What is in a year? Obviously a year consists of 365 days or 8,760 hours or 525,600 minutes. It is interesting how although 8,760 hours seems like a long time, time actually flies by. I can honestly say that looking back this past year, I am overwhelmed with just how much we have accomplished and then at the same time, how little we have accomplished. It was just one of those years where I look back and just pray that God knows what He is doing.
We started our adoption blog as an attempt to draw awareness to the hundreds of thousands of orphans across the world. Along with that, we wanted to show you a real life picture of what adoption is like for adoptive parents. In some ways, I think we did a good job of showing the “reality” of adoption. In other ways, I think that we missed the boat on really highlighting and raising awareness on orphans. I guess that will be my New Year’s resolution for year 2013. (Although, I hate resolutions because I very seldom stick with them. )
Before recapping the year Jeff & I got to experience, I am SO excited because many of our dear friends have been able to experience the joys of adoption.
- J & J adopted and brought home the most adorable one year old from Ethiopia. Jeff and I are SO thankful for adoption – even though it hasn’t exactly “worked” for us yet – if it wasn’t for adoption, we might never have become friends with this awesome couple. I can honestly say that I forsee being in their life for as long as they let us.
- W & K were able to adopt a baby girl domestically. Their story of perseverance is amazing. Honestly, the fact that they continued pursuing adoption after all of their disappointments is such an encouragement to me.
- S & D were able to adopt a baby girl domestically. Yet another story of perseverance through all of life’s challenges. I was able to give them the name of the domestic agency we were using this summer. Their baby girl was born last week. Jeff reminded me last week that had we not used our domestic agency, they might not have been able to adopt this baby. An example of God’s goodness even through our disappointments.
- K& J are in the midst of adopting siblings from Ghana. We were honored to be able to go out to dinner with them the same day they received their referral. In the adoption world, receiving and accepting a referral is truly an amazing day. Jeff and I were so blessed by their excitement and we are praying for their adoption process to go through quickly and smoothly.
- M & S were able to bring a one year old boy home from Ethiopia. Honestly, this couple is yet another example of perseverance. They FOUGHT to bring their child home. We are so happy for them.
- D & N are in the midst of adopting a beautiful 10 year old girl from Ethiopia. It has been so fun to watch God work on their lives as He pointed them to the perfect match for their family.
- **UPDATE** I also remembered W & S, who brought home two beautiful babies from Ethiopia. After learning their story (we are not super close with them, but have got to know them over Facebook!), we see them as another example of perseverance and not quitting before the miracle of adoption happens.
And I am sure there are more stories that I am forgetting! But just from our circle of friends, we have watched
7 9 children/babies go from being orphans to adopted (or almost adopted) within the past year
For Jeff and I, obviously, you know that our personal adoption journey has had its fair share of difficulties thus far. To recap our year in a nutshell:
We started off 2012 already in the midst of adopting two children with America World Adoption Agency – one in Ethiopia & one in Haiti. The wait time to bring our children home is approximately 2 years for each agency.
In May 2012, we added a third adoption to our plans as a local mother chose us to adopt her baby girl once she was born in August. We scrambled to begin fundraising. You might remember Jeff’s 60k in 60 days post. Somehow knowing that we would have to spend roughly $30,000 PER adoption was a bit overwhelming and pushed us to fundraise. Through fundraising, selling bracelets from Haiti, writing and obtaining grants, selling household items we didn’t use and a garage sale (we earned $2,500 at the garage sale alone!!) we were able to accrue a tiny bit over $14,000. Such an amazing blessing.
In June 2012, we started praying and researching about whether to go forward with our Haiti adoption due to the political unrest and international adoption changes going on in Haiti, and ultimately decided that because of things outside our control, it would not be wise to move forward.
In July 2012, as we were awaiting the birth of the baby girl, our birth mom ended up switching from our agency to a different agency. We were left heartbroken. I have two praises from this situation. First – the birth mom ended up placing the baby with the new couple. And secondly – Jeff and I were able to recoup $5,000 of the $6,000 from the new agency. This almost never happens. So Jeff and I were extremely thankful.
August 2012, Jeff also went on a mission trip to Ethiopia and Uganda and while there, we accepted a referral for a baby boy named Kiya in Ethiopia. This was with a different agency from Ethiopia. We now had two simultaneous Ethiopian adoptions going on with separate agencies. Because of all of the money we raised over the summer, we were able to wire $18,000 to the new agency needed to accept the referral of Kiya.
September 2012, Jeff and I were informed that Kiya died of an upper respiratory infection. Our lives were rocked and we were both devastated. You can read Jeff’s thoughts HERE and my thoughts HERE.
September – November… let’s just say, this fall/winter has been rough. I still believe and KNOW that God wants us to adopt. He has put the passion in our hearts to take in an orphan and I believe that someday, He will bless that passion. During these months, we took ourselves off of our new agencies’ waiting list giving ourselves time to process and get through all of the disappointments of this past year.
November – Jeff & I were able to hear Lauren Dungy speak (twice) as well as Tony Dungy speak. Their adoption stories are just downright inspiring. I was particularly blessed by my conversation with Lauren Dungy. She has experienced the ups and downs of adoption and it was refreshing to hear her tell Jeff and I that she has walked in our shoes.
December – we added ourselves back onto our new agencies’ waiting list. We have been told we are first in line for a referral so we are waiting.
So – we are in line and waiting to adopt Ethiopian children with two agencies. Our wait time with AWAA (the agency we signed up with over a year ago) is probably around 2 years still. We are now number 54 on the unofficial waiting list. Our wait time with our new agency is literally day to day. We are next in line to receive a referral. And so we wait.
Jeff and I wanted to thank all of you for your support this past year. We have felt your prayers. We have read all of your emails and cards. We are also so thankful for all of the donations we have received from you. We have received donations from friends, family and complete strangers. And we are thankful for each and every penny. Because of you, we were able to accept the referral of Kiya this past September. We were literally given 24 hours’ notice to wire $18,000 to our adoption agency. We would not have been able to do this without your help. Even though Kiya passed away, the money will be applied to our new referral and there is a huge weight off of our shoulders to know that those funds are taken care of. From a financial standpoint, our adoption with AWAA and our adoption with our new agency will cost between $28,100 – $38,000 per agency per child. (If you are curious to see the financial breakdown of Ethiopian adoptions, go HERE). We have already submitted $16,500 towards our AWAA and $18,000 towards our new adoption. When I focus on the fact that there are still funds that Jeff and I will have to come up with, I get overwhelmed. But I know that God will provide and while I am overwhelmed, I am so grateful we have been able to pay over $34,500 towards our two adoptions thus far.
So, I can’t say that I have enjoyed this past year. But I have been so blessed by the kindness and support you all have shown us. I am also so happy for all of our friends who are in the midst of or have completed their adoptions. There are seven less orphans in the world because of the obedience of our friends.
If you are feeling led to adopt or if you have questions regarding domestic adoptions or international adoptions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and Jeff and I will do our best to point you to resources that will help you in your journey.