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.