Category Archives: Our Adoption

The Worst Years

My Worst Years

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jesusabizanda/ (changes mine)

The two years before this one have been the pits. The absolute worst. They haven’t been the worst years of my marriage – those were the seminary years – but they’ve been filled with suffering, pain, depression, and doubt.

The pattern of pain started with postpartum depression after having my second child. It lasted for several months, and while I am fulfilled as a mom, it just left me feeling empty and alone.

Then, on our road to adopting a beautiful 4-year old from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we found out his birth mom was alive and had taken him home. A mixed blessing filled a hurting heart.

For some reason, my marriage wasn’t so hot by this point. It didn’t worry me, but we needed help. After a marriage counseling intensive, we were able to heal tremendously and move forward.

Then, my mom found out she had breast cancer, and she went through a year of hell to be free of cancer.

It was in the middle of her treatment that I found it I was pregnant with Katherine. Oh boy, did this surprise make me cry out to the Lord in doubt and fear.

He didn’t mind that I yelled at him inside. He patiently listened while I ticked off the reasons I could not have another baby. He assured me that He was giving me a gift, a gift I was afraid to accept.

He intended all of this for His own glory. My story is His story, the story of Him always, always drawing me closer to Himself.

I don’t have a conclusion here, or a poignant point. It’s all been said in His holy word, after all. I’m just laying this out there because it is. It was. It may be again soon. But He doesn’t change. He’s there, holding me close. An unmoving rock of grace and mercy.

How Much Money Did We Lose in Our Adoption?

I’m a big fan of full disclosure.  In fact,  I might be honest to a fault (maybe because I fear judgment from man instead of trusting God knows me? Anyway,  that’s for another post.)

Because you are a faithful pray-er and contributor to our adoption, I want you to know: how much money did we lose when our adoption fell through?

Short answer: none of your money was lost,  and we only lost about $1200 of our own. 

Long answer: Brad and I spent about $1200 in application fees to various places before we started doing any adoption fundraising. Those monies are gone, but I don’t lose sleep over this.  If it cost that much to care for an orphan,  then we got off cheap.

When we started raising funds,  some of you were so faithful to give right away!  We had a few beautiful friends who gave checks to us personally,  and we still have your money ready to be used for the adoption God has for us. 

We had another few generous souls who insisted God convicted them to give until our boy was home,  and they donated to our Abba fund. Here’s what I love about Abba. That money is used for adoption. Always.  But we still have our account ready to be used for our adoption when the time comes. And our balance is still the same! We never had the opportunity to use any of these funds because our adoption fell through so early in the process. 

We had still more dear friends who purchased from our craft shows.  We didn’t raise a ton from these shows because of costs,  taxes,  and a theft, but it still was a great use of our time to spread awareness for the fatherless!

So there you have it.  The full money trail. While some have lost so so much in the DRC adoption crisis. … money,  security, children, family living on one continent… we have been protected from much. Please pray for those who have been called to lose much for God’s children. ..and especially for His dear ones themselves.

I see Zeka’s face and think of him every day. 

We are still pursuing adoption this year! Pray for our child of you think of it,  would you? 

Thank you for all of the prayers,  kind comments,  and support for our family.

The Adoption Post I Don’t Want to Write

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  James 1:2-3 ESV

I have not updated you in a long time, but there is an update.

You know, James didn’t say that trials are something we just need to suck up and force ourselves to be happy about it. He said facing trials is pure joy. Not even just a source of joy, pure joy.

My family has experienced a few trials this year, and I know I’m heavy with it all. Adoption is a part of that.

This news is bittersweet. It has joy.

Our adoption case was still in the original stage: we were waiting for our son Z’s personal investigation. In this phase, the lawyer works with the city to create the child’s backstory, answering the questions about where the parents are, how the child became an orphan, etc.

For many weeks, we got no news, as the adoption process in the DRC is quite stalled right now, awaiting (prayerfully) new legislation.

Then, a few weeks ago, we found out Z does have a biological parent living. The bio parent must give consent for the investigation to continue. Our agency told us that it wasn’t clear why yet, but the bio parent wouldn’t sign the consent.

From the moment I found out about the bio parent, I’ve been praying that they would want to take their son home. Not because we don’t want to adopt him, quite the contrary. Any child with their original parent is a blessing when it is healthy, and the DRC adoption landscape is so unclear right now…

My prayer has been answered. Z’s parent came and took him home.

This is a blessing to me to know that his parent wants to nurture their child. We don’t know any more of his story, and we never will. Perhaps the parent wasn’t able to care for their son, and now they can. Perhaps one of the parents died and the other made a choice that they can now overcome. Perhaps DRC orphanages are a temporary social welfare system when needed. I honestly don’t know. But I’m 100% supportive of this parent to take their child and raise them. I’m overjoyed for Z.

And I’m brokenhearted for myself and my family. This son is already in our hearts forever. I will always pray for him to know Jesus and to be well.

As I shared with a few close friends, I received the most wonderful confirmation on our place in Z’s story.

I expected people to react in this way, “Oh honey, there’s another child out there.” “I’m so sorry; why can’t you find out more?” Etc. I feared it with everything in me. But instead, the friends said, “I will continue to pray for Z.” And you don’t know how much my heart was comforted that we are not the only ones who love Z without ever having met him.

As hard as this news is to bear, we are called to stand up for the oppressed and the orphan (Psalm 82:3). And we did. It doesn’t look like we thought it would. But we did. If we hadn’t stood in that gap for Z, he may not be home yet.

Our adoption journey is not over, and our connection to Z will never change. Thank you for praying for us and continuing to pray for the son in our hearts.

We are seeking out other ways we can serve and love orphans in the DRC and elsewhere, and we will update you when we can.

We Have a Child Match! Time to Send a Stack of Papers

We’re so excited to announce that we’re matched with a child in the DRC!!! We will call him Z. We will not be posting any photos online or using his real name to ensure the integrity of our case. But if you see us in person, we’d be happy to share!

From this point:

– we send a big stack of papers over to the DRC via our agency. Pray for us to finish this week. The few we have remaining are confusing and stressful to fill out.

– an investigation is being done to get all of Z’s necessary paperwork and background checks. Then, our lawyer there will be applying for a court date.

– after we pass court (hopefully!), the US embassy will hold the case for 3-6 more months and do their own investigation.

– then I think we go get him and bring him home (we’re unsure but hoping for about a year from now)!

Upcoming Needs:

– we’re still working toward our donation goal. We have to send all of our saved funds with our dossier, which will  be very soon. To donate to our fund, you can click this link, read our story, and hit the green button on the right. Thank you!

– we are collecting items for a garage sale slated for March 29. So many friends have come through, and we’re selling some of the bigger items on craigslist.

– on the day of the sale, we need helpers! We could use about 10 people who are ready to serve. We will start around 7am and hope to close up between 1 and 3.

Thank you so much for supporting us, encouraging us, praying for us, giving money, bringing over your old couch, and just being there if we need to tell you all of the details!

Adoption Fundraising Efforts

Please continue to pray for the DRC to open up exit visas for the adopted children! Your prayers are being heard – let’s nag the Lord as he calls us to do!

We are so thankful for your continual prayers on behalf of our adoption. We are thankful that God is leading us to move forward to see our child home!

Where we are:

– The state of Texas has received our paperwork, and we are waiting for an appointment to get another set of fingerprints (why does this not make sense to me?). They will send us a very important approval called I-171H. This document will say that we are allowed to adopt internationally.

– Fundraising! Here are the fundraising paths we’re pursuing, how you can pray, and how you can give!

Making Money

One of my jobs is as a professional actress. It sounds really silly to say, but it’s true, and it’s not as glamorous as you think! Although this work is hard and sporadic, it is lucrative work. And, all of the money I earn through acting is going into our adoption savings. God already provided immensely this fall through this route, so would you pray specifically that I would find favor to earn more of this work? Especially the jobs that are high pay/low time?

Selling Stuff

This past fall, my mom and I worked non-stop to make goodies that we sold at craft shows. Some dear friends helped us in so many ways, too! We were able to raise over $2,000 in profits through these shows!

In March, our neighborhood will hold our annual Spring neighborhood garage sale. We are going to capitalize on the advertising and hold a sale at our house. We have asked friends for garage sale donations, and our friends are coming through! I’m not sure how much we will sell/earn, but we would be blessed to raise $1,500 this way!

Adoption Grants

There are a handful of organizations that specifically raise money with the purpose of giving it away to adoptive families. For our family, it makes sense to apply to two of them. Would you pray we would receive favor to have a matching grant of $1,000 (meaning we would also raise $1,000 that they match) and a free and clear grant of $3,000?

Asking for Cash

There have been so many who have already asked how, how much, and where they can give money to help. What a blessing to have dear friends and family step forward to give before we’ve even asked! We haven’t yet sent out specific support letters (although we will), but if you’re already ready to give, we have a fund where you can make a tax-deductible contribution. We have partnered with the ABBA Fund for this purpose. You will make a grant to them preferenced in our name, and when we have an adoption expense, we will ask them for a grant from the fund. Our page is here, and you can donate by clicking here.

*Also, if you work for a company that matches charitable donations, you can use the ABBA Fund to double your contribution!

The Lord has already provided in ways that have blown me away, and I am confident He will continue to do so!

How Much Do We Need to Raise?

Part of our expenses are not fixed: travel. We are estimating about $8,000 for this, but of course it varies widely and the time in-country might be longer after the exit visas open back up.

So, we estimate that we will need about $30,000 – $35,000 to cover all of our costs. We are aiming to cover $15,000 of these costs ourselves, and we are hoping to raise the rest! It’s a huge undertaking, but I feel at complete peace about it.

Another expense that we are planning for is selling our used SUV and purchasing a used van. Our SUV can’t really have three carseats and boosters safely clipped into the backseat. Although we might be able to make it work for a time, it is not the safest choice. After selling our SUV, we think we will need another $8,000 – $10,000 to purchase a used van. (We will pay cash for this–> please let me know if you’d rather donate toward our van fund.)

What’s the Timeline?

Financially, we have enough in savings to get through the step where we are matched with a child (can’t wait!) and submit our dossier to the court in the Congo. So our needs for the next couple of months appear to be covered. Beyond that, we are totally relying on the Lord!

We’re hoping for fingerprints and state approval by the end of February, although I feel impatient for this step. Once we’re matched with a child, our court date in the Congo could be as soon as 6 weeks and as long as 6 months! Wait, wait, wait is our new MO.

Overall, the closing of the exit visas has made the timing of our adoption all speculative, but I would see it as a huge blessing if we were able to hold our child for the first time in 2014!

Thank you as always for praying with us on this journey.

 

Adoption Update December 2013

Only 5 days after we excitedly announced that we are adopting from the DRC, we found out that the Congo has closed exit visas for adopted children. What this means is that, while Congolese children can still go through the entire adoption process, they cannot be removed from the country.

The Congo says that this is a temporary closure, lasting 12 months.

What does this mean for our adoption?

Right now, it means we are holding tight and praying for wisdom and discernment. Our home study is almost complete, but honestly, we’ve been dragging our feet a little to wrap it up because of this news.

How can you pray?

– Many families are finished or close to being finished with their Congo adoption but cannot bring their children home. Our heart is breaking for them. Please lift them and their children up in prayer.

– Pray for our child/children that are not yet with us. For their comfort, peace, love, care, faith, health.

– We don’t feel called away from the DRC at this time. Please pray that we would have confidence in God’s plan and be open to the Spirit’s leading.

What’s our next step?

– Once we are ready, Lord willing, we will apply to the state of TX for approval to adopt from the DRC, and then our agency can match us with a child/children!

– Fundraising. God has already been faithful to provide financially in many ways. All of these funds are going into our adoption savings. When we are proceeding a little more, we will update you with fundraising efforts and amounts.

 

Thank you for praying and partnering with us.

Announcing the Next Member of Team Pete!!!

We’re so thrilled to announce that WE’RE ADOPTING!!!

We are already in the process of adopting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, commonly called the DRC. I’ll let this video answer some of your questions:

We thank 620 Studio for their video design!

We will post soon with more updates, but for now, please celebrate and praise Jesus with us!

Support Peace in and Awareness of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Falling Whistles

This post is not sponsored. I am praying often for peace in the DRC. Please pray with me.

I randomly heard about Falling Whistles on Facebook. It was one of those, “Hey, so-and-so likes this page”, with a blurb about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The DRC is hosting the worst war of our time, with over 20 years of brutal, deadly, and somewhat hushed history. Falling Whistles was created to support Congolese natives who are working to rebuild their communities and set up local economies that have nothing to do with war.

They sell whistles.

They sell whistles as a symbol of peace – and as a talking point. If someone is wearing a whistle, you might ask them why, right? Those whistle sales support those natives who are working to strengthen economy – which can potentially give the DRC people a voice, a chance.

I knew I wanted to buy a falling whistle. But Sevenly sweetened the deal this week by selling falling whistles from their site. Any purchase you make on Sevenly goes to a different humanitarian cause each week. A few weeks ago, they were aiding malnutrition kids in the DRC (and I bought an awesome fair-trade mint tank top to support). This week, you can buy a fair-trade whistle that benefits the DRC visionaries … and will also provide medicines in Africa for 7 deadly but preventable diseases. (Whew!)

So I got mine. Now go get yours.

Thank you.