Searching for Sebastian: a letter from father to son By Israel Chavez



Israel and Sandra Plett-Chavez are serving with Multiply at the Matthew Training Center in Guadalajara, Mexico. Sandra, from Canada, has been serving in Mexico since 2007. Several years ago, she met Israel who was the pastor of RETO Pinar Church in Guadalajara. The couple married two years ago and now pastor and serve together.

I knew you were out there somewhere, mi hijo (my son). I just had to find you. How could I give up? God never gave up looking for me.

When God first spoke to us about you—this child we were meant to find—your mother and I understood that adoption is very close to the heart of our God. He is the God of orphans and widows and the poor, you know. When she was young, your mother even imagined adopting a child from every nation in the world. It was a beautiful dream.

When we first married, we asked God to lead us in the journey of becoming a family. After one year, he spoke to us from the Bible through a letter written by a man named Paul. He wrote that we who belong to Jesus are all adopted, brought into sonship through the Holy Spirit. That word “adoption” stayed in our heads. We knew that God was calling us to search for you.

The search was exciting, difficult, and sometimes a little scary. We did not know even what you looked like, or what your name was. What color were your eyes? Who were your friends? How old were you? So many unknowns. We could not do this alone; we needed others to help us, and God provided many kind and wise people to guide our steps.

There were our missionary friends, Dallas and Terra, who had already adopted two children. They gave us a whole binder of things to learn—it was a little overwhelming! There was this course we had to take, studying hard so that we would be good parents. It was intense and we were worried we would not pass. There was so much paperwork, and we grew tired and discouraged. But there was our church and our families reminding us that God was leading us and that we should not give up. There was this lady named Paola, a psychologist who helped us prepare to become a family. And then there was Nora, from Family Services, who helped us find you at long last. So many cities, so many states—we had searched everywhere—and in the end it turned out that you were living only two blocks from our house! For five years, just around the corner.

The time came to meet you face-to-face. You would laugh, mi hijo, if you had seen us getting ready that day. Your mother spent hours choosing her clothing, styling her hair, and I spent hours picking out a special toy. What would a five-year-old like? I imagined playing with you, and I rehearsed what I would say to you. I did not want you to feel afraid, but to feel loved, wanted. Is this how God wants us to feel, I wondered, when he meets with us? I think so.

At the orphanage, we waited, we prayed, we fidgeted, and then there you were, walking through the doorway. That face, that smile! Our hearts were pounding. We said hello and began to play together. Did you notice my tears? I could not stop them, the whole time that we were playing. Something woke up inside of me. I thought to myself, I will care for him, protect him, and love him forever. Afterward, it was hard to leave you, but we came back to the orphanage the next day, and the next. Day after day, until you were familiar with us. Then came the day when you were asked, would you like to have a sleepover with Israel and Sandra? Your eyes shone as you nodded, yes.

We made pizza together and ate popcorn in our pajamas. Do you remember? After we put you to bed, your mother and I stayed awake all night, in case you might be afraid. When we heard you cry in the wee hours of the morning, we rushed into your room. We held you close and cried with you. You are not alone, we told you. We will never leave you. I think you believed us, because some days later at the orphanage, when you were asked if you would like us to be your parents, there was no hesitation. You flung yourself at me. I hugged you tight, and said your name over and over: Sebastian, Sebastian.

Suddenly you pulled away. That is not my name, you told me. Don’t call me that!

We were surprised. Then you said, My name is mi hijo.

Yes, mi hijo—my son. That is your name.

Please pray for Israel and Sandra as they welcome Sebastian into their lives. Ask God to bless this new family with an abundance of his love, goodness, and grace.

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