Friday, December 30, 2011

One down, two to go

Our first home study visit is behind us, and it went extremely well. We didn't know what to expect going in to our meeting with our social worker. Amy, the social worker conducting our home study, was very friendly, and we had a great conversation. 

Topics primarily covered the basics - who we are, how we met, why we want to adopt, why we chose DR Congo, interests, etc., and also included a walk through of our house. It was fun to have the chance to share our journey a bit with Amy, as she will play a big part in the process, since she's responsible for writing a report that is submitted to the agency, the state of Colorado, and, if approved, to DR Congo. We are thankful for Amy and for the role she'll play in the process. 

We were able to get a little more information on the home study process from her and we are confident that we will "pass"!  She estimated the entire home study process will take roughly two months. We have the final two visits scheduled and will complete these within the next ten days. The next home study visit will include separate one-on-one interviews, as well as discussion/questionnaires about our families, histories, etc. 

The third and final visit will be to discuss parenting strategies and what we are doing to prepare to raise an internationally-adopted child.  

After this, the home study is completely out of our hands, and we wait for our agency to approve it before it's sent onto the state. We are hopeful that we'll receive an excellent report that should be formally approved by the appropriate parties by the end of February.  

I expected this part of the process to take much longer, so this timing is a pleasant surprise to me.  I'm so grateful that Jenny tackled so much of the paperwork early, enabling us to complete and submit the paperwork within a week after getting the application.  This has helped expedite the process for us.  

Amy had very good things to say about our adoption agency (she is not an employee but contracts with ALBB for the home studies of their international adoption families), and praised them for their integrity and ethics.  It is reassuring to know that we are entrusting this process to an organization that conducts its business in such a manner.  It is another endorsement to add to the list of those we've seen or heard about ALBB. We're excited for our next meeting with Amy, next Thursday!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home Study

Our first home study visit is this afternoon!  We are excited to get going on the next step in this process.  We will have the first of 3 home study visits today with the social worker assigned to our adoption.  Please pray with us that this meeting goes well, and that we're able to schedule the next two soon.  We want to knock this step out as quickly as possible!

In other news, we have been blessed by many friends, family, and unlikely sources who have so generously contributed to the financial needs of this process.  To date, we have raised just over 15% of the resources needed, so we are making progress! If you would like to support us financially in this process, you can donate via PayPal through our blog.  If you'd prefer to send a check, email us at and we'll send you our address.

We appreciate your prayers & support!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas letter

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas!  We are now in our third year of living in Colorado, and truly feel that this is "home".  Of course, we miss our family and friends in California, but we have developed a great community in our short time here.

As some of you may know, we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in June.  No couple ever dreams that infertility will be something that they will have to deal with but we have faced this heartbreaking reality.  We felt led to get off the emotional roller coaster of medical treatments and “what-ifs” and pursue adoption.  We truly believe that God has prepared our hearts to adopt.  He wants to build a family for us, just not in the way we were thinking!

After much prayer and research, we have begun the process to adopt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through a wonderful agency called A Love Beyond Borders, located here in Colorado.  We chose to pursue international adoption because we felt God calling us to focus on one of the eighteen million orphans in Africa.

We have been praying for the little boy or girl that God has for us, and we are so excited to meet him or her.  We have set up a blog that will be updated with our progress in the adoption process and we invite you to follow us on our journey:

The process is long and not without obstacles, but we are ready for the challenge.  There is much to be done, including paperwork, fingerprinting, interviews, home visits, and fundraising.  We anticipate the hardest part will be waiting – waiting for a referral, waiting for updates, and waiting to travel.  It will be hard, but so worth it to someday bring our precious child home.

How can you help?  First and foremost, please pray for us and our child in the DRC as we begin this very special journey.  The adoption process will take about a year and is a journey of faith every step of the way.

Our greatest need is financial, as our adoption costs are estimated to be $35,000.  We would ask that you and your family prayerfully consider giving financially.  This is certainly not an expense we had been expecting or knew to save for.  Our adoption expenses include home study costs, agency fees, dossier preparation and translation fees, government fees, travel expenses, and medical and orphanage fees.

We truly believe that God has led us to adopt and will provide the necessary funds needed for this adoption to be realized.  We are encouraged by the fact that He knows exactly how much we need (to the penny!) and already knows how He is going to provide it.  We are planning fundraisers, including the design of a t-shirt, and will be applying for grants once our home study is completed.  Donations can be made online through our blog or by check.  All donations will be put into a special savings account specifically for our adoption expenses.

We are so grateful for your friendship and for considering this opportunity to partner with us in bringing an orphan home.  Please call or email us with any questions you may have regarding our adoption journey.  We are more than happy to talk about this wonderful adventure.

We love you and wish you a very Merry Christmas.


Travis & Jenny

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Waiting for You...

We were able to get certified copies of our birth and marriage certificates last week when we were in California for Thanksgiving.  I'm pretty sure that the clerk at the records office was not amused by me taking pictures.


Travis and I had to get fingerprinted (and do a lot of other paperwork procedures) on our lunch breaks so please excuse the self-portraits.

Mailing our fingerprints

Mailing our home study documents

I saw an idea on another blog that I loved - taking pictures with a "Waiting for You" sign in different places with different people to document our waiting period. First up is dinner with Gianna, my best friend from high school.

We drove up to LA for some delicious Diddy Riese cookies in Westwood.  My crazy red eyes show just how good these cookies are.

This is us on campus at USC the day before the big game versus UCLA.  Tommy Trojan always gets wrapped in duct tape to protect him from the evil Bruins.  We won 50-0 in case you didn't watch and dance around the living room like Travis did.

 We had a chance to spend time with my family and cuddle with my super-cute nephew, Cole.

I am very proud that this is the only thing we did to Danny while he was sleeping.

The Ackermans (minus James as photographer)

We hope to someday turn all these pictures into a photo book for a child to chronicle all the people who were waiting with us and all the places we went wishing he/she was there. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We've been busy reading everything we can get our hands on pertaining to adoption, international adoption, parenting, parenting adopted kids, Congo and fundraising.  I think the librarians might know our names based on how many trips we've made to the library recently.

There's just so much information out there that we are hungry to learn, much more than we had anticipated even existing.  We have especially enjoyed all that we have learned about the DRC.  I am hoping that the traditional woman's hair style is not required to adopt.

We also came across a great graphic (thanks Pookie!) that shows just how large the DRC is compared to all of Western Europe. 

In a country this size, it was not surprising to learn that there are over 200 African ethnic groups.  Four tribes make up 45% of the population.  The official language is French although most citizens speak more than one language.

We have also been busy filling out paperwork to begin our home study.  There was a lot of hurrying to get the necessary documents together so that we could mail in our paperwork as quickly as possible and get the process started.  We had to get reference letters filled out, physical exams and letters from our doctors, employer verification letters, tax returns...the list goes on and on.  Here I am surrounded by one night's worth of paperwork.

We will be mailing out our paperwork tomorrow!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We are adopting from...

We have chosen to adopt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the 2nd largest country in Africa and the 2nd poorest country in the world, according to the United Nations' 2010 Human Development Report.  It is estimated that 15% of the DRC's under-18 population are orphans, which amounts to just over 5,000,000 people.  This is equal to the entire population of Scotland! 

These pictures are of children who are in orphanages due to war. Rwanda's genocide in 1994 plunged Zaire (now DRC) into the deadliest conflict since World War II. Over two million Hutus fled Rwanda into Zaire, many of them militiamen, who began to attack the Tutsis. The militia eventually toppled the government and the new president renamed the country the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The "African World War" continued for five years on Congolese land, with fighters from six countries represented, many of them child soldiers. Although a peace treaty was signed in 2003, fighting continues in the Eastern regions of the country. 

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 
he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.”     
1 Samuel 2:8 

God bless the people of this country, especially the helpless children 
that have been made orphans.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Official!

Today feels like Christmas even though we just handed over a big check.  This morning, after much prayer and a TON of research, we signed with our adoption agency, A Love Beyond Borders.  I can't tell you how happy and relieved I am that we finally made it to this point. 
I truly believe that we have completed the most difficult part of our journey - deciding what kind of adoption (domestic or international), then narrowing down the countries, and finally choosing an agency to partner with.   We are so excited to start the process of bringing our child home!