Friday, November 30, 2007

An Update on Our Adoption (Finally....)

For all of you who have been patiently checking for the past two weeks, and found no update, I thank you for hanging with us and checking back. It has actually been a difficult stretch for us. As much as we have tried to be patient and continue to be faithful and trust God's timing in all this, it has been difficult to see family after family get the news they've been waiting for and begin to make travel plans. Don't get me wrong, deep down we are so excited for them. We know first hand the process and when you finally get to that stage, it makes it all worth it. But as we've waited, we felt like we were being passed by family after family wondering "what about us". You begin to doubt. You think the worst. And jealousy can creep in quickly and even anger or frustration if you don't snub out the lies. So a little information can go a long way towards fighting back all those negative feelings. So we got just that yesterday and today.

We received official word that Gabriella finally has her passport. 2 weeks ago we were told she would have it by the end of the week. They had applied for 13 passports and within the week had 9 of them. But of course Gabriella's wasn't one of them. They have to hand caligraphy them, and there is no reason why she didn't get hers with that group. But without the passport we couldn't progress to the next step. But we have hers now and are ready for our final step before we can travel.

That final step is birth family interviews. There are 11 children coming home in the next two weeks. We are at the top of the list after that group (mainly because we have been waiting the longest of all remaining parents at this final phase - today is the 1 year anniversary of us travelling down this road of adoption). So tenatively on the 15th or 16th of December our cases will be reviewed by Liberian Social Workers to make sure everything is in order before the US Consulate interviews the birth moms. So depending on how long it takes them to accomplish this and whether the interviews at the US Embassy go well, then we travel 2 weeks later. Now this could take a day, a couple weeks, or a month or two. The Embassy closes for 2 weeks in January sometime, so that will add to the delay if it doesn't happen before that. So the absolute best scenerio is we travel that last week of December. The most likely scenerio is we travel in February.

So we are in our final phase of waiting. We appreciate your encouragement and prayers. We look forward to the future with much anticipation. We know a much more difficult period awaits us once we get the children home. But it is our hope that a year from now that Gabriella and Josiah will be a well-adjusted part of our family and we'll be trying to remember what it was like before they came.

Monday, November 19, 2007

So Much To Be Thankful For

We have SO MUCH to be thankful for.... yet so many around the world have so little. The latest gross national income per capita data for the US is $32,476.60 compared with Liberia which is $143.66. So the average American makes as much as 266 Liberians in a year. Some of the images above are quite disturbing, and may make you feel uncomfortable. But they are reality to much of the world, and so I would encourage you this Thanksgiving holiday to take time out to give thanks for all that God has blessed you with. But also pray how God might direct you to become more involved with those less fortunate. There are many needs local and abroad that God could use you to be a blessing to others. God bless you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
Luke 12:48

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Have you considered...

In celebration of National Adoption Month have you considered how you might become involved. You might not be in a position to where you are called to adopt, but there are so many ways that you can still support or participate in the support of the orphans. Perhaps you might feel lead to start an adoption ministry at your church like we recently have at ours. Or maybe you have what it takes to be a foster parent. Perhaps it is with your financial support of our adoption or some other adoption or by supporting wonderful organizations like Acres of Hope or Compassion International which are on the front lines ministering to the world's neediest children. I would encourage you to pray and consider what blessing might await you if you do. I know first hand through our participation in foster care and Compassion, that there has been much blessing in giving to the children God has connected us with. And we hope to know first hand, very soon, the blessing of Josiah and Gabriella. The biggest hurdle is yourself.

P.S. On a side note, if you get a chance and they are showing this movie in your area, I would encourage you to see the pro-adoption movie name "Bella". Kim and I saw it this evening and really enjoyed it. Make sure to bring kleenex. Greatest line from the movie "if you want to make God laugh.... tell Him your plans".

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Have you ever been presented with the question - "I've got good news and bad news - which do you want first?" Well in this case I'm going to present the good first.

They ran out of booklets for Passports so Kimberly does not have hers yet, but they have promised she will have it by the end of the week. So that's good news and puts us one small step closer.

The final leap we need is an appointment with the Consular at the US Embassy in Liberia. Because of them further limiting adoptions to 2 per week per agency, that means 8 per month - 96 per year. Because Josiah has been ready for 2 months now, we discussed the possibility about just getting him, but with the further restriction, it doesn't make sense for us to use 2 of those limited appointments when we really only need one. That being said we do not expect to get our children home this year. We are planning to that end and we are at peace with that.

But we would really appreciate your prayers. Every family is affected by this and it is a very difficult thing. But God is bigger than all this and He will be glorified in this in some way. We are in a position to see God at work and to see how he will take care of His less fortunate children. Please pray for God to direct you on how you might get involved to advocate for better service from the US Embassy.

Our kids WILL come home and they are healthy, and for now, we must trust in God's timing for all this. Thanks again for your support.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Discouraging News out of Liberia

I'm in Texas this week on business, but Kim forwarded this e-mail from AoH this afternoon with the only statement "Feeling Hopeless"

We have just received word this morning that the US Consulate in Monrovia has chosen to further limit adoption-related appointments at the US Embassy. She will now take only one appointment (for the required biological family interview OR for the adopting family to file their I600) per day, and only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That means rather than four appointments per week, there will now only be two. To this date, every Acres of Hope-Liberia family has received their child/ren's visa from the Embassy. And, we expect that trend will continue, despite having fewer opportunities to apply for visas.

Please understand that this is out of our control and our hands are tied. However, Patty and this agency are doing all that we can to advocate for change in this policy. Upon Patty's return to the US later this month, we plan to fly to Washington, DC to see what we can do to effect change. And, in the meantime, we will be contacting our network to explain the situation and require change. We are extremely disappointed in the Consulate's decision because we have been face-to-face with mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers who are desperate to provide a better life for their children. Thousands of children in Liberia remain in need of loving, permanent homes, aside from those we are able to care for in our programs.

Acres of Hope-Liberia exists to serve God through serving the children who truly are the "least of these" in the world. We stand together with you in that commitment and we will not be daunted. We recognize that our struggle is beyond that of flesh and blood. We have an Enemy who hates the uniting of God's most precious ones with committed, loving, Christian families. Indeed, we are in battle "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12b) We are united with you and with Christ in this battle, and we will carry through our commitment before God.

Throughout our lives and the life of this organization, we have found that spiritual growth thrives on challenges. Every obstacle we face is an opportunity for personal growth and for our growth as an organization. In fact, one of our goals for Acres of Hope-Liberia is that we would be constantly improving in our ability to meet the purposes of Christ through this organization. We are encouraged that our organization, as well as the entire process of adopting from Liberia, is being sharpened, honed, and improved through these challenges.

We are more than grateful for your dedication to the nation of Liberia, particularly her children, and your commitment to Acres of Hope-Liberia. We know that the families that partner with us in adoption and humanitarian work pray for the nation and orphans of Liberia, and for this organization regularly. We cannot thank you enough for standing and battling with us in this most significant way. We feel the power of your prayers. Now is the time to band together, to encourage one another in faith and hope. In the face of this challenge, we ask you to reflect on your original desire to invest your lives in Liberia. Draw strength from that commitment and expect our God to do the marvelous and miraculous on behalf of his beloved children in Liberia.

I responded to Kim with the following e-mail

I’m praying for you and us. I don’t want you to be hopeless. This is a the perfect situation where only God can work. In spite of our situation, we must just trust in God and not lose heart.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7.

Please know that God knows our entire situation. God is protecting us and God will provide for us. So please just stand beside me, and we’ll continue to give God glory through this all, and wait to see how he works it all out.

On a side note, November 12-16 is Cry of the Orphan week on Focus on the Family. Follow along on-line or on your radio or check out their website.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Liberian Babes

That pretty much sums it up. Thanksgiving is just around the corner (and is officially celebrated today in Liberia - one of only 7 other nations that celebrate Thanksgiving) and we have much to be thankful for. But with Thanksgiving comes thoughts of Christmas and Christmas "wish lists". Our children are diligently filling theirs out. And Kim and I have a very short list - and one of the few times they are exactly the same. We feel like kids with that dreamy eyed wishing, that we'll wake up on that magical morning and find that one thing we were hoping and hoping for. We know it will be a lot of lot work - filled with sweat and tears, but also much joy and we can't think of anything else. We want so much to get to the business of loving and caring for Josiah and Gabriella, and to working out the dynamics of their special part in our family. We've been preparing for almost a year. So I'm thankful to serve a God who know's all my needs before I even speak them. I was reminded of an important verse today

Cease striving and know that I am God - Psalms 46:10

So as much as we try, as much as we wish, and much as we think the US Embassy is a road block to bringing our children home - God is ultimately God and in control of everything. Nothing in our situation is outside His control and grace. And He will deliver our children exactly at the time He appointed. And so I rest in that knowledge. He sees way beyond my limited view, and has Kim and my best interests as well as Josiah and Gabriella's in mind.

So we wait.......