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I am so happy being married and living with my best friend. We adopted our first child, Ari, in 2011 through a domestic adoption and our second, Jude, in 2014.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013


About three weeks ago Mike and I went to the USCIS office in Oklahoma City to have our fingerprints done. This completed the process of filing our I-600A, the first big piece of government paperwork for international adoption. We were silly and giddy the whole time and just really excited about being one step closer to our girl.

A few days ago we received our I-600A approval in the mail. This means that we are now approved by the US government to adopt a child from a foreign country and bring them back here to the states. It also means that we are now able to be matched with a child through our agency. Such a big and exciting step! However, we are asking our agency to hold off on giving us a referral right now and here's why...

About six months ago someone contacted me and let me know that they were pregnant and looking to place their child for adoption. Now, let me tell you this...I, obviously, have a passion for adoption, but I also have a passion for birth moms. I love and respect them so much. So I was really excited to talk with her and give her any of my advice and support I could offer.

Over the months one thing kind of led to another aaand...she has chosen us to be the adoptive parents to her baby! So yes, we are now on plan to adopt a baby boy here in the states in early December. The due date is a little less than 10 weeks away. We are shocked, thrilled, honored, and excited. And I mean seriously, talk about an honor. I never expected this when she and I first started talking, so what an honor that she wants us to be this part of the process and journey now. And though I'm sure Ari isn't quite sure what it all means, he absolutely loves talking about his "baby brother" to come!

So the million dollar question is, "What about Africa now??"

I wish I had a solid answer I could give you. All I have is our thoughts and plans for this moment and here they are: We still have a passion for Africa and Congo. We still believe strongly that our daughter may be in Congo. So we are not closing out our international adoption process. We are still keeping everything current with our Congo agency, but just asking that they hold off on giving us a match/referral right now. We are doing this to simply give ourselves some time to adjust to having a two year-old and a newborn. Because heaven knows, that's going to be an adjustment!

How long will we be asking them to wait on giving us a referral after the baby is born? 2 months, 6 months, 1 year? I don't know. We're just going to wait and see how things feel once "baby brother" is with us and then take things from there.

For a personality like mine, that's difficult to do. I like rules, structures, and timelines. So this is certainly giving me an opportunity to put more faith in God and His plans for my family. I wish I knew exactly what was going to happen, but I never saw this coming in our path and wow, what a blessing it is!

So our faith and family is in God's hands and we will just take it all one day at a time.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


It has been a crazy two weeks for our family. The quick run down is Ari got tubes put in his ears, we had our carpets cleaned, Mike and I celebrated five years of marriage, we celebrated Fathers Day, we had our home study, we had to travel to OKC for an adoption orientation, and then we had a two day garage sale. Phew! I'm exhausted. But it feels SO good to have all of that done. Definitely a big step forward in progress.

Our home study visit went great. It's always a nerve racking experience leading up to it, but things are just fine once all is said and done. I was pretty nervous about having a home study with a toddler in the house this time, but he did really well, even though he woke up sick that morning.

Our garage sale fundraiser went great! We raised $887 from it! Some people were very generous with donations and some people still wanted everything for a quarter. haha! But we still came out very well. Three moments during our garage sale really touched me... First, a man who owns a used bookstore close to us stopped by. He paid way more than my suggested price for our books and then paid $10 more on top of that. Second, an Ethiopian woman came to our garage sale (we advertised everywhere that this sale was for our adoption from Africa) and she paid four times my suggested price on something. She asked where we were adopting from and when I told her Congo she said she was hoping it was Ethiopia, but she was still happy about that since they're neighbors. :) And third, we posted an advertisement picture for our garage sale on Facebook and asked everyone to share it on their pages. 75 different people shared it! That's a huge blessing on its own. But then a man we don't even know and lives in a different city saw the picture and mailed us a check.

I said this on my Facebook page, but there are so many times that adoption leaves me breathless and speechless. We are SO blessed!

And as a puzzle update, we have sold 9 more pieces! We're almost to 50 sold total. 954 more to go!

How to Donate: We are selling the puzzle pieces for $10 each. If you can, please donate money in-person or by mail. If that's not possible, you can click on the "Donate" button on the right sidebar under "Adoption Donations" to send money via PayPal. Please add your name(s) in the special note to sellers. Thank you!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Few Updates

Doing a weekly puzzle fundraiser update has proven to be pretty much impossible with having a toddler in the house. That's been made kind of obvious since the last update about this was a month ago. But here's a new one for you!

We have sold 17 more pieces. That puts us at 37 pieces sold total, so only 963 more to go! And, as you can see from the fundraising thermometer on the left, if/when we finish this puzzle we will already have over half of our funds together! This is very, very exciting for us. So spread the word!

I love my late night evenings of working on the puzzle with this guy.

We almost have two whole sides done!

How to Donate: We are selling the puzzle pieces for $10 each. If you can, please donate money in-person or by mail. If that's not possible, you can click on the "Donate" button on the right sidebar under "Adoption Donations" to send money via PayPal. Please add your name(s) in the special note to sellers. Thank you!

Another fundraiser that happened in the last few weeks was Congo prayer bracelets. A very sweet friend asked if she could make and sell these for us. We, of course, said yes! And they have done very well. It's such a cool thought to think of so many friends, family, and people we don't even know wearing these.

And for my last update, we finally have our home study scheduled!! I never would have thought it'd take this long to get the initial paperwork processed and the visit scheduled, but now it's only two and half weeks away! After our home study is done and we have the official report, we will file what is called our I-600A with the USCIS. Hopefully just a few weeks after that we will have our fingerprints done at the USCIS office and then we are able to accept a referral! It could be months and months before we actually receive a referral, but it will still be very exciting to be in the phase of being able to accept one. Love seeing some progress be made in this long process.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

That IS My Child!!

Back in February Mike and I attended a marriage seminar along with several couples from our church. It was called Love Worth Fighting For and featured Kirk Cameron and Warren Barfield. As much as the middle school girl inside of me loved seeing Kirk Cameron (in fact he sat just two pews behind me for a few minutes!), it was actually Warren Barfield who had the biggest impact on me.

First of all, if you haven't heard him explain his inspiration behind writing the song "Love Is Not A Fight", you really need to! (This is the song that was the theme to the move Fire Proof). I will quickly explain the background of the song, but it's nothing compared to hearing him explain it...

Basically, he and his wife got into a fight over something incredibly stupid. But the fight then brought up every frustration they had been holding against each other for years. He said they stayed about into the wee hours of the night fighting, screaming, and yelling. When they each had said everything they could, they just sat and looked at each other in a "Now what?" type of situation. They decided that if they were going to stay together in their marriage, they had to fight for it just as hard as they had just fought against it. That simple idea really stuck with me and has been so great. I have to fight for my marriage harder than I've ever fought against it. I just love that!

And if you haven't heard the song, you really need to listen to it. Powerful lyrics.

But then when he really got to me is when he started talking about Food for the Hungry, an organization focused on ending world hunger. Warren Barfield was talking about how he got involved with them by doing a monthly sponsorship for a few kids. After awhile he decided to take a trip and see first hand some of the kids receiving sponsorships.

When we were at this seminar I knew that international adoption was our next step. This was actually about the point in time where I had been spending a couple of weeks researching Congo like crazy and crying every night. So with that in mind, I was extremely emotional listening to him talk about his trip to see all these needy children. And then he took it up a notch...

He said he was actually telling this story at another marriage seminar and advocating for these children, but apparently it bothered a woman. She came up to him afterwards and basically told him that she hadn't paid money for the evening for him to try to make her feel guilty and she didn't appreciate it. He said he was speechless. But that he wanted to say to her, "What if that was your child's picture on this packet? What if that was your child having to daily fight for water? Wouldn't you want everyone to pay attention and help them out??"

At this point I was an absolute bawling, ugly cry, mess of a person. I'm telling you, I was weeping and sobbing. All that was going on in my head was, "That's my child! That is! THAT IS MY CHILD!!"

My child is somewhere in the Congo right now and is potentially hungry, thirsty, and in desperate need of a hug. They are so worth the cost, the paperwork (and paper cuts!), the time, and the advocating. They are worth it all and deserve it all.

A few weeks after that a friend posted this video on my Facebook. It sums up all my thoughts so well on the Christian call to care for orphans. That. Is. My. Child. And I can't wait to have them in my arms.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Puzzle Update - Week 2

In Week 2 we have sold 14 pieces! That makes for 20 pieces put together total. We almost have the whole bottom edge done!

How to Donate: We are selling the puzzle pieces for $10 each. If you can, please donate money in-person or by mail. If that's not possible, you can click on the "Donate" button on the right sidebar under "Adoption Donations" to send money via PayPal. Please add your name(s) in the special note to sellers. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Puzzle Update - Week 1

We're one week into our puzzle fundraiser and we've sold 6 pieces! Only 994 pieces to go! ;)

Big brother "helping".

I love starting the puzzle with these two pieces. :)

6 pieces total!

How To Donate: We are selling the puzzle pieces for $10 each. If you can, please donate money in-person or by mail. If that's not possible, you can click on the "Donate" button on the right sidebar under "Adoption Donations" to send money via PayPal. Please add your name(s) in the special note to sellers. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Here We Go Again, Part 2

Now here's the part of adoption that no adoptive parent really likes. It's embarrassing. It's humbling. Let's be honest, for us, it's the f-word.


Adoption is expensive. Plain and simple. But we can't let the cost stop us from adopting. Every child deserves a home and we will do our part to help with that for as long as we can.

For this adoption we expect all costs (agency fees, government fees, and traveling expenses) to total about $35,000. As you can see, I have my lovely fundraising thermometer back on this blog to the left. We already have a little over $4,000 of this.

The kicker that came with this is that we fall under new adoption tax credit laws. We finalized Ari's (yes, I'm using his real name...I can't keep up with nicknames) adoption in 2012 and things changed like crazy then. The adoption tax credit was paid in one large sum the two previous years. But now the government has up to 5 years to pay you the credit. And they will only pay you each year the amount that you paid in taxes for that year.

Are you still with me...? So for us this means that this year we are getting less than 20% of the credit. That leaves us with $10,000 less than what we were hoping to have to apply for Adoption #2. Ouch.

This was hard to process. It sucks, plain and simple. But we must move forward with faith. We will simply be saving, fundraising, and applying for grants like there's no tomorrow.

So our first fundraiser...the puzzle fundraiser! This is a picture of the puzzle we will be using. It's called African Landscape.

We did this with Ari's adoption and loved it so much. The idea is simple...we have a 1,000 piece puzzle. We are "selling" the pieces for $10 each. When you buy a piece we will write your name on the back of it and add it to the puzzle. Once it is completed, the puzzle will be framed in a double sided frame and hung in our child's room so they can see the names of all the people that helped bring them home.

Now, how to donate: The best way is to give us check or cash in person or mail it to us. However, if that's not possible, there is a "Donate" button on the right side of this blog that allows you to give us money through PayPal. And no, you don't have to have a PayPal account to use it. PayPal does take a percentage of all donations, so that's why it's not the preferred method. But if you're willing to donate, we're willing to accept it anyway that works for you.

Thank you for being a part of our story!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Here We Go Again

First of all, I'm the worst blogger ever. It's very easy to blog all throughout the adoption process. There always seems to be a lot to talk about then. But once the process is over it's not so easy to write a blog post on teething, toddler eating habits, walks around the neighborhood, or other random day-to-day activities. And I don't think that would be too interesting to read either.

But here I am writing another blog post. If our day-to-day life isn't interesting enough to talk about, that can only mean one thing. I'm here to write about adoption. And that adoption topic is...

We're officially adopting again!!

© Jenny White Photography
And yes, that is Africa you see in our picture. We have signed on with an agency to adopt from The Democratic Republic of Congo. We expect this to be a 1-2 year process from start to finish.

So, why Congo? Honestly, we feel like Congo chose us. We have always wanted to adopt from Africa, so when we started looking at this it seemed like every agency had an Ethiopia program. We kinda just thought to ourselves, "Hmm, okay. I guess we'll go with Ethiopia." But the more I looked into I realized that adoptions from Ethiopia are now taking an approximate of three, maybe more, years to complete. We knew we didn't want to wait that long.

All I know that happened after that is that I spent several hours every night for about two weeks researching adoptions from Africa. I truly have no clue how it began, but through a few things adding up and talking to a few connections I made, we discovered Congo. After looking into some of the facts of this country I simply couldn't turn away. I then spent a few more nights simply weeping over this country and the children in it. (And making the hubs stay up very late watching documentaries about this place. You can see some of those here and here.) Congo found us, nestled its way into our hearts, and would not let go. And I'm so happy for that.

So for those that want to know specifics, here are some of the facts that I could not close my eyes to...
  • There are 5 million orphans living in Congo alone.
  • 20% of children do not live past the age of 5.
  • Half the population does not have access to clean drinking water.
  • War and conflict have led to the death of 5.4 million people since 1998. It is the deadliest war since World War II.
  • Congo has been named as the worst place on earth to be a woman. The sexual violence and rape in Eastern Congo is described as the worst in the world.
So really, the question is, "Why not Congo?"

We have already sent in our contract and first payment to our adoption agency. We are now working on the piles of paperwork to get a home study going. This will be a lengthy process, but we are so excited to get started and take you all on the journey with us!