Unstoppable God…

I wrote last about our trip to the DRC to visit the kids.  While in the DRC, due to a string of events, we became hopeful that we might be able to bring the kids home with us as we returned.  As the trip came to a close, it was clear that it wouldn’t be possible.  We worked with our in-country contacts towards what seemed to be the next steps to getting them home.

We came home with guarded hope that it wouldn’t be too much longer before we were headed back to get them and bring them home.  We weren’t sure if “too much longer” meant a couple months, or another year.

As it turns out, and as we’ve known all along-but so easily forget, God is at work orchestrating our adoption journey.

He was working for our good in saying No to our plans of a November trip.

He was working by allowing us to stay an extra 4 days on our trip in January.

He was and is still working on situations here at home to make everything work out in perfect timing.

And because of His perfect timing and His perfect will…

Malachi, Karis, and Joshua have been approved for their EXIT LETTERS and will be coming home in March!

The song Unstoppable seems very fitting for this situation…here are the lyrics:

“Heaven thundered and the world was born Life begins and ends in the dust You formed Faith commanded and the mountains moved Fear is losing ground to our hope in You Unstoppable God Let Your glory go on and on Impossible things In Your name they shall be done Freedom conquered All our chains undone Sin defeated Jesus has overcome Mercy triumphed when the third day dawned Darkness was denied when the storm was gone Unstoppable God Let your glory go on and on Impossible things In Your name they shall be done Unstoppable God Let your glory go on and on Impossible things In Your name they shall be done Nothing shall be impossible Your kingdom reigns unstoppable Nothing shall be impossible Your kingdom reigns unstoppable We’ll shout Your praise forevermore Jesus our God unstoppable Nothing shall be impossible Your kingdom reigns unstoppable We’ll shout Your praise forevermore Jesus our God unstoppable Nothing shall be impossible Your kingdom reigns unstoppable We’ll shout Your praise forevermore Jesus our God unstoppable Nothing shall be impossible Your kingdom reigns unstoppable We’ll shout Your praise forevermore Jesus our God unstoppable Unstoppable God Let your glory go on and on Impossible things In Your name they shall be done Unstoppable God Let your glory go on and on Impossible things In Your name they shall be done

Little bits and pieces…

Honestly, I don’t know that my words can explain all that happened, or the feelings that were felt, or the things we experienced.  I want (and need) to share our trip.  But I am exhausted.  My mind, body, patience…all are struggling to function through the day.

Let me start with the logistics.  Our trip was scheduled for January 14-23.  We left home early in the morning on Thursday (the 14th).  We had 3 flights to get to our destination.  The last flight was delayed 4 hours, which meant we arrived in Africa at about 11:30pm on Friday.  By the time we arrived at the place we were staying, it was about 1:30 am on Saturday.
We were scheduled to leave Thursday, the 21st.  On Wednesday evening we learned that the airlines were expecting our flight to be cancelled in Washington, DC due to the major winter storm that was about to hit.  We made a last minute decision to stay in the DRC for a few extra days so that we wouldn’t be stranded in the airport in Washington.  So, now we were scheduled to fly out on Monday, Jan 25.

Saturday morning, around 11am, the children came to the location we were staying.  This was the first time I met the children.  From that time on, the children stayed with us until Monday (the 25th) morning.  When we were planning for the trip I thought we would only get to spend 4 or 5 days total with the kids.  We ended up getting to spend 9 full days with them!

I’m going to take a moment to list a few little bits of info regarding our time with the kids.  Most of the questions people ask are in regards to our time with them…so I think this will help answer multiple questions, without having to write a novel.

-Our children are Jonathan, age 8; Princess, age 6; and Junior, age 3.
-They do not speak or understand English.  They speak mostly Lingala, they seem to understand and speak a little French.
-How did we communicate with them?  Lots of pointing, acting, miming, and physically showing them what we were trying to communicate.  Very occasionally we would enlist the help of someone to translate…but for the most part, we just made do.
-They know that we are Papa and Mama and that we have adopted them.  Their story is very unique, as all adoptions are.  We have shared many details with many people in our lives…people we trust and are a part of our daily lives.  However, for the protection of the children, I’m choosing not to go into detail on the internet.
-The children are malnourished.  They are being fed…but due to the resources there, they are not getting proper or complete nutrition.  However, that will likely not make a solid enough case for an emergency medical exit letter.
-We spent much of our time in our room, which was at a hotel-like place…but definitely not a hotel.  (It’s hard to explain.)  The kids were most content when we were in our room, spending time together.  I took some books, paper, stickers, pipe cleaners, crayons, cars, a baby doll, puzzles, soccer ball, etc for the kids.  We played, danced, “wrestled”, and just enjoyed being together.
There was a small courtyard out front where we played soccer/football.  Also, a TV in the reception area on which Jonathan and I watched soccer together a couple times. We were able to safely walk around the grounds of the place we stayed and could even go as a family to the market about a block away.

Now, to the most popular question:  When will we get to bring them home?  and What’s taking so long?!

Ohhh this question…it gets me every time.  In short, we don’t know when we will get to bring them home.  The main reason they aren’t home yet is because the country is not issuing the very last document that is needed…an exit letter…to adopted children.  In the DRC, any child that is being taken out of the country needs an exit letter to leave.  For 2 years now, there has been a ban on providing these letters to adopted children.  There is no consistent reason why…and there is no timeline for when they will begin to issue them.  The most current news we have is that at the beginning of February, 30% of adopted children will receive their exit letters.  We do not know if this will truly happen, but we are praying that it does.  There are multiple factors that are a part of this “theory”, per say…but many aren’t actual factors, but speculation.

So, as of now, we don’t have a timeline for when they will be home.  But please join me in praying that there will truly be children that get exit letters in this next month…and that the exit letters just keep coming until ALL the adopted children are home with their families that love them so much.  This wait has been incredibly hard on the children, as well as their families.  Dozens of children have even died during this wait.

I hope to write more over the next few weeks and share little bits of our time there.  I hope this answered some questions.  There is SO much more to the story of the past two weeks…it’s hard to share little bits at a time…so I hope this makes at least a little sense.

Please feel free to ask questions.  I’ll do my best to answer and clarify!

Adoption Update: HUGE step in the right direction

Yesterday I got home late (almost midnight). And because we’ve been in that {oh so common} waiting game for the past few months, I pulled my sleeping two year old out of her carseat, grabbed my purse and headed straight to the mailbox. I glanced through the envelopes on the short walk back to the front door and the last one I came to was large, white, and stamped with a USCIS stamp. I couldn’t unlock the door fast enough…I ran to the table and dropped my things. {Don’t worry, I set Kya down gently.} I opened the envelope as fast as I could. The first thing I noticed was that all the papers were white! Our previous “Request for Evidence” came with some colored sheets of paper. I glanced the paper over and squealed as I read the words “Provisional Approval”! And even better, there were 3 of them…one for each of my treasured children!

Gracelynn sat next to me in a chair anxiously asking, “What Mom, what is it?!” I looked at her and said, “it’s from USCIS!” She recognized those letters and said, “Do we get to go get my brothers and sister?!?!?!” I took a moment and explained what it meant, as best I could. But the fact that I got to tell her, “This is a very important, HUGE step that we have been waiting on for a long time. This means that our government approves of our adoption!”

Provisional Approval

People, the weight has been lifted! I don’t even have words to explain how relieving this step is. Up to this point we have been so cautious in our celebrating the milestones of this adoption, because there was always one more roadblock that could potentially stand in the way of completing the adoption. But this letter…it means that our beautiful Malachi, Karis, and Joshua are OURS, recognized by the Congolese government, AND the US government. It means that WE are THEIR family.

Malachi, Karis, and Joshua, YOUR FAMILY IS COMING FOR YOU!!!

Praising God for his faithfulness…His continued faithfulness. Praising Him because He has orchestrated this entire adoption.

So…I know the question is always…What’s Next? When will you go get them?!

In short: We’ll go get them when God says it’s time.

Longer version: As soon as we get an email that the investigation has been completed, we will send in an application for a Visa appointment. This is where it gets a bit tricky because we can’t complete the Visa appointment without a passport…and supposedly, those aren’t being issued to adopted children until the country begins allowing Exit Permits. Which brings me to the next step: those Exit Letters that are STILL being withheld for the 656th day {and counting}.

So, prayer specifics would be:

1. A solution to the Exit Letter Crisis. (an explanation on this could take all day…but God knows exactly what the issue is, even when we don’t)
2. Fundraising Efforts on our behalf. We need $6,500 to complete the rest of the adoption costs in country. Then, we will need $10-15,000 for travel. (2 round trip tickets, 3 one way tickets, and travel/living expenses.)
3. We need to sell our house. This will help with travel expenses…but we also hope to move before the kids come home so there is less transitioning on their part.
4. And of course, prayers for the children’s health and safety.

A gift…

I continue to be amazed at God’s mercies…His gifts to us…His perfect timing. I wonder why it’s taken me so long to recognize these acts of love. If this adoption leaves us with nothing else, what a gift to be given…to be taught to recognize God’s work in our lives.

When we started the adoption of our “trois bebes doux”, we were empty. Our hearts had been broken, our finances drained, our hope was even running pretty thin. But God stepped in, from the very beginning, and said, “Trust Me. Allow Me to do this.” And we couldn’t find a good reason not to. So, we handed it to Him and said,

“Okay, go for it. We are empty. Be glorified.”

Since this past summer we have been working to raise the funds for the court costs of the adoption. (No, we aren’t buying the children…we do have to pay for particular services to make the adoption legal. “Nothing is free”…especially when it comes to legal processes in another country.) We have been shy about $X,800. We began praying that our tax refund would make a significant dent in that amount so that we could “conquer” the last bit of the court fees and move on to raising funds for travel. On Friday we were given our total refund amount. God stepped in, and decided to add a touch of humor, as well.

$X,801

Literally, one dollar more than the exact amount we needed to finish paying for the court costs.

Thanks God!
No really, THANK YOU, GOD!

By the way, Cody’s feeling generous and said I could have the extra dollar…any suggestions on how I should spend it?!?!?!? 😉

Kya & Grace-4

Kya & Grace

Sharing is caring…

I’ve not done well at sharing our adoption journey.  I post sporadically…but I don’t follow up.  So, I’m going to attempt, once again, to update and share.  I’ll be honest, it’s been a long journey. We began talking and praying about adoption 3 years ago.  Granted, we didn’t make any big moves for a few months, but that still puts us at about 2.5 years in.  I guarantee you that three years ago I didn’t even consider that it would take this long.  I’m not sure I was necessarily naive.  I knew that sometimes it took years…but surely that wouldn’t be our story!

Our Story.  It’s funny that I mention the word story.  I was just thinking about that word earlier this evening as I nursed my sweet little Kya-belle to sleep.  A story isn’t really a story unless it’s shared, right?  Before you share, it’s an experience, or a thought, and it’s contained inside your brain.  But as you begin to retell the details to someone, and you start to recall all the little pieces, and your mouth forms the words that come together to share this occurrence, it all becomes real, again.  Yes, it’s definitely real when this occurrence takes place, and it’s real as it soaks into your memory, and all of the feelings associated are very real.  But once you share it, it’s no longer just your own personal story.  It is shared.  The emotions that are attached to the story are shared.  Your feelings and thoughts are suddenly transparent to each person that reads or hears the details you chose to share.

So sometimes I find it very difficult to share about our journey.  I find that there is a false sense of safety when I keep pieces to myself.  If I don’t share this piece of news, no matter how small, I don’t have to share the disappointment that comes when things don’t go as expected.  Not to mention that I feel as if every bit of our journey has been seeped in uncertainty.  We have quickly learned that celebrations can only happen when physical evidence is placed in our hands…and then we are sure to celebrate with “one foot out the door” because many times as soon as we are finished celebrating, we are let down by the next bit of information.

This is real.  Adoption is not easy.  I didn’t sign up for easy.  I signed up for real.  Real life, real pain, real love, real JESUS.  I’ve met each of those things through the past 3 years.  Joy, disappointment, hope, hopelessness, peace, unrest, love, and pain.

Joy in the faces of the three most beautiful children as they met their Daddy for the first time this summer.  If only I could share with them how much their daddy will love them and care for them.  He’s the Daddy that will give them grace and love, just like Jesus does.  He’s the best Daddy I’ve ever met here on this earth.

Disappointment in each day that passes that the silly “red tape” issues are not solved.

Hope in Jesus.  Hope in knowing that this is His story and He will carry us through, regardless of the outcome.

Hopelessness as I sit here, day after day, not being able to care for my children’s needs.  I am a Mom.  It’s who God made me to be and my heart aches to hug and kiss and love and feed and clean and groom and hold my children.  All 5 of them.  Each and every day.

Peace when I see photos of my children, on the other side of the world, with smiles on their faces.

Unrest in the uncertainty of where the next “payment” is going to come from.

Love, such strong, pure love that I didn’t know was possible for three little ones that I’ve not physically met.  A deeper love for my husband as we walk this journey together.  And learning to love my children better each day in the way each one needs it most.

Pain…”though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name”.  Sometimes it hurts to offer pieces of ourselves with no guarantees…but every.single.time…HE BLESSES ME, and “I’ll turn back to praise”.  He understands the pain better than anyone else, so why not turn to Him each time?

 

So our biggest and latest news is that we have officially PASSED COURT!  We have our Act of Adoption, our Certificate of Non-Appeal, birth certificates, and these three beautiful blessings are officially members of our family.
What’s next?!  US investigation, legal paperwork, passport, visa, and then we wait for that one little letter that allows them to leave the country.
How much longer till they come home?!  Your guess is as good as mine.  Keep praying for a quick, smooth, agreeable resolution to happen.  Pray for favor from both governments as we get through all the legalities.

The Lord Moves…

I have a story to share. It’s one that humbles me and encourages me…and I hope it will do the same for you…at the least, the encouragement part.

We often hear stories of young people that are discouraging, frustrating, and even depressing. It’s easy for adults to look at teen’s lives and get frustrated. We remember (to an extent) being that age and we easily remember all the mistakes we made. We want to impart our wisdom! We think that if we can just tell them the next step to take, that we can spare them the hurt and frustrations of mistakes. But, after years of working with teens in the youth group at church, and after 5 years of having children to raise, if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that we cannot make their choices for them. What can we do? We can teach them God’s word, we can cheer them on, and we can pray for them. I’m about to tell you of an opportunity in which you can do 2 of those things for a very wise young lady.

Just last month I met a young lady that had contacted me after seeing our advertisement for our Trivia Night fundraiser. She emailed me first, introduced herself, and shared her story with me. I won’t share details here, simply because I have not asked for her permission…but I do want to tell you that this young lady is in high school and God is using her to make a difference. She was challenged, she accepted the challenge, and that is why she reached out to me.

In her email she shared with me that she has a heart for adoption. She’s not quite ready to adopt, obviously, but she wanted to know if she could help our family with our adoption. How could I say no?!

So, this sweet, wise young lady and her best friend have put together a fundraiser to benefit our adoption. It’s something fun and lasting and easy to take part in. They are offering Glamour Shots this weekend!

Here is a link to the Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/723536867682972/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

If you aren’t able to cheer her on in person, or make it to the Glamour Shots event to support her (and us)…you can always pray! Pray that the Lord will continue to work in her life and that she will continue to have the courage to step out in faith and do BIG things!

When believers step out in faith, we get to see God at work in mighty ways. How exciting that she will be able to see that at such a young age!

Night before preparations + working out = better attitudes

Monday morning. Alarm went off at 4:35 am…hit snooze, no problem falling back asleep…4:44 am it went off again. Okay, fine. I climbed out from underneath the covers, felt my way over to my work-out clothes that I begrudgingly laid out last night. Just 2 hours ago I was up nursing the baby and considered changing my alarm so that I could sleep in an extra hour, or hour and a half. But, I knew that I would regret it later this morning. So, here I am, pulling on my capris and tank top in the dark. My eyes had a really hard time opening this morning as I felt my way over to my shoes. I picked them up, and headed to the living room. At 4:45am, every move is amplified as I try to slip out the door as quietly as possible.

It’s really only been about a month since I started waking up and working out so early in the morning. And honestly, I’ve missed quite a few days in the past couple of weeks. When I’m dealing with this early of a morning, I’ve found it’s much too easy for me to find excuses. That extra hour or so of sleep sounds so appealing. Cody and I joke that my God given gift is sleep. It’s a rare moment when I have any trouble sleeping.

But let me share with you the difference in my mornings. I’ll label the situations and descriptions like this: WM = workout morning SM = sleep-in morning

WM = less rushing around, as I’m already wide awake after a little hard work, getting breakfast made is less of a chore.
SM = I’m still prying my eyes open, trying to get coffee and breakfast made so that I can get a little energy to get things rolling in the morning-time.

WM = my mood is actually more pleasant as I’ve started my morning out with some friendly “banter” and conversation with other adults.
SM = I’m just trying to be pleasant enough to send the oldest daughter off to school and my handsome husband off to work without seeming like a huge grouch as I impatiently wait for the coffee to kick in.

WM = I’m showered, dressed, and ready to start my day as I urge my little kindergartener to remember all her morning responsibilities and still make it to school on time.
SM = Losing patience with my sweet girl because I have a hard enough time remembering what I’m responsible for when I just woke up 15 minutes ago…still waiting on that coffee.

This is just the effect on our mornings together…and it already seems completely worth the extra effort. I’ll go ahead and explain a little more of how this new habit has changed me and my attitude.

When I know I’m going to be working out the next morning, I’ll take a few extra moments out of my evening to get things prepared for the morning. I’ll get the coffee pot ready so that all I need to do is press a button as I walk in the door from my workout. I’ll prepare my ice water and put it in the fridge so I don’t have to make extra noise with the ice at 4:45 am. I’ll set out my workout clothes and shoes so that when I wake up, I hardly have to think as I reach over and grab my clothes to pull on.

Yesterday afternoon we spent a couple hours cleaning Grace’s room and setting out clothes for the week. Her outfits are laid out on top of the dresser, her room is tidy, and her lunch was made. And this morning was smooth! Even though both girls were awake by 6:15, we didn’t have any meltdowns, our morning was pleasant, and the kitchen/dining room was back to it’s “tidy state” by the time Cody and Grace left for school and work.

Now, this morning, as Kya naps, I have time for a couple extra projects and activities that I wouldn’t otherwise have the time or energy for. By nature, I’m not an early riser…but it’s clear to me that it’s worth the extra effort. I feel better all day long when I’ve started my morning before the rest of the family and I’m awake and ready for them each morning.

Adoption Update: Part 2…a long letter

This is the exact letter that we sent out by mail to many friends and family that have supported us over the past couple years.  I am well aware that I did not get a letter sent to everyone.  There have been so many that have supported us in multiple different ways.  I try to keep track of all, but I know I’ve missed a few.  If you would still like to have this letter on paper and mailed to you, please let me know.  I would happy to send it!

 

 

Dear Friends and Family, 

I hope this letter finds you doing well.  It’s been about 2 years since we sent out our original support letter telling of our intentions to grow our family through adoption.  Since that letter, there have been many changes that have taken place.  Many of you have kept up with our journey through Facebook, my blog, or even just speaking to us in day to day life.  However, we know there are some that have not been updated by those means.  So, we are sending out this letter to update and express our appreciation for your support.

We are very grateful and humbled by the responses we received from sending out the last letter.  Many of you sent monetary support, as well as committing to praying for us.  In addition, many of you have shown support multiple times over the past 2 years.  We continue to thank God for our friends and family that constantly step up to help us.  Your love and friendship has kept us going through some of the toughest situations.  

Our adoption journey has been long.  It has been one of trials, and one of joyful moments as well.  Our faith has been stretched and has grown substantially.  If we could sit down and tell you the story, detail by detail, it would probably take at least a full hour.  There were many moments in the past 2 years that we wondered if we had heard God correctly when we thought he was leading us to international adoption.  But as we look back over the events that have taken place, it is clear to see where His hand has guided our journey to tell the story of His goodness and grace.

I’m going to attempt to share the timeline of events, as best as I can recall, so that you will know where we started and where we stand, as of now.  

March 2012:  We began by mailing an application to a ministry to apply for their assistance in helping us complete an independent adoption from Uganda.  We also sent out the original support letter.

April 2012:  We learned that Uganda’s adoption requirements were changing and that some of their requirements were not ones that we could commit to.  (Some families were being required to agree to a “heritage trip” every 5 years until the child is 18.)  For many reasons, we decided to back out of adopting from Uganda and decided to pursue an adoption from the Democratic Republic of Congo instead.

May 2012:  We signed a contract with A Love Beyond Borders Adoption Agency.  We had researched, but were unable to find any ministries that were willing to assist with independent adoptions in the Congo.

May-October 2012:  Fundraising Fundraising Fundraising!  

October 2012:  We accepted the referral of a 3 yr old little boy. (Muchanta) 

November 2012:  Met with Tresor with Mwangaza International for the first time to ask cultural questions regarding our referral.  (Tresor grew up in the Congo.)

December 2012/January 2013:  We learned that I (Keri) was pregnant with Kya.  We informed our agency and soon learned that we would lose our referral and had two options.  1) We could put our adoption on hold and wait until Kya was 6 months old to basically start from the beginning.  2)  We could “back out” of our contract with the agency.  We chose option 2 and they decided they would refund us about half of what we had paid in.

January 2013:  We received our approval from the US government to pursue an international adoption for up to 3 children.

February 2013:  Visited again with Tresor and decided to begin working on an independent adoption with Mwangaza. 

March 2013:  Adoption fully funded and received a referral of a 3 yr old little boy named Bienvenue.  

November 2013:  Court hearing for our adoption with Bienvenue.  Judge ruled in our favor, began our 30 day CONA (certificate of non-appeal) wait. 

December 2013: 30 days came and went, no word from the judge.

April 2014:  Judge decided that a 2 week radio ad was necessary.  

May 7, 2014:  We learned that Bienvenue’s family came forward in response to the radio ad.  Bienvenue is now back home with his family.  

May 7, 2014:  In this same conversation, we also learned that there is another little boy (Jonathan, 4 yrs old) that is in need of a family.  We began praying.  

{I need to add in here that there were other “circumstances” that had us concerned with whether or not we should continue to pursue an adoption from the Congo at this time.  International adoptions in the Congo are currently in a very unstable situation.  I will explain more of this after the “timeline” but need to  add that it was definitely something that was weighing on our hearts during this time.}

May 21, 2014:  We learned that Jonathan has 2 siblings.  His sister, Princess, is 3 yrs old, and his brother, Junior, is 2 yrs old.  It didn’t seem right to adopt one without the others, but we were told that due to the confusion of the laws we would probably not be able to adopt all three.  Congolese family laws states that a family cannot have more than 2 children in the home at the time of adoption. It also states that a family may not adopt more than 3 children at a time.  However, it does not state a “total” number of children a family may have when the adoption is completed.  Our in-country lawyer decided to go to the judge to find out whether or not we could legally adopt all three siblings.    

June 20, 2014:  Our representative and lawyer in the Congo, along with a social worker, has completed the necessary investigations and has concluded that all three children are eligible for adoption, and the judge has concluded that it is legal for us to adopt all three.  We are also informed it will cost a total of $15,000 to complete the adoption in the Congo. 

As I mentioned on the page before, the Congo is currently in a somewhat unstable situation regarding international adoptions.  In September of 2013, the office that issues “exit letters” decided they would not issue any further letters for at least one year.  This was in response/due to some adoptive families not honoring their adoption laws.  These “exit letters” are needed for the adopted children to leave the country with their adoptive families.  In the meantime, adoption hearings are still taking place, as well as almost every other step of the adoption process.  This tells us that it is not likely that the country will shut down international adoptions completely.  We have since learned that it is likely that the Congolese officials are working on a new set of laws regarding international adoptions.  It is unclear whether or not these laws will take effect and allow “exit letters” to open by September.  It is also unclear exactly what the laws are and whether or not they will be retroactive.

As for our case, here is what we know and where we are.  We have decided, and feel God’s leading, to continue on with the adoption process.  We will pursue the adoption of Jonathan (age 4), Princess (age 3), and Junior (age 2).  We are in the very beginning stages of their adoption.  We are told that we need to first open their file with the courts.  This will cost $1,000.  Two weeks from that time, we will need $6,000 to schedule our adoption hearing.  A hearing will take place, and we will then have to wait the 30 days again for a Certificate of Non-Appeal.  When all is complete with the court system, we will need the remaining $6,500.  This totals $13,500.  The remaining $1,500 will likely go towards medical/visa/passport/etc appointments. 

To be completely honest, our biggest “roadblock” at the moment is the money.  However, we are not writing you this update to ask you to send any!  God has made it very clear that He will provide it as it is needed.  He has for the past 2 years, even when we have to “start over”.  In fact, just this weekend, we were blessed with $1,300 in just one day to go towards adoption expenses.  God is good and God is faithful.  He takes care of our needs as they arise.  We are completely trusting that God will provide the necessary funds, if this is truly His plan for our family. 

We also want to be honest in communicating that we still struggle.  We are praying daily that God will make it obvious to us what the next step should be.  Somedays we feel like we are walking blindly.  We don’t know whether or not this adoption will come to completion.  We don’t know where the next amount of money will come from.  We don’t know if the Congolese government will change their laws and make our adoption essentially void.  We don’t know whether or not the US Embassy will be satisfied with their findings in the investigation at the end of the process.  But, we look back to 2 years ago when we began our adoption journey and it is clear that these were all concerns from the very beginning.  We also sympathize with many other families in that they are walking the exact same road that we are.  And we know that God knows what the future holds.  He knows.  And we place our trust in Him.  He called us to this journey, He’s led us this far through the journey, and He will continue to lead us as we press on and take each day as it comes.

Now, we ask that you will join us in praying.  If you are one that likes specifics to pray for, I’ve created this list:

Wisdom:  To know what to do next.  To hear God, clearly.  

Discernment:  In where to turn, what to do, how to take the next steps.

Clarity: For our hearts.  In translations.

Our Children:  Their health and safety.  Their hearts during this traumatic     time in their lives.

Thank you for reading this long, overdue update.  Thank you for being a part of our lives, for caring about us and for us, and for loving us enough to invest into our family.  We are truly blessed to have you as our friends and as our family.

In Christ, 

Cody, Keri, Gracelynn, & Kya

 

 

Adoption Update: Part 1

 


So, it’s time for that Adoption Update.  And I’m so ready to share all that has been happening and what we know.  And yet…there is a part of me that just doesn’t want to share.  I say that hesitantly…because I absolutely believe that each and every one of you will support us.  It’s a difficult feeling to describe.  In all honesty, I wish I could just sit down with everyone and share one on one.  So I would have an opportunity to answer all your questions, and be able to fully express our feelings of excitement and fear and uncertainty.

Friends, around the beginning of May I downloaded an app on my phone that allowed me to converse with our “in country” adoption lawyer/coordinator.  This has been such a blessing in the past couple of weeks as we have been able to ask many questions and learn many more details than we have ever known before about our adoption process/case.  If only my mind would quickly acquire the knowledge to speak/understand French fluently. I use Google Translate and pray for God’s guidance to accurately de-code the computer’s jumbled responses.  But throughout the conversations that have taken place over the last month, I have gained much respect for the ladies that are working so hard to help us and to keep the children’s best interests in mind.


19 days ago we were sent a new photo.  It had been several months since we had seen or heard anything and so, Cody and I were excited!  As we began asking questions and talking through some concerns we realized that there had been some miscommunication.  We had not been informed of a very important piece of our adoption “puzzle”.  In fact, we learned that day, that the radio ad that had been run had been successful in reuniting Bienvenue with his family.  This news brought a wave of emotions.  First, disappointment…because Bienvenue would not be joining our family.  We had grown to love this little boy.  (His pictures are still up in our home.)

But, to be honest…the disappointment couldn’t stick around for long because the truth of the situation set into our hearts quickly.  

Bienvenue had been reunited with his family!  

Disappointment turns to praise for God when He has placed an orphan back into his family.  Can you imagine that reunion?!  Can you imagine the flood of emotions and relief the first time the family heard the ad, or even heard word that this could potentially be their son?!  I don’t have even the smallest detail of the situation, or how it happened…but I don’t know that it matters.  I’m trusting God on this one.  And I’m praising Him for reuniting this sweet boy with his family.

I would be lying if I said that this was easy news to hear.  It brought up many questions…and most are still unanswered.  It adds yet another “twist” to our already complicated adoption story.  We are 2 years into this process and feel like we are back to where we started.  

To add to the confusion and frustration, adoption from this country is now complicated and unsteady.  The past couple of weeks have brought some hope to the situation…but the struggle is far from over.  There are rumors that the country is working on a complete “overhaul”, if you will, of their international adoption laws…all while still allowing the adoption process to continue with the likelihood that many adoptions will have to be completely “re-done”.  There are also rumors that the country has lifted their suspension al-together.  

Honestly, only time will tell…but God knows.

There’s more to this story…many conversations are still taking place…and so, it is to be continued…

 

Not a poet…didn’t you know it?

Here is your warning…this post contains a poem that should probably not be labeled a poem.  You have been warned.

 

I want to tell…I want to tell…

but it seems I tell too soon. 

Something always happens, 

disappointments loom.

 

Three, then one.

Then one again.

And now we are back

to where we began.

 

So bear with me,

as I take some time.

I’ll share our story, 

Definitely not in rhyme.

 

As you wait, 

Pray.

For our family, 

Today.

As you wait, 

Pray.

For our family, 

Away.