On Hold

Due to several correspondence from our adoption coordinator and ourselves, Mark and I feel God is leading us to put our adoption from Liberia on hold. We still feel led to adopt from Liberia, but when is now our question. God has made it pretty clear that it is not right now.

Now, we are praying about the direction God is leading us to take in adoption. Our hearts are turned towards adoption but we just aren’t sure where/when. Please pray for God’s wisdom to lead us to the right decision.

President Sirleaf

The Today Show interviewed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s president . She has written an autobiography called This Child will be Great. I can’t wait to read it about her life and glean more information about Liberia. Click here to read the article. She and Al Roker sing Obama’s praises but that’s no surprise coming from our media.

Adoption Update

Just a quick update on our adoption:

We got our fingerprinting done today for the immigration approval.

Liberia is continuing to work to pass the children’s bill. This bill should be passed in two to three months then our agency will have to seek accreditation which should take about 45 days.

So, while we wait we are getting things ready…training, paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. I’m praying that we get a referral soon. I would love to know who our little girl is and what she looks like!

For His Glory (Adoption)

A little more on why I decided to call my first ever real series (okay second), For His Glory. Mark and I have both felt that children are our ministry. We want our house full of them. I feel like that adopting from another country and then also adopting here, domestically, we will be answering God’s call to minister to others. Not to just give a child a home, with a bunch of siblings, etc, but to show God’s glory in his/her life and in our lives. I pray that this adoption adventure does just that. And trust me, we know it’s not going to be easy! We’re not living in a fantasy world…although I long to escape to one from time to time…then a toddler comes up and blows raspberries in my face 🙂

So, I’m sure everyone is wondering, waiting anxiously, to see what country we will be adopting from. I’ve delayed posting on that because I wanted to wait until we “really” were going to be adopting from that country by being approved by the agency.

Our sweet daughter will be coming from (drum roll please), Liberia! We are so excited that we have an opportunity to bring God glory through this adoption. Liberia is a small country in Africa on the coast near Cote d’Ivorie. They have recently ended a 14 year civil war that has torn the country apart. Historically, Liberia was founded by freed slaves from America.

Why did we choose Liberia??? Good question…I can only say it was from God. While I was pregnant with Josiah, I had a dream that we adopted two girls from Africa. I really never thought much about it, but I didn’t forget it (obviously if I’m relating it to my friends who read). Mark and I always said we would adopt from China. However, they have strict rules/regulations to adopt and we knew we’d have to meet them before we could adopt. One rule is that you both have to be 30. So, we waited. Another was an income requirement which we met this year…however, they have also added a assets/liabilities requirement that definitely did not meet. We began to realize that maybe God’s plans were different than ours (go figure). So, we (meaning mostly I) did a lot of research on different places to adopt. Lots of rules against families with more than two or three children, but some without it. We narrowed our list down to three countries. Of those three, God began to close every door except for Liberia (in regard to safety for us as well as one country that was having issues with “child buying/trafficking” and adoptions were suspended for there).

When Mark and I felt pretty certain about Liberia, we “happened” upon a PBS special about the president of Liberia and we got to see glimpses of the country, what their president’s, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, reform was doing, and getting more history about Liberia. I was impressed and we were sure! This was the direction God was leading us…

Okay, so I wrote the above post in January of 2008, thinking I would post it in a few months once we were approved by our agency, etc. However, little Miss Ceili Rain came in and surprised us and our adoption process has been slow going. Now that you know the country we will be adopting from here is what I can say about what is going on right now with the adoption process…

We received word at the end of January about President Sirleaf’s ministry suspending all adoptions in Liberia until reform could be made. The adoption laws that international adoption was working with were over 50 years old and there had been some work in trying to reform and rewrite the laws that were first meant for domestic adoption but adapted when internationals started adoptions. Keep in mind that 50 years ago, they were also operating under a different government party and this was before the 14 year civil war that ended a few years ago.

Besides the need for reform, there is a strong need for education both of the adoptive parents here in the state but also the parents and families and employees who are doing the adoptions in Liberia.

So, to do this reform and education, the president and her ministry felt that suspending adoptions would be best.

When we first heard about this, my first thought was, “Well, there goes God closing another door.” I was a little heartbroken and perplexed at how I was going to start up research to see where we need to adopt from. However, Mark and I have been learning so much about Liberia. We’ve fallen in love with the country, the people, and especially the children.

Through a couple of circumstances, we’ve felt God really calling us to stay put and wait on Him to work. He is working and we can see some of it little by little every week. We’ve been encouraged to write our congressman and ask them to write the government in Liberia to share that we are real people who are a real family who want to be able to care for a child who needs a home…

And that was written back in February. Here is the latest news:

There are two agencies who are working to end adoptions in Liberia. Both of these agencies are “goodwill” agencies for children. They feel that adoption is a form of child trafficking and that the children need to stay with their birth families.

Here’s our argument against this view: They have suffered greatly from the 14 year war. While they are working to rebuild the country, it is a slow process. I have yet to hear or see where the two agencies have looked at the best interest of the children. We have received word that one of the agencies is pushing to have the children in the orphanages…children who have been receiving at least one meal a day, clothing, shelter, and schooling…back to their birth parents who are barely, if at all, able to care for themselves. It hurts to hear this news that these agencies want to send their children, if they can find them, back to parents…leaving the children to suffer malnutrition and lack of education among other things.

Now what:
1. Nothing is set in stone. Legislation is being brought to Liberia’s Senate that would further modify the adoption laws. We’re uncertain, at this point, what the legislation says and I’ll post that as soon as possible.
2. To learn a little more about Liberia, go here. There is a great video on the sidebar about a recent mission trip to Liberia and the beautiful children there.
3. We’re writing our congressman and others are too, to encourage them to get in touch with the government in Liberia. Mainly, the goal is to make sure the Liberian government knows that there are Americans who love these children and want them to be an active member of their family, not traffick children.
4. PRAY PRAY PRAY! God is working daily…sometimes hourly in Liberia and things are constantly changing. I have to admit my pessimistic attitude is fighting with my faith to trust we are in God’s will and to wait on Him. My heart understands that but my head wants to go ahead and pursue other places for adoption.

Adoption Prayers Please

Well, it looks like we will be either on hold with our adoption or seeking God’s will in another country, or even here domestically. Please pray for us and for the country we were going to adopt from. They are currently, and have been for over a year, working on trying to put in place newer safer adoption laws that will protect the children, their birth families and the families adopting them. So far, progress has been extremely slow in getting these new laws in place and the president of the country announced last night in an address that all international adoptions would be put on hold. We are waiting to hear from our program coordinator to see if this is all true. If so, then we’ll be put on an indefinite hold since we have not turned in our dossier for the country, nor been connected with a child. I’ll post more as I know it.

Adoption Expo and a Quick Visit

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to attend an adoption expo at a church in North Carolina. On the way, we stopped and visited with some friends. They have a 2 year old and a little almost six month old. We had a great visit and the kids loved playing with the 2 year old.

The adoption expo was great. A church sponsered it through their orphan care ministry and Mark and I learned a lot. We also got to see Meridith Andrews perform/lead worship and that was wonderful too. Anyway, no major incidences with the kids. We all survived a compact hotel room and to kill time the night before the expo we let the kids take over Wal-Mart. It was too cold to do much else…and it was a very small town. Zoe, our ever social butterfly, made friends with a girl who is about her age. She had been adopted from China. Somehow I doubt adopting a child internationally is going to be a big issue for her. Liam made friends with some high schoolers who were entertaining kids with a craft to be sent on a mission trip. Ace just hung out and colored and chased Josiah around. Good times, good times.

‘R’ on the steps. He is so adorable!

Ace and Liam loved ‘R’s new Christmas present from us. I have to admit it was pretty cool…and it had an off button…big plus!

Here is ‘E’ with his mom. Sorry, C, about that expression but that was the best we had. Not sure what the face was about.

Adoption Update

Right now, everything is going to be on hold with the adoption until Ceili Rain is born. This will save us money for a home study update as well as time with other paperwork waiting on the update to be complete. So, by the end of March, our home study should be approved and we should have all our paperwork ready including our immigration paperwork as well as our country paperwork (the dossier).

Our program coordinator told us this week, however, that it may be a good wait as many people are requesting a child in the age range we are looking at. We know that God is good and are trusting him to bring us our daughter at just the right time, so keep praying ya’ll!

Also, within the next few weeks, we will be posting our financial needs for this adoption. I would love to say that we can pay for it all, but the truth is we are following God’s will and knowing He will provide the money needed. I want people to know and see what we need so they can also see how God provides and works through this whole process…so, hold on to your seats and watch Him work!

Questioning…Not Really

The adoption coordinator for the country we’ll be adopting from emailed me today. Mainly she wanted to make sure we were aware that there may be some unknown issues that will/could come up with our child. Emotional issues that an older child may have as well as some medical concerns because there just aren’t a lot of medical resources available from the country we’re adopting from.

Honestly, we know that this is not going to be easy. Not only are we going to be meeting and welcoming a new child into our home through adoption. But, we realize she will have lots of issues to deal with starting with the fact she looks different than her parents and it could add up to attachment issues, past abuse issues, medical problems inherited by parents, etc. We’ve been aware of that since we started talking about adopting way back in our college days.

Anyway, so my head started spinning and I (Satan) really started questioning if we were doing the right thing by adopting. The “what ifs…” attacked. I started to allow myself to sink and think too much about the “what ifs” (which most of my friends know I’m really good at doing).

I was keeping a friend’s baby son today while she had the lovely three hour glucose test to take and as I rocked him (after Liam woke him up pitching a fit) trying to get him back to sleep, I was praying that God show me clearly if we were heading in the direction He wanted us to go through this whole adoption. Then I remembered when we felt God calling us to start this whole process. I was sure it was from Him. He also reminded me of His Sovereign Grace. How He will bring us the child He wants for our family and show us clearly. I worry about my mistakes, but God reminded me that He doesn’t make mistakes and to just trust Him. Ughh, do you know how hard it is for controlling little me to let go? This is something God works with me on everyday. However, as He spoke to my heart, I felt such a peace about our adoption and His will. And if we are not already equipped to handle whatever our adopted child comes with (medical or physical or emotional baggage), I know God will provide what we need. We are so blessed with a good support team to begin with and can not wait to see how He will teach, lead, and use us in the life of our adopted child.

Adoption News

In our mail today, we received the training dvds and more information about the country we’ve chosen. We won’t post what country until we are actually in that program and that won’t happen until our agency has approved our home study. And I have no idea when that will be.

I’m so excited and this seems just one step closer to being real!

Receiving this information/videos, etc. means that the agency accepted our application. Now, I need to bust my chops on getting all my immigration forms completed! Agghhh!

Adoption Update

We are in the final process with our home study. Because we decided to change agencies, our new agency is requesting the home study be approved through them, so that they have the proper information from the country we’re adopting from.

So, today we sent off our placement agency application. Once approved, they’ll send our home study agency the information they need included in the home study as well as sending us training videos to watch. And, if we are approved, we’ll make the announcement as to the country we are adopting from, how we came to that decision, etc. We’ll also be posting how much money we’ll need God to provide to complete this adoption (and see if Mark can do a cute little graphic on the side so we can show how our God is Jehovah Jireh)…please continue to pray for us as we pursue this adoption…I’m getting excited as we continue to work on this and prepare to bring our child home to our crazy house.