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Adoption

This video circulated through my Facebook & Twitter newsfeeds twice last month. It is powerful, to be sure.  I watched it a handful of times back to back. I cried.  I shared it.

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(For reference, Sam was 8lbs when he was BORN, and at one and a half years old, weighs 25lbs.)

“The pure joy that will come from a rescue and a ransom of a child’s life is probably the most satisfying thing you can imagine. [George Dennehy]“

The video made me overwhelmingly THANKFUL for how many personal friends I have that are smack dab in the middle of adoptions – right now.  I’m not sure how I got to be friends with such amazing people – I really lucked out in that department.

*My friend, Brandy is bringing home Nora from the DR Congo.  Nora is only 4 days older than Brandy’s biological daughter, Grace, so, God willing, this time next month, Brandy will have “twins.”

*My friend, Susan, also known as “The Greatest Pediatric Physical Therapist Ever” (she taught Madeline to sit, stand, and walk), is waiting to bring home Yulia, a 14-year-old from Ukraine.  After a disappointing delay in the adoption process, she felt it was because God was asking more.  She is now waiting to bring home not one, but three teenagers from the Ukraine.

*My friend, Christie, is bringing home a baby girl due in April.  She found out about the opportunity three weeks ago.  With huge faith and courage she opened her heart and home and said “yes” to the process.  She was chosen by the birth mother this week.  Radical obedience.

*My friend Joe and his family are purposefully seeking to adopt a baby with special needs.  Joe and his wife are not just anti-abortion; they are pro-life.  They (like all adoptive families) are paying a huge sum of money to live out their conviction that every life has value, and to show mothers of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies that there are families willing to raise and love children of all levels of ability.  They already have three young biological children, one of whom has special needs.

Seriously, how is it that I’ve come to know such beautiful, compassionate, generous people?

I’ve not been quiet about how my heart beats for adoption.  Now is not the time for my family; I say this with prayer and peace.  But because it’s a real conviction and passion, I can’t just push the pause button on action.  I try every day not to settle with being “touched,” but to allow myself to be moved.

“Self-deception slithers in when we mistake appreciation for application or being touched with being changed.” [Beth Moore]

If you are certain that adoption is not for your family, or if you’re like me, and it’s just not for your family now, you can still be moved by and for the orphans of the world.  Here are the stories of my four friends, interview style; I’m hoping that they move you like they’ve moved me.

Brandy and Noah

Who are you adopting or seeking to adopt?

Lord-willing, we are adopting lovely Nora Divine from the DR Congo. Although she is now 16 months old, we still refer to her as our “baby” Nora. Apparently she has an enamoring personality since we’ve already been contacted by 4 adoptive families asking if we’ll send pictures and updates to their daughters who miss playing with their baby Nora from the orphanage. Nora is only 4 days older than our biological baby girl, Grace. We tell Grace about her “twin” sister all the time and she can now proudly point to Nora’s picture and say “Sissy.”

 How far along are you in the adoption process?

We have endured almost 3 years in our adoption process, which has felt particularly long since we were originally told the Congo program would only take 6-9 months. Praise God, our next step is actually the last step! We’re fundraising for our travel expenses now, and are tentatively planning to go to the Congo this month to bring our little one home! We are only waiting on her visa, which could be issued any day now, and then we’re approved for travel!

Why did your family choose to adopt?

My husband and I were first drawn to adopt through the influence of our close friends who adopted a son and daughter from Ethiopia three years ago. We were able to walk with them through the entire process and were extremely affected by the profound significance of their adoption as it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Previously, we had regarded adoption as a wonderful “second chance” for couples struggling with infertility, but through our friends, we were humbled and amazed to learn the beauty of the Gospel as it is revealed through adoption.

My husband and I were so touched by this connection between the Gospel and adoption that we couldn’t help but want to be a part of it with our own family. James 1:27 became more than just words on a page as we were challenged to critically consider God’s call in our own lives.

When we were desiring to start a family, we chose to pursue adoption right away rather than looking at it as an option “down the road.” The Congo is the poorest country in the world where 20% of children die before their 5th birthday. It’s also the “rape capital of the world” where if you’re a woman, you know you’re likely to be a victim. Those statistics and the fact that we met the qualifications for this country made us choose the Congo and international adoption.

It was special to find out afterwards that Noah’s late grandfather had always prayed for the Congo and even intended to be a missionary there at one point. Although he never made it there, his prayers for the Congolese will likely have impacted little Nora Divine’s life forever as she will soon become a part of our family.

In the end, we chose to adopt because we’re so grateful God chose to adopt us! We are eager to love and care for our sweet Nora Divine and we love all the ways God has showed His special intention in placing her with our family. For example: Nora and Grace being “twins,” or how Nora’s birthday was the date I had hoped Grace would be born on – 9/10/11 (the coolest birthday ever), and even that Nora’s given name is “Divine” and she is truly our divine gift! After the months and years of waiting, we are still so happy we chose to adopt and can’t wait to really begin this adoption journey once we bring her home!

Brandy and Noah’s Fundraising site (and more pictures of Nora Divine) is here.

 

Susan and Jerry

Who are you adopting or seeking to adopt?

We are adopting three teenagers from Ukraine: Yulia is 14, Iryna is also 14 and her brother Oleg is 12.

(The three Ukrainian kids and Susan and Jerry’s three biological children at Christmas.)

 How far along are you in the adoption process?

We have completed our home study and sent our 600A form to USCIS. We are awaiting approval from the US government to adopt internationally, and in the meantime, finalizing our dossier to be submitted to Ukraine as soon as our approval comes in.  Also, we are aggressively fundraising.  All expenses are paid to date out of our own pockets, but we have $15,000 due to submit the dossier and then travel expenses to raise.  Our journey began last April, but we didn’t actually begin official adoption proceedings until August 2012.

Why did your family choose to adopt?

This whole thing began with an organization called ProjectOneFortyThree that sponsors the hosting programs in Latvia and Ukraine twice a year; in the summer and at Christmas. Once we were approved, we selected a child, (what I mean is I God selected our child…that soon became obvious) and she came to live with us for seven weeks in June 2012.  Her name was Yulia, she was 14, and she was OURS! We knew it from the moment we saw her.  You see, we had been asked of our intentions upon applying as a host family (host only, adopt or undecided) and we were certainly open to adopting, but were not going into this with the intent to adopt.  That was over the second we saw her smile!

All too soon, the day came to put her back on the airplane to return to Ukraine.  We all cried…for days! It was one of the worst days of my life.  In our grief, we were fueled to begin the adoption process so that we could bring her home permanently.  We were working diligently with the home study, but it soon became apparent that there was no way we would get our Yulia home before Christmas, and therefore decided to re-host.  This was an expense that we really could not afford, but there was no WAY my baby was going to spend Christmas in that orphanage.  She had lived there for eight years of her life and as long as I had breath in my body, she would spend as little time there as I had the ability to control!

Strangely, however, there was unrest in my heart.  We were supposed to do something else, but I didn’t know what. I shared with Jerry and the kids my struggle, and that I felt God was telling me that there were other children that needed us.  Once again, everyone in the family agreed and looking at the “kids needing hosting” list, we found not one, but two kids, a sibling set, who resided at the same orphanage Yulia did. Along came Iryna and Oleg Petryk, ages 14 and 12.  This time we only had the three kids for four weeks, but in that time, we knew this was our new family and we knew why our home study had been delayed.  If our home study had been completed on time, it would have only been approved for us to adopt one child.  Now we could “tweak” it and have it written for three!

Susan and Jerry’s story and fundraising site is here.

 

Christie and Q

Who are you adopting or seeking to adopt?

We have been chosen to adopt a newborn baby girl from Florida due on April 6!

 How far along are you in the adoption process?

We just found out about this situation three weeks ago and were just chosen by the birth parents this week. So, we are currently in the process of updating our home study and fundraising!

Why did your family choose to adopt?

We started our adoption journey 3 years ago and were blessed with our little girl, Moriah.  We were then presented with the opportunity to adopt her biological brother this time last year.  We were heartbroken when his adoption failed (their birth parents chose to keep him at birth).  We had written off ever adopting again and were trying for biological children when this current situation arose.  Two weeks ago I was getting ready to head out the door when I received a message from a fellow adoptive Mom that said, “I have a birth family that’s looking for a married, Christian, inter-racial couple, with only adopted children for a baby girl due April 6.”  Say what!  Why don’t you just add, “And their names are Christie and Q!”  Because of the criteria the birth family was looking for, we couldn’t say no!  So, we were obedient to what we felt the Lord was asking us to do and here we are….trusting and believing!

Christie and Q’s story/blog is here.
Their current fundraising campaign is here.

 

Joe and Hannah

 

Who are you adopting or seeking to adopt?

We are seeking out a child with special needs. We clearly have a heart for individuals with special needs seeing as we already have a child with Down Syndrome. I can’t fathom the notion of anyone passing up on a Benji! What a blessing he has been. When we met with our adoption counselor for the first time, she confirmed our intentions by telling us that Special Needs adoptions are one of the biggest needs. We were told that Joe and I would be with only a handful of other adoptive parents on the registry willing to adopt Special Need Infants.

Where are you in the adoption process?

Fundraising and waiting!  We are home study approved for a domestic adoption (Within the US – we did not do an international home study and therefore, are ineligible to adopt overseas – at least for this adoption! Who knows, maybe we’ll adopt again in the future!).  We are looking to get a family lawyer and working on procuring an adoption loan for $20,000!!!! (WOW!!!!) We are hoping to raise at least part of this. Definitely a faith journey!

 Why did your family choose to adopt?

We believe every life has value and that those with special needs are a valuable and wanted part of the community. If there is no one to care for these babies, how would a mother be persuaded to choose life for her child? We want to show the world that “Benji’s” are worth fighting for! They are worth loving. They are worth sacrificing for.

Joe and Hannah’s blog and story is here.  (There is a link to their PayPal account on the site.)

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I’m so thankful for people like Brandy, Susan, Christie, and Joe (and Kelly and Jamie…) who know that the widows and orphans and impoverished and suffering in the world are not someone else’s responsibility.  I’m thankful for people who do not shy away from the command and the call, even when it sounds radical and difficult and costly.  Would you consider helping me help them bring their babies home?  Will you be more than touched, will you be moved?

 

“Far too often I hear, “If people can’t afford what it costs to adopt, they shouldn’t adopt.”  We were crushed one time by a person very close to us who said, “How come when YOU hear from God it costs ME money?”  Usually I am too hurt to respond with adequate words.  I saw this from my very smart friend on Facebook and had to share, ‘When a family seeks help in raising funds for an adoption, it’s not like asking people to pitch in toward a new boat, or help pay for a vacation. What they are doing is committing to heal, with God’s help, a child who has suffered the profound damage of being unwanted and unloved. They are obediently living out the command given in James 1:27 to care for the orphan, clothing the gospel of Christ’s redemption in flesh and blood and now. When they ask for the body of Christ to come alongside them financially and prayerfully, they are giving us the opportunity to be a part of the miracles God works through obedience.’”  [Via Christie's Facebook this week]

 

Amen and amen.

  • Marissa

    Awesome stories! I so wish I could help, but I’m a college student with specific money restrictions :( I’ll definitely pray though!!! I think it would be so cool to adopt at some point!

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