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Archive for February, 2011


I suppose it was inevitable.  With all of the political turmoil taking place in northern Africa, central Africa might grow restless.  It did!  And it arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

President Kabila

A group of heavily armed men stormed President Kabila’s presidential palace in Kinshasa.  Fortunately for the President, he wasn’t there.  But unfortunately 6 people were killed on a fool’s errand aka a coup attempt.

President Kabila succeeded his father after his father was assassinated in office in 2001.  There was a civil war in the DRC from 1998-2003.  There is an election cycle coming up, the 2nd since he took office.  Apparently some people couldn’t wait to replace him legitimately, or thought their guy wouldn’t win.  But Parliament just passed his proposal to not have run offs between the top 2 candidates.  This means someone can win with less than 50% (probably Kabila) while the rest of the candidates suffer the Ross Perot effect.

That the attempt failed is a good thing as far as adoptions are concerned.  A change in regimes would really mess things up for people and create big delays.  So, like many families we will watch and pray with the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Amie was able to contact our adoption officer with USCIS last week.  She was able to coordinate faxing our friend’s fingerprints to the office in Phoenix. This means the officer has all of the information that is necessary to look at our file.  The officer anticipates handling our file Monday the 21st.  So be praying!

If we are approved, we will be ready to submit our dossier!  This is great news, as it would be a major step forward.  Another major step.  We will have to pay $2,300 at that time.  So, there is something else to pray about.

We also have a resource to recommend, the Reclaim Adoption Study Guide.  It is currently a free download!  See, we care for you (maybe the estimated value would make a great gift to to their ministry, or an adoption fund you know about (wink, wink)).  The study helps people to understand and grow in their experience of our adoption by God in Christ.  It also talks about the practice of adoption, which reflects the doctrine of adoption.  It should be both encouraging and challenging!

Lastly, this report on rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the reasons we decided to adopt from the DRC.  There is a great need to protect the children, who are most vulnerable (and sometimes the product of such violent assault).

HT: WiseCounsel

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We recently had the opportunity to talk with another parent using our adoption agency.  When we adopted our son from China, there was another family in town that had adopted 2 girls from China.  They were associates with our agency.  They were very helpful and accessible.  It was a great blessing to get to know them during the process.

With a different country this time around, things are a bit different.  We don’t have a family like that near us.  Due to some outrageous internet claims, we wanted to talk to someone who had recently returned from the DRC.  The agency referred us to her, and she was on the trip that was the reason for some of the claims.

We thought it would be helpful for others to hear some of what we talked about.  Here is a summary:

Was this your first adoption?

Yes, it was our first adoption.  We ended up going with relatives who had adopted 4 children from Korea.  They started the process a month or so after us, but ended up on the same trip we did.

What motivated you to adopt?

We have 4 biological children, and thought our family was complete.  We felt like this was something we should do.  We didn’t qualify for some countries, and looked at Ethiopia and the Congo.  We felt that the Congo had a greater need.

How did the process compare for your relatives?

My relatives found the dossier for the Congo less work than Korea.  But they found they had to do more leg work on their own this time.  Their other agency filled out some of the paperwork for them.  There seemed to be some duplication.  Some of that was the process changing (she was referring primarily to the DRC changing their process).  We learned you have to be pro-active.

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When we were adopting for the first time we lived in central Florida.  The Department of Homeland Security office in Tampa handled all of central Florida- including 2 major metropolitan areas.  The first time we went, we misread the map and discovered this most of the way to the wrong office.  This office was in downtown Tampa.  Sadly, the office we were supposed to go to was far closer to home.  Sigh.

The office was huge with nearly a dozen biometic scanners for fingerprinting.  I always seemed to get the grumpy employees.  Yes, we had to go back since our fingerprints ‘expired’ right before Amie’s trip to China.  It was pretty much a nightmare.

So we did not know what to expect when we got our appointments last month.  We did discover that they only sent appointment slips for the 2 of us.  The  church member who lives with us also needed to be fingerprinted.  Amie called the customer service # to see what we should do.  She got a real live person in less than an hour!  Apparently, though they took our money for 3 sets of fingerprints, they didn’t actually “open” the file.  The customer service rep said that he could just go with us and there shouldn’t be a problem.

As it turned out, we had one of those weeks.  Utterly insane quite frankly.  We are trying to find affordable insurance that includes Eli who had previously been excluded due to his cleft palate.  The Saturday before our appointment we discovered that a pipe at the church froze and burst.  The kitchen was destroyed and the sanctuary was flooded.  I was working with other church officers on setting up plans for the continuation of ministry as well as repairing the building.  The last thing I needed to do was spend an afternoon hanging around a DHS Support Center.

The Support Center was on the far side of town.  Thankfully not too far from the highway.  It was actually quite underwhelming.  It was significantly smaller than the office in Tampa since it was an auxiliary office.  The main office was in Phoenix.  There were precisely 2 machines, and one person who was scanning prints.

However, the manager needed a number, and without an appointment she wasn’t sure what to do with our friend.  Unlike Amie, she was not able to get a real, live person on the line.  She wasn’t sure what to do.  But she was flexible, focused on customer service (what a relief after some of our discussions with local government officials who forgot they are public SERVANTS).  She figured that the worst that could happen is that he’d have to come back.

In and out, with the administrative hassles in less than an hour.  Yes!  This was great because I’d not slept the previous 2 nights and I was utterly brain dead.  I suspect that if I hadn’t brought a book, we might still be there.

So we return to the waiting game.  Once/if USCIS approves our application, we will then send in our dossier to the DRC, and wait.

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Sorry, I haven’t written mine yet.  And it is probably pointless to try.  Really, how many books on adoption do we need.

But this is one of the better books on the topic (read my review).   Yes, Russell Moore’s Adopted for Life is the free audio book of the month from Christian audio.  See, you don’t even have to feel bad about killing a tree.

Free & no dead tree.  Come on, go for it!

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"I'm so confuuused!"

In recent weeks Amie has joined some adoption groups on-line.  We entered into the utter ambiguity of the internet.

She came across a few people who were very critical of the agency we are using for our adoption, particularly with their work in the DRC.  But when you Google the person’s name, you discover they now have their own orphan care ministry.  So, is this ministry a response to what she witnessed, or is she just running down the competition?  See the ambiguity?  Enter the confusion.

We wanted more information.  I did not want us to make a knee-jerk reaction (Jesus, we need you!).  Changing agencies meant we only had one option, the one we decided not to go with.  The other agency was used by someone Amie knows, and she was happy with it.  But it was more expensive than the one we are using.  And it was run by lawyers (sorry my lawyer friends).  We preferred to work with Christians so our values would be honored in the process.  One of the main contacts for the African program appeared to be a professing Christian.  To jump ship would be costly in terms of time and money.  We had to make sure jumping was necessary before jumping.

I am reminded of the sleepless night when Amie was pregnant.  She had an ultrasound in Winter Haven, and they determined that Jadon was way too small.  We needed to see a specialist (the next day!!), and we were scared.  We’d waited so long (not as long as Abraham and Sarah), and to think that something was seriously wrong had us on our knees in desperation.  Turned out that a more advanced ultrasound revealed that she was not dangerously small.  But the specialist remained involved to make sure nothing changed for the worse.  Jadon was barely over 5 lbs when born, but you wouldn’t know it now.

Like that day, we realized we needed more information.  We communicated with the agency, letting them know what happened.  You could tell this didn’t take them by surprise.  It was a thorn in their side- you could sense their frustration.  We were told a lawsuit was pending.  The answers to many of our questions would be answered shortly.  Okay.

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