In early February 2008, Kuhn Joe sent me an email asking me to call him. He had been to Im Jai to meet Rebekah and he had found her grandmother. Of course I called right away. First he told me that he and his wife had been to meet Deer and that she was very sweet and very happy about being adopted by us. That was wonderful and petrifying at the same time, since we had no control over the adoption actually being a success. He snapped a few photos of her while he was there and emailed them to me.
Deer holding a card she drew for us and gave to Kuhn Joe to send to us.
Deer holding a gift Kuhn Joe brought to her.
Deer in front of Joe and his wife.
After hearing the good report about Deer I was dying to know what happened with her grandmother. Kuhn Joe said that he took what little information the orphanage had regarding her grandmother's whereabouts and he got in his truck and headed in the general direction of her home. After driving for about 8 hours toward her region he began to roll down his window and ask people on the street for help. Eventually, he found her tiny shack in the midst of the town of Nan. He and his wife asked if they could come in.
He told me that they had to choose their words very carefully. They did not yet know the character of Deer's grandmother. They did not know her family, her village, or what kind of pressures she might face if others were to find out an American family was pursuing her granddaughter. In his broken English he couldn't really communicate to me what he said to her and Deer's aunt, half-sister, and other onlookers. But evidently he told her something to the effect of needing her to come to Chiang Mai to handle some legal matter with her granddaughter there. She agreed to come.
Kuhn Joe left her with enough money for bus tickets for herself and for Deer's next older half-sister to escort her, told her which day to come to Chiang Mai, got the cell number of a friend or relative nearby, and was off. His business there was done.
He reported all of this to me very matter-of-factly, but of course I was in shock. He found her?! He drove for 8 hours, asked complete strangers for some tips and he found her?! No way.
He spoke to her? He went into her teeny impoverished little home and chatted with her?
And then he left her money and gave her a date to get on a bus and drive for a whole day to eventually meet with him again?! And she agreed to do so? I wondered if she even had a calendar or a clock or a way to remember on which day to travel! Would she actually come? I asked him if Did he think she would spend the money first and then not make the trip? I was so bewildered by all of these developments.
What a praise to have found her! But now it felt like my list of prayer requests to the Lord was getting increasingly long and complicated. So many details. So many tasks for this woman I did not know to complete in order for us to fulfill the call God had given us. Whoa. This was out of my league. All I could pray was, "God, You know what You're doing, right? You've got this, right? I have no control whatsoever over this. There's a sweet little orphan who's hanging in the balance on this. You see her, right? Help us please. Help her grandma. Help her. Oh my goodness, Lord, keep me from hyperventilating. Amen."