In the summer of 2009, Evans traveled to Uganda with the expectation of bringing home a daughter.
“The home that I was adopting from likes for you to come and meet the children before they match you,” Evans said.
The trip to Uganda was the culmination of months of hard work for Evans, who elected to pursue an independent adoption rather than going through an agency.
It was also an act of faith. As a single woman, Evans was only allowed to adopt a girl under Ugandan law.
“Some people who were going through the same process wondered why I was going because there were no girls available for adoption in the orphanage at that point. I said, ‘God told me to go now, so I’m going now,’” Evans said.
When Evans met with the orphanage director, she learned that three little girls had recently arrived and were available for adoption.
Her attorney advised her that she needed to choose a child quickly so that the paperwork process could begin.
Evans prayed earnestly as she returned to the orphanage and was led to a classroom full of children.
Her visits with the first two girls passed quickly, but time stood still as 8-month-old Willa Rae was brought into the room.
“Her head was shaved, and she had on this little Christmas dress that had the lace torn off of it. God told me, ‘That’s your daughter,’” Evans said.
Evans and her aunt, who had accompanied her on the trip, stayed at the orphanage for several weeks while the adoption made its way through the courts.
One day, she noticed a new arrival — a little boy who was painfully skinny and had an IV port in his hand.
He was so weak that he lacked the energy to play or feed himself.
Evans learned that 1-year-old Andrew had been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia and had recently been in the hospital for a blood transfusion.
As other families came in to pick out their child, none considered adopting Andrew.
Evans asked her attorney if the court might make an exception and allow her to adopt a boy because of his health situation.
“When the blood test results came back, he did not have sickle cell. Then I got worried that they wouldn’t let me adopt him because he wasn’t sick. When we went to court, I told the judge that I would consider it an honor. Praise Jesus, he agreed with us,” Evans said.
The new family returned to the United States in August several days before Evans, a first grade teacher at Curry Elementary School, was to report to work.
The adoption was finalized in the United States in March 2010.
Andrew and Willa Rae are now 6 and 5, respectively. He loves music and illusrating his own books, and she is a “girly girl” who enjoys cheerleading and playing dress up.
Evans said the experience taught her an important lesson about trusting God.
“Through the whole process, I never would have been able to complete any of it on my own without God,” Evans said.
After the adoption of Willa Rae and Andrew, Evans established a nonprofit to help the people of Uganda.
Olwazzi Ministries has established a church and a kindergarten in a local village. Evans will be leaving at the end of the month to check up on the progress there.
“Olwazzi means ‘Solid Rock,’” Evans said.