"Love Ben".
by Jen Hatmaker on June 28th, 2011

Our daughter Remy passed court on her actual court date (WHAT??? That happens????) on March 10th. She has been cleared for travel since mid-April. At that point, we still believed we were going to pass court for Ben ANY SECOND. So we just hung on. Now our last chance to pass "the easy way" is shattered and we realize we are in for a huge fight. We have no idea what that means. Hopefully something clearer will emerge from the cluster fog this week, and we'll have a better idea what our next steps with his case are.

But we do know this: It will not be quick. If we are dealing with higher courts and lawyers and tricky documentation, we are in for the long haul.

Which is why we're going for Remy. She is a precious little gem too, and her last year (and whole life) has held too much tragedy to even comprehend for a five-year-old. She is a mess. She is like a feral cat. She needs us desperately. Yesterday. So we're getting her in 3 weeks.

Oh, Ben.

Ben and Remy are not biologically related, but he has taken to big brotherhood like you cannot imagine. They are too precious together. This separation is going to be devastating. Having me fly back to Ethiopia and taking Remy without him is pretty much the worst scenario we can think of. But here we are, choosing between two terrible things knowing that either way, it's crushing. I cannot sleep. I cannot think. I can hardly bear this. I'm so worried for him.

I was awake from 3:30-6:00 am last night, thinking, praying, crying, and brainstorming about Ben. God said, "How have I encouraged you more than anything else during this wait?" That's easy. People. Tons of people. Thousands even. "How about you ask your people to comfort Ben? What's good for you will be good for him."

This is where you come in.

I'd like to take Ben a photo album of friends and family and strangers even demonstrating your commitment to him in prayer and love. I'm asking for you (and your kids, or just your kids, or your whole family, or your neighbors, or your small group, or whoever) to make a simple poster that says something like:

  • We love you, Beniam!

  • We are praying for you, Beniam!

  • Can't wait until you are home, Beniam!

  • You are loved, Beniam!

  • You are so brave, Beniam!

Whatever. Pick one. Make one up. (Please use his full name: Beniam!) I want him to see people holding signs full of hope, saying his name. I want him to know YOU ARE LOVED, SON. You are not forgotten. Not for one second. You have an army of friends who are on your side, praying for your homecoming.

Take a digital pic of you and your people with the poster and email it to me. I'll print them all out and make a Love Ben photo album to bring with me. I leave on the 15th, and I'd love to have all these in by the 8th.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

You have been such comforters to me and Brandon. We are so grateful and overwhelmed by it all. Nothing you could do would be more meaningful to us than helping us comfort our son.

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Brandon Hatmaker - July 1st, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Such amazing response to this already. Thanks everyone for your love and support! BH
Michelle Barreto - July 1st, 2011 at 4:53 PM
I so want to know just how many responses so far:) It's been a pure joy to LOVE BEN on paper and this family is for sure waiting to LOVE him in person and on the soccer field:)
Love, The Barreto family
Scott Miller - July 1st, 2011 at 5:46 PM
Jen and Brandon- Legacy and many other friends here in OK are lifting up Ben and praying until he comes home. Our children's ministry and camp was crying and praying for Ben this week and taking pictures to send you guys! What God favors, He fulfills.


Scott Miller
Becki Francy - July 4th, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Just sitting here in tears reading this. Hope you like our pic!!!
shelly foster - September 12th, 2011 at 12:01 PM
If I had known about your page before my son who is adopted (at birth) and I (I was adopted at age 3) would have made a HUGE SIGN!! Adoption is such a beautiful thing!!!
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