Filling the gaps

There are literally countless stories like the one I am about to share with you….stories of how God moved in, around, and out in front of His people to orchestrate the story of Naomi and Amelia’s homecoming.  I can promise you, there are so many small stories of God moving man made mountains, that when woven together, tell a miracle of epic proportions.  God worked through the FAITH and ACTIONS of so many people to literally change the course of our family’s life, but ultimately it was only God that could fill the gaps.

Here is the kicker…I think God is willing to do this over and over again in your life and mine if we are willing to start taking steps of faith that require God to show up.  Little steps of faith don’t really require our God to deliver on His promises….big steps of faith allow God to come through as only He can.

Below is a story told by the man who took Naomi to the US Embassy on faith and allowed God to use him in bringing Naomi home to us:

Letting God fill the Gap by Jeff Gacek:

Have you ever experienced God filling the gap in your life… you know when you feel God putting something on your heart but you don’t really know what it is? When you need to do something, but don’t really know what, why or how? It is such an incredible thing… following what God puts on your heart and letting him fill the gap. I’ve just experienced this first hand and I feel so incredibly blessed.

My plans were to work at the Heartline clinic on Saturday. During a break, I wondered how Carol Plamanns kids from Mother Theresa’s were doing. Mother Theresa’s had been trying to get her two kids along with 5 other orphans out of Haiti. The Sisters in Washington DC were trying to get a flight but were struggling. Over the last 4 days, promises and commitments for the flight came and went without success. I decided to go over to Mother Theresa’s and check. Sr. Martine told me “no success”…they were unsuccessful getting the authorization for the flight. On a whim, I asked if I could go to the US Embassy and see what was needed to get them out. I had no idea about anything to do with adoption.

When I arrived at the Embassy on Saturday, there were long lines of people trying to get visas or passports. I went to a window on the other side and told them I was there on “Official Business” for Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity. I know I was stretching the truth, but they let me right in. Someone came to meet me and brought me to another building inside the compound and I quickly met with the person in charge of “Orphan Evacuations”. She gave me a list of what I would need and I was out the door on my way back to Mother Theresa’s. I wasn’t planning to do this and really didn’t know what I was doing but felt a need to ask the questions.

I was in a hurry to get back to Mother Theresa’s to see if they had the needed paperwork… the only problem, my motorcycle wouldn’t start… and I couldn’t get ahold of Jean. So I decided to leave it at the embassy and tap tap back to Mother Theresa’s. Sr. Martine brought out all the documents she had and we went through them one by one… the documents seem to line up. It appeared that we had everything they were asking for. I asked if I could take them and if she could go with me early Monday morning to present the documents and see if we could get the two children out and she said sure. Jean came to pick me up in his truck and we headed back down to the embassy to pickup my broken down motorcycle. As we drove through heavy traffic, I was thinking about everything and remembered hearing that because of the huge demand, the embassy was open 24 hours. Without much thought, when we arrived at the embassy, I headed to the guards window instead of my motorcycle. Little did I know that God was moving me and filling the gaps. I had know idea what I was doing but I knew I was doing something.

At the window, I claimed “I’m from Mother Theresa’s Missionary of Charity” and I’m here to present and file some documents for adoption. The woman I met earlier was busy but a man who assisted her quickly looked over my papers and asked, “Can you be here tomorrow at 12pm? Without thinking I said “Yes!”. He said bring your children and be ready to go… if you get the green light to go you have to leave immediately… but you’re going to have to be patient. I was both excited and nervous… for the first time I thought to myself, “maybe I would have to leave Haiti tomorrow”. I knew this was not my plan but for the first time thought maybe this is why I was here… maybe it was God’s plan.

I called Sr. Martine, told her the news and asked if she could have the children ready at 10:30am. I asked if she would come with to help insure that that we could get this done. I got back to Troy and Tara Livesay’s house late… and Troy was just getting home. He asked my what I had planned for tomorrow and I told him I might be going to the US with two orphans. I had already decided if this happened, I would return to Haiti after delivering the children to their adoptive parents. He told me about a 3 year old girl that had gone to the embassy the day before but was rejected because some papers were missing. He asked if I could bring her along and try to get her out along with the other two. I said, “Sure, I could bring her and present the documents, but God would have to do the rest!” We both knew what I meant.

I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I dosed in and out and around 2:30am I finally gave up trying to sleep. I started thinking about what an incredible opportunity God had put before me. I wondered why he would choose me to do this… I didn’t know anything about the adoption process. I felt totally inadequate and uneasy with the responsibility but also felt grateful for the opportunity to help these 3 little children.

I found out the following morning, Troy spent much of the night and early morning emailing and calling Naomi’s adoptive parents to get the missing information and preparing her adoption papers. He worked so hard and really gave me everything I needed. The next morning, Tara brought Naomi over and we were off to Mother Theresa’s. We picked up Guyvinscy (7 years old) and Evans (2 years old). I asked Johanna, a nurse who was staying at Troy and Tara’s house, if she would come with us incase the two boys got to go but Naomi didn’t. She would have the responsibility to bring Naomi home if she was rejected again… what a difficult job this would be.

We arrived at the embassy before 12pm… all of us, Naomi, Guyvinscy, Evans, Joanna, Sr. Martine and me. After checking in we were led to a waiting room containing over 120 children. It was complete chaos with children running and playing and sleeping on the floor. While the children looked happy, the adults looked tired and weary. Many had been there for over 48 hours… waiting to get their children out of Haiti. We quickly found out how they were feeling as we too were forced to wait… and wait… and wait.

Finally around 7pm, a woman behind bullet proof glass started calling out names and handing out “Humanitarian Parole Visas” for orphans in the room. And then it happened… God showed up. One by one we heard the names called out… Guyvinscy Pierre… Evans Pierra… Naomi Joseph… I was so incredibly relieved… and thankful, and grateful… for a faithful God. I said to the others “Praise God… Praise God!!!” You cannot imagine the joy that I felt. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before and I thought to myself “This is why I’m here… this is God’s plan for my life… God chose me to change the trajectory of these children’s lives”. I felt honored that he would choose me and for the first time I felt humbled by the trust that he put in me. God was not only filling the “gap” in the lives of these children, but he was filling the “gap” in my life.. I was humbled.

As we prepared to leave, there was a 15 year old boy named Jefthe that had received a “Humanitarian Parole Visa” but was unable to leave because he did not have a guardian to accompany him. His pastor who had raised him since he was 2 years old was there but was unable to leave the other orphans he had. The woman behind the bullet proof glass looked at me and said, “You need to take him, you cannot leave him behind”. And she was right, I could not leave him behind… God must have thought 2 or 3 was not enough so now there were four.

Later that evening, by the Grace of God and only God, we left Haiti. The younger children could not have known how their lives had changed as they fell asleep but the two older boys looked intently out the window as the wheels left the ground. I think they understood. I again wondered why God would choose me for this but felt honored and grateful that he did.

The next two days were spent going through immigration… a grueling and sometimes painful experience. One of the other parents reassured me this too would pass… and it did. One by one I was able to release these children that God had entrusted me with to their new adoptive parents. It was incredible to see and to be a part of. I told my wife I thought this is one of the things I was put here on earth to do… I just felt it in my core… God was working though me to fulfill His purpose for my life. I could not help but cry… My wish is for everyone to experience this for themselves and to realize God has a purpose for our lives… each and everyone of us were put here for a reason. It is God’s plan for our lives that we should seek, not our own… and in doing so, we will find true joy, peace and fulfillment that we all so desperately desire. I found my little piece of heaven… right here on earth.

Thank you Lord Jesus for revealing yourself to me, for revealing your purpose for my life. I ask that you watch over these four children, Guyvinscy, Evans, Naomi and Jefthe… protect them and let them experience the joy of having a loving mother and father that will care for them and raise them to know you. I pray that they will seek you and as they grow seek your will for their lives. Thank you Father for using me, for giving me the opportunity to love these children. I am so honored and grateful for this experience and know that all Glory goes to you… for it is only through you that miracles truly happen.


15 Responses to “Filling the gaps”

  1. Oh man. I’m sitting here fighting back tears. If I weren’t in my classroom, I would be weeping at the beauty of this post. Throughout this whole tragedy, God has shown his thunder in miraculous ways. He is able. He is willing. All we have to do is trust.
    Thank you for this.

  2. Jason and Sarah, you do not know me, but I am friends with Ernest and Debra Parker, so I’ve had the privelage of following your story along with Ronels. So happy that your family has very quickly gone from 4 to 6. This Jeff is an amazing man of God. He’s been instrumental in many lives in Haiti. I’m sure you’ve read his blog about comforting Ronel the night he was left behind. So neat to see God’s hand very clearly working in lives. Goes to show just how important it is that we listen to HIS still small voice when He gives the Word to go and do. God bless!

    Susan Taylor
    Church Planting Missionary to NYC
    Friend of the Parker’s

  3. I came across your site, because of your adoption story… Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful family you have. You are truly blessed!

    Also, this is a Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. It is amazing how we all are connected, and through God’s guidance, if we listen, we have the opportunity to be part of his His plan…

    My favorite line: “God was working though me to fulfill His purpose for my life.”

    Perfect, simple, and what a blessing….

    Muh love,


  4. I love this! God is so good and truly wants to SHAKE things up!!!!! We just have to listen and more importantly…OBEY!

  5. What an incredible story! I am in tears yet again… I have a feeling there is so much more of your story yet to come out!

  6. Amen and amen. The words to the song “I Stand Amazed in the Presence” pop in my mind. “How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!”

  7. Crystal Harper Says:

    Jason – you are killing me with these details. I am sitting her crying in front of the computer again. Seriously – thank you and Sarah for sharing your story all along the way. I know that it has not always been easy to put all the emotions out there. But, it has shown how much God will bless when you are faithful to step out into the unknown and follow Him. What an awesome piece of the story Jeff has filled in. Thanking God for his obedience and willing to help these children.

  8. Oh my goodness. I am a wreck! It was so hard knowing Naomi was left behind when we were able to get Frankie. And I was never in your shoes. BUT and it’s a huge BUT. WOW. How God has chosen to write her story and use his people to do it. I am blown away. We love you guys. Hope our paths cross for the rest of our lives. Thankful that both your daughters are home. Thankful you never gave up. Thankful that you are now four2six.
    Blown away!

  9. Brandon and Tamara Says:

    God is the perfect Authour and Illustrator of our lives. What a beautiful story He has written for your family. We can’t wait to share as God keeps revealing more of your amazing lives.

  10. What a wonderful story! I have been following Ronels story as well as Tara and Troys blog. I am amazed how small our world really is! Many blessings to you as you begin your new journey.

  11. Robyn van Eck Says:

    Praise our Wonderful God!!! Roel’s over there wondering what on earth all these sniffles and happy sighs are about… 🙂 I get chills thinking about the Wonderful Work our Lord is doing in your lives, about the wonderful Plans He has for Naomi! I still can’t wait to meet your new babies! Enjoy them!!!!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your family’s story! I have been following your blog for a few weeks now. What an amazing story of how God did miraculous things!! You guys have already been such an encouragement to our family. We have just begun our journey to adopt an orphan from Ethiopia. I’m sure our stories will be different, but we are expecting God to show up and use this journey for His glory. We have already seen amazing things happen and we are just beginning the paper chase! Can’t wait to see what is in store. Thanks again.

  13. by the way…we know you guys from cedar crest and went to high school with sarah. Just so you know we’re not some crazy internet stalker/…Frank Valenzano and Anne Powell Valenzano.

  14. Sabrina and Richard Says:

    WOW!! God’s way is always the best! Much Love from Texas. Will continue to pray for you!

  15. Thanks for posting the photos of Naomi ( and all of your adorable children). She looks so happy and adorable. I am the person in the photo above that got to spend time with Naomi in her last moments in Haiti. What a gift for me. I have a few pictures that I have printed off. If you would like them you can email me your address. If you would rather have an electronic copy let me know. I pray for your family and that you are doing well. What a gift from God. Thank you so much for finding my blog and writing to me. It really meant alot. Blessings. joanna (

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