Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crunch time

It's been a while since I've posted, so I have quite a few random thoughts that I'd like to share, so bear with me.  First, this is a lot harder than we anticipated it would be, infinitely harder.  We had an idea that we would be waiting and that it would be quite expensive and that this would add to our family, but there are other things that have come up that we could not have seen or prepared for. 

Stress:  Everyone experiences stress in some fashion or another, for a variety of reasons and deal with it in different ways...some healthy, some not so much.  Right now, we're experiencing probably the most stress that we've ever collectively dealt with, and to be honest with you, we're barely treading water dealing with it.  There are the obvious factors;  the waiting, the fundraising, the waiting, the preperation, the waiting...but there are other factors that I don't think you can fully appreciate until you've been through this process yourself.  As you know, we have been and are very open about our faith and our reliance on God to see us through this process.  What we didn't anticipate were the trials and tests that we would go through once we said "yes."  We are do'ers, and in being so like to push full-steam ahead once we've made a decision to do something.  What we've found with adoption is that once you've made the decision, there's not much you can really do afterward to change the speed at which things happen.  Sure, you can get all of your paperwork done as quickly as possible, get your physical done and the appointments made, but after that there really isn't anything for you to do...but wait.  Even further, once you have your refferal and you have laid eyes on your child, the waiting gets worse.  Now there is a real person you are waiting for and who is waiting for you to come and rescue them and there is very little you can do to speed it up. 
Other trials we didn't anticipate happened and are happening here at home.  Our family is a very busy family, with both adults working, kids in school and sports, both of us very active in the church and a social life sprinkled in there somewhere. We've quickly realized that we simply had too much on our plate and have begun to step away from several activities on our calendar in preperation for our little girl's arrival.  Also, Christy has been unhappy and underappreciated for quite some time at work, and through this process it's become apparant to her that her job is not "her job" meaning this is not what she's supposed to be doing.  It's also become apparant that our family is not healthy right now, not in way of someone being sick, but in regards to mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Christy working so much and not being able to be here at home where she's needed;  she works more than I do and gets paid less, which isn't fair and is quite burdensome. Also,we have 3 young boys here at home who need their momma before and after school, me who is failing daily in the morning routine of getting the kids and myself  together to make it to the bus, and a little girl who, if something doesn't change, is going to have to be put into day-care a short 6-8 weeks after arriving to America with a new family...and she doesn't even speak English.  So, we're looking at options for Christy to work from home because, honestly, it takes two incomes to maintain our current lifestyle.  Now, we love our house, our neighborhood and the schools, but if this doesn't work out then,at this point, all options are on the table because our family has to come first.  Many prayers are appreciated in this regard. 

Fundraising:  I absolutely loath the thought of having to ask people for help financially, so much so that we've exhausted all monies we can extract from my 401k and life insurance, but the truth of the matter is it wasn't enough and we can't afford to pony up the approximately $20,000 it takes to adopt from Congo.  So, we've swallowed our pride and asked for help in the way of donations, a matching-grant and several fundraisers and everyone has come through in a huge way, so much so that we're close to having enough to be able to travel and go get her.  Unfortunately, even with all of the donations and the grant, we're still $2,000 short of where we need to be.  We've already asked everyone we know for help, and we don't want to be those people that keep asking and keep asking, so we're praying for His provision in this regard, even to the point of taking a personal loan to cover the rest.  I hate doing that, but I'd rather go that route then her having to spend one more minute in the orphanage in Congo than necessarry.  Things happen over there, we'll just leave it at that.  More prayers needed.

Travel:  How do you plan to leave your 3 young children here in the states while you travel halfway across the world to a third-world country where you'll be out of cell phone range and be gone for several weeks?  This has proven to be the latest in a series of tests that we hadn't anticipated.  Yes, we knew that we would have to go to Congo to get Imani, but it's all so abstract at that time that you simply say "We'll work it out."  Well, we are now in crunch time and we are having to work it out!  Fortunately, we have been blessed with two things:  Dillan's soccer buddy's mom has offered for Dillan to stay with them as long as needed while we are traveling, and the other is Christy's mom, my mother-in-law.  She is still staying with us and will be while we are traveling and can, therefore, watch James and Ben...with the help of some of our wonderful neighbors.  Trust me when I say this that I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER would have planned on my MIL living with us for over a year but, as it turns out, God saw the big picture where we did not and had a better plan.  So we're rolling with it and trying to let go of controlling it.  Keep the prayers coming...

We were warned that there would be times where we would be tested and my how that has proven to be true.  I firmly believe that we, in following what we believe to be God's will for our family, are being attacked by the enemy in our areas of greatest weakness so as to try and destroy us from within and stop us from doing His will.  I've learned that this is when the devil fights the hardest, when you are doing God's will, and that punk has been fighting us every step of the way.  But, I've also learned that the reason the devil fights so hard is that he knows that God has something wonderful planned for us on the other side.  So, we're excited as to what that is, we're excited to be so close to going and getting our little girl, and we're excited to see what the future holds for our family. 
Thanx again for all of the support and prayers, they both have been sorely needed and appreciated. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

Baby Girl,

Merry Christmas! 

I have no idea how much you know right now.  Do you know you have a mom and dad in America who can not wait to come to Africa?  Do you know you have three brothers who are dying to wrap their arms around you?  You can not possibly know how much you are loved right now in this one moment.  You are in Africa and we are here in America and yet, those THOUSANDS of miles can not separate you from our love.  I mean, we are SO IN LOVE with you.  Your beautiful smile, your beautiful eyes and your sweet face.  Last month you met a new friend of mine, Heidi, and she took some video of you - we finally got to see a little of your sweet personality.  You are going to love our family - with your energy you will fit right in.

I want you to know - you are OURS!  And FOREVER we will be YOURS!  I know we haven't met yet, but, sweet girl, you have a forever family.  I know your life is hard right now, and it probably will be for the next couple months or years as you adjust to your new mom and dad, but, I promise you, you were loved before we ever laid eyes on you.  You are in our hearts and we are aching to be with you!  It is my hope and my fervent prayer, that 1 month from today, your dad and I will be on a plane to Africa to welcome you to our family.  1 month!  30 days. A very short time from now.  Many people have contributed to our journey to bring you home and I can not wait for you to meet them.

Your dad is painting you a beautiful room.  Your nanny is going to teach me how to sew curtains.  Your brothers are already fighting about where you will sit at the dinner table.  Your brother Benjamin keeps trying to get me to buy you a purse - he said you need one.  Dillan, your oldest brother, wants me to get on a plane right now to bring you home.  I think you and he will have a special bond.  He has already told me that any boy who breaks your heart will have to answer to him!  James, your second oldest brother, wants to show you how to play football and all of his cool TV shows.

We will be there soon.  I know it.  Just a couple more steps....



Friday, December 14, 2012

She's official!

I know that it has been some time since we have updated the blog, and our sincerest apologies.  Things have been moving at an incredible pace lately;  we have finally received both the adoption and birth certificate judgements!  In addition, the 30 day wait period known as CONA has expired, which means she is officially a Whitver!

I do have to digress a bit and tell on Christy, but only becaus she hasn't done it yet and because there is such a cool lesson in this for her.  There are several families that are in roughly the same point in the process as we are and apparantly we were all submitted to court at the end of October.  Well, the other families received word a couple of weeks ago that they all passed court on November 3rd but we didn't get our judgement...bummer.   Major bummer!  Apparantly there was some sort of issue with our paperwork but we didn't know what it was and we weren't getting any communication back from the orphanage director as to why.  A week went by, 10 days and counting and the frustration was mounting...especially for Christy.  I kept telling her that everything will work out according to God's timing, but she didn't like hearing that...not one bit!  Well, at the end of November, right after Thanksgiving in fact, we got word that we actually did pass court along with the other families, and not only did we get our judgement, but by that time the 30 day wait period was almost over!  The process, in reality, wasn't delayed even one day, yet I firmly believe that God used this to show Christy again that she has to put her whole faith in Him and His plan, because His plan is really the best one.  We laugh about it now, but she was amused while in the middle of it all!

So, now she is officially a Whitver...she is officially OUR DAUGHTER!  That seems almost surreal typing and saying that, but it's true.  Even crazier is saying that we now have 4 kids!  It has to be His design because it surely wasn't ours, but we are uber excited and have started making plans for when we get to go over and get her.  On that note, we are currently waiting for her official birth certificate to be issued and her Congolese passport;  once we have both of those things, we can travel.  We are tentatively planning on leaving for Congo on January 25th, arriving the 27th.  From our understanding, as soon as you get there they bring your child to you and she will stay in the hotel with us while the final paperwork is being finished (travel visa, exit letter, etc.)  --And this is the best part:  January 27th is Christy's birthday!  Tell me that wouldn't be the best birthday present ever?!  I'm praying that God's timing matches up with this little scenario...

So, we are beginning to paint her room;  it's going to be a sun yellow and I'm going to paint flowers and butterflies on the walls for her as well...hopefully it'll turn out good.  (yes, i'm kinda artsy in that way...if you've ever seen my son's room you know why)  We also have her bedding stuff, which was donated by our awesome neighbors from their girls, so there's another buck saved. 

Anyway, that's all for now...we promise to keep this updated more regularly.  Thanx for keeping up with us.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Africa?

I know some people wonder why Congo?  I thought I would try to explain why Congo.

Estimates of the orphan crisis range from 147 million to 153 million orphans in the world.  That is at least 1/3 more than the amount of people who turned out for the election of the President of the United States two week ago. 

There are approximately 4.6 million orphans in the DRC alone.  Here is a picture to give you some perspective:

Every single person in the "Greater Boston" area would be an orphan.  EVERYONE!  Not just all the children in that area, but everyone.  Can you begin to see how many children that is?  Children.  They have no one to protect them, no one to provide for them, no home, no mother, no father, not enough food, and no LOVE.  Can you imagine never experiencing love?  That is the life of these children.  Here are some photos of a friend of mine who was in Congo picking up her children in October:

Yes, that is the Congo River.

Can you see the person in the tent?

That's a village. 
Friends, this is not Sally Strouthers from those 80's commercials.  The is not, "eat all your food because there are starving children in Africa!" I think we, as Americans, have been desensitized to the conditions of orphans in Africa and around the world.
I have a friend there, right now.  She is using the same facilitator that we are.  The facilitator brought her son to her on Friday.  That night, the little boy had an absolute meltdown at dinner time.  My friend just thought that they would share with him off of their plates.  The little screamed and screamed.  He ended up getting so mad that he crawled under the bed and ate his chicken leg to the bone.  When  I say to the bone, I mean fat and grisle and ALL!  They are now giving him his own plate but he still has a melt down at meal times, then he eats until he throws up.  He drinks water until he throws up.  This 4 year old little boy doesn't know that he is now is the arms of his forever family and won't have to worry about his next meal because it will be provided for.
The orphan crisis is serious.  I honestly feel like I am on a rescue mission to get my daughter.  Rob and I feel like one of our children is across the world and we have to get to her before it is too late.  If you believe in Christ, you should be on a rescue mission as well because the Bible states over and over what is written so eloquently in James 1:27:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
It is not every one's calling to adopt, we fully understand that.  Please think about what it is that you CAN do.  Sponsor a child?  Make a one time donation?  Help another family adopt?  There is something you can do, I know it - pray about it, and you will know too!
Rob and I were awarded a matching grant through Hand in Hand Christian Adoption.  If you would like to support us, now is the time!  We have until November 30th for Hand in Hand to receive any donations on our behalf.  They will then MATCH it dollar for dollar.  Please help if you can!  We appreciate it!
If you want to make a donation, please make your check payable to Hand in Hand Christian Adoption and mail to:
Hand in Hand Christian Adoption
Rob and Christy Whitver
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS  66030
Thank you for your support!

Friday, November 9, 2012


I have tried a couple of times to post as there has been A LOT of things going on that I wanted to share, but I just can’t seem to get everything out in a reasonable amount of words.  Seriously, I have tried like 7 times…..and it is extremely long! 

So, for now, I will just sum it up and say that GOD IS GREAT and that He has brought a new realization to me of his faithfulness and his love for me!
Our silent auction was FABULOUS!  I cannot believe that it came together in less than 3 weeks.  We received donations galore and so many people shared on their Facebook pages and I have been overwhelmed by its success.  It is by far our most successful fundraiser so far!  We made over $1,500 in 4 days!  Can you believe that?  Amazing!

Adoption Update – We were submitted to court on October 25th.  This is an exciting and very important step!  We have also received our birth certificate judgment.  This is a judgment that will order the social welfare to give the birth certificate.  It will make it easier to get our names on the birth certificate once the judge rules in favor of the adoption.  This will also take some time off of the “wait” after the adoption judgment, so that is very cool!  We are hoping to have judgment this month, but it may not happen until December.  We are preparing to file in country, which would put us in Africa for 3 weeks +/-; I’m just not sure that I can wait for 2 to 3 months here in the US while things are settled.  We are praying very diligently over this, so any prayer that you would be willing to offer, we would be most grateful.

We are still a little short in the money department and we are trying to decide what to do – T-shirts or something similar.  I have seen so many creative t-shirts so I’m not sure we will be able to compete with them, but I’m willing to try it at some point!

Until later, I appreciate you taking the time read our blog and for your caring in our adoption process!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pictures, Puzzle and Tag Sale Updates

Wow, wow, wow.  That is my day today.  Woke up at 3am, checked phone for any adoption updates - none.  Fell back asleep.  Alarm went off at 5am, checked phone - UPDATES!!!! 

Ok, I'm going to push the "pause" button here for just a minute.  We had our yard sale, "tag sale", this past Saturday.  It was great.  I learned more about receiving love from others and the true meaning of "community" more than anything.  Let me just say again, I have been blown away by the love and support of friends and church family.  People I don't know personally donated stuff.  It was just so amazing to be apart of all this community.  It was such a blessing to be part of it.  We made a little over $400 at the yard sale.  Technically, we aren't done because we have alot of donated furniture we are going to put on Craig's List, and some other things we are going to put on Ebay.  Not bad, not bad at all!  We get to change our little fundraiser ticker to include that!  YEAH!  It's really nice too see that number go up.  Thank you to everyone who donated.  We sincerely appreciate your kindness and generosity.

Moving on to the updates - I was totally surprised by the new pictures of Imani in my mailbox this morning.  She is much smaller than I realized.  Much!  She is skinny.  Not scary skinny, but pretty skinny.  Our facilitator told us we should have our consent to adopt from the commune this week.  Praise the Lord!  They have this saying - This is Africa - meaning, plans are optional.  It is very relaxed over there.  When some tells you "this week" you need to be prepared for sometime this month, hopefully. UGH!  So annoying.  To me, this week is TODAY.  Trying to relax here.

One of my new facebook friends is in the DRC right now picking up her kids.  We had sent a couple little things to Imani through my friend.  She was finally able to go today.  Although, we thought she wouldn't, then she about a roller coaster - she was also supposed to go last week.  Up, down, up, down.....I was glued to my computer ALL afternoon.  At 3pm I was like, ok, it is 8pm there, she HAS to be back by now because she has been getting her kids to bed about 8....then, the pictures started coming.  OH MY GOODNESS!  It was so great, I was crying tears of happiness.  Kinds weird because I am not very "touchy feely" when it comes to others, but to see all these pictures of these kids who are living together, waiting on their families to come and get was amazing that my new friend was able to go and give us all a little glimpse.  I try to describe it as when you are pregnant and "if I could just see his/her face one time, then I will be content" feeling....all the while knowing that you will NEVER be content with just one peek!  I can't wait to get on the plane to Africa and to bring her home - to her family.  Soon.  Very soon.

Puzzle - Ok, we are making some serious progress on this puzzle.  How many pieces do you think we have sold?  Take a guess.  Remember, this is a 1,000 piece puzzle.  HUGE.  Like, out of our mind huge!  It took us 6 weeks to put this thing together.  We would work and work and work, then take a break.  Then work and work and work.  Take a break.  Then, FINALLY, we got close and then we had a fire within to get it done!  Dillan, James and Ben put in the last three pieces.  It was great!  Here is the finished product:

To date, we have sold 394!  Whoo Hoo!  We are making some serious progress in a short amount of time!  So exciting!  Thank you all!  I still have some names to fill in above, so if you don't see yours, then don't worry, i have not forgotten!

It's late and I am really tired.  Today was a GREAT day, but I am drained from the ups and downs!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moving Along!

The last three weeks have been a little hectic with Rob going to Honduras and life in general.  I was SO excited for school to be back in, that I forgot the “cons” of school.  Work has been especially taxing on me lately and I have continually wondered about this.  This issue has been in my prayers constantly.  Not sure how to fix it yet, because like most two income families, it is probably impossible to go back to one.  Still wrestling with what God wants me to do and best to glorify him through this.

We do have some forward motion in our adoption.  While we are still waiting on the “consent to adopt” that comes from the commune (think “mayor’s” office), we have been steadily working on lots of paperwork.  Today, we mailed our Dossier to DRC.  Exciting, yet scary!  That little package has originals of all the papers that Rob and I have – birth certificates, marriage certificate, home study, passport copies….those sorts of things.  So, prayerfully, we have sent it to Congo and it should arrive on Monday.  Isn’t that neat?  I’m sending a package to AFRICA today, Thursday, and it will arrive on Monday! 

This past week we also had our official fingerprints taken at the USCIS office in Norfolk.  This process has really been quite annoying, but now, our finger prints are done!  Crossing another “to-do” off the list!  Feels good.  I spoke to our adoption officer today as well as she said she will have our fingerprint results today or tomorrow and will be able to finish our case then.  LOVE her!  She is super kind and does what she says she is going to do.

I also want to share what is going on in our fundraising world.  We are deathly afraid of being seen as “those people” who constantly asking for “your support”, so we have tried to pick and choose our fundraising choices very wisely.  Rob and I have battled back and forth about when to do a yard sale.  He wanted to do it in the spring and I wanted to do it now (fall).  While he was in Honduras I received a community letter that reminded me about the community yard sale on October 13th.  In my neighborhood, we are not allowed to have a private yard sale at our house.  I don’t know why exactly….so, I’ll just keep moving.  So, anyway, I decided that we would have a yard sale and since that moment, I have truly overwhelmed by the kindness of others.  I was so worried that this was not going to do well, but I can truly say that this yard sale, whether successful financially or not, is being used by God to remind me of the kindness of others and my church family.  People I do not even know are giving me donations.  I have donations that have taken up ¾ of my garage!  It is truly amazing!  I just look at everything and I’m like, “How am I going to even begin to sort through this stuff, much less tag and sell it all!”.  My neighbor Jenn has been a God-send.  I think she knows that I was completely overwhelmed when she came over last night because she just started tagging and organizing!  Whew!  So helpful!  My pastor’s wife is making a poster for us that says all of the proceeds will go to our adoption fund to bring home our little girl.  I am hoping that when they see that, they won’t try to haggle as much – but, to be fair, I am pricing things to sell.  I’m not trying to be unrealistic here – I want to give others a reasonable price for this stuff because it was ALL DONATED! 

I can’t help but to feel blessed by God in the middle of this.  Don’t get me wrong, I am seriously stressed here, but when I think about all these people who have donated items and money and time to us, I realize that this is the love of God shown to me through others. 

I can’t wait to share the results of the Yard Sale with you!  I also can’t wait to share an update on the Puzzle!  I was going to do that earlier this week, but the pictures I took did not come out, so I will wait and post a Puzzle update and Yard Sale update all at one time – probably Sunday after I have had time to recuperate!

Much love,


Friday, September 21, 2012

Honduras, Here I Come...

In roughly 5 and a half hours I leave on my first mission trip, this one being to Honduras and needless to say, the timing of this trip couldn't be worse (just received a referal, kids in school, Christy works full time, crazy busy at work, etc.)...or could it?  The fact is that if I don't go on this trip now, I may not get the chance in quite some time.  As some of you may know, Christy has already been on a mission trip to Brazil;  in fact it's what God used to nudge us towards adoption in the first place.  If you haven't heard or read the back story, you need to check out Christy's blog from before and during her trip, it's fabulous ( and really gives you the full backstory of how and why we are where we are. 
The short of it is that God really changed her on that trip and he set a fire inside her heart for the orphans of the world.  When she got back, it was evident to me that she was now light-years ahead of me spiritually and I just didn't get it because I hadn't experienced what she had.  It also was evident to me how vital it was going to be for me to go on a mission trip as well.  "They" say, and by they I mean everyone who's already been on one, that a mission trip will change your life;  it certainly has changed Christy, so I'm excited to see what God has in store for me in Honduras.  Even though we have a referal for a beautiful little girl that I'm already madly in love with, there is still something in my heart holding me back to take the next step, to help the other orphans in the world, too. prayer has been for God to break my heart for what breaks His and on this trip that He would open my eyes like He has Christy's.  I know this is a dangerous prayer and that you should be careful for what you ask for, but I've seen the work he's done in Christy and it makes my heart leap for joy seeing it in her...and I want the same thing. 
So, Hondoruras, here I come...and more importantly, my Lord, here I am...break me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

100% in

The other day I was at a customer's of mine, showing off the picture of our little girl to anyone who would look.  One of the techs looked at me and said "You love her, don't you."  This wasn't a question, it was a statement.  She could see it in my eyes;  Yes, I love this little girl.  I love this little girl even though I haven't seen her in person, even though I've never heard her utter one word, even though I haven't held her in my arms.  That has caught me off guard;  I didn't expect to feel this way.  I didn't expect to have these emotions about someone I've never met, but the more that I think about it, the more I relate it to loving your unborn child.  Even though you can only see a picture, you still love them as if they were here with you. 
In 3 days I leave for Hondorus on a mission trip where I had expected God open my heart towards the orphans so that I may "get it" but I think He may have already done that.  I don't know what it is that He has planned for me on this trip, but I'm excited to experience it.
And as for the heart following in line with the mind, it has...and I'm 100% in.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Simply Amazing!

There are no words to describe last week.  NONE!  

I'm doing this Beth Moore Bible Study on my own called "Believing God".  It is SO AWESOME!  Last week started off horrible - I called USCIS on Monday and inquired about receipt of my biometric fees.  I was told, "There is nothing you can do right now, you have to be patient."  What I said in my mind was, "LADY - THIS IS PATIENT!  You should see me when I'm not!"  But, I refrained - which is no small wonder in itself!  So, my day ended with me being really mad at myself and me feeling defeated.  I woke up Tuesday morning and during my study was directed to this verse:

Isaiah 40: 28-31:

Do you not know?   Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  HE will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  HE gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  THEY will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (emphasis mine)

The first two sentences have stuck with me - Do you not know?  Have you not heard? - I could feel it deep in my spirit - God was reminding me - Remember who I am, I got this.  I won't get tired, even as you young people do.  You can't understand how great I am, but your hope is in me, so I'm going to increase your strength anyway.  

I ended my prayer time with a new found strength!  I felt so at peace it was amazing!  I KNEW in every ounce of my being that something GREAT was going to happen this day.  And - IT DID!  I called to check to see if the money order had been cashed and it had!  Praise God!  One more little step forward.  This may seem like such an insignificant thing, but when you have been waiting 2 weeks, knowing everything is being held up by this, it starts to get annoying.  This was my little piece of hope for the day.  

On Thursday morning, I received an e-mail back from the lockbox confirming my payment.  Praise GOD!  I was then able to forward it to the USCIS officer who had graciously agreed to help me, even though we had not been assigned an officer.  During the day, I saw a post that there were 5 girls available to be matched - 18 months through 7.  I knew we were just barely eligible, but not really at the "preferred" stage quite yet.  They like for you to have your approval from immigration first.  I was bit disappointed, but, told myself that our time was coming.  Rob and I had a very busy evening - soccer practice and back to school night.  While sitting at my kindergartner's desk, I get a facebook message - "What is your age range?"  My heart immediately jumped into my throat.  I learned that there were 4 girls not matched - 2ish, 4ish, 5ish and 7ish.    Oh my, a 2 year old!  WOW!  We spoke for awhile over facebook messenger.  She would not have pictures or medicals until the next morning.  How on earth was I supposed to sleep?

The crazy thing is that I had a Stella and Dot jewelry show scheduled for Friday night.  IT was my prayer back in August when I decided to do this show, that we would have a referral by then, so I could put her picture up for everyone to see during the show.

I wake up at 3:45am Friday morning - READY TO GO.  There was no falling back to sleep for me.  I did my usual morning things.  The pictures did not come in overnight, so there was morn waiting.  Mid morning, we received the picture of an adorable 2 year old little girl.  She was sad, but in her sadness, you could see the most beautiful eyes.  

We accepted her referral by 2pm that day!  Rob went to Walmart and printed her picture out for my jewelry show.  

God worked a miracle for me.  There is NO WAY that everything that happened last week could have been a coincidence.  NO WAY!  Last Monday, I never dreamed that by Friday morning we would have a referral and  see the face of the little girl who will be our daughter.

PRAISE GOD!  We are so excited!  

Now on to the uncomfortable part......


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

God Provides!

Well, Rob and I got into a little "disagreement" last night.  This followed the one from last week. 

When we first began this journey, our dear friends, warned us that things would happen. 

Last week's "disagreement" was a big one.  I was mad - he was mad - we both went to bed mad.  I got up the next morning I got up to do my bible study and to pray and God reminded me of the warning we had received.  Apparently, our friends began to argue (about nothing really) but to the point where they began to doubt their decision to bring another child into their home.  We didn't get that far, but there was a general feeling of - annoyance - in our relationship that seemed to dig it's feet in and get comfortable.  I woke Rob up the next morning and we discussed this.  We decided that we would not even discuss the previous night because we both knew we went normal to over the top in less than 6.2 seconds!  Anyway, we moved past that last week. 


It happened again last night.  We recognized it much quicker this time, but we argued about waiting and praying.  I asked him to pray because I was getting anxious about the waiting again.  I did really well this past week, but my facebook "group" friends all got updates and some announced referrals and the anxiety of it all came creeping back.  Last night I whined to Rob that I was really good this past week and that I needed a "bone" or "nugget" or something to keep me going.  Something to let me know that we were still moving in the right direction.

I got up this morning and prayed.  I prayed that I would have the strength to wait well.  This is a very difficult thing for me.  I don't like waiting.  I can't stand it.  DO-ers are not waiter-ers.  We just aren't!

Well, God provided a little nugget for me!  Our documents are being translated into French as we speak!  Praise God!  Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank  you!!!  I can work with this.  At least something is happening.  This is all wonderful because once we get our referral (anytime now, really) our documents will be translated and ready to go!  We won't have to "wait" on this.

YEAH!  A little "something" to tide me over! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Really? Seriously?

I have already admitted that I am not a patient person.  It does not come naturally to me.  I was raised that "No" = "Find another way to YES!".  So, I have employed this strategy throughout my life - from childhood until...well, even now. 

I just don't understand why it takes 65 days for USCIS to approve paperwork.  Did you know that it says on USCIS that adoption applications are given priority treatment?  I wanted to post a link to it so you could read it for yourself, but, of course, I can't find it.

I am really annoyed that it takes so long for this process.  To top it all off, I did not mail in the fees for the fingerprinting.  UGH!  Major goof.  So annoyed with myself over that one. 

So, last week Rob called USCIS to inquire about "expediting" our application.  He said the lady he spoke with was extremely nice and told him to call back this week.  He calls today - yes, they received our application in Missouri, it has NOT been assigned a case worker, and NO you may not send in the fingerprinting fee before you receive the request for it.  I think the person he spoke with on the phone last week was totally different than the one he spoke with today. 

65 days is a LONG time to sit and do NOTHING!  65 days is a long time to wait before we are able to get a referral.  I just don't have the patience for this kind of stuff.  Just do it.  Look at the paperwork, are we at least somewhat normal? Yes, OK, schedule the fingerprints.  Yes, I will be going early on the off chance that we will be able to get them done early.  Why all the unnecesary waiting? 

Oh, and this will not stop me from calling the FBI and begging them hurry the fingerprints along.  We are good law abiding citizens, maybe a couple speeding tickets here and there, we love our kids and we are able to provide a loving family for another child. 

I have NO SHAME in asking - we have a daughter that is waiting for us in the Congo.  She doesn't know it yet, but we do.  She is wanted and I will fight for her until I get her home!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

This thing is tough...

We're making progress on the puzzle that we're using for the Be A Piece of the Puzzle fundraiser, but man, this thing is tough.  Neither one of us have ever put together a 1000 piece puzzle and it's proving more difficult than we had anticipated, but also more rewarding.  The other night during our small group that we host one of the couples "bought" a puzzle piece for each member of their family, then picked 5 random pieces and signed the back of them.  That was a really special moment for us, for in that moment we went from just assembling a puzzle to assembling a personal gift to our daughter.  It has also rejuvinated us in a renewed effort to finish it.  Here is how we are progressing...

Monday, August 13, 2012


Finally!  I finally feel like some sort of progress is being made!  Last night I received a draft of the Home Study.  It was written beautifully!  Our draft is now being reviewed by our adoption consultant and I will pick up the certified copy tomorrow!  EXCITING! 

What is even more exciting is the fact that I will pick it up, put it with our I600a and go straight to Fed Ex!  Then I will race home, scan it, and upload to DropBox so our translator can access it to begin translating our Dossier! 

I am so excited I can barely contain myself! 

I cannot begin to describe the ways God has been working over the last week.  I can’t get into everything here, but trust me when I say – HE IS WORKING!  Here is just ONE example:

I live in a neighborhood where we all try to get to know each other – become a sort of “community” in the true sense of the word.  I created an “event” on Facebook to sort of broadcast our “Be a Piece of the Puzzle” fundraiser.  One of my neighbors down the street signed up to begin selling Stella & Dot jewelry.  She offered to donate ALL of her commission from my jewelry show to our adoption!  This totally came out of now where.  How could I say no to this?  So, I will be hosting a Stella & Dot trunk show on Friday, September 14th!  So excited!  I am also so very thankful and grateful that she would offer to do this.  How special is she?  If you love Stella & Dot, or even if you don't, my show is already "live" and you can access it here:

I know that in the adoption world waiting is the norm, but I am so excited that our home study is done, our documents are in translation and on Thursday morning, USCIS will receive our I600a via Fed Ex that I am almost bursting out of my skin!  These very important steps will bring us closer to meeting the daughter God has for our family!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting......

Well, everything is turned in, the social worker has everything she needs for our Home Study.  Now, the only thing to do is *wait* for her to write it.  Secretly, I was hoping it would be done today so that we could send it off to immigration, but, that expectation was pretty unrealistic.

I really hate to wait.  I am a "do"er.  That's just me, I get things done.  Lot's of times I don't understand what the hold up is.  I just want to know what's going on, when it will be complete and then what will happen next.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently so! 

I "subscribe" to Joyce Meyer's facebook thing and this popped up the other day:

Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you're waiting.

Oh boy!  Well, I'm pretty much a failure because I don't wait well.  I usually whine and complain about what is taking so long!  Sounds like I haven't grown up and and I well into my 30's.  There are lots of moving parts in adoption and I am finally understanding why it takes awhile.

So, I have decided I will wait better.  THANKFULLY, we are leaving for vacation on Saturday so my mind will be focused elsewhere.  We will still have access to e-mail, so our process won't slow down, but not sitting at my desk all day will certainly help give my mind a break! 

Hopefully, by the time we get back we will be ready to send the home study to immigration for approval!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Talk about putting yourself out there...

Wow...definately out of our comfort zone.  We just sent our support letter via either hand delivered letter or a Facebook event to over 200 people!  That's a whole lot of "Hey, here we are and we need help."  Then again, there shouldn't be any shame in asking for help with this sort of undertaking....but....that's a lot of people!  Just feeling a little overwhelmed about the whole thing.  Thanx to all of you who are following us on this journey and supporting us through prayer and otherwise;  it truly makes a huge difference. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I am so frustrated - not with any part of the adoption process - I am frustrated with MYSELF!

We had our first meeting with our Social Worker on Friday, July 6.  She did our home visit less than a week later and we just had our last visit with her on Friday, July 27.  Everything, and I mean everything, has happened at lightning speed - just as I have prayed it would.  All of our background checks, our CPS checks, our reference letters - everything - is back.  All that is left if for the Social Worker to write the actual home study.

You are probably wondering why I would be frustrated.  I'm frustrated with myself because of my doubt.  At several points over the last couple of weeks I have doubted that things would pull through.  Here are a couple of examples:

1. My mother's physical - because my mother is living with us during the home study, she is require to get a physical.  Her doctor of 12 years moved practices and the new doctor that took her place decided she would not do it - even though my mother was just seen last month.  So, she went to Patient First (doc in a box) where we were assured she would be able to get her physical completed.  They said no - she has TO MUCH medical history for them to sign off on er physical - unless they had her full medical record.  Our last chance was the endocrinologist.  Finally, someone agreed to do her physical!  I received it in the mail yesterday and I was overcome with a sense of relief!  Then, I heard the small voice, "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?"  

2. FBI Background & CPS checks - Our Social Worker said our checks would be done within 3 weeks.  I belong to this facebook group where people talk about everything to go with their adoptions in the Congo.  Some people had already been waiting 8 WEEKS (!!) for theirs.  I almost flipped out!  8 weeks is unacceptable.  I called the FBI -ours were not even received yet.  I was like, "Why would the Social Worker says 3 weeks when the FBI says between  -12 weeks?"  I was so upset!  I can't wait that long!  Well, on Friday, our FBI checks had already come in!  They use a expedited service through the state, so it was quick.  The, I heard it again, "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Those are just two examples from the last two weeks.  I could give countless more...yet, I grow frustrated with myself.  Why?  Why do I doubt?  30 days ago EXACTLY I was 150% sure that it was God's plan for our lives to adopt a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo, so why would I doubt that God would see this through?

Every time God has conquered what I thought was impossible.  Yet, at the first sign that something might not go as planned I doubt the validity of this whole process. 

I'm really embarrassed.  I sit in church and sing praise to my God, I talk to others about how GREAT my God is, I tout a "personal relationship", I trust him for my eternity - yet, still when the going gets tough - I doubt! UGH!      

I tell you - it is very humbling to hear, "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?"  It reminds me that even though I am not what I once was, I am still not the person God is trying to make me.

The next time I begin to doubt, I will say to myself, "As you have believed, it will be done"!  There is not one single thing that the God who raised my Saviour from the dead can not fix!  I praise God for forgiveness an for his renewed grace every single day!  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We are certifiably crazy...

There are days, one of them being today, where I think that we are certifiably crazy for adding a fourth child to our household.  Three boys, ages 11, 9 and 5, already keep us super busy and in a constant state of flux, with practices and school functions sending us this way and that.  Is adding a fourth, and a little girl at that, really such a wise choice?  Are we really going to be able to manage 4 children's schedules, financially support 4 children, have enough love for 4 children? 
Here is where I find myself at the end of my abilities and well short of where I need to be to be a good father to 4 kids...and this is where I must fully rely on God to carry me the rest of the way.  The really cool thing is that when I allow myself and my fears to get out of the way, when I allow Him to show me the finish line, I'm filled with an incredible sense of joy and excitement for what is to come.  I've always heard of other people allowing God to work through them, and this must be what that feels like because I feel completely inadequate yet very blessed to be used like this (and all I've really done is said "Yes").  Prayers are needed and appreciated...

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is going to cost what?!

I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that adoption was going to cost money, but I had no idea how much.  It's interesting to me that I'm more apprehensive about how we are going to come up with the money to pay for the adoption than I am about the impact of adding a fourth child to our family (and if you've read the other posts, you know that I was pretty worried about that as well).  On a quick note, it's simply amazing to me how excited I am about this process now and how my heart has truly fallen in line with my head, just as my friend had predicted.  Each day I get a little more excited about finally getting to find out who she is, to have a face and a name to think and pray about...pretty awesome stuff!  But like I said, the financial portion of this process is a pretty daunting obstacle to get over, and my suspicion is that this is probably the greatest hurdle for any prospective adoptive parents.  I will say that we are determined not to let this burden discourage us, though, from what we know we've been called to do.  I'm not sure how, but I'm confident that He will see us through this as well.  I'm also confident that in this process, we are going to be presented with circumstances that are way outside of our comfort zones, that we are going to be stretched to do things soley on faith in order for this to work.  Here is a big one for me, asking for help...financially.  I simply don't like asking for money, never have.  In fact, Christy and I have prided ourselves in getting to where we are without having to ask for a lot of help from parents and/or friends.  But the truth of the matter is this, no matter how much we think that we've done this on our own, we haven't.  EVERYTHING we have has come from the blessings of God;  we didn't earn it and it's only by His grace that we are where we are today.  So, I am going to put my pride away and humbly ask that we do indeed need help to bring our daughter home.  If you feel inclined, please see the Suppot tab on this page to see where you can be a part of this wonderful journey.  Thank you in advance!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Progress

Day by Day we are making progress.  Today, we have accomplished the remainder of our physicals.  All three boys and Rob are done and their forms are filled out.  All of them have had their TB tests done and read.  Tonight, Rob and I will finish our autobiographies and a questionnaire about parenting.  We have scheduled our last meeting with the social worker for next Friday morning at 9 am.  After that, we will play the waiting game.  I think that 2 of our 3 references have been received, so we are waiting on 1 more.  We will also be waiting for our FBI checks and our CPS checks.  I'm sure those will arrive while we are on vacation the first week in August.

I have already filled out the I 600a, so that is ready to go as soon as we get our Home Study approved and certified.  Thankfully, Rob's work is very flexible, so hopefully he will be able to get it certified pretty quickly once it is complete. 

So, we begin the waiting process!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We have been "warned"

Over the last two weeks we have been warned many times that Satan will try to interfere with our journey, so we have been expecting this. We have been told to expect him to test our relationship with each other (and our children), our finances and most importantly our faith. What came as a shock to me was how quickly the attacks started. We have made amazing progress in our home study. We have already had two of the three meetings, all of our background checks are in the works, we are putting the finishing touches on our autobiographies and medicals will be complete this week. Exciting, right? Satan has been trying to make progress this week too:

1. I have anxiety - I am a worrier. I always have been. Because I worry, it also means that I love to plan things out and be in "control". I went to my doctor for my physical on Thursday and had her fill out the form. Of course she wrote something on the form that I whole heartedly disagreed with and I told her so. This was not the wording that I had planned on her using. I was seriously angry and began to worry. Satan immediately jumped at this opportunity and led me down an anxious path - and, unfortunately, I followed. Ugghhh, for 6 hours I worried about the wording on my physical form. Rob kept telling me, "Everything is fine. God's got this. He's not going to lead us all the way here and then slam the door in our face." I showed the Social Worker our form and she said, "This isn't a problem. Why were you worried?" UGGHHH! I heard the Holy Spirit say, "See. I got this. You of little faith...."

2. The same day, I was getting dinner ready. We love General Tso's Chicken in our house, so I had bought some to have for dinner tonight because it was quick and easy. I bought two of the boxes because, as I mentioned before, we really like General Tso's so I had to make sure we had enough. I start the rice in the rice cooker and I'm looking in the freezer for the chicken. I found one box and I'm looking for the second. I can't find it anywhere. I'm starting to get frustrated because I know it was there! I just bought it a couple of days ago. Rob comes up and is like, "Oh, we ate it for lunch." What? You ate the General Tso's for lunch? We don't eat that for lunch. Your joking right? Yes, we got into a FIGHT over General Tso's chicken!!!!! How CRAZY is that? Today, I am laughing about it, but on Thursday, it was sooooo not funny. Rob quickly realized that this was Satan attacking, so he brought it to my attention and we moved on. All over General Tso's????

And finally....

3. Our renter called us to tell us they had broken up and she was moving out. So, we had to pull the lease out and go over the terms with them. Of course, it is not pretty to break a lease, but at the same time, we probably wouldn't hold them to the full terms if we got it rented pretty quickly. Anyway, we have no idea what they will do. Will they pay all the money or will they end up not paying? My guy tells me that they will do the right thing and not leave us hanging. They are nice people and we are nice people - not that it means much because nice people do bad things some times, but I know that Satan is attacking us to make us doubt the adoption. This is the one area where I feel completely at peace about. Rob is the one that is feeling the pressure.

Your prayers are sincerely appreciated right now! Pray for perseverance and an unwavering faith. Thanks!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Home Visit

We had our Home visit last night. It went great. I really like our social worker - she is very sweet and patient. My boys were drilling her with questions and telling stories about the most random things. She opened the door though....she asked if they had any questions! I'm not sure they asked her ANYTHING about the adoption. Here are a couple of the best questions I remember from last night: 1. Is Timbuktu in Mali and is Mali close to Congo? 2. Are you going to bring our new baby? 3. Can I check on your phone for a world map? 4. Why do have to be here? 5. Want to see our baby turtle? You know, all pretty decent questions. The answer is, yes, Timbuktu is in Mali and Mali is close to Congo. No, your Mommy and Daddy will bring the baby home. And yes, she was interested in the baby turtle. She was great! Handled them like a pro! I also liked that our Social Worker was very supportive of our decision to pursue an independent adoption instead of going through an agency. It was nice to have her supportive of that. Everything is turned in except for our autobiographies, Rob's physical and all the boys' physicals. They all have appointments next week, so I will turn it all in and then hopefully we can get our last appointment scheduled and done before we leave for vacation on August 4. Our CPS forms are already in the works, Rob hand delivered those on Monday. Our FBI checks are being mailed today and we were told it takes approximately 3 weeks. So.....remaining things in order to get our Home Study "done": 1. 3 positive references 2. Rob's physical 3. All 3 boys' physicals 4. CPS checks completed 5. FBI clearance recieved 6. Last meeting with Social Worker We've gotten alot accomplished in less than a week! I know this pace will not continue, but it is nice.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Man vs. Woman

To say that I was hesitant about adopting would be an understatement.  We had been "done" with kids for 5 years now, we were just starting to enjoy the prospect of no daycare costs, making plans with the money we would be saving, etc.  We were settling in to our comfortable suburban lifestyle, why would we want to upset the apple cart?  I mean, we had thrown around the idea of one day maybe adopting a little girl, but that day was always far far away, so why now?   Because God had other plans...

We mentioned in Our Story about a class that we took through our church called Experiencing God.  Through this class, our eyes and hearts were opened to who God really is and how we are to interact with Him.  One huge takeaway from this class for us was that instead of asking God "what is your plan for my life?" you should actually be asking "where can I join God in where He is already working around me?"  This was a huge idealogical shift for us, and we began to open ourselves up and make ourselves available to where we saw God working in our midst.  Towards the end of this class, Christy went on a missions trip with the church to Brazil where she experienced first-hand the poverty and strife that children of a third-world country live with.  I already knew before she even came back that she was going to be fired up to do something in regards to missions;  we had already been feeling like we were being nudged towards missionary work.  What I didn't anticipate is that God would completely break her heart for the children, and the wheels that would be set in motion because of that trip. 

I've titled this post Man vs. Woman because a large part of my hesitation was because I wasn't experiencing the emotion that Christy was when faced with the prospect of actually adopting.  She was already feeling it, 100%, and yet I was doubting the idea, rationalizing reasons not to, and trying to work out the logistics in my head of adding another child to our family.  After praying about it, having many conversations with Christy about her experiences and seeing the passion in her eyes for this, I knew intellectually that this was the right decision...yet my heart just wasn't feeling it, and this concerned me.  Did this mean that it wasn't the right thing?  That this wasn't God's will for us?  Many questions and doubts lingered in my head.  An old friend of mine, whom I knew had just recently adopted a little boy from China with his wife, popped into my head and I knew I needed to talk to him.  We spoke on a Friday afternoon and made plans to have breakfast on the following Tuesday morning.  By the time that I got home, our wives had spoken and changed our plans to meet the very next morning for coffee...someone definately wanted us to meet and soon!  That night, we had some very violent thunderstorms that knocked out power to both of our homes and many more, but we still found a way to meet....someone else desperately didn't want us to meet, and now I understand why.  During our conversation, all of my questions where answered, all of my fears were calmed, and he told me that for a man, it's usually not a decision of the heart, that it's usually an intellectual decision and your heart follows afterward.  This happened for him and for many other men that have adopted that he's spoken to.  And to be honest, once I looked back at the decision to have our own children, it was the same way as well.  What a relief!  God was definately speaking through him to me...

Since then I've had this peace about our decision to adopt, and I can even feel my heart getting excited about the prospect.  I think that my quick change in heart has even suprised Christy a little bit, but in reality, all I really needed was to know that she and I would take different paths to the same conclusion;  we have been blessed with so much, and when face with the reality that every child deserves a mom and a dad, we cannot turn a blind eye to where God is leading us. 

Last night we went over to that couple's house for dinner and played with their new son.  Watching their family interact with him and seeing the joy on his face that he now had a home, and more importantly a mom and a dad that loved him, made me yearn for the day when we could do the same for another.  We are at the beginning of our journey, one that is sure to be long and difficult, but we're excitedly waiting with outstretched arms for whatever child God blesses us with...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And it begins....

Well, we met with our Social Worker for the first time yesterday.  Turns out she lives in our subdivision - although about a mile away.  We recognized her from the pool and swim team.  She was super sweet!  She put us at ease and we were able to ask questions about the process and get a better feel for what is going to happen.

I have already started filling out the home study application.  We are going to fax that in on Monday and she will send out our references first thing.  We scheduled our home visit for this coming Thursday!  We have a couple of things to do this weekend, which works out becasue it is going to be 104 today and 102 tomorrow!  Way too hot to do anything outside!  We are hoping to get our Home Study done in 6 weeks.

Our boys are very excited.  Ben, our youngest, said, "Are we getting the sister on Thursday?"  Oh, if it were only that easy!

I have lots of fundraiser ideas going on in my head and it is time to sort some of them out and decide what we will do.  I have already signed up for a Just Love Coffee account:

This site gives us $5 or more for everything sold through this link.  And the coffee is great!