In January of 2009 Allison and I started our first official journey in adoption. We walked out the process of adopting our daughter Kaia from Ethiopia. It was a learning experience and an incredible journey. In fact, it was one of the highlights of my life. I learned so much about myself, my family and my passions. And, the end result was bringing our daughter home in early 2010. She has changed our world! Kaia is one of the greatest blessings in my entire life.
The in 2011 we decided to start the journey all over again. This time we decided to adopt from Haiti. Shortly after making that decision, we met our daughter Karis when she was only 12 days old! The last 3 1/2 years have been quite an amazing journey. And, as much as I thought I had learned about myself in our first adoption, I have been learning 10x more this time. In fact, every day I continue to learn. And... most of all.... God is stretching, building and molding my faith. For 3 1/2 years now we have had to watch our daughter grow up through pictures, emails and occasional visits. Every single time we are forced to say good bye, board a plane and come home.... my heart is shattered. Adoption is simply a tough process and a labor that must be driven by love!
In March of 2011 I shared the following things in a blog post, and have been walking these things out every day!
- It takes a TON of time! I'm not talking about the length of the process. (Though it will likely take an average of 18-36 months.) I'm talking about the time spent in paperwork, home visits, government filings, fundraising and more. There are countless hours spent in details and stuff that seems crazy when you know the life of a child hangs in the balance.
- It will COST you. When we entered into our first adoption the cost estimate was roughly $25,000. As it stands today, we have spent just over $32,000 on Kaia's adoption. There is no doubt it will cost you more than you plan. Pastor Perry Noble often says, "If it's God's will it's God's bill". That's why you need to know God has called you to this. He will provide. Kaia's adoption is paid for! As a matter of fact, when we started her process we didn't even have enough money for the initial fees and home study. But, God took care of it ALL! We are moving ahead with adoption #2 with confidence that God will do the same. Without a great measure of faith and trust in God, you will struggle.
- PEOPLE won't always understand! We had family that didn't understand, friends and folks in our church. People may not understand why you'd adopt if you're capable of having kids on your own. People will not always understand the cost. People will not always understand the reason why, especially when it involves becoming a mixed race family. People will question you. People will even discourage you. We have even experienced intolerance of our mixed race family, a symptom of living in the south! You never know when it will show up, but this aspect of adoption does exist. That's why you must be sure you are called by God.
- It is an EMOTIONAL process. Emotions will go from one extreme to the other. From frustrations of paperwork, money and process to the grand day when you meet your child for the first time. The journey may include some disappointments...We have been through all of these. The process may be longer, shorter or more complex than you intended. You'll experience excitement, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness and most of all being overwhelmed with joy.
As of today, our daughter is STILL simply STUCK in Haiti!
(You can learn more about STUCK and the reality of international adoption here!) She is stuck in a system that keeps causing us to repeat steps, submit documents, give more money and wait longer. During that time she has grown up without her forever family and outside of our desire for her life.... something every parent can understand! Karis is in need of some Physical Therapy that she simply cannot get in Haiti... And it is gut-wrenching to wait and hope. At this point we are only a couple of steps away from being able to get Karis' visa. But we need LOTS of prayer and some logistics to fall into place.....
We are asking you to join us in praying. Pray that God will move mountains. Pray that God will open hearts in the system to help Karis come home. Pray that God provides the means necessary to get the paperwork done in a timely fashion. Pray that God continues to provide the money we need to keep our adoption moving ahead. Pray that God will temper our hearts and emotions as we wait out this hard process. Pray that we are able to celebrate VERY soon bringing our daughter home from Haiti! And, mostly, pray for the thousands of adoptive parents walking through the very same thing!
We have been able to make some progress. Right now we are needing the ability and freedom for me to go and stay in Haiti for up to 3 weeks. In order to make that happen we need to be able to save or raise some funds as I will not be home and able to work. Having a big family, that is simply not an option as of now without extra funds. In addition we have had some additional costs arise for legal fees and paperwork. Every few months our papers needs updating and the process requires more costs. If I am able to save up or make about $5500 we would be able to make this happen easily. If we were able to create about $8500 we could almost assuredly finish our adoption. The additional costs would be used to hire an additional lawyer as well in Haiti who has been able to help numerous friends of ours to expedite their final paperwork. I know God is faithful to provide all we need in the right timing. If you know of a job I can take, work I can do or income I can create for this need, PLEASE let me know. I am willing to work any hour of the day or night to complete my family and get Karis home!
Additionally, If you feel lead to donate to our adoption, and help bring Karis home... CLICK HERE!
Thanks for your love, support and encouragement.