Hey friends! I have been wanting to write for several days now, but things have been crazy around here! As most of you know, we moved back to Florida a couple of weeks ago. Matt was offered a position with Innovative Mission Opportunities (www.imoi.org), which is a ministry that sends teams of people into the “10-40 window” on short term mission trips. The 10-40 window is a “strip” of the world that stretches across Northern Africa, the Middle East and most of Asia. Matt is developing a student arm of the ministry and is working to lead high school & college students into this area on trips. His main focus is Northern Africa (especially Ethiopia) and China. In January Matt traveled to Ethiopia for the first time and completely fell in love with the people there. Through all of his stories and pictures I have too. I am hoping to join him on a trip in June–I’m praying it all works out! I have always had a heart for Africa–since childhood. I’ve wanted to go there my entire life and have always wanted to adopt kids from there. My heart beats for Africa–I really can’t explain it, but I feel like a piece of me is in this place that I’ve never even been before.
Last January we began the process to adopt a little girl from El Salvador. It took us a very long time to finish all of our paperwork and raise the necessary money, but in December we submitted our paperwork finally. Throughout this whole process, we’ve known that international adoption in difficult and not without risk. We knew that going in and have prepared our hearts for whatever might come. The El Salvador program has had several problems in the last several months. Almost the entire government staff in El Sal that works on adoptions quit, leaving only 1 person to sort through about 300 dossiers (family’s packets of paperwork). About 3 weeks ago we received news that the El Salvador program is closing to all new applicants. There is such a backlog of families & things just aren’t moving. El Sal also just decided to adopt out all of their older kids in orphanages (ages 5+) and they have 2 orphanages of HIV+ kids that they also want to get adopted out. So that means that the wait for a healthy young child jumped from 12-18 months like we originally thought to 2-3 years, with that estimated to increase. Families already in process were given several options. We could wait it out and hope that things pick up. We could leave our agency, but we would lose most of the money we have put in, or we could switch countries and all of our program fees that we’ve already paid in would transfer. We got this news 3 days before our move, so we had to just put everything on hold & focus on our move. This week we’ve had more time to pray and to process all of this. After tons of prayer, we feel so at peace about switching to Ethiopia. There is so much movement in the group, with lots of kids already home. They have also just built a transitional home for kids to live in after they have been referred. This is a safe place where kids will begin receiving loving care, proper nutrition and medical attention. Things are just really moving forward in Ethiopia and that really comforts us and excites us. Plus with all the work that we will be doing in Ethiopia, it just makes a lot of sense. We will know and understand the culture of our kids–and hopefully we will get to travel there a lot in the future–taking them back with us as they get older. How exciting!!
With our move and new job we knew that we would have to update all of our paperwork anyway, so we were prepared for that. We just found out Monday though that we are going to have to completely redo all of our paperwork to switch. This was quite a blow to us, but we found out the paperwork is much easier and not as thorough as El Sal, and it is taking most families about 2 months to complete. So we are hoping to begin all of that next week–and are hoping to finish and submit everything by the end of April. We need some major prayer with all of this. Pray for the finances that we will need to redo everything (about $2000), pray that everything is accomplished correctly the first time, and very quickly. We just need a lot of favor from a lot of people right now. This is going to be very hard, but we are so committed to this and are willing to do anything to bring home our child. We have also decided to put on our application that we are open to 2 children. We may or may not receive 2, but this way we will be approved for 2 if 2 are available at that time. I would love for this to happen, but am not going to get my hopes up!! Pray for God’s will to be made so clear to everyone involved on this matter. We’re just trusting God to bring home the kid(s) that He has already chosen for us! Thanks for praying for all of this–it means a lot to us. We don’t know an estimated time frame for bringing home our children yet, but will know more in the coming weeks.
WHEW!! I think that’s it. Sorry about the length of this post…hope I didn’t scare you away! I just wanted to let all of you know what’s happening with us and didn’t know a better way. Please continue to pray for us!