Category Archives: Our Congo Adoption

My only hope

In this process of waiting on the adoptions of our 2 boys from the D.R. Congo, and let me re-emphasize waiting, I have my good days and I have my bad. Some days, I’m able to think about them & simply be excited about our new arrivals. I can safely allow my heart & thoughts to go there and all is well, God is in control & my confidence rests firmly upon His shoulders.

Today is not one of those days. Today I find my thoughts drifting into frustration, hopelessness, even anger. It’s been 1 year and 1 month now since we’ve begun this journey, and yet another hopeful email to our adoption agency has once again returned to me with the only news of “no news”.

I wonder how much longer we’ll be forced to wait. I wonder how anyone, any family, can ever endure such a process as this. Yet they do. These families who have pressed through these burning coals that quench all of one’s self-determination, sense of control and fairy-tale notions and are now basking in the priceless reward of being home, as a family, with their adopted children, are becoming my new role-models.

Unless you’ve been through an adoption yourself or are very close to ones who have, you cannot imagine the kind of strength required to get through this. I wish it upon no one. I say this not as one having this strength, but only as one who knows someone who does! My only hope is Jesus.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.“- Matthew 11:28-30

I give up. I surrender. I can’t do this on my own. Jesus, I need you.

As I struggle day by day, as I learn how to practically put my trust in the Lord, as I learn to let go, I can’t help but think about not only all the other adopting families who are facing these same struggles right now, but all the ones to come. My desire is that I will endure this pain for a short while, and in time, be able to help others walk down this same road. That all of this would not be in vain. God desires to do a work in me so that I can encourage the same in others.

I long for the orphans of Africa to have mommies and daddies. I think about them all the time. My vision is not just for the 2 children we have coming, but for an entire continent.

My heart is for Africa. God has given me a burden to see the captives set free in that land. I don’t see orphans. I see a strong army of warriors who have yet to meet their deliverer. They have yet to meet their Jesus.

My desire, what my heart cries for, is to go to these children. Yes, to love them, to hug & kiss them, to feed them & keep them safe. But most importantly, to point them towards the only man who can save them. They must see the cross.

Lord, I surrender to your will. If I must endure this pain & discomfort, let it at least bring about the purposes that you have created it to. Help me to see your hand & cooperate with you and not fight against you. May it not be in vain. Oh, may it not be in vain.

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Do you want the good or the bad news first?

The good news: Our first Congo baby has sped through the initial court process a lot faster than our adoption agency had expected!

The bad news: Our 2 babies may now be a couple of months apart in the process, thus forcing us to take 2 separate trips to the Congo to get them.

The good news: Things are finally feeling like they’re moving!

The bad news: We’re probably still another 4-6 months out from even bringing the first one home.

The good news: We just celebrated our very first harvest of tomatoes that Adam grew in his experimental hydroponics garden! (Hey, anything to help pass the time, right?)

Awe-struck

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– 1 Corinthians 2:9

The numbers didn’t add up. I didn’t know how it was going to work, but I knew it was what we needed to do. The best decision for our children, our family and what we felt the Lord was calling us to do.

Ever since I turned 16 years old, I have worked. I actually enjoy working. Being busy with many different tasks around the office, feeding off the energy I often get working with others. It’s rewarding to me. So although the decision to become a stay-at-home-mom was always my plan, it didn’t mean that it wasn’t going to be a stretch for me.

God was calling us to care for the orphan, and it was starting with these 2 little ones from the Congo. The first round. Although a mighty task in itself, still just a drop in the bucket of the grand vision that we carry in our hearts. Though it feels weak and shaky at times, God is still working His dream for our family into our dull, narrow-minded hearts.

With the end of our adoption process finally narrowing in, the reality of it slowly begins to become more and more real to us. Thankfully, yet also a little fearfully. We know things are about to drastically and dramatically change for our quiet, somewhat undisturbed lives. One of the biggest shakings being our finances.

Going from 2 already conservative incomes to only 1 is quite scary to a relatively young married couple who have never done it before. Add in 2 children from another country packed with infinite possibilities of medical needs and things we just have no idea about being first-time parents, and the whole undertaking can seem quite intimidating. Yet, as unrealistic as it seemed on paper or through the filter of our checkbook, we trusted that the Lord would provide. Somehow. Some way.

To our amazement, He did, and of course, in His perfect timing.

Last week, after 3 rounds of interviews within his company that he’s been at for the last 4 years, Adam was promoted to an amazing sales position with many perks that struck us both with awe of the amazing God that we serve.

Simply put, this was a miracle. The favor of God upon His children who put their trust in Him.

We didn’t deserve it, yet He graced us with His goodness. He surprised us with what we would have never even thought to pray for.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”– Matthew 6:25-26

Thank you, Jesus, that you never stop surprising us with your goodness.


Time Stands Still

I can’t believe it’s already been a month, to the day, that we accepted our 2nd child referral. Just like in many times past in our adoption process, we felt this would finally trigger everything into motion. Yet, once again, as this process loves to do, we find ourselves sitting, helpless.

Time has seemed to stand still in a way.

No progress made. No new news. We’re even still waiting to  receive our 2nd child’s social in order to move forward with the court document preparations, step 1 of many in this final stretch before we’re able to actually bring them home.

Meanwhile, baby-showers are planned, invites are out, cribs are purchased and baby rooms are nearly finished. Yet we still feel like we’ve barely started moving. Our hearts far ahead of the legal process that separates us from our children.

Are we planning for nothing? Is all of this in vain? Will it even work out?

As our friends and family begin to come around us with their wonderful support and begin to plan with us, it is both bitter and sweet. I want to leap forward; I want to prepare with no hesitation; I want to know for certain of when they’ll be coming home. Yet when left alone with my fears and doubts, I wonder if I will be made the fool out of all of this.

It’s hard to stay strong all the time. Strong for my husband, whose fears are voiced like an echo of my own. I feel if I give way to them, the whole house may fall. I’m left with trying to hold up the walls, arms trembling from the weight, but a determination that only a mother can know.

I don’t care how one becomes a mother, whether through child-birth or through caring for the orphan, a calling is a calling. Period. And once one’s heart is awakened to it, there is no going back.

Oh Lord, when will this road end? I know your leadership is perfect, yet my flesh wants to scream against it, “I want things my way.” I know all of this has a purpose. I put my life in your hands. Once again, I choose to pick up my cross and follow you. Whatever that looks like. Lead me in your strength.


Jesus’ Longing Embraced in Mine

The long-awaited second referral has been accepted.  Though exhausted by this leg in the race, we continue to put one step in front of the other and stride towards the finish line.  The next lap in the marathon has begun.

We now have pictures of both of our children.  Though only a snapshot, a capturing of a second in their lives, we love them without even knowing them.  It is amazing how two children in the middle of Africa have two hearts in the middle of America lovesick.  I find myself sometimes trying to even forget about this whole heart-wrenching, roller coaster-ride adoption process and put my hand to grindstone of the day-to-day-mundane in order to fill my mind and dull my heart from the sharpness of the longing I have for my children.  I desire to be with them and see every page of their life’s story turn as I gaze into the beauty of God’s creation and artwork.

In this chamber of my heart, my Jesus has dwelt.  His dwelling is not only in His faithfulness to be good on His word He has given to us but in His own experience in His heart as He graced the planet long ago in the regions of Galilee.  Jesus, the bridegroom, came from the height of the heavens where the legions of angels did not cease honoring and lauding Him with praise in order to walk the dusty streets of Israel in pursuit of a bride (Eph. 5:31-32).  His attraction was so great towards this bride that He chose to experience her life in this age.  The joys, victories, misunderstandings, heartaches and losses that is our common experience, also became part of His experience .  What must it have been like for the sovereign God of the billions of galaxies of the universe to be crafting furniture for the commoners of Galilee?  What filled His thoughts as He daily looked into the eyes of the men and woman of Galilee whom He came to save, walking in futility and disillusionment while His precious, atoning, redeeming blood coursed through His veins but having not yet been shed?

“Like a lily among thorns, so is My love among the daughters,” (SOS 2:2)

Those whom He had come to set free and save He had to wait for (John 3:17).  He could not reveal Himself until the ordained time.  The Father had a plan and He would walk in full submission and obedience to this plan.  The years of Jesus before His public ministry were mostly spent in the day-to-day mundane of carpentry work and village life, providing for His family as He longed and waited for the day in which the Father would glorify Him and give Him his inheritance (John 17:1, Eph. 1:18).

So as I round the last curve looking for the home stretch, I mourn and ache over my distant children and I connect with the heart of God.  A God so close and relational that He and I can converse and share history in the stories of our lives of the longing for our inheritance.  I must embrace what He embraced.


My beloved I will wait for

Our rings have sat, cautiously tucked away in a small box in my jewelry case, for nearly 4 years now. Adam and I used to treasure these rings upon our fingers when we first started dating, promising ourselves not only one to another, but that we would have a holy and pure relationship before God. If our love was true, it would wait.

Tonight, as Adam sat at our kitchen table, completely unaware of the idea that I had been holding in my heart since the weekend, I sat down across from him and innocently placed before him a small box wrapped with blue paper, topped with a silver bow. “What is this”, he asked with a smile, a bit surprised.  “Open it,” I said.

It took him a few seconds after opening it to realize just why I had re-wrapped these 2 rings that were once so special to us, but had been long forgotten with the overflow of life’s newer and more exciting treasures. But alas, he looked up at me with a smile. Tears had filled my eyes and were now softly running down my cheeks as my shaky voice managed to say, “These are now for us to wear for the children. Every time you look at it, you can remember to pray for them”.

It was true then and it’s still true now.  It’s form and meaning slightly altered, but the message still remains.

We will wait for our beloveds.

I never knew then that these rings would once again return to minister to me. To help give me courage. Strength and hope in the waiting.

We both proudly placed them back on our hands after finding another finger that it also fit. We are proud parents. We hold our children in faith.

Jesus, bring our babies home to us.


Clinging

Am I trusting God? I mean, actively choosing to trust God, on a daily basis. Anyone can say the words “I trust God”, but who are you when you are all alone? When you are left to yourself with your thoughts and your worries. Are you really trusting God?

Am I trusting that God is really watching over my children, in another country, far out of my own reach. Do I really trust that He is making sure they are fed, cared for, protected, watched over, held and loved?

Do I trust God when I am not there looking over His shoulder?

I have to. I have no other option. I can either choose to worry, which produces no fruit at all, or I can choose to trust my God whom I claim to love and follow. It is times like these, when I feel I have no control over my life circumstances, that I must choose to fall on the rock which I claim with my mouth when times are good and easy. Maybe fall isn’t the best word, more like cling! He is my strength. He is my hope. Without Him, I fall apart, I am lost. Let me be found leaning upon my Beloved in these times. It is now when He feels the closest. If I only choose to accept the invitation.

I trust you, Lord. That you are not only able to hold me, but my 2 children who only you can reach.

~ Jennifer