Saturday, June 30, 2012

No news is...good news?

Today is an important day in the history of our family and for the country from which we're adopting!

Jenny and I celebrate 6 years of marriage today!

Happy Anniversary to my MUCH better half - thank you for 6 wonderful years.  I am so excited for what #7 has in store! I love you!

Today also marks the 52nd anniversary of DR Congo's independence from Belgium.  I "borrowed" the following from another website to give a little history:


Before we’d landed on the moon, before Dylan went electric, before MLK took center stage and shared his dream. In the very heart of Africa, a traveling beer salesman voiced his vision of an Africa united. Its people liberated from 85 years of colonial rule.


He rallied his people, and they took to the streets to demand their liberty. On June 30th, 1960, the Belgian King arrived in Congo to return the freedoms his kingdom stole. On Congo's Day of Independence, Lumumba told his people:

And then he was silenced. Six months after his inauguration, Patrice Lumumba was assassinated.

We've been a bit quiet lately because we haven't had much to report.  No new pictures or information about our little girl, no update on when the judge in DRC will review our case.  We were told this would happen by the end of June so we're praying for news to arrive any day now.

In the meantime, we've been keeping busy - we finally completed all of our required training hours - 24 hours of training ranging from bonding/attachment and medical issues internationally adopted children may face to how to hold, feed, burp, and change a newborn.  It was informative - for the most part - and now that it's over we've completed all of our requirements! Now we continue to wait...

In mid-June we participated in our community's neighborhood garage sale to raise some more money towards our costs.  

We were amazed by the number of conversations we had with people whose stories include adoption.  Some people came specifically to our house after seeing our ad on Craigslist because they wanted to support our adoption! We made some money and got rid of A LOT of stuff including much of Jenny's teacher "stuff" that she's accumulated over the last decade.  

For those considering adoption, or interested in learning more about adoption and what this journey often looks like, the recently released Adoptive Families Adoption Guide 2012 is a GREAT resource.  

You can access the guide here or - of course there's an app for that! - you can download the iPhone App here. If you don't have an iPhone, I'm sorry. Get one.

We'll post again once we receive our next update.  Thanks again for your prayers & support!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

4 months!!

Our little girl is now 4 months old!  It's hard to believe that 1/3 of her first year is already behind her. We've received a little news about the process which we'll get to, but more importantly we received this surprise late in our email last night:

We are so thankful to see that she is growing (and so is that hair!!) and that they received the care package we sent in April and are putting it to good use. I can already tell that those cheeks are going to be trouble in my attempts to discipline...darn.

Last week we received more information on the status of our case, which is now on the judge's desk in DRC.  It's all a bit unclear but as I understand it, the judge is significantly behind in his caseload and has had to focus a majority of his time dealing with some issues with the prison system and on prisoners' rights. He has committed to reviewing our case by the end of June but we're praying that he works his way through the cases quickly and ours makes it to the top of the stack much sooner than expected.  We're still trying to understand if this changes our original timetable or not.  

As we wait, we're staying busy but always thinking of - and praying for - our little girl. I never realized how many Jeeps are around our little town!!

We've been "waiting for you" at the zoo, at Coors Field (hopefully they'll play a little better by the time we get to take her to her first game!), and at Babies "R" Us as we begin to register for all of the stuff that will help us take care of the new addition to our family. 


Even Dinger is waiting for you!!
Signing up for your Babies "R" Us Registry!

Without that scanner, fathers are USELESS in this process!

And even with a scanner, registry fatigue soon sets in...

A few weeks ago, I was able to spend a few days in Prague for work. I hope to explore this beautiful city as a family someday.

Prague Castle

Even this guard is waiting!! He was trying to look at the sign while remaining perfectly still - priceless.

We've finally begun the training we're required to complete and by the end of June will have completed ~30 hours of online/classroom training on topics specific to African adoption and general adoption issues.  This includes some training on parenting, which makes me wonder why these people don't have to complete the same :-)

We expect the training will be very helpful and will prepare us for what to expect when we pick her up and bring her home.  The first weeks/months are so important both for her development and our development as a family.  We're grateful that there are so many resources available to help better prepare us for the future and to make her transition as smooth as possible.  I think it's easy to only look at this from our perspective - "we're bringing our baby home, woohoo!!!" But we need to intentionally approach this from her perspective - she'll be leaving everything she knows with two people that look far different from everyone else in her life and will be landing in a place so foreign to her, to say nothing of the health challenges that she most likely will be facing.  Thanks for praying with and for us that we will be appropriately sensitive to the realities of our pending transition.

We're also increasingly encouraged by the growing number of people in our network considering and/or pursuing adoption.  We are continually amazed at how God works as he continues to touch hearts for orphans.  Personally, it's a blessing to us how He's provided a community of people that are on this journey with us and who really can "feel our pain" as we continue to wait and rely on God for patience and faith in His perfect timing and plan.  

For those that are considering/pursuing adoption, there are so many resources available that a little time online will be enough to overwhelm you with options, questions, etc. A couple books that I have found to be especially helpful are:

You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Families Guide by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley - From Adoptive Families magazine, the country’s leading resource on adoption, this warm, authoritative book is full of practical, realistic advice from leading attorneys, doctors, social workers, and psychologists, as well as honest, intimate stories from real parents and children. You Can Adopt answers every question–even the ones you’re afraid to ask:

• When should I shift from fertility treatment to adoption?
• How do I talk to my spouse about adoption?
• Can we find a healthy baby?
• Do I need an attorney? An adoption agency?
• Can the birth mother take the baby back?
• How much will this really cost? How long will it take?
• Aren’t all adopted children unhappy?
• Can I love a child who isn’t "mine”?
• How can I ease the rest of my family into this decision?

Complete with checklists and worksheets, You Can Adopt will help make your dreams of family come true.

Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell D. Moore - A stirring call to Christian families and churches to be a people who care for orphans, not just in word, but in deed. The gospel of Jesus Christ-the good news that through Jesus we have been adopted as sons and daughters into God's family-means that Christians ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans in North America and around the world.

Russell D. Moore does not shy away from this call in Adopted for Life, a popular-level, practical manifesto for Christians to adopt children and to help equip other Christian families to do the same. He shows that adoption is not just about couples who want children-or who want more children. It is about an entire culture within evangelicalism, a culture that sees adoption as part of the Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.

Moore, who adopted two boys from Russia and has spoken widely on the subject, writes for couples considering adoption, families who have adopted children, and pastors who wish to encourage adoption.

We hope that these resources are helpful and we'll post others as we continue to learn and prepare.  

Shameless plug time - The last great resource for raising awareness/support for adoption is a shirt that you can buy here!!