Sunday, March 24, 2013

To our family...

I was talking with a friend the other day and he was saying, like many others have been, about how lucky and fortunate our two adoptive children are to be joining our family, and while I really appreciate the sentiment, it got me to thinking...what is "family?"

If you ask Webster's Dictionary, it'll tell you that family is a household, a group of individuals living under one roof and under one head, a group of persons having a common ancestory or a social unit consisting of one or two parents and their children.  True, all of us have people in our lives that we've grown to love, trust and support over the years because we're related to them through our parents in some fashion or another and we traditionally know these people to be family.  But I think family is much more than that.

These four walls in our house do not define what we consider our family to be.  Having the same ancestors with someone does not encompass who we consider to be in our family.  Our family includes fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, but it also includes you people we consider to be vitally important to our daily lives;  you people who are close friends, who are neighbors, who are fellow church members, who are mentors and who are confidants.  You people who are seperated from us by miles of pavement and some, even, who we've never met in person yet talk to on a daily basis through common interests.  You have been woven into the fabric of our lives by a loving and compassionate God who has placed you in our paths to become integral parts of our journey.  We value you far more than you possibly even realize and consider you just as a part of our family as our loved ones who were born into it.

My friend was right, our two adoptive children have no idea the family they are coming home to;  they really don't know what "family" is.  They don't know what the word brother or sister truly means because they come from a place where poverty, famine, sickness and war tears families apart. They end up on the streets struggling to survive and only the lucky ones end up in an orphanage where hopefully a loving family wants them.  It's knowing these harsh realities that we realize that it's not these four walls or this last name that these children are so blessed to be coming home to, but it's you and us together that will truly be the blessing. 

So, we thank you for loving us and being a part of our lives, and we look forward to introducing our newest additions to you so that you can love of them like you've so adequately loved on us. 

God Bless...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So many things!

So many things have happened since our last post that it will probably take a couple of posts to catch everything up! 

First of all can I just say - STUCK!  If you have not seen or heard about this movie, please go see it when it comes to your town or buy it online here:

This is an awesome look into international adoption - corruption, red tape and everything in between. It was truly an awesome movie!  We went opening night and it was great.  They had a question and answer session afterwards that was really neat as well.  They had the "producer" - the man whose idea this was, they had a local adoptive parent couple that had adopted 9 children and then they had the President of the National Council for Adoption.  It was wonderful.  I did get a chance to speak with the president of the National Council for Adoption afterwards and he was really nice.  I spoke to him about the Embassy changes and the new process in Congo and he was really helpful! (Can't share on a public blog. Sorry!)

Sometimes it is hard to understand what it is like being in this "waiting" phase of adoption.  Some liken it to being "paper pregnant".  Anyway you look at it the fact remains - THIS IS SO HARD!  And I hate waiting!  Although, I understand now, that part of the reason for our additional wait time was to open our hearts to a second child.  If we had been ready to travel when we were "supposed" to be, then we never would have accepted "G"'s referral and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he was intended to be our son.

I can't begin to think that I know all of God's plan for my life - or the life of my family.  He is introducing His plan according to His will - not mine.  Last year, I had this vision (not a sparkly picture or anything) "planted" in my mind.  I told it to Rob and he was like, "Oh yeah? Hmmmm".  It seemed that every avenue I went down to even BEGIN pursuing this idea was a dead end.  I went and met with one of our pastors - he said, "Christy, I don't know how you are making your life work right now.  You need to wait.  This would not be something you should do right this second."  Needless to say, I was a disappointed.  A couple of weeks later, Rob and I met with another guy from our church who has alot of christian connections since I figured it was time to change jobs.  Do you know what he said?  "Christy, you guys have alot going on right now and I'm not sure you should be changing jobs."  OMG!  Needless to say, I got the message LOUD and CLEAR.

Every so often, I have been thinking about my idea or "vision", but it never felt right.  Rob was not totally on board either.  To him this was just one of my crazy ideas.........

Then, in February, I was in church and we were having a sermon on being "BOLD".  I felt it.  NOW, it is time.  GO!  

And I went!  And it is exciting!  And Rob is ON FIRE and just as passionate about it as I am!  We are so excited!!!  Details will be coming soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Our cups runneth over...

Yesterday was truly a remarkable day.  It started a little before 6 a.m. with a phone call...from Africa!  And on the other end of the phone we heard the sweetest little voice say "Bonjour Momma."  Oh My Goodness!  Let me explain...

One of the directors of the adoption "agency" that we are using is over in DRC right now with two other adoptive mothers on a visit to deliver supplies and food that all of us adoptive parents collected to the orphanages our kids are coming from.  Yesterday they were in our orphanage and had the opportunity to get some of the older kids on the phone for a quick call back here to the states.  WOW!  What a blessing it was to be able to hear their sweet voices, even if only for a short 30 seconds, but it was so encouraging and uplifting to hear them.  What a way to start the day...

Then, later in the day the pictures started rolling in on the "agency's" FB page of their visit from today, and man did they take a lot of pics.  It was incredible to see new pics of our kiddos, especially the pics of Galvani and Imani together;  they've been told that the same family is adopting them both and that they'll be brother and sister, and by the pics, it looks as though they are getting used to the idea.  Not only were there pics of our kids, but also pics of everyone else's kids as well.  It was so much fun, all of us sitting in front of our computers, hitting refresh looking for the latest pic that was uploaded and then seeing the flood of comments pour in, fawning over each child...even if they weren't your own.  I'm truly amazed by how supportive the adoption community is of it's own;  these people have become so important to us and we haven't even met any of them...yet. 

If you've noticed, I keep referring to our agency in quotation marks...why?  Our agency, DRCAS (Democratic Repuplic of Congo Adoption Services), is not your typical agency.  When I think of an agency, I think of a business with offices and overheard and tons of staff;  not true with DRCAS.  DRCAS started off with two women, mothers who saw the plight of orphans and decided to do something about it.  These women has since dedicated their lives to advocating for these children and working tirelessly to provide an ethical adoption program for those of us who want to provide a forever home to these children.  And here's the real kicker, their desire is for this agency to be built with the families who have used their services, to the point that there are committees to help guide the path of the agency that are entirely made up of adoptive parents.  You won't find that in any other about accountability and transparency.  What a blessing it is to be a part of this group of people who's only desire is to help the fatherless.

God is good...all the time...especially yesterday. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

People are watching...

Today is a horrible day, one of those days where you just want to hop back in bed and sleep through it.  Today i'm fighting with my wife (over something I did), my kids aren't listening and appear to hate me, things are breaking at work, stress is at an all-time high and I'm completely frustrated...a regular soup-sandwich over here.  (Okay, i'll explain:  a soup sandwich is something that is completely can't make a sandwhich out of's a Navy term, sorry)  In fact, I'm supposed to meet with my mentor for our weekly get together but I don't feel like talking about anything so I think I'm going to cancel on him. 

That was 2 hours ago...not a great way to start the day...

Well, I didn't cancel on him;  I went because I figured something good had to come out of it...the only place I had to go was up, so I might as well give it a shot...and God came through in a tremendous way.  After meeting my mentor, Shaun, at Panera he asks if it's ok that a mutual friend of ours, Bruce, meets us here as well...of course, brother Bruce is always welcome.  In fact, I first met Shaun and Bruce on a missions trip I went on late last year to Honduras;  I was so impacted by them and how, as grown men, they were so open about their faith and love for Jesus.  That's not something that I was accustomed to, or was comfortable with either, but I knew then that I had to get time with men like these two.  So we're sitting there in Panera, drinking our coffee, and talking about what's going on with the adoptions and I'm sharing some ideas that Christy and I have for a non-profit helping to supplement orphanages around the world.  We're talking about how great God its, about how it's amazing when we look back on where we were and where we are now and where God is taking us, and a stranger walks up to our table.  He proceeds to tell us that he was sitting at the table next to us and was evesdropping on our conversation;  I'm thinking he's not happy with all of this God-talk and is going to ask us to tone it down...he is, by the way, one of the employees there.  Instead, he proceeds to tell us that he's an ordained minister from a local community church and it was so encouraging to him to hear us talking openly and freely about our faith and that he just wanted to come over and say thanx!


Here I am, trying to get time with guys who share their faith openly and now I'm part of a group of men that has impacted someone else in that very same way.  That, right there, was a turning point in my day and a huge sign for me that these things that I'm struggling with, the things that are getting me down today, are just the enemy attacking me.  He didn't realize it, but him coming to our table and saying thanx for encouraging him in turn provided a huge lift of encouragement to me and taught me yet another lesson that I thought I'd already learned:  People are watching you, especially as Christians;  how you act and what you say will impact them for good, or for bad. 

So, I'm changing the first sentence of this post.  Today is going to be a great day...

God Bless!