran a lemonade stand at the church, and they plan to open their stand again Tuesday at Centennial Park.
“The sweet little girls in our church love being able to help bring these babies home,” Mandy said.
They will open the lemonade stand once a week until the Mills travel.