Monday, February 25, 2013

Thank you...

We just want to send out a sincere, heartfelt thankyou to everyone who donated and shared our story this past week for the Give1 Save1 campaign.  We are happy to report that you raised enough money to provide the last bit of travel expenses for us to be able to go get Imani once her visa investigation is completed.  In addition to that, you provided close to 2,000 additional dollars that will immediately be used towards Galvani's adoption!  As you may have heard, adoption is very expensive so we are humbled by your generosity and willingness to get involved to help us bring our children home.  While we fail to capture the right words to thank all of you properly, please know that you have made a huge, everlasting impact on the lives of two special children who will, because of your donations, have hope for a future that wouldn't have otherwise been possible.  God Bless!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Love Abounds....

I am so overwhelmed by the generosity of others.  I am even more overwhelmed by the generosity and blessing of our Lord!  When we were selected to be the featured family on Give 1 Save 1 I had no idea what to expect.  I'm not even talking about the financial part!  I have been truly blown away by several things:

1.) Willingness to Share - I can not believe how many people shared our Give 1 Save 1 "campaign"!  We have spent the week catching up on all the "shares" to make sure that we have everyone for the giveaway.  I am also blown away by the amount of MEN who shared!  One of my neighbors, S, is a man's man - you have to be a really good friend to see the sensitive side of him - He shared!  I almost lost it when I saw that he shared!  I want everyone to know how much every share means to me  and I thank you so much!

2.) Repeat Donators - One of the reasons we wanted to do Give 1 Save 1 was to get out of our "circle" of past donators.  Wouldn't you know it that we have so many repeat donators.  A member of our church family who is adopting from Haiti, they have supported EVERY fundraiser we have done.  I was shocked and touched when I saw them donate to our Give 1 Save 1.  Another church family, who is dealing with a serious sickness of their baby girl - donated again.  I just can't believe how many people have been repeaters!  It is truly mind blowing and most definitely humbling.  My church is amazing!  The giving nature of all of these donators is amazing!

3.) Notes of encouragement - I can't believe how many people have sent us notes of encouragement and praises for what we are doing.  Let me stress, we are not amazing, we are not to be awed, we are plain, ordinary folks who are stepping out for Jesus.  That's all!  We fight, we love, we make mistakes, we yell at the kids!  We are not awesome people without flaw!  We are two people who have been deeply impacted by James 1:27:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

I could not send Galvani to a state run orphanage.  I could not do it.  For the rest of my life I would have thought about it and what happened to him and regretted not helping him.  He's just a boy.  He DESERVES a family just as much as you or I.  I don't care about any "issues" he may have.  He is a boy who needs love and a Mom and a Dad.  That's it.  Seems pretty simple to me.

4.) Adoption Community - Can I just say WOW! WOW! WOW!?????  My friend Heather once told me the adoption community is so accepting and loving and supportive.  I knew that.....I now know I REALLY KNOW IT!  I feel like the adoption community ran their own "shock and awe" campaign on us!  You would not believe how many other adoptive parents that have given to us.  It is AMAZING!  Rob and I have decided that we are going to do our part to give back to the adoption community.  What better place to spend our money than on items to bring kids home into a forever family? Adoption friends - YOU ARE AMAZING!  Your heart and your willingness to give WHILE fundraising yourself is what inspires me!  Thank you so much!

Speaking of fundraisers!  Rob and I have decided that our Give 1 Save 1 Campaign will be our last fundraiser.  No, we do NOT have all of the money for Galvani's adoption.  BUT, I can tell you this:  What God has called us to do, HE is faithful to finish it!  We have received so many random reminders- almost daily - that I know without a doubt that God has this!  He is faithful!  Not sure how it will work out,but I know it will!!!!

Thank you for following our journey.  Thank you for your support.  Thank you for reminding us that we were created in God's image and we all have at least a piece of his goodness inside of us.

Have a blessed day!  It's Friday!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Completely humbled...

What an amazing, humbling day yesterday was.  So many people have donated and shared our story in order to help us, many of whom we don't even know!  Wow, wow, wow...I'm truly at a loss for words with the generiosity of so many.  There is one donation in particular that completely broke me down that I wanted to share with you, not because it's a large sum of money but because it is a powerful testimony of God's provision and blessing, and as an added bonus my oldest son Dillan (12) got to learn first-hand this lesson with me.

Sometime yesterday morning, while I was trying desperately to keep track of the shares on FB of our story for the giveaway we are doing, the doorbell rang.  In some houses everyone comes to the front door, but not ours...friends and family come in through the garage, knock and then come in, so the doorbell ringing was an unusual occurance.  Dillan beat me to the door and on the porch was an envelop that simply said "Give 1, Save1" on it, nothing more, and an SUV drove quickly away, no idea who it was inside.  So he brought the envelope inside, opened it and exclaimed "Dad, there's cash in here!" and I could tell that it wasn't just a couple of bills.  I asked him to read me the note that accompanied the donation because I could already feel my emotions welling up inside me and I wasn't sure I could even talk.  This is what the note said:

We are so proud of your family!!!  What an inspiration you are to all of us at Journey.  We were so moved when we heard Christy's testmony after her trip to Haiti.  You guys are amazing!  We are so inspired by people who truly hear God's voice put something on their hearts and then are courageous enough to act on it!!  What a blessing this will  be to your 3 sons here and the daughter and son you are about to join into your family!  May God continue to bless you!

And with tears streaming down my face, Dillan counted out the donation;  100, 200, 500...1000 dollars!  I couldn't take it...I broke down into a sobbing mess. 

Why do I share this with you?  I'm hesitant to even share the amount.  It's certainly not because I want to be boastful or proud, it's because I want to show that with God all things are possible.  In a moment where I was worried about how in the world are we going to raise enough money to adopt Galvani as well as Imani, God came through in a big way and showed me that we won't be able to in a worldly way, but He can and will in only ways that He can orchestrate.  And to have my son witness this powerful example with me is something that I am truly, truly thankful for...a hundred words couldn't have taught him the lesson that he learned today by someone's anonymous donation.  And to whomever you were yesterday on my front porch, we thank God for you, your heart, and pray that you receive blessings in return 10-fold. 

I'd also like to thank each and every one of you who have donated, from 1 dollar on up your donations have been adding up.  I'm excited to announce that we've raised enough money to bring Imani home and we are stepping closer towards raising enough to bring Galvani home as well!  You've helped to bring an innocent child home forever, let's continue to spread the news so that we can bring both of them home.

Thank you!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Give 1, Save 1...actually, save 2!

Ok, so by now you may have seen Christy's earlier post about the types of orphanages in Congo and wondered "what is that all about?" or you may have seen several curious facebook messages from either Christy or I, or both, about some God-sized things that have been happening in our little corner of the world lately and...well, here is one of them, and it's a big one.

We have been blessed with being this week's featured family on the website Give 1, Save 1, which started as an adoptive mother's blog and has morphed into so much more to include featuring a new adoptive family each week to share their (our) story and provide a link so that other's can contribute financially to the cause.  We feel honored and humbled to be this week's family and owe a huge debt of gratitude to Josh McClure from our church, Journey Christian Church, for filming and editing the video for us.  And, as you may have noticed on the website, this week couldn't have come at a better time (funny how God works those things out, huh?)  So without further adeu...


Please meet Galvani, a 6 yr old boy who has been living in abandoned cars on the streets ever since his parents both died and his half-brothers abandoned him on the streets. The orphanage that Imani, our 2 yr old daughter that we are also adopting, is currently at has offered him to stay there for about 2 weeks while they try to find a family that will adopt him; if not, he will then go to a state-funded orphanage that lacks running water or electricity, has about 75+ kids and only enough food for each kid to eat every 2-3 meal. The unfortunate truth is that most kids, if not adopted by the age of 3-4, will not get adopted...families simply want babies and toddlers, so Galvani's chances of getting adopted at all, yet alone in 2 weeks, are slim to none.

Other families were interested and we thought one was a "shoo in".  Unfortunately, things just didn't work out with any of the families that were interested.  We haven't been able to shake the thought of him, can't stand the thought of his plight and have felt God's little nudges towards

After prayer and council, we've decided to make him a Whitver!!!

I know this is crazy; trust us we both are tremendously scared and nervous, but at the end of the day he's just a boy who desperately needs a family who will love on him and provide a safe place for him, and we feel that this is exactly in line with what God wants us to do as Christians.  And, we know that sometimes God asks us to do things that the world will say is crazy but that should't prevent us from doing His work, either. 

Now, we know that we can't save every child, we know that and we're making additional plans to help those children as well (more on that later) but this is a unique set of circumstances that has fallen perfectly into our lap.  We have the room and we definately know boys;  our hearts ache for what this boy has already been through and we could not with a clear conscience let him go when we could have done something to save him.  We also have no idea how we are going to pay for this, either, but here is what we do know; what God has started He will finish and He will provide.

Please join us in celebrating the newest addition to our family.

Love you all,

Rob & Christy

Overwhelmed by it all

God is doing amazing things in our lives right now and is using us in ways that I never would have imagined.  This past week has been nothing short of amazing in so many ways that it's hard to even put it down into words, but there are several things, big God-sized things, on the horizon that we feel truly humbled to be apart of;  one of those we'll reveal later on tonight.  While I'm extremely excited about these things, I'm also feeling very unworthy and truly humbled by them as well.  I look at my past, the mistakes I've made and continue to make, at the sins I keep asking God for forgiveness for over and over and I wonder why He chooses people like me to do His work.  Please don't mistake this as a whoa is me, pity me post for that is not it's intention, I'm just trying to get some thoughts down and be as transparent as I can.  I'm also continually overwhelmed by the generosity of the people we know and love towards our adoption efforts when at times it doesn't make sense or just seems plain the point that at times I don't know how to respond with anything other than a thank-you because I'm truly at a loss for words but please know, we truly appreciate everything that everyone has done for us. 

I have an accountability partner, a mentor if you will, that I meet with on a weekly basis...well, we try to meet that often but some weeks are just too crazy to match up our schedules.  (as a side note to men;  if you don't have an accountability partner, you need to seriously consider getting one.)  I met him several months back on a mission trip to Honduras where I am certain that God placed us in the same room to find each other;  he had been praying for someone to mentor and I had been praying for an accountability how cool is that?  In any case, I was talking with him on Friday about all of the crazy things that have been layed out before us and how I just don't understand why God would pick me to do this kind of work;  I've never thought that I would have a bunch of children or do something in the mission field yet here I find myself.  I was relaying to him how I really don't feel worthy to be used like this and he reminded me that none of us are.  We all fall short and it's only by His grace and mercy that any of us get to be apart of His work in the kingdom.  If you look through the Bible you'll see time and time again examples of how God used not only ordinary people, but often they were those that society scoffed at;  liars, cheaters, adulterers, murderers, persecuters, etc.  So I'm encouraged that if God can use people like that to do His work, then he can surely use someone like me.  So it is my prayer that He keeps me humble,meek and patient throughout all of this and I'll strive to continually seek His guidance in all the things that we do.  I don't know where all of this will lead, but what I do know is that the devotional from Jesus Calling below says it all. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

State run "orphanages"

What does a state run orphanage look like?  Well, first, let me explain what they different types of orphanages are.

A.) Agency sponsored orphanage - An agency sponsored orphanage has the backing of an adoption agency. The adoption agency funds the orphanage to a certain degree and the kids are generally taken care of to some degree - meaning they probably eat once a day and there are probably 30 or so kids. Most of the kids will eventually be adopted - probably.  May or may not have running water or electricity.

B.) Transitional orphanage - A transitional orphanage is for kids who are being adopted.  These children will most definitely be adopted.  Usually MUCH smaller with a capacity of 15 - 20 children.  These children usually eat at least twice a day, but might even get three meals.  These children tend to be a bit healthier since the environment is smaller.  Usually has running water and electricity.

C.) State (or government) sponsored orphanage - A state run orphanage is funded by the government.  Sadly, these orphanages are given just enough money that the 75 - 85 children eat every 2 to 3 days.  Two or three people are given a very small stipend to sort of watch over the kids.  No running water, no electricity - nothing.  Just a building that is falling apart.  This is where the "older" children - over 3 - generally go because they usually will not be adopted.  People want younger children - babies and toddlers, so these
"older" children go to these orphanages until they are old enough to make it on their own.  How old do you think that is?  Wait for it.......10 to 12.  Yep, most of the time, these children leave the orphanage to go to street life because they can make it better there.

Why am I telling you this?  Because.....this information will become important over the next couple of days.

Sharing big news on Monday!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Round and Round....

Round and Round we go, where we'll stop nobody knows!!!!

These last two weeks have felt like we have been spinning uncontrollably on a merry-go-round.  Spin a little here, spin a little there, up over here, down over here and spin it all around!

On January 21, 2013, the US Embassy in Kinshasa changed the "rules" on us.  They decided that due to corruption from certain American adoption agencies and certain lawyers in the Congo, they needed to begin doing much, much, much more through investigations.  So much so they are estimating it will take an additional 3 to 6 MONTHS!!!!  The Embassy is honoring all appointments that were made previous to the changes.....but, that still doesn't help us.  I mailed our i600 (all of our Congo paperwork for the adoption - once this is "approved" our daughter is classified as our immediate family member and will be allowed entry into the United States) on January 29th.  We were a few short weeks away from making those appointments!  I was SO MAD!  LIVID, actually.  Immediately, I begin thinking, "God, what is going on here?  Are you serious?  For real? This is a joke right?  3 to 6 MONTHS???"  As I normally do, I run with all of my emotions to the worst case scenarios and I am playing them all out in my head.  If this happens, then I will do that....If that happens, then I will do this.  I also immediately begin thinking, Ok, How do I get around this?  Where is the loop hole?   How can I weasel my way around this? Think, think, think.......and then......

I had peace.  Peace that transcends all understanding - that is the only way I can describe it.  It is not going to be THAT much longer.  I just know it.  Now, no, I did not hear some thundering voice, "Christy, stop worrying, it will not be 3 to 6 extra months!"  HA!  Our lawyer and facilitator have not had one issue with any of their cases.  Not a one.  All of the visa's that the Embassy has issued has been done quickly.  They have every single document - even all the ones the US says are not required.  Immigration hasn't had any problems with any cases.  Don't get me wrong....I still sometimes ponder, what if it was 6 more months?  6 more months of the orphanage, 6 more months of her possibly having worm or parasites., 6 more months of .......fill in the blank.  I've decided, I'm going to pray her home.  I know there was nothing unethical about my case.  I have nothing to hide.  While I am heartbroken that my timeline is not being followed, in the end, these more thorough investigations are going to cut down on corruption. 

I have spoken about this before, but there are approximately 4.6 million orphans in DRC alone.....why would there need to be ANY kidnapping?  Really? Yep, really really.  One of the cases that caused these changes were allegations that a child was kidnapped and had gone through the whole process and is already in the US.  Another example is that an attorney created fraudulent paperwork and tried to use it for two different children - one already in the US.

It honestly makes me sick to think about what some of these parents in the US are going through knowing that their longed for and deeply loved child was a product of child trafficking....I can't even begin to think about what the parents in the DRc are going through.  So, if the Embassy wants a little more time to make sure my case is on the up and up, please, take it.  On the off chance that something unethical was revealed, I would much rather deal with it now then in 2 years....

This is just one thought for today....I have LOTS this week that I will be sharing!  Rob and I will have a very, very cool announcement on Monday, February 18th!  I can't wait to share!!!!