Our love story has hit a tragic bump. Jordan and I spent the last days of 2017 saying goodbye to our precious baby, we were overjoyed for a week to learn God blessed us with a life in a way we thought was no longer possible. We spent one week blissfully dreaming, rejoicing, crying, and loving this little surprise. Then things took a turn. The next week was a roller coaster of hope and despair. It all ended with an ultrasound and a phone call from the doctor, “I’m so sorry, this is not a viable pregnancy.” Our world that had two weeks earlier been flipped upside down was now flipped again. Our hearts are broken, there are no words to express our sorrow.
Let the waiting begin
Hello to our faithful followers. It is few and far between that I write full blogs regarding our journey. Most of the last year has been stop and go as we complete paperwork, medical and psychological evaluations, attend parenting classes, etc. It is hard for me to know what is big enough news to write an entire post. Oftentimes, things would be moving forward, but they felt as though we were standing still. We would submit paperwork only to find out the government shutdown has put it on hold, or somewhere in transit part of our paperwork was lost, or political unrest in Haiti postponed our dossier submission. I keep telling myself that even though this is taking so much longer than I was hoping, it is all in God’s timing. I believe that the hiccups, pauses, roadblocks and bumps are all part of His design to receive the child He has (or is or has yet to) created for us to parent.
All that being said, we do have some news. Our dossier was officially submitted and accepted by the Haitian government as of this week! This means we are now registered and on the wait-list for our child. The timeline for a match is murky – especially considering the political climate right now. It could be up to 4 years before we are matched. It typically takes about a year to finalize everything in the Haitian legal system before he or she could even come home. We are praying for our child, for the care givers, for the leaders of the country, for every hand that touches our paperwork and every eye that reads our dossier. Jordan and I ask that you join us in prayer.
In other news, Jordan and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary! To celebrate, we took a family trip to Australia and stopped in Hawaii on our way back. It was an amazing trip. We had family pictures taken at the Sydney Opera House and Botanical Gardens. I love how the pictures turned out and all the memories we made. I love being Sadie’s mom and watching Jordan be her dad. I cannot wait to see her be a big sister. We have so much love in our little family and look forward to adding another little one to love on and include in incredible experiences.
Thank you to everyone who supported us by purchasing corn this summer. We were beyond blessed and your generosity helped us pay to get our dossier submitted to Haiti among other expenses. If you or anyone you know have suggestions or fundraising ideas, please send them our way. They can message us via our Facebook page.
I cannot express how much it means to me that you have followed us on this journey. I so appreciate when you ask how things are going, pray for us and encourage us. I anxiously look forward to the day I get to tell you that we have a match.
Step, Wait. Step, Wait.
I have had several people ask me recently how the adoption is progressing. The answer I keep giving is: slowly.
I was prepared for the lengthy wait time for a match. I was prepared for the amount of paperwork to fill out. I was not prepared for the wait times necessary to prepare those documents. We have completed our home study. We are currently trying to gather and prepare all documents for the dossier. The dossier is what we officially submit to Haiti to ask permission to adopt and be put on the waiting list for a child. Jordan and I had sat down and made a game plan for getting all the paperwork done. So far, we have accomplished one item on that list. Our goal was to have it completed by the first of the year. Every time we make progress, we get stuck again waiting on something or someone.
For example, we had to submit an application to be approved for adopting a child internationally. Then we needed documents to support the application which we had to wait for. We also needed to attach a copy of our home study however it is illegal to have a copy of our HS in Colorado. Because our agency is in North Carolina, we had a company in Colorado do it. So CAS needed a copy, we then had to send the application along with supporting documents and a check (which we also had to wait for because we were out) to our agency so they could submit the application. We got all that done! Several documents are time sensitive notarized- they cannot be older than 6 months when the dossier is submitted to the country. Once, CAS told me that immigration received the application, I could start on those. Then, the government shut down. Now, CAS has advised me to wait to get those documents (medical, psychological evaluations – which is a whole other hiccup in this process, etc.) Normal turn-around time for the I800A application is 30-90 days. We have no idea how the shut-down will affect this. It could be 6 months before we can start gathering the next set of documents.
To say this is frustrating is an understatement. Just trying to gather the notarized documents has been difficult. After I get those (all must be notarized) we send them to the state to be apostilled, which is more waiting, then they go to DC Department of state to be approved, then taken over to the Haitian embassy to be approved there as well. Then they go to be translated. It is step, wait, step, wait process. It feels endless and daunting. It feels discouraging.
I feel like everyone I spoke to about adoption told me that it is a long process. The agencies all gave me an idea of the timeline and waiting, specifically waiting for a match after the dossier has been submitted to the country. They gave me ideas of how long gathering and completing the home study takes and how long the dossier usually takes (some families are able to do it in 6 weeks). I thought, sure, we can do that. I had people tell me that at times we are going to struggle with the process, we may even want to give up. You hear warnings like this but until you are in it, it doesn’t resonate. How could I ever want to give up on this? I have been called to this. I know this is my path. But as I gather try to gather the necessary documents for the dossier, I have felt that urge to stop pursuing the adoption in those moments.
We are discouraged and upset with the red tape and hoops the government requires us to jump through. As we understand the reason for most of these, we also see the blocks that continue to impede our progress. All we want is to give a parentless child a loving home and a family.
We went to church today and sang a song during worship I haven’t heard before called “Not Afraid”. It spoke to me in a way that I desperately needed to hear today.
“You keep the promises You make
There isn’t one that is delayed
So I will not lose heart
When I walk through the waters, I won’t be overcome
When I go through the rivers, I will not be drowned
My God will make a way, so I am not afraid
When I am in the fire, I will not feel the flames
I’ll stand before the giant, declaring victory
My God will make a way, so I am not afraid”
We keep coming up against situations that we cannot control. It is so difficult to wait. But this song has given me hope and encouraged me in our pursuit. God will keep his promise. We will follow him through deep waters, raging rivers, fire and against giants and not fear.
I will try to keep you updated as we progress through this process. Unfortunately, we are not in a very fast-moving process and most of the time I don’t have much to report. But keep asking, keep praying, keep encouraging and keep our Haitian baby in your prayers. If you have been through this process, I would love to talk to you.
Thank you for being a part of our story.
From Bulgaria to Haiti
Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. I thought I would have a difficult time with this – my last year as a 20-something. But I have a big reason to look forward to my 30’s. Jordan and I have decided to adopt from Haiti instead of Bulgaria.
What does this have to do with my 30’s? Every country has a specific set of criteria that the adoptive family must meet before they are even allowed on the country’s waiting list including age, length of marriage, mandatory in-country travel time, etc. For Bulgaria, the magic age is 25 years or older which is why we had originally chosen it. Truth be told, all other countries seemed out of reach because of their stipulations and Bulgaria was the only country that fit us. Last year, when we first started our journey, we were both 27 and were ready to hit the ground running. We did. Just not in the way we expected. We bought our house and started a series of renovations that we believed needed to be accomplished before we really began our home study. The renovations took longer than either of us anticipated. After talking to our adoption agency, I learned that the wait time for a child in our age range who is generally healthy has increased from 4 years to 5 years. This is due to the infrastructure of the Bulgarian national adoption system stabilizing. People who are citizens of Bulgaria are adopting children now more than ever. Those applicants are put at the top of the list above any international family. Haiti’s policy, on the other hand, is that one parent must be at least 30 years old. Haiti is struggling with poverty, poor governing and natural disasters. The wait time for a child in the age range and health that we are considering is about 2 years.
Maybe this seems like when you are at the grocery store waiting to check out and see another line seems to be moving faster so you jump over there just hoping you can get through a little quicker. And in all honesty, that has something to do with it. We are impatient and are anxious to meet the person who will complete our family. But changing countries is not just jumping the line. We have been praying and discussing this, seeking God’s heart and guidance. What I know for sure is there is a child somewhere in the world that needs us. We are just trying to follow where God is leading. At this point, Haiti is on our hearts. Please continue to pray for us as we make this shift.
Tomorrow I turn 29 and six months from now we will begin our home study. While we wait for that 6-month mark, our lives will be very busy with work, the upcoming Holidays, a family wedding (our little sister is going to be Mrs.!!!), several family birthdays, a BIG family vacation to Disney World, and Sadie’s 7th birthday! One year from tomorrow, we will submit our dossier to the Haitian adoption program and officially be on the wait list for our child (that is our goal anyway)! So, bring on the last of my 20’s! This year is going to be big steps – and 30 will be the beginning of a new chapter.
He is Risen!
My sin was great, your Love was greater.
Today, I reflect on the beautiful gift we have been given. I was condemned at the very beginning of my existence. My fate when I leave this world was sealed – I would be separated from God for eternity. Tortured, hopeless and alone. But eternal praise to God, I can now claim the life that Jesus gave. I can call God my Father.
He didn’t abandon us. He did not cast us out. He did not leave us for death to claim. He came to earth, lived a holy and perfect life as a man. Then, he was beaten, bled, spit on, humiliated, nailed to a cross and hung to die as people watched and mocked him. Still, even as He hung on the cross, He turned to the criminal next to Him and offered him a spot in heaven. Think about that for just a second. As Jesus was dying and in unspeakable pain, He was still thinking of how much He loves us. He felt His true Father turn away. He descended into Hell for three days- that means He was completely separated from God, His Father, Love in itself. Three days. Isolated. Alone. Suffering.
But on that third day, He broke free from Hell. Jesus rose from Death. He suffered and overcame the punishment that was to be mine. He lived holy for me, so that I may live wholly for Him.
I am a child of God- all powerful, all-knowing, beginning and end, lion and lamb, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, everlasting Lord of all creation. That brings me to my knees. He chose me. He adopted me as His child. He knows every part of me, who I am, what I have done or didn’t do, my weaknesses and strengths, fears, hopes, dreams. And He loves me that much and unconditionally. There is nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me. And there is nothing in heaven or earth that can change that or separate me from His love.
I am so looking forward to experiencing adoption. I want to adopt not only to show a child unconditional love and welcome him/her into our family, but because God adopted me. “We love because He first loved us.” I want to love because he loved me enough to make the ultimate sacrifice to make me His child. I know that this process is going to demand a cost or sacrifice. Right now, it demands time, money and physical labor to prepare our home for the home study. It will demand trust, patience, love and risk of painful heartbreak. Thinking of all the sacrifices I have to make is intimidating. Sometimes I see Jesus in the garden asking God to find another way, to make it easier. My sacrifices pale vastly in comparison. Yet, seeing that even as He struggled with the cost, He followed through. Because He loves us. So even though I see the cost for our child, we are going to push through and bring him/her home. Because we already love him or her.
We are so grateful for the way God has already been moving in our adoption. We know that every trial, every step, he is preparing us for His calling, as well as preparing our child for us. Thank you to everyone who has supported us financially, spiritually or even an encouraging word. God is using you to show us His power.
Praise be to our Savior, Jesus Christ as we celebrate His resurrection. I know my Redeemer lives, and I know I am loved. May you see God in big ways in your lives.
Bulgaria in Brief
A closer look at Bulgaria.
If you are anything like us you are probably aware of the existence of Bulgaria and may know that it is located in eastern Europe, but not much else. I’ve always enjoyed studying history and wanted to take a closer look at the country we would be adopting from. I thought I might share some of what I’ve learned with you.
First you should know that Bulgaria sits to the northwest of Turkey, it has a small coastline along the Black Sea which hosts a few seaside resorts. Along with Turkey, Bulgaria shares borders with Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece. This gives you a setting to understand some of the history in the region.
Words for 2017
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017!
Every year I see my newsfeed flooded with resolutions of all kinds. And that’s a great thing. People see the new year as a clean slate- a chance to make a change for the better. I personally have never been a big resolution person. However, this year, I was listening to the radio on my way to work and WAY FM was discussing a question- If you could describe yourself in one word for 2017, what would that be?
“Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Once again we take this time to celebrate our savior’s birth. I am amazed every year to remember and focus on the fact that a baby is the symbol of hope to our lost world. In that 6 pounds of complete humanity, is also complete God.
I found myself thinking today about Mary-Mother of the Savior. The mother of my best friend, my Lord, my King. I wonder if to her, was he just her baby? Sure, she knew the magnitude his birth held. But, he was just her baby boy. The baby she labored and birthed in the hay next to cattle and horses. Did it break her heart to have to lay him in a bed of straw that the animals ate from? How often did she question her ability to mother him? As a mother, sometimes I question myself-do I spend enough time with Sadie, do I show her enough love, am I raising her as the daughter of the King? Am I doing it right? I cannot imagine how Mary felt. But I do know that even in those moments she doubted her ability to mother the Most High, God had chosen her for this role In His son’s life as a man.
We began our vigorous search for a country to adopt from about three months ago. Bulgaria was not even on our radar – Eastern Europe in general was not the region we were primarily interested in. Each country that has international adoption sets its own requirements regarding the eligibility of potential parents. The majority of the countries we were originally interested in ruled us out because their age requirement is 30 years old minimum. From there, we had to rule out any countries that have a particularly long in-country travel time- meaning some countries require parents to live in country for 6 weeks to as much as 6 months or longer. We decided this was not a good option for us.
So much to do
It’s still early in our journey, but we are quickly learning just how much there is to do. There is already a lot of paperwork and small tasks that need completed, from finding a homestudy agency to planning how we will announce our decision to family and friends. That would be a challenge in and of itself, but it just so happens this is all occurring while Mandi and I are busy putting up new siding and new windows in our home. And that makes it difficult to prepare for the homestudy.
The tasks are adding up and the expenses are beginning to accrue. As you can imagine this in turn increases our stress levels. It feels like busy work now, but we know it is all part of God’s plan. We continue to put our faith and trust in him.
Thank you to everyone for all of your support, each and every one of you are important to us.