The [Almost] Impossible Task

One of the things that initially kept us from wholeheartedly pursuing adoption was the cost.  It is not uncommon to peruse an agency brochure and see a $ followed by five panic-inducing numeric symbols that look something like this: $20,000-$30,000.  This brochure promptly gets A) thrown into the nearest recycle bin, B) stowed in an out-of-sight-out-of-mind location (such as the unruly pile on the dresser, under a mattress, or in an overstuffed glove compartment) or C) spontaneously bursts into flames.

Months later, you stumble upon this brochure again.  This time, though–and who can say whether this Grinch-like growth is simply because the cost is now more familiar or is due to an increased faith in God’s provision–maybe . . . could it be . . . possible?

People have raised greater sums of money than this in walk-a-thons benefitting research for tragic diseases like thinning eyelashes or in honor of a rescue center that takes in stray turtles . . . probably.

And our God owns the much talked of “cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), right?  And “nothing is impossible with God,” (Luke 1:37), right?  Right?

The thing is, when God provides financially, rolls of quarters typically don’t rain down from the sky (thank goodness!).  Usually he chooses to provide through work opportunities and through his Church.  Since we began this journey, God has provided nearly all of the first two payments, as well as other miscellaneous costs, simply through hard (extra) work, such as babysitting for a friend’s daughter several days a week and running an Etsy shop, cutting back where we can, a grant, and a few generous early donations.  We are currently less than $1000 away from making our next fee payment in about a month and a half.

Clearly, though, this will be a long process with a lot of little battles along the way.  Once we get through the home study, we will be eligible for additional grants and we will be asking you to make tax deductible donations at that time.  Why would we ask you for that?  At first, we felt really weird about asking for donations, too.  Well, [and this really makes so much sense!] when you make a donation to our adoption, you are saying, “We love your family and want to allow you to bless an orphan by giving him a home–and watch him bless us all back.  We want to live out the gospel message for the world to see.  We not only stand behind you and support you in word, but also in deed.”

That’s beautiful.  Someone should design a Hallmark card that expresses that sentiment.  Thank you for your kind words and action!

In order to be as up front as possible about our needs over the next year or so, I’m going to post our approximate costs.  If you feel led to contribute to our adoption fund, whether it be $10 or $1000, please commit to do so at this time.  Right now, there are two ways to do this:

  1. Shop at our Etsy store for fun, African-inspired items.  Share our shop with your friends and invite them to order, too!
  2. If you don’t need or want any of the items in our shop, please consider giving a one-time or monthly donation.  We actually have a ministry-related tax deductible number, and if you’d like to give this way, message me and I’ll send you the address to do that.

So, take a deep breath, remember that God is faithful and that grants are available, and:

PHASE 1

Application Fee                                                                        $250

1st Agency Fee                                                                        $2,916.66

Parent’s Passports                                                                        $240.00

Passport Pictures                                                                        $20.00

International Adoption Clinic Pre-Adoption Seminar            $150.00

NCFA Parent Training                                                            $195.00

Fingerprint Fee (for Home study)                                                $108.00

Birth Certificates (1 copy each)                                                $40.00

Marriage License (1 copy)                                                            $20.00

Background check                                                                        $40.00

Medical Reports (depending upon insurance)                        ~$50.00 in co-pays

2nd Agency Fee                                                                        $2,916.66

PHASE 2

CIS Application Fee                                                                        $890.00

3rd Agency Fee                                                                        $1,916.66 (with grant applied)

FedEx fees (dossier sent to Lifeline)                                    $45.00

FedEx fees (authentication shipping)                                    $300.00

Dossier Authentication                                                            $575.00

PHASE 3:  6-9 Months Later

Referral Fee for one child                                                            $9,200.00

Referral Fee for additional child                                                $5,000.00

PHASE 4:  In Country Expenses

Estimated around $9000

Once you regain consciousness, pray and ask God what he might have you to give.  Love and thanks!

Children of God

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This is Abby.  She has access to health care, sleeps in a warm bed, and eats three meals a day (even if her diet does consist of an inordinate amount of Little Caesar’s Hot ‘N Ready pizza).  She officially begins kindergarten this fall and will probably choose to go to college someday.  She regularly hears her parents preach the gospel to her.  She is our beloved daughter.
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This is Aster*.  She is an orphan in Ethiopia.  She is only one of 5 million orphans in that country alone. Though her caretakers do the best they can, food, education, health care, and sometimes even beds are severely limited.  And they are not her family.  When she ages out of the orphanage, she will likely be forced to live on the street. She may or may not ever hear what Jesus has done for her.

          Everyone of us was born into a hostile world of sin and suffering–our pain an inheritance from the first two people to ever set foot on this earth.  We were orphans, helpless, unable to crawl out of a pit of sin that simply became deeper with each passing day.  But there was one who took pity on our state.  And this, even while we were far from being as cute as Aster.
          He desired to have a relationship with us.  And not just any relationship.  Not simply that of an employer and an employee or a master and his slave.  Not simply a friend or a teacher.  Through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has given us “the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”, (Romans 8:15).
          Our God is the One who declares that he has “plans to give [us] hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11).  He has also called out for his own glory a body of believers who are to demonstrate that hope. We are to emulate him by giving generously to those who are in need, loving the refugees among us, and providing families for the fatherless.  We are to do (through his power) on earth what he has already done for us spiritually.
          There should be no difference between Abby and Aster, but because we live in a world crippled by sin, there is.  And with only a slight change in timing and location, my daughter could be found facing the same circumstances.  But because our God is a God of redemption, and he is changing me to become more like him, I can open my home and my heart to an orphan and make her my daughter, too.
          “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are,”  (1 John 3:1).  So we are.
(*I don’t know this little girl personally and have given her a name for the purpose of this post.  Top photo from Erika Chambers Photography.  Bottom photo from For His Name Photography.)
If you would like to help support our Ethiopian adoption, please consider purchasing a bracelet or another fun item from our Etsy shop.  Thanks!

Rockin’ This Family Tree

We made a commitment to pursue adoption.

This was followed by a year and a half of questions:  Could we really, truly love and accept a child that wasn’t born into our home?  How would our kids react, and later, interact with one another.  How on earth would we ever get the money to finance such an undertaking?

Which was punctuated by a greater understanding of my own adoption through Christ.  (As in the, “you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Rom. 8:15-type of adoption).

Then, the other day, over two years later, while we’re in the midst of our adoption homestudy, it hit me:  We do know orphans.  Well, OK, not all of the facts and figures, per se, but we know names and faces.

  • We know Said and his brother Ibrahim.  They lost both of their parents in Somalia when they were young.  Their hard-working aunt then took them in and has raised them, even as they arrived in America as refugees.  We’ve known them for six years and they’ve taken part in many of our family activities.  I love these boys like they are part of our family.  No, they are a part of our family.
  • We know Changwa and her twin sister Hawa.  In the broadest definition, a child who has lost even one parent is considered an orphan.  Their father died six years ago, shortly after arriving in the US with the family, leaving their mother, who suffers from various health problems, to raise them.  They are the youngest of her 13 biological children.  We’re teaching Changwa to drive and sometimes I watch her, incredulously, and think, “Is this what it’s going to be like to have a teenage daughter?  God, help us!”  But she is so smart and determined.  She has the potential to do something incredible with her life.  And we’re watching.
  • We know Adonisi, originally from Burundi, whose father is dead.  For the past several years, he’s worn a path on our street as he’s passed from his mom’s apartment on one side to the community center at the other end.  We’re a frequent stop on his journey, and he inevitably ends up sitting in our kitchen holding a cup of water and whatever cookie we happen to have in the cupboard at the moment (yeah, I have a “mom” stash).  He has an adorable smile and loves playing with our kids.  They love him, too.

None of these loved ones is adoptable, but if any of them ever needed a home, buddy, you’d better believe we’d be shoving another bunk bed up the stairs faster than they could pack a suitcase!  I wouldn’t even have to think about it!

God’s prepared our family for this and I never even noticed it until a few days ago!

There are orphaned children around the world right now who are much like Said, Ibrahim, Changwa, Hawa, and Adonisi, except that they have no one who is willing or able to offer them a place to sleep or a warm meal.  They will not have opportunities for college scholarships.  Perhaps no one will teach them how to drive or how to interview for a job or love them unconditionally when they do something completely ridiculous.  Indeed, many will die from curable diseases during childhood and the survivors will end up on the street once they are sent out of the orphanage.

But we have room.  We have access to beds, medication, education and food in the fridge.  We have love that comes from the One who has first loved us.  And now we’re simply waiting for God to rock our family tree.

Testing, Testing

In light of our decision to pursue adoption, we need to have some way in which we can easily communicate along our journey.  So, I’m revisiting this blog.  Yes, I am aware that my last post was nearly a year ago.  I’m also a little encouraged by the nine people who (according to my stats counter) apparently dropped by yesterday to read my latest posts.  They must not know me and that I pretty much fell off the blog wagon eleven months ago.  So, here’s a shout out to my nine faithful readers–I don’t know who you are, but I appreciate that you stop by on occasion!