April 28, 2013

Fundraiser Giveaway!

From Sprouts by Rose Kren: Sterling Silver Africa Love necklace ($45.00).

From The Printed Palette: Refuse to Sink T-shirt ($26.00).

From Murabelle: Chevron Infinity Scarf ($26.50).

From Casey Leigh: a small add space ($25.00).

From On Your Case: a phone case of your choice ($16.99).

From The Tiny Twig: The No Brainer Wardrobe e-book, for you & a friend ($16.00).

From More Than a Sparrow: "Thankful" bracelet ($20.00).

From Zoe Clothing Company: Three T-Shrits ($56.00).

From Sseko Designs: Brown Straps ($10.00).


A donation of $5 equals one entry. For every $5 you donate, please comment below once. For example, if you donate $25, you can comment five separate times. After you have donated, you can tweet, facebook, or blog about the giveaway for another chance to win! Winner will be chosen randomly on May 6th... Winner takes all! :)

Thank you for helping bring our girl home! 

PS- please take some time to look around the wonderful shops of all of our sponsors! 

April 22, 2013

It's a girl!!!

On April 11 at 5:36 pm, we received a phone call... from our agency. This was a "pre-referral," if you will, of a little girl about the age of four. Since she had some potentially severe medical issues, they wanted us to pray about it before they even sent the actual referral. So, we prayed... & prayed... & prayed some more. After talking it through with each other, the Lord, & different doctors (thank you, Sangosenis!), we decided to proceed with the adoption of this child. Now, our child. 

Based on the little information we currently have, she is a happy, talkative, & smart little girl. After seeing pictures & a short video of her, we cannot wait to bring our beautiful child home! She is currently living in the foster home that is connected to our agency. We are thankful & comforted that she is in a safe, healthy, & loving environment. Nevertheless, we are praying for the process to to smoothly so that we can bring her home as fast as possible. 

Specific prayer requests:
-  Pray that she gains weight, as she is currently moderately malnourished. 
- Pray for her muscles, specifically in her eyes, that they would be strengthened. 
- Pray that her blood count stays where it is or improves. & that the blood report that we received was, in fact, accurate.  & that her body would continue to produce more healthy red blood cells. 
- Thankfully, she is currently in a loving, Christian foster home. Pray she grows in wisdom & stature, & in favor with God & man. (Luke 2:52). 

April 15, 2013


Last night, our family sat down together and watched Stuck. This is recently released documentary about international adoption. The goal of the movie is to “promote adoption as a solution for children without parents.” The movie follows several parents through their adoption journeys in order to shine a light on the need for adoption… specifically international adoption. It also vividly outlines the daunting process that families must go through in order to adopt. 

For anyone interested in adopting or just curious about how it works, we recommend you check out the movie at stuckdocumentary.com. There you can follow their ministry as well as download or stream the movie ($12.99).

As a family currently in the international adoption process, this movie stirred many emotions – from excitement and joy watching families unite, to heartbreak from seeing the living conditions of institutionalized children, to fear of the unknown future and bureaucratic mountain we face. The movie spends a lot of time pulling back the curtain on the ways that government is getting in the way of placing children in families. The red tape, both here in the US and abroad, has driven the cost of adoption and the time to complete the process to ridiculous levels. However well-intentioned these groups and laws may be, the reality is they are not preventing the evils they were intended to prevent and instead or preventing millions of children from having a family. 

My hope is that this does not discourage you, but rather emboldens you to become active. Support those going through adoption. Bring these issues to the mind of our leaders and do not let them brush it aside. Get involved with poverty fighting groups so that there may be less orphans to begin with. Consider adopting. Most importantly, pray. As Christians, our Savior was adopted by his earthly father, Joseph, and we are adopted as God’s children. Adoption is close to the heart of God and He will answer those prayers.

The reality of adoption is going to be tough and messy. But that is okay… because the need is great and the reward at the end is worth it. After all, a generation of children is what is at stake. 

April 10, 2013

Another reason to celebrate.

No sooner did we finish celebrating Gabe's first birthday, when the party continued with yet another Craft man wearing big boy underwear! & what better way to commemorate this milestone than with a superhero photo shoot?

As you can probably tell, he's a bit camera shy. ;)

April 3, 2013

Happy first year, Gabe!

You are the greatest gift I never knew I always wanted. You've 
brought immeasurable joy to our lives. I love you.
Love, Big Mamma.

April 1, 2013

The Process.

Silas & his African friends.
We have had several people ask us about the adoption process and how it works.  First off, not all adoptions happen the same way.  They can be done in a variety of ways from private adoptions between two parties to state-sponsored adoptions through foster care or orphanages.  When you factor in international adoptions where each country has its own process and standards, it can become a bit overwhelming.  So rather than write a book on adoption (which I am far from qualified to do anyways), I thought it may be helpful to describe our journey thus far and what we expect on the horizon while adopting from DR Congo.

Our adoption process began with the same step most do; the home study.  The home study is where a social worker will evaluate your family to determine that you are fit for adoption.  It is required for all domestic and international adoptions.  It includes interviews, references, financial statements, fingerprints, background checks, home visits, education, etc.  It is a long process as there is much information to be gathered.  We worked with All Blessings International’s Springfield office for our home study.  Meryah was our social worker and she was fantastic to work with.  

While we were in the midst of the home study, we also began to interview adoption agencies to determine who we would use as our placing agency (this is the agency that will actually work with us to pair us with a child and handle the paperwork of finalizing the adoption).  We had been researching various country programs to determine what was the best fit for our family.  Once we chose the DR Congo, we tried to reach out and talk with a few different agencies with DR Congo programs.  We found that there can be quite big differences between various agencies in terms of how the adoption looks.  I would recommend talking to multiple agencies and ask plenty of questions.  Interview them as you would interview an employee.  This is someone you will be working with for potentially a long time.  We were already working with All Blessings International on our home study and decided that they were also the best fit to be our placing agency.  There were several reasons for this, but the biggest was just the sense of comfort we felt when talking with them as well as their responsiveness compared to some of the other agencies we interviewed.

Now that we had hired ABI as our placing agency, we were able to begin work on our dossier.  The dossier is the packet of information that will be submitted to the foreign country, in our case the DR Congo.  Each country will have different requirements for a dossier.  The DR Congo was relatively easy to gather the requirements as most of the information they required we already had provided for the home study.  Once our dossier information and home study were completed, both have were sent off to be translated into French, which is the national language of DR Congo.  

With our home study now complete, we were also able to submit our I600A application.  This is the form submitted to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to begin the adoption approval process from the US Government.

This is where we stand now.  Our home study and dossier are complete.  We have applied to the US Government for preliminary approval (final approval will be after we know who the child will be) and our dossier will be translated soon and sent to the DR Congo for their approval.

We are now considered referral ready.  This means that we are waiting for our placing agency to match us with a waiting child.  It could take a few days or a few months.  In other countries, this process can last much longer.  Needless to say, we are hoping to get a referral by the time you read this!

Once we have a referral and we accept it, there will be more paperwork.  Both the US Government and the Congolese Government will then work on approving our adoption with a specific child.  There will be more background checks, especially on the child.  We will initiate the process of citizenship for the child.  Again, this part of the process can widely vary in time depending upon the country.  In the DR Congo, we are told to expect it to take 3-6 months after we accept a referral.  However, we have been told many times to expect bumps in the road as it is normal when dealing with governments.

Once everything is accepted and approved, we will then travel to DR Congo to finally meet and bring home our child.  We will have to stay anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks in DR Congo as there will still be some legal stuff to take care of while we are there.  So, depending upon how quickly we can get exit visa’s, a passport for the child, and other immigration things resolved will determine how long we stay there.

Clear as mud?  We are just learning the process as we go, so I am sure there are many things I have missed along the way.  This is a broad outline that will let you know what we have gone through and what we expect in the near future.