We moved to South Alabama, in 2008 to be closer to Brooke as she started attending The Learning Tree in Mobile, Al. We became houseparent at the Alabama Baptist Children's Home, taking care of children who had been abused, abandoned, or broken from their current situation. There is a two child maximum as houseparents so it became our intentions to look for other employment so we could bring Brooke home one day; but it never seemed to happen. The boys, Josiah and Ethan started attending a near-by private school. All seemed well, but our hearts longed for Brooke to be with us. She has never been far from us, seeing her now daily for 8 years never becomes weary. As houseparents we shared a home on our off time with the other houseparents and; often got Brooke for slumber parties or just for family dinners. Sharing a home for many years we desired having our our own that we could call ours. Bill and I began looking and searching for something but never was successful.
We attend a fruitful and grounded church in our area. One Sunday our pastor, Brett, shared a prayer request that I became broken over. Valerie, a lady in our church had been in an accident that almost cost her her life. I remember kneeling praying for her (who i had not yet met), and she was never far from my thoughts. One year later I was asked to paint one of my palm paintings in our church service. Before I went in that day I was sitting in my car praying, I looked up and saw a woman with a slight limp and a man helping her. I knew that had to have been Valerie that was in the accident a year prior. I prayed for her that morning. About a week after that event a friend of mine called me and said Dani "do you know Valerie Boatman?" I said, "no, I don't, but I've been wanting to meet her". My friend later sent me a picture of Valerie standing next to the Jesus I had painted! Wow... I knew I needed to meet her. The following week I introduced myself to her at church and I knew upon meeting her we were kindred spirits. Soon after we met for lunch and then soon after her and her husband, Wayne, came for dinner at the children's home. The Lord began spinning our hearts together but we all had no idea why.
As Bill continued to look at different homes for us in our area he found one that seemed suitable. We all went to look at the house. I was trying to imagine my life there but when I walked upstairs my mind shifted. Covering the whole wall upstairs was chalkboard paint! As I looked carefully at the faded and discolored chalk, I noticed that what was written on the wall was a bible verse. The words were "those that wait upon the Lord will not faint, they will run and not be weary, walk and not faint". I knew at that moment we were to wait. I did not understand that at the moment, but I was pretty determined that Jesus was speaking clearly to us. The next home bill located was in a great area but needed lots of repair; however, we were excited to take on the DIY makeover! After dropping the price about $20,000 we seemed confident that this was the reason God told us to wait. We put a contact on the house and our realtor prayed with us in the kitchen asking God to give us direction and wisdom. That next week we saw Wayne and Valerie at church and they told us they would bring over some thanksgiving food for the boys. The next day Wayne showed up and brought lots of food over just as he promised. Bill and Wayne walked outside to talk and when Bill came in he told me he wanted to tell me something. Standing in the kitchen at the children's home Bill said, "So, Wayne and I were talking and Wayne asked me, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" And I told him that we had just put a contact on a house and we might need some contractors names because we were going to be gutting the house. Wayne stopped me and said, "Wait, you need a house? I gotta house and you can have it!""
I was like...what?! You have got to be kidding me! I instantly wanted to talk to Valerie. Needless to say, the very next day we got a call from our realtor saying the house we had put a contract on had gone to someone else!!!
A few days later we went to see the house. I was in awe as I walked around inside. I didn't see anything, I just heard laughter, stories, tears, scripture, pain, and pure joy!
I saw Valerie at church that Sunday. She said, "Dani, you may not like the location, or the house, but if you do it's yours if you want it." I stood there speechless and in awe at the Lord and what He was doing. We spoke a few more words to one another and then I asked her, "what's the street name?" She said "Locarno." I went to my seat in church and looked up the word on my phone and was amazed to read that "Locarno" was a treaty between Switzerland and Europe years ago, the treaty meant "Peace for the future". Wow. We were both speechless as God had given us hope for our future! Seven years prior to this the Lord had opened my eyes to this hope called a jubilee. The idea behind jubilee in Leviticus 25 is a beautiful promise to Gods people to give them hope. We held on to this hope for our family knowing that the Lord would one day give us this jubilee.
“...it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” Leviticus 25:10
The gift from Wayne and Valerie of the house on Locarno was the first concrete step toward the fulfilling of Gods promise for our family. This allowed us to start the process of bringing brooke home. The next step would be arranging in home care for brooke; because of our position as houseparents we would need a lot of in home care hours for brooke. We made our initial request and after back and forth, and justifications for the amount of time needed our request was approved! Clearly God had gone before us and made provisions. Soon after the Lord opened doors for Bill to have another job so we could all be together. We left our jobs at the Alabama Baptist Childrens Home and in July, (2017) we were able to bring Brooke home to live with us! What a reunion! What a jubilee! What a Savior!