Friday, May 31, 2013

Our adoption journey so far (part 1): Let's start at the beginning

Many of you are just now tuning in to our adventure in adoption ("just now" meaning because I am just now posting and you don't live near me and hear me talk about things all the time!) so I thought I should back up and tell parts of our story and timeline from the beginning. As I write these posts I am definitely open to questions and comments, but I think for any personal/negative questions or comments please just send me a private email and I will happily respond. Let's try to keep things on here positive! We also would really rather keep a lot of our kids' personal information private. If I am cryptic with this info it's not because I am ashamed or being rude, I just want to protect their privacy and their story until they are able to share it themselves! Other Mamas and Papas reading this, please give me your insight in how you go about protecting your kids (bio or adopted!) info online. I definitely welcome all the insight and wisdom you all can give me!

I will also reference a few agencies and I am debating whether to write their names or not... if I choose not to reveal their true identity then feel free to email me and I will gladly tell you exactly who I am referring to :)

So, where should I begin? I guess I'll just start by saying adoption and orphan care has personally been on my (Sarah's) heart since childhood. I am so incredibly thankful that this is also something that John felt strongly about even before we talked about marriage so that when the subject of having kids came up in our relationship the conversation went "ya, of course we are going to adopt." John is going to write a well thought out and well written section about adoption and the church and the theological reasons for adopting so I won't pretend to sound good talking about it. Read his post. Basically, we knew we wanted to directly be involved in orphan care and we felt that obedience to us always was: ADOPT!

So, how did we choose when to start pursuing adoption... we got married in 2006 and John was in seminary and I was pursuing medical school to become a Physician Assistant. We knew we wanted to wait a little bit for having children. When we finished school and eventually decided to have John join the military (about 4 years into our marriage) we decided to start pursuing both biological and adoptive kids and just see where the Lord guided. We had Esther about a year later!

About 6 months into my pregnancy we started seriously researching adoption. What countries are open to adoption? What are the age requirements? The marriage requirements? The wait times? There is a lot to look at! For instance, China requires both parents to be over 30. Other countries require that you are married at least 5 years. Others won't let you adopt if you already have kids in the home. We were mostly reading from this government website which also shows the number of visas issued to Americans to adopt from there each year. It's a good place to start looking... but really discouraging too!  Some countries have had ZERO international adoptions in the last few years. Mostly because they are closed to having westerners adopt or are closed to Americans because our government is pushing that country to clean up their process (which is good... but is a cycle because they are too poor or too corrupt to be able to meet the US standards, then no adoptions happen, then more children suffer, but if they continue with unethical adoptions they suffer too...). We also started learning about Hague vs. non-Hague countries and what it means to adopt through each. If you are interested in adopting, I would encourage you to read up on these terms (the above linked website can help) and read up on the info about the country you are interested in before pursuing adopting through them.

At this point I started systematically clicking on the information for each country in Africa on the above mentioned website. Just reading about them and praying...
Since this is already too long of a post I'll stop here until next time!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shirt Previews!

The designs are finally done! Here are the pictures of the shirts we will be selling in a few weeks. We will link to a shirt campaign site and you can order directly from them and have the shirts sent to you. There will be a sizing chart on the shirt site as well. Sales will be open from 20 June - 31 July. I will post again when they are available for sale, but I wanted people to see them and start thinking about ordering... The male version of each shirt also comes in kid/youth sizes. They are $20 each and $3.50 for shipping.

Know someone adopting? Or who has adopted? Does your community group want to support our adoption in this way? Need Christmas present ideas? Consider helping us bring our twins home with these shirts!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

First post, of many I hope!

I have been putting off starting a blog and also writing the first post on here for quite some time. I want so badly to share my thoughts and prayers as we continue down the path of adoption but I just hate writing! I always want my posts to perfectly communicate what I am thinking and I wanted the first post on the blog to just knock the socks off everyone and for our kids to look back and say "wow, mom, you must really love us and you are a great writer!"

Well, those are AWFUL reasons to not write and to not post frequently. That type of thinking makes it all about ME and I want and need this to be all about CHRIST! Families are messy, raising kids is messy (literally), adoption is messy, and life is just messy! So why not just write a blog that is messy since it is a true reflection of our lives? :)

I hope and pray that our family's blog and adoption story can bless you who read it, and our kids someday as they are able to look back and read this. But more than that, I pray that these words and posts bring glory to our Savior, who first adopted us.

We are getting ready to order and start selling t-shirts for our adoption (which I will post pics of soon) but I wanted to share the verses that we picked for the shirts with you all:
God sets the lonely in families,
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;                           Psalm 68:6
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction... be doers of the word, and not hearers only    James 1:26 and 22a
We truly desire to be obedient to what God has called us as believers and as the church to do. For us right now that means ADOPT! We are excited to be in the process of bringing twins-- a boy and a girl--  home from the Democratic Republic of Congo. More on the specifics of where we are in the process at another time. My goal is to personally try to sit down and post SOMETHING once a week, whether it is an update, a verse, or a prayer. If there is a big update part way through the week I will try to get that up right away as well.  

Bear with us as we try to post regularly and pray with us as we work to bring home our kiddos and grow our family to know and love the Lord.