How to Support your Spouse in their Goals

How to Support your Spouse in their Goals

What happens when you get married, and you and your spouse are both goal oriented and enjoy setting goals for yourselves. And just for fun, let’s throw in kids, because let's be honest, we think accomplishing goals is challenging before kids, until you have them. Continue reading to learn how to support your spouse in their goals.

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

The Unexpected

edited-59.jpg

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We can share this picture now because we have withdrawn our application to adopt.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

Favor

IMG_3961.JPG

Picking up from the last update in November, the Ruling for the Twins did not happen on Thanksgiving Day. We did not get the answer until late February of this year, and the Judge denied our case just as the Judge for our 3 year old did.

We have spent the past couple months figuring out all of our options and just returned from our third trip to Africa. We are planning to take both cases to an appeals court. The appeals court only meets three times per year and the next meeting will be in June.

We are praying that our cases will both get accepted into the June hearing and that they will both get approved. If we cannot get into the June hearing then we will have to wait until the next hearing that will happen sometime in the fall.

The trip that we just took was our best trip yet. We had no court hearings to attend and no set agenda. We made the trip to visit our boys and to meet with our Attorney to gain a better understanding of all our options moving forward.

The Lord graciously burdened our dear friends to make the trip out with us to help gather photo and video footage of the country, orphanage and our family. We are beyond thankful for the company and support they provided.

(If you need a videographer for anything check our her website she’s awesome! Alix Bruson Films)

We were also able to stay and connect with local missionaries this time which has been a huge blessing. Throughout our time there the idea of “God’s Favor” came up multiple times in church services and conversations. God’s Favor isn’t really brought up all that often in American Christianity, and we felt like God allowed us to experience His favor during this trip.

We encountered many open doors and were able to accomplish more than we expected. Towards the end of the trip we were driving to the orphanage with a local woman who was coming to translate for us. She was asking about the birth parents of our boys and what led them to be adopted.

After sharing the story of their family she began to share her own story… She had been sick with cancer for many years and was told she would never be able to have kids. After getting married and miscarrying twice she got pregnant for a third time and pleaded with God that he would allow this pregnancy to be carried to term and let her have a healthy child or she would stop trying.

The Doctors all told her she would miscarry again. 5 months into her pregnancy her membranes ruptured and she was put on bed rest. The Doctor’s advised that she terminate the pregnancy and told her there was no way she would deliver a full term, healthy baby. She refused to terminate her pregnancy and at 10 months delivered a completely healthy (past-due) daughter named Favor.

A couple years later she was pregnant again and experiencing complications. Her previous Doctor refused to work with her because she was so stubborn and determined to have another child no matter how difficult or unlikely they thought it would be.

She said she never experienced more pain and affliction than during her pregnancies but just because it was hard and seemed impossible didn’t mean she should give up. She trusted God and endured so much pain in order to have her daughter and son.

She named her daughter Favor because she believed God’s Favor was upon her during her pregnancy and viewed her daughter has a gift from the Lord. In the days to come we were able to see Favor around the compound we were staying at, and this precious little girl gave us so much hope in the midst of our own journey to one day bring our boys home.

We believe God intended for us to be reminded of his Favor through out this trip and we definitely sensed it.



"Is Anything too Hard for the Lord?"

IMG_0226.JPG

“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.

Let the Travels Begin

We made our first trip to Africa expecting to meet all three of our boys and to have both court hearings happen. During this trip, neither court hearing happened and we only got to meet our 3 year old son.

Having spent time in Africa a few times before, I knew the Culture and way of doing things was different than here in America but Derrick and I definitely were not prepared for all the obstacles we faced during this trip.

Our first hearing didn’t happen because the Judge had a meeting that day that ran long and she decided not to see any cases afterwards. She wouldn’t reschedule during the next 10 days that we were still going to be there.

The next Judge cancelled our case because a Holiday ended up being on our hearing date and the day after was too busy for her to fit us in. So both hearings got rescheduled in October. We only got to meet the oldest boy because the twins were still in the process of being transferred from a different orphanage in another region. We were told almost everyday we were there that the twins would be moved to the orphanage with their older brother, but the move did not actually happen until the day after we left.

This trip was very eye opening for us. We definitely started out very optimistic not even thinking our hearings wouldn’t happen. Now that we have gotten a taste of the court system we see that getting hearing dates set doesn’t guarantee they will happen.

And Then There Were Six...

IMG_3958.jpg

We’ve Been Matched!

We are excited to announce we are adopting 3 brothers! The Lord definitely had different plans for us, as we started this whole process planning only to adopt 2 children! Excited and overwhelmed are two common states of mind we shift back and forth between, but we trust that the Lord has called us to this and he will equip us for it!

I have 2 stories I would love to share about how the Lord has led us to and affirmed us in making this decision.

Back in the fall of 2015 my high school youth pastor, who has also adopted, invited Derrick and I to a church service he was preaching at during Orphan Weekend. At the end of the service he had Derrick and I stand and he prayed over us and our adoption journey.

That night, I had a dream that we would adopt 3 kids, the youngest two being twin brothers. I shared my dream with Derrick and we have joked about it over the past few months doubting that could ever happen since all of our paperwork was written up and approved for 2 kids.

Our doubts came to a quick halt when we recently received an email asking if we would be interested in adopting 3 brothers, the younger two being twins. We said yes, we were interested, but nothing was official yet as we had to wait for several other factors to get figured out before it was truly an option.

During this time, I had started a 40 day prayer challenge that encourages you to circle something in prayer for 40 days. I chose to circle our Adoption, specifically getting matched. I had been praying that by the 40th day we would be matched with our kids.

We received the email asking if we were interested on the 34th day of my challenge. On the 39th day, we were told that it will most likely be an option but they didn’t want the Father to make the decision in haste and they were going to give him time to decide before signing papers to relinquish rights.

On the 40th day, I prayed the Father would have peace beyond understanding of what decision he should make regardless of whether it was to reliquinish rights or to keep them under his care. It seemed unlikely to have a decision made the day after they told us they wanted to give it time, but nothing is impossible with God and I held on to hope that we could be matched on the 40th day.

In the afternoon of day 40 I received the news that the Father went back to the attorney and insisted on signing the papers…. making us matched with our kids on the 40th day of my prayer challenge.

Currently we are in the process of updating our homestudy for three kids instead of two and waiting for re-approval from the state and US Immigration. Derrick and I need to sign paperwork and send it back to the Attorney in Africa and then it will be processed and a date will be set for Derrick and I to travel to the country and attend court.