8 Things to Consider When Choosing an Adoption Agency

8 Things to Consider When Choosing an Adoption Agency

Making the decision to adopt is not a light decision. When it is time to start the process it is overwhelming to figure out how and which adoption agency to choose. Here are 8 things to consider once you’re ready to make the next step in starting your adoption journey and choosing an agency.  

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5 Obstacles to Starting an International Adoption

5 Obstacles to Starting an International Adoption

International adoptions have many steps that need to be completed. Going through the process of an International adoption that ultimately failed due to corruption, we learned many of the common obstacles that come when starting the process. Continue reading to see how to overcome these common obstacles.

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The Next Chapter in our Journey to Adopt

The Next Chapter in our Journey to Adopt

After working through an International adoption for three years that failed due to corruption, our adoption journey took an unexpected turn. Read more to hear how we learning about second chance adoption programs and how we will be bringing home our daughter soon!

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The Gate

The Gate

Butterflies fluttered through my stomach as the driver told us we were almost there. I could hardly contain my excitement and anticipation to finally meet the children I full heartedly believed would be my sons. Our driver made another turn and eventually stopped in front of a gate. He honked and waited for someone to open the gate for us to pull through. This gate was the final thing separating us from meeting them.

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End Reflection

End Reflection

Our time in Tanzania is coming to an end and it’s hard to believe. The theme of this experience as been that nothing goes as planned. It’s painful, but it’s ok because we trust it has gone as God planned and someday we will look back on this season and understand. But, for now we are deep in this season and continue to feel the weight and grief this season holds, and man is it heavy.

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First Day of School

First Day of School

I never imagined his first day of school would be in Tanzania instead of Colorado where we live. I never imagined we’d be dropping him off and walking away from an adoption that we worked three years for. There is purpose in all things, and although this was one of the hardest days it was necessary and so important in the process of reuniting a family.

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The Unexpected

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This is a family picture we planned to share when we could announce we made it through the African court system and officially have parental rights of these 3 precious boys. Instead we are sharing this picture under much different and unexpected circumstances.

We can share this picture now because we have withdrawn our application to adopt.

This likely comes as a shock to many of you… You’ve journeyed with us the past 3 years as we began this process and have experienced the highs and lows of meeting the boys, going through the court system, experiencing several setbacks and an initial denial in the courts.

You’ve supported and encouraged us as we’ve quit our jobs and given up everything to move to Africa to start raising these boys. We’ve been committed to this process and fighting for them with everything we have. So what could possibly lead us to end this process?  

Not all adoptions end the way we hope. Read an adoption story tainted by corruption, but still full of purpose and beauty. #adoption #adopt #internationaladoption #adoptionstory #adoptionprocess #adoptionjourney #corruption #corruptadoption #family #familyreunification #advocate #story #life #loss #perspective

I’ve been reading a book called “In Defense of the Fatherless: Redeeming International Adoption” by Amanda Bennett and Sarah Brinton. In talking about International adoption, Bennett explains: 

“There are times children are separated from their families due to death, diseases, abuse, or neglect. Most of the time, however, children are separated from their families due to poverty. Families in desperate situations make the decision to place a child in an orphanage or for adoption because they feel they have no other choice. Moments like these require great care to protect vulnerable children and families...”  

In the situation of these boys, they were neglected and abandoned by their mother, leaving them with their father who works full days in order to provide for the family. Even with a job he struggles to make ends meet and does not have the resources to care for 3 children as a single father.

Therefore, he had to seek out other options which led to our adoption process. However, during our time in Country, we have come to find out the Father would like the boys to remain in the country and does not want them to be adopted.

It is very common culturally here for single parents to put their children in orphanages because they are unable to provide for them. This does not make them true orphans and does not always mean the parents want to relinquish their parental rights and have their children adopted.

It is often a temporary situation as orphanages tend to be able to provide more food for the children as well as an education. 

With that said, we can in no way continue  fighting for our adoption to go through. We now need to transition to fighting for this family to be reunited, even if that can’t be done immediately. Everything in this entire process led us to this moment. Without it, we would not have decided to move here, and if we didn’t move here we would not have found out this very important information.

It is absolutely devastating for us as we have loved and considered these boys our sons. We never imagined this would be the outcome and we are just beginning to grieve and process the impact this will have on our lives. 

With our adoption ending, we do not believe our care for the boys should end. It will just look drastically different from adoption. It is very humbling to live in a foreign country and try to figure out what is best for children in a culture completely different from your own.

We naturally see things through an “American” lens which doesn’t easily transfer over to the African culture. Since we are just tapping the surface of learning the African culture, what we think would be best for the boys could really not be best.

Thankfully we have a very good relationship with the orphanage director and trust him completely. He is a local man and is helping us figure out the best next steps for the boys. We feel our job is to ask questions, but ultimately to trust his wisdom and guidance as far as what would be best for them. 

As of now, we plan to enroll the oldest in school as soon as possible. He should’ve started in January but we asked the orphanage director not to enroll him since we were moving here and planned to home school him. Schools here are currently on break, so we will be able to get him enrolled by the start of the next term in a couple weeks.

We are visiting schools so we can decide which one to enroll him in. The twins are still too young for school, but will be enrolled for January 2019. In the meantime we are working to find the best living situation for them and plan to meet with family members and the orphanage director in the near future.

Not all adoptions succeed. Read a story tainted by corruption but still beautiful. #adoption #adoptionjourney #adopt #adoptionstory #family #corruption #culturematters #internationaladoption #story #life #adoptionblog



We Have Arrived

We've made it to Africa! I don't think either of us really knew what to expect going into this transition. It has been exciting, exhausting, adventurous, uncomfortable and peaceful. So many different waves of emotion.

As our last flight landed we were relieved to be done traveling. The trip here was slightly anxiety filled as we began to feel the weight of this new journey we are embarking on. For me personally, once we got in the car, with our friend that picked us up, a deep peace came over me.

I felt like this is where we are supposed to be right now, and despite all the uncertainty ahead it feels right. Thankfully, even through the hard times, that deep peace has continued daily  for both of us as we have been adjusting to life here. 

Derrick has already mastered driving on the left side of the road and right side of the car. Thanks to the help of local missionaries we now know how to get to a couple different grocery stores and the orphanage.

We've almost unpacked all of our bags and feel like we can finally settle in more. The house we are renting feels like home and we are so thankful for that! We even have a mountain view from our patio which makes Colorado feel not so distant.

The days have been busy driving around getting things we need and spending time at the orphanage with our boys. The days go fast, yet we've had to learn to slow our pace of life so much. With all the bumpy dirt roads and the low clearance of our car it takes a lot of extra time to get around. What would be a 5 minute drive in America is a 15-20 minute drive here. 

In the days to come we plan to continue preparing our home for the boys to stay with us. We will also be traveling to another town to meet our dear friend and his family, in person, that has been teaching us Swahili via video calls for the past several months.

We have been having a harder time adjusting to the time change than we expected so we are also hoping to start sleeping better! Thank you to everyone who has been keeping us in their prayers. We've definitely felt it!

We Have a Day

I know it’s barely February but we feel our year is worth reviewing. Derrick had his last day at his job before the new year so we started 2018 off with neither of us working, no update from the courts in Africa, and planning to move by the end of January because that just seemed like the natural next step.

We’ve been planning to move to Africa since the fall of 2017, we just didn’t know when we would move. When no court date came by the end of the year we felt like we were ready to go and should just leave in January.                           

We watched ticket prices for about a week and planned to leave the last week of January. However, when it came down to actually committing and buying the tickets Derrick and I both felt unsettled.

We just quit our jobs to move to a foreign country and transition to being parents of 3…why would we be unsettled? Hopefully you can sense the sarcasm… We figured we were probably just scared and nervous because this was finally it… we would buy tickets and finally have a day…                                                       

A day: we leave comfort and familiarity for the unknown.                

A day: we leave stability for instability                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

A day: we leave community and friends for a community and friendships yet to be developed.                   

A day: pain filled to leave our beloved dog and family for the joy of being united with our children.           

A day: that feels insurmountable...                                                                                                                           

A day: ending our inability to physically care for our boys.                                                                                   

A day: we finally get to unite and live as a family of 5, hopefully forever.                                                        

A day: we arrive at the orphanage to pick up our children and never drop them back off.                             

A day: our children will never be viewed as orphans again.                                                                                 

A day: Derrick and I will be acknowledged by worldly standards as a Mom and Dad.                                     

A day: of fear and excitement.                                                                                                                                   

A day: of uncertainty and of expectancy.

                                                                What a day it will be…

As we felt the weight of “this day”, we decided to seek counsel before we bought our tickets. In doing so, we realized we never actually prayed about whether or not we should leave in January. This was the first major decision in our adoption that we had not specifically prayed about. It just seemed like the next step we should take.

So we decided not to book tickets and to spend time praying about when we should leave. We had also found out that on February 5th, our attorney in Africa will be meeting with the courts to schedule one of our hearing dates that Derrick and I will need to attend. It made sense for us to wait until after February 5th to buy tickets so we knew more of what our schedule would be within the courts.                                                                        

So what have we been doing for the entire month of January you may wonder? Praying, preparing, resting, hiking, reading, learning Swahili and engaging this life and community we have here in Colorado. We started the 40 day prayer challenge together that I did myself back in 2016 when we got matched with our boys.

We’ve been specifically circling things in prayer daily as we wait until we move. We’ve been praying for a family to rent our house while we are gone, a family to take care of our dog, a home in Africa, financial provision, favor and success through the court system, and that we would get to come home this year as a family of 5.

As of today, we can joyfully report we have a family to rent our house, families to care for our dog, and with the help of local missionaries in Africa we just found a house to live in once we get there! We are thankful and blown away by how the Lord has provided.

Despite the provision, this month has not been without its challenges and letdowns. We’ve wrestled with the temptation to believe God is failing us, but we’ve come to realize that the choices of man can let us down, but God is never failing.

"Is Anything too Hard for the Lord?"

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“Is Anything too Hard for the Lord?” - Genesis 18:14

A few days ago the ruling for our 3 year old finally took place after being postponed 3 times. The ruling is where the Judge gives the final yes or no to our application to adopt. Unfortunately this Judge denied our application.

Ever since our last trip we have been hoping and praying both Judges would say yes to our case. So as you can imagine this news is devastating.

The Ruling for the Twins case is scheduled to happen on Thanksgiving day. We are praying for a miracle, that the twins Judge will say Yes. If she says yes to the Twins than we can appeal for the 3 year old to stay with his brothers.

When we look back on this journey we are blown away by the testimony we have of God’s Power and Presence. Multiple times we have been affirmed and led to believe these 3 boys are our sons. We remember my dream, that we would adopt 3 children, the youngest being twin brothers, and we remember the 40 day prayer challenge where I asked God to allow us to be matched with our kids by the 40th day, and sure enough we were matched with these 3 boys on the 40th day.

We believe God is in control. We believe God is Mighty and Powerful. We believe God has brought us this far and that He will make a way for us to one day be united as a family. We believe God is Good. But even with believing these things our hearts still ache at this set back.

As we’ve been processing everything and anticipating the outcome of the twins ruling later this week the story of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac keeps coming to mind. When the Lord told Abraham he and Sarah would have a son they were well advanced in years and clearly past the age of childbearing.

Knowing this, Sarah laughed when she heard the Lord say that because she did not believe it was possible. But the Lord responded by saying “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” As my heart wrestles with fear, doubt and anxiety this quote keeps resurfacing. “Is Anything too hard for Lord?” And I believe without a doubt that nothing is too hard for the Lord.

He gave Sarah a son which was undeniably a miracle and I believe that he will undeniably perform a miracle again in our adoption story. We are praying the miracle will be that the twins Judge says Yes this week, but if the Lord chooses a different path to complete our adoption we believe that too will undeniably be a miracle and further strengthen our testimony of God’s Power and Goodness.

When Abraham and Sarah did have a son, Isaac, God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham took Isaac to the Mountain where the Lord said, and began to build an altar and prepare Isaac as the sacrifice. The Lord then told Abraham not to lay a hand on Isaac because Abraham showed how he feared the Lord by not withholding his only son from him.

The Lord then provided a Ram to be sacrificed instead and promised to bless Abraham for not withholding anything from the Lord. Abraham then called that Mountain “The Lord will Provide”. This story has challenged us to examine any areas of our adoption that we may be withholding from the Lord.

We’ve felt led to fully surrender the timing of our adoption to the Lord… We’ve never had control of how long or short it will take, but we’ve always hoped it would go as quickly as possible. We still hope that, but for the first time we feel fully surrendered to God’s timetable, trusting his timing truly will be what’s best for all of us.

We’ve also felt led to surrender to the idea that these 3 boys belong to the Lord and if the Lord knows it is best for them to stay in Africa than we will be ok with that too despite being heartbroken.

We ask you to join us in praying for a miracle this week. That the Judge for the Twins will say Yes. Please pray for our hearts also as we wait for the answer and as we accept whatever the answer is. We believe Nothing is too hard for the Lord and we entrust our adoption journey to Him.