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Posts Tagged ‘orphanages’


This Christmas season has been busy. But we thought it would be busier.

Since Amie and the kids jetted off to NY before me, we’ve already had our gift opening time. I love it when a gift is a “winner” and my child’s face lights up with utter delight. It is a beautiful thing. And I have to keep that in mind when one of their faces is scrunched in a pout or whine.

There has been cleaning and sealing grout since the builder didn’t seal it. One of my knees is bruised in this act of love toward my wife. The rest will have to wait until after Christimas. I’ve even started the process of re-financing our home. Lower rate and shorter length means we’ll save $$$$ long term. But that is stress.

What we had hoped to be doing now is planning a trip to the DRC to pick up “our” 2 kids. We hope they will be joining our family. We are not sure because the judicial process is moving slower than a slug on ice (can they move on ice?).

3 He heals the brokenhearted  and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147

We did get an updated picture of them. Sorry, we’ve decided to wait until the referral is approved to put up pictures. But they look quite healthy. Micah’s hair is growing back in nicely. Her disposition seems much better- our prayers are apparently being answered. Asher just seems like a big kid, and fairly laid back. The reality may be very different. But we are quite grateful that our hopeful kids are being well cared for in the orphanage.

This is particularly in light of unfounded accusations we heard about our agency. I’m thankful we didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction. So there is a word of caution for folks surfing the net. You hear lots of things out there. Take the time to slow down and ask questions. Our agency was very willing to address all of our concerns. The allegations made them aware they needed to do a better job communicating and developing an more accurate web presence.

We have heard about problems in other countries that may not have orphanages run by the agency. We don’t know if these stories are true. But, please, ask questions about who and how your prospective child will be cared for during the wait. That wait may be longer than you expect. The pictures, over time, show us kids who are doing well, and are well-cared for. We are grateful for the orphanage workers. They can make all the difference.

Next year? We anticipate having 2 more delight-filled faces when we open gifts. We anticipate having 2 more kids wanting to know about Jesus.

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All around the world, traffic jams stink!

There is a section of highway near Tampa called Malfunction Junction.  It is the junction of I-4 West and I-275.  The 3 lanes of I-4 bottleneck into one lane as the road ends and seeks to merge onto I-275. This is complicated by the fact that there is an off ramp about 1/4-1/2 mile after the merger.  So you have people trying to get on and off the highway in the same short section of road.

The traffic backs up for miles during rush hour. Inevitably some car malfunctions due to the long wait. Or some driver loses his cool and there is an accident at a key point. An already bad situation becomes far worse.

This intersection is a BIG reason why many people east of Tampa don’t go to Tampa Bay Rays’ games in St. Pete. To avoid this intersection you must either go way out of your way north or south, or venture onto the city streets. Travel time to the Trop is unpredictable and maddening.  This is why I’ve advocated moving the team to the east of this intersection. They’d get far more fans from the Orlando area. But they went for the quick fix.  But this is about adoption, not baseball.

Our wait for the DRC court to approve our request for referral has exceeded earlier estimate. We are stuck in gridlock. The word from the agency is that there is a new judge handling all the adoption requests.  This judge is the only judge handling them, and this is not all the judge handles. So the judge is on the learning curve. The volume of requests has increased dramatically. Our agency sent 30 requests with us.

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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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"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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Meet the new dog

Our dog, Huck, passed away in June of 2009.  We were in an extended time of transition, so didn’t get a new dog despite our daughter’s express desire for a new one.  I shared her desire, but reason ruled passion.

Since our move here to Tucson, Amie and I have been discussing dogs and at one point talked about waiting until after we returned from vacation.

With our vacation done, and us feeling good enough to begin the process for adopting internationally, I signed EOC 1070 stating that now was the time.  I cruised the web sites of the local Humane Society and Animal Control.  I picked a few that might work for us.

Our preferences:

  • Previously in a home (and house broken)
  • History of being good with kids.
  • Medium (40-50 pounds)
  • Little to no shedding.
  • Light on the barking/whining

We showed up at the Humane Society.  It was a little like how friends described a Russian orphanage.  I was utterly over-whelmed (and this is part of why we didn’t do Russia, we could not imagine having to pick a child from a roomful of children).  This was not The Cider House Rules, with the kids all on their best behavior hoping to be adopted.  This was a room full of barking, and growling, dogs not happy about the strangers in the room (or the new dog that just came in, like Shawshank Redemption).  It was loud, ugly and smelly.

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