Finally…HOME

News2 Airport Arrival

We finally made it home on March 4 and experienced a glorious reunion with friends and family at the Nashville International Airport. After a long, strenuous 18 months in the Congo, our battle finally came to a close and we were able to bring our girls home. A news crew from News Channel 2 was unexpectedly waiting on us at the airport and captured our arrival.

Additionally, Jamie Smith graciously accepted the invitation to be waiting on us as well and photographed the whole evening. She put together a beautiful slideshow of the pictures (below).

Now, as one chapter closes, another begins. Praise be to the Father for his sustaining grace and strength for helping us each step of the way.

Youtube slideshow

 

Touchdown in Kinshasa

Fifteen months now here in the DRC. WOW! We are amazed at how quickly time goes by, yet at times it seems to crawl. I guess that’s the complexity of time, though, right? We have learned so much from our season here. We have managed to live in a home with minimal electricity, making it difficult to cook, bake, work (since we rely on charged computers) and shower. We have learned how to maneuver ourselves around town by taxi using Swahili, French and a lot of hand gestures. Since we have had no TV, we have learned how to pass our free time by reading books, taking walks, playing games, and conversing on the front porch. But more than anything, we have learned how to be a family. At the end of the day, we feel that our family is closer and more connected as a result of this beautiful season here in Congo. As much as we miss friends, family and conveniences back home, I can assure you that we wouldn’t have had the quality OR quantity time that we’ve been able to embrace here. It has truly been a gift from the Lord.

Our sweet time in Lubumbashi came to a close this past Sunday. We were able to fly out the day after a Thanksgiving feast at Dan and Karen Carlson’s house, our wonderful neighbors who have become dear to us over the past several months. Fortunately, all of our friends were in attendance at the celebration on Saturday, so we were able to have one last meal with them and say all of our goodbyes that evening. The following morning we flew out to our next destination: Kinshasa.

We were expecting a fair amount of hassle and interrogation at the airport given the high alert that the DGM is on with all of the trafficking going on in the country. However, thanks to our friend and Congolese brother, Rukang, he was able to help get us through without a hitch. He is a pilot for the Methodist Church and has wonderful connections at the airport. Through those relationships, we were taken care of from baggage, to check-in, to immigration. We were quite shocked when we made it through without ONE interrogative question from officials.

We flew on a brand new DRC domestic airline called Congo Airways. None of our friends had flown them yet, so we were unsure what to expect. However, it turned out to be great. The plane was clean, staff was friendly, and they even served us a full meal, which was shocking considering the flight was only 2 hours long. The kids did very well, too! Segera, of course, asked a million questions and had to know all the details. She’s our inquisitive one. Not one tear was shed…by any of us…and we made it through peacefully.

Then, in Kinshasa, we were expecting to have push-back going through Immigration with the girls, but again…not one question. We were shocked. After we made it through, Justice announced aloud that he had to go poop. GREAT. We managed to find a toilet and I left Jeremy with the girls to go help him with his business. Once inside the bathroom, I realized that there were no doors and no toilet paper (typical third world style). There was a lady inside who seemed to be a worker, so I asked her in French if she had some paper. She went outside and came back a few minutes later giving Justice plenty of time to do the “gotta-go” dance. Given that there were no doors, Justice found himself with an audience. The lady proceeded to watch him the whole time and was laughing at his poop faces. Thankfully he has a great sense of humor, too, and got a good kick out of this hilarious, invasive experience.

After a successful day of travel, we finally made it by taxi to our new home in Kinshasa. (We are renting out a home owned by a missionary who is on furlough until July. So we will be able to stay here until she returns.) I am thrilled with the house! We have much more space than the apartment we had in Lubumbashi. Plus, there are many other great features that I’m digging:

  1. We have a washer and dryer…in our house! Back in Lubumbashi, I had to walk up the driveway with my clothes hamper and use a communal washer and dryer that was infrequently available. Now I can do clothes on the regular without having to march 100 yards away to do laundry.
  2. No mosquito nets! Mosquitos aren’t quite as bad here, so we don’t have to worry about nets on the beds. I’m in heaven.
  3. Electricity is the norm. But additionally, this house is setup so well equipped to be functional even without electricity. There are battery panels providing power to electrical outlets, solar panels providing power for lights, and a gas stove to cook. Back in Lubumbashi, we had power 1-2 days a week and struggled tremendously. Now we can do whatever we need to do without have to worry about power. SCORE.
  4. We have a microwave! I forget how much I have missed this box, but MAN, it’s so great to be able to throw some food in there to warm it up. I’ve been quite giddy over having this again.
  5. TV and DVD player!! We have only been able to watch DVDs on our computer for the past 15 months, and even that has been limited because we had to conserve our computer power since there was no electricity ever. So now we can watch a movie or show whenever we want. Seriously, someone pinch me.
  6. Unexpected goodies for the kids here including a zip line, a bin full of legos, and a trampoline! Yep, I have been astonished. There is a homemade zip line in the front yard that the kids jumped on within minutes of arriving. They are having the time of their lives going back and forth on that thing. Also, inside our house, we discovered several toys for the kids to play with, including a big bin of legos! We have been building pretty much anything you can imagine. Finally, right next door at another missionary’s house is a trampoline. These kids have hit the jack pot.

kids-swimThe kids have transitioned so well, and we couldn’t be more proud of them. The first couple of nights in their new room, they slept like champs and made it all the way through the night. They seem to really like this place and are already making friends. This new house definitely has more of a “home” feel, so we are grateful for the opportunity to be here for the next few months.

So now we turn our eyes toward advocating for an exit letter. There are a handful of other adoptive families here who are working hard to make this happen, so we will be jumping in with them and doing whatever we can to bring this suspension to a close. It would truly be a Christmas miracle if we were able to be home by then, but we are hopeful. At this point, there is no way of knowing how much longer the suspension will last. Some say it has the potential to be years while others say it could be by the end of 2015. Only time will tell, I suppose. Until then, please continue to pray for our family and for the hearts of the decision-makers here in Congo and the influencers in the USA.

Happy Thanksgiving! We will be joining other ex-pats and missionaries for a dinner on Thursday and are greatly looking forward to connecting with new friends…hopefully over a Turkey and not a chicken. But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers.🙂

Seeking Justice and Mercy in the DRC to End Two Year Adoption Suspension

It’s unbelievable that we have now been in the DRC for over a year; however, what is even more unfathomable is the fact that we have no idea when we will be able to come home. Congolese government officials have been silent on this issue for months, and the 2 year anniversary of the suspension is right around the corner with no end in sight. We feel blessed to be able to be here with our girls, but we simultaneously grieve for those families who have no option but to watch their children grow up in pictures and on occasional Skype calls.

We are amazed at the advocacy and passion that has gone into the resolution of the adoption crisis in the DRC by many American families. We are blessed and privileged to be a part of such a great network of individuals who are relentlessly pursuing their adopted children out of undying love and concern. As the 2 year anniversary of the adoption suspension approaches on September 25, 2015, we are preparing to communicate with Congolese government officials as we plead with them to end this suspension and allow these children to come home. A beautiful letter was written by Roger and Julie Johnson out of Franklin, TN who is waiting for their 2-year-old adopted son, Daniel, to be given permission to come home.

Please consider reading this letter and sharing on Twitter, Facebook or your own blog to help us spread this message of love and commitment to these children. Our hope and prayer is that DRC government officials land on this page and miraculously experience a change of heart regarding this situation. May they see our love and devotion to our children. May they see that we have good intentions for their lives and well-being. May this suspension finally come to a close so that these children can finally come home to families who are waiting with arms open wide.

Two Sides to the Story: Mercy and Justice in the DRC Adoption Crisis

https://medium.com/@adoptionDRC/two-sides-to-the-story-mercy-and-justice-in-the-drc-adoption-crisis-61b6e92b6c81

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has come under scrutiny for its decision to place a temporary suspension on exit permits for adopted children. The Congolese government initially issued the exit permit suspension for adopted children on September 25, 2013, indicating the suspension would be in effect for up to 12 months. The decision to suspend exit permits came as a result of the government’s concerns for the welfare of adopted children. Over 1,300 children, adopted by international families, continue to wait for the exit permits to be issued so they can be united with their adoptive families.

We, Roger and Julie Johnson, began the adoption process in October 2012. We went through all of the rigors on the U.S. side to be approved for international adoption. We filled out piles of paperwork, revealing all financial, family and personal information. We were evaluated by a psychologist to confirm our mental health. A doctor examined us to assure our good physical health, and we even received chest x-rays to rule out the presence of tuberculosis. A social worker visited our home and interviewed our children to make sure we were fit parents, capable of adding another child to our family. Finally, we were subject to local and FBI background checks ensuring our good standing in accordance with the law.

We did all of this because we dreamed of adopting a little boy from the DRC. We chose the DRC because Roger was born in Kimpese, in the Province du Kongo Central where his parents served as medical missionaries. Shortly after Roger was born, the family moved to Kinshasa and lived in the Mimosa neighborhood, in Kinsuka. When Roger was seven years old, his parents decided to move back to the United States, but Roger’s “Mwana Mboka” heart never left the DRC and wanted “Kozonga” to his birth country.

Just as we began the process of interviewing adoption agencies that work in the DRC, the country became flooded with interest from other international adoptive families. In August 2013, our family was matched with a little boy in Kinshasa. About six weeks later, the DRC government initiated the suspension on exit permits for adopted children.

The suspension on exit permits for adopted children has lasted for almost two years. Adoptive families have relentlessly prayed for the day when they will receive exit permits and be united with their children. The DRC government, however, believes there needs to be further investigation to determine the validity of these adoptions. For two years, the two sides — which have a common interest in the well being of DRC orphans — have been at an impasse.

As we continue praying for a solution and hoping that those in authority will end the suspension, we have had time to consider the different ways in which the DRC and those in the U.S. view and interpret the current situation.

The Congolese government and adoptive families tend to approach adoption and orphan care from two different but equally important perspectives.

Mercy  — adoptive families want to give an orphaned child a loving home. This is often a religious and/or very personal calling and an emotionally charged journey. Adoptive families who embark on this journey of mercy need to do so with a sober-minded approach while weighing the issues of justice that are inherent in the complicated process of caring for orphans. Those who only focus on mercy may unknowingly contribute to injustice and its perpetuation in a broken and splintered system.

Re-homing is one of the concerns of the DRC government. Stories of re-homed children have emerged, and they are evidence that it can be very difficult for any child to transition into a new family in a new country speaking a new language. Usually the child and family can adapt to each other, but sometimes the transition is too difficult for the child and adoptive family to handle. In these instances, it is sometimes in the best interest of the child to have a new family to adopt him or her. But re-homing can also be the result of carrying out an act of mercy without justice — without fully considering the enormous adjustment that adoption requires of both the child and their new family. The DRC is concerned that a family may not have counted the costs of the potentially difficult journey of becoming a family through adoption, and that re-homing victimizes children adopted from the DRC.

Justice  — the Congolese government wants to reduce the number of orphaned children by solving societal issues of poverty and unrest. It also wants to ensure that children are not trafficked and that biological and adoptive parents are not victims of those who seek to kidnap and sell children to orphanages for the purpose of adoption. They want to reduce instances of bribery for the purpose of expediting adoptions or other criminal activity that has taken place through international adoption agencies or facilitators. They want to care for true orphans by creating safeguards to identify children in need of adoption, while protecting families and the children mislabeled as orphans.

While most children who are adopted by international families remain in safe and loving homes, there are some children who were either introduced to adoption by means of child trafficking, were kidnapped, or who are re-homed after being moved to another country by their adoptive family. While these are rare exceptions — not the rule –we are sensitive to the fact that for DRC leaders the exception cannot be an option.

Like the DRC, there are many other countries that have wrestled with the many layers of systemic and societal issues, including instability and unrest that can lead to child trafficking and a lack of protection for vulnerable children. And we understand that like other governments, DRC officials have two challenges at present: they do not fully trust the vetting process for international adoptive families or the domestic safeguards that ensure that families fully comply with Congolese law.

Two Sides, ONE STORY

We therefore believe it is imperative that adoptive families work together with the Congolese government to come up with a solution to ensure the safety of Congolese children, so that adopted children are not associated with child trafficking.

Adoptive families cannot solve all of the systemic issues that are occurring in the DRC.

Equally, the DRC cannot beyond a reasonable doubt vet adoptive families in their home countries.

Yet we have a mutual incentive to work together to find solutions in harmony and base these solutions on a common understanding. We must seek justice while pursuing the mercy of orphan care.

Those who care about adoption must create systematic ways to ensure that adoption laws of both the child’s home country and the adoptive family’s country are followed and the best interest of the child is paramount.

They must seek to resolve these issues so the instances of child trafficking and the abundance of orphans are lessened, rather than just offering “band aid” approaches that ignore the root causes.

Those of us who care about the current and future state of adoptions from the DRC must work together to create a solution that considers both the systemic issues, the potential dangers for children and the real need for orphans to be placed in loving homes. Both DRC officials and adoptive families are hoping for resolution. However, if the issues that led to the enactment of the suspension are not addressed, there is potential that all future adoptions will cease, and that would be detrimental to all. We adoptive parents plead for a lifting of the suspension, and we vow to invest ourselves in addressing the concerns of DRC officials.

Call to Action

Invitation to partner: To those adoptive parents who have endured similar frustrations, and are interested, as well as others who are concerned about orphan care and adoption in the DRC, we invite you to join us as we create a council that will work together to identify lasting and sustainable solutions that can be presented to the DRC government in the hopes of building a lasting partnership. Interested families can contact us at COCADRC@gmail.com

Plea to DRC officials: To those DRC government officials responsible for the suspension, we offer a plea to you as fellow parents. Consider your own children and how you love them and want to provide and care for them. Please understand that we feel the same way about our adopted Congolese children. We love them immensely and want to care and provide for them. We have created a bond with our adopted sons and daughters, and our hearts are breaking as we wait to bring them into our families and homes.

Plea to President Kabila: Mr. President, we send a plea to you as parents. Our dreams for our adoptive children are similar to those Maman Olive and you share for the future of your beloved daughter and son. Those dreams have parallels to those your father M’Zee Laurent Désiré had for you as you and the Honorable Jaynet Kabila were still in the womb of Maman Sifa. Our biological children are already emotionally attached to their adopted brothers and sisters, and they long to strengthen that bond like you have done with your siblings, Honorables Jaynet and Zoé. We would cherish the honor of meeting with you while you visit the U.S. during your annual visit to the UN General Assembly in New York, City later this month. We would take this opportunity to share our adoption stories and begin a dialogue focused on how we can all contribute to the DRC government’s commitment to creating a sustainable solution for international adoption and orphan care in the Congo. For these solutions will also be the key to ensure that our children, like “Mwana Mboka” Roger, remain proud ambassadors committed to the cause of the DRC: “Lobi bakozonga mboka”.

Sincerely,

Roger and Julie Johnson, Franklin, TN — waiting for adopted son, Daniel, (age 2) from the DRC.

COCADRC@gmail.com

Co-Signed by:

Brent Smith and Gwendolyn Morrison, Zionsville, IN — parents of Lucas (age 5) adopted from the DRC, April 2011, and waiting for another adopted son (age 2) from the DRC.

Jason and Marisa Sunderman, Huntington, IN — parents of Sukami (age 2) adopted from the DRC 2013, prior to the current suspension, and waiting for their adopted daughter (age 2) from the DRC.

John and Kylie White, Chapel Hill, NC — parents of two siblings adopted from the DRC in 2013, prior to the current suspension.

One Year in the Congo

fly-to-congoToday marks our 1 Year Anniversary living in the Congo. In honor of this special milestone for our family, we created a fun little Q&A for our family and friends! Many of you have inquired about life in DRC and our adoption journey, so we took time to answer your questions and give you more of an insight into this crazy adventure. We hope you enjoy it!

<<< LIFE IN CONGO >>>

Q: What are some of the most hilarious moments this past year?

  1. Our first time getting into a taxi when my parents were visiting. Mom, Dad and I were getting into the back and Jeremy started walking around to the left side to get in the front seat. Dad said in disbelief, “Is Jeremy going to be driving this taxi??” He didn’t realize the driver’s side was on the right. LOL!
  2. This is one of those “it’s funny in hindsight” moments, but when I was shopping at the market with a Congolese lady for food, a lady came up to me and started begging for money. When I refused her request and continued to shop, she just proceeded to reach inside my bag with no qualms about it and tried to take my stuff! It was appalling at first, but looking back now, it’s pretty hilarious.
  3. Playing Quelf with our neighbors. Our friend, Melissa, came to spend a month with us and brought over Quelf. If you’ve never played it, you should go buy it today! It’s hilarious and makes you do some of the most ridiculous things. Playing this game in our living room with some neighbors one night is a night we won’t soon forget. We were laughing so hard we were crying.
  4. Coming up with song lyrics to the song “Nobody Knows the Trouble” with Melissa while waiting for hours and hours in town to get a passport for the girls. I will eventually post those lyrics for you to enjoy….but trust me, now is not the time. Let us get out of Congo first.😉
  5. Potty moments with Justice. Two come to mind, in particular. We were waiting at the airport for our friend to arrive when Justice informs us that he had to go potty….#2. Since there are no toilets at the airport, we had no choice but to let him go outside in the grass right in front of everyone. The other instance was at church. The church is an open-aired building, and the young kids normally play around outside during the preaching. One Sunday he comes walking inside to where we are sitting, pants in hand, and announces that he just went pee-pee outside and needed help getting his pants back on. Priceless.
  6. Shoe shopping for Crocs. Most everything, from clothes and shoes to toys and home goods, is sold on the side of the road by individuals who have second-hand stuff that they have bought at a low price to resell. We found out about a lady who only sells sandals, flip flops, Crocs, etc. and have bought from her a few times already. I went back there to see if I could find anything for Jeremy since his are paper-thin now. She wasn’t out front at her shop, so I asked another lady where she was. She yelled for her and she appeared a few minutes later. She asked me to follow her down a little dirt path and then welcomed me into her small, dimly-lit home. Her whole family welcomed me….3 kids and husband. Then she proceeds to dump HUGE bags of shoes right in the middle of her floor for me to go “shopping!” I am not exaggerating when I say that there were at least 200 pairs of shoes in the floor in a huge mound. So, low and behold, the whole family and I start digging through shoes together on our hands and knees trying to find something that would work. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anything for Jeremy, but I was able to find a cute pair of Croc knock-offs for Moriah and a pair of dressy flip flops for Segera.

Q: What are the 10 most exciting things that have happened to you while in the Congo ?

  1. Meeting the girls for the first time.
  2. Finally Family Day – bringing the girls home….at last!
  3. Celebrating with our friends at the Greek Club after we got custody of the girls.
  4. Camping on top of the waterfall with our friends.
  5. Having my parents visit us here for a month.
  6. Spending some girl time with my friend, Melissa….especially that night under our “fort!”
  7. Christmas morning with all of us together (the girls visited for the day since we didn’t have custody of them yet). And we ate a whole package of bacon! Don’t judge. We don’t get bacon here very often and you’d feel the same way if you were limited to bacon a couple times a year.
  8. Sitting in the front seat of a taxi…quite sure it’s more exhilarating and terrifying than any ride at Six Flags! And of course, experiencing the various taxis here, i.e. the tuk tuk and the motorcycle.
  9. Going to the zoo and on a little semi-safari outside of town to see the animals.
  10. Taking French lessons with Jeremy.

Q: What has been the best part in spite of the challenges?

Despite the struggles and longings for home, the best part of being here is simply the fact that we haven’t missed out on these precious months in the lives of our daughters. I cannot possibly imagine being gone for this past year and missing Moriah’s first birthday and Segera’s 4th birthday. I can’t imagine missing that first Christmas together. I can’t imagine not seeing Moriah walk for the first time or miss out on the opportunity for her to understand that I’m her momma and hear her utter those words. The best part is just being….together.

Q: What did people do or say that was helpful and unhelpful?

We have had boatloads of people who have been helpful to us throughout this journey! The most helpful thing that I have experienced was just the empathy and compassion of our neighbor, Karen. On several occasions, she would bring over flowers along with notes of encouragement with Scripture. Other times she would just let me cry and would listen attentively to our frustrations or even cry with me. Just a simple, “I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. This is incredibly unjust and wrong!” is all you need to hear at times. Also, our friend Melissa collected photos and encouragement letters from our friends and family back home and brought them over to us when she visited. Each morning, she would bring over a note and say, “Special Delivery!” That was a really special month!

As far as unhelpful, the biggest thing is just comments that people make unintentionally that end up being hurtful or inject fear or doubt into your mind. Those things can end up being destructive. For example, we had so many people who were discouraging us from coming here in the first place because of the Ebola outbreak last year. Every comment was fear-based. Ebola wasn’t even within 2,000 miles of Lubumbashi, yet people thought it was unwise for us to bring our family here. To think of what we would have missed out on had we submitted to those fears makes me sad.

Yet others questioned our adoption because of all the hardships and struggles that we were facing the first eight months of being here. Questions like, “Are you certain that you’re in God’s will with this adoption” or “Maybe these girls aren’t meant to be your daughters….there are others out there that you can adopt”….you know, those, “Why don’t you just give up and move on?” types of responses were so incredibly frustrating for us to hear. To question God’s will or calling on someone’s life just because things get hard is essentially a lack of faith in that person’s heart. Has God not made it clear that we WILL have trials and struggles in this life? Why else would he constantly remind us throughout Scripture to be strong and courageous, to persevere, to press on? When others are struggling, friends, don’t question the journey they are on. Let the Lord do his job and change their course if that’s what needs to happen….but don’t put those seeds of doubt and discouragement in their minds. Encourage, encourage, encourage!!!

Q: What seem to be the most distinctive characteristics of Congolese people/culture?

  • Friendly – you can’t walk down the street without receiving many greetings and smiles.
  • Calm and laid back (unless you’re in a taxi…that’s a whole other story). We always laugh about how the only people in a rush are the taxi drivers, but once you get to your destination, it’s slow-paced.
  • Time isn’t important and deadlines don’t exist. Relationships are what matter most…in some cases, more than the law itself. You learn to wait and be patient or you go crazy. The American mindset of efficiency, timeliness and productivity doesn’t work here.
  • Everyone loves listening to music….VERY loudly.
  • People want to look their best when they go out in public, i.e. clothes ironed, shoes shined, cars cleaned. Car washes and shoe shiners are EVERYWHERE.
  • The people find their identity in groups, i.e. women wearing dresses made out of the same fabric designs, or church denominations having their own fabric for people to make outfits to attend church, whereas we as Americans tend to be more individualistic.
  • They very much depend on each other for money and survival. If anyone is in need, they will not hesitate to ask their network of friends and family for financial support. However, in America, independence is highly valued. We often take out loans or use credit cards if we are short on cash in efforts to survive on our own.

Q: What aspects of Congolese culture seem to be most similar to “our” culture, whether Western, American, southern, Christian etc.?

  1. Many people go to church but not everyone lives it out in their daily lives. A lot of it is for show, but there’s no real relationship with Christ.
  2. People here, especially in the cities, want to have nice clothes, houses and cars to impress others. Everyone has a phone….or two or three.
  3. People value education like in the States, but, unfortunately, not everyone can afford it here. Sending your child to school and then eventually to university is quite expensive and difficult for most families.
  4. Sports are HUGE here, especially soccer. You will hear shouts, cheering and horns into the wee hours of the night when crowds are gathered around TVs watching matches.
  5. They enjoy a good party! The Congolese know how to party and do it up right when it comes to graduations, weddings and birthdays.

Q: What do you like most about Congo culture?

The pace and simplicity of life. People here make time for things that matter. We aren’t distracted by television or busy schedules. We have adequate time to spend together as a family each day and can enjoy long walks, talks and meals together without having to worry about getting to the next event. This time here has made us realize that Americans are often too busy, in general, and seem to find pride in overbooked itineraries….like it makes us important to have a lot going on. We intend to be counter-cultural in this area when we return and maintain this simplicity in our family life as much as possible.

Another great thing that we love about Congo is the fact that our children are not bombarded by the media and other negative influences that are so prevalent in the States. The kids don’t bug us for “stuff” because they don’t have all these new gadgets and toys in their faces all the time. They are content with what they have and are happy to play outside all day long with sticks, bean pods, dirt and water.

finally-family-dayQ: What has been your proudest moment since living there?

That’s an easy one…bringing the girls home on April 16 after all the blood, sweat and tears that went into getting us to that point! Being all under the same roof after all that time, doing life together, was simply indescribable and brought us more joy than we could have imagined!

Q: What are the 10 things you like least about living so far from home and family?

  1. Lack of quality medical care: When Justice got really sick our first week here, we were taken to what was supposed to be one of the best hospitals in town. It was HORRIBLE. One of the hardest things for me as a mom to swallow was the fact that there are risks about being in a country like this, and when your kid gets really sick, it can be a nightmare when you don’t have good medical facilities to go to. That has been the one thing that about made me pack my bags and go home.
  2. Language barrier: It’s incredibly hard to connect with people when you can’t speak their native language. In some other African countries, people know some English so you can communicate at least on a basic level with them. However, people study French instead of English here in Congo, so we haven’t had a chance!! Thankfully we know some Swahili, so we have survived thus far on that as far as getting around in taxis, shopping, basic conversations, etc.
  3. No babysitters!  Jeremy and I have had ONE DATE….one date, people….in the past year. Aside from that, we have been with our kiddos 24/7. We love ’em and all, but for the love, after months and months of being on our own with no break, there are nights where I’ve found myself under my mosquito net in the fetal position!
  4. Missing our church and LifeGroup: We have an amazing church back home and a group of people that we meet with on a weekly basis. We have missed those folks (among others)…you know, the core group of people that you can go deep and be real with. We’ve missed that sense of community.
  5. No access to a gym: Jeremy and I were working out several times a week back home. However, since being here, it’s so hard to motivate yourself to do something on your own at home, especially with kids running around.
  6. No personal vehicle: it’s been over a year now since we’ve driven a car. YIKES!  We miss the convenience of just hopping in our car and running here or there in town. We look forward to that freedom once we get home. Here, it’s an ordeal to get into town on taxis, especially if we have the kids with us…you might get hassled by police, squished into a backseat with several strangers, or get dropped off far from your destination in the pouring rain and have to walk through the mud and muck to get your groceries. Needless to say, we miss our little mini van. And taxi drivers….don’t get me started with them. I almost got myself arrested one day over a taxi driver when my parents were in town. Seriously, they are gonna be the death of me. They like to agree to a price before you get in the car, then when you get to your destination, they argue with you and try to make you pay another $1-2 for various reasons. For the love.
  7. Missing our friends and family and various get-togethers: don’t get us wrong, we are happy to be here with all of our kids. However, it’s so difficult to watch life happen on Facebook while our friends and families celebrate weddings, holidays, sporting events, and birthday parties. We have missed out on a lot this year, it seems, so we look forward to being back in the mix once we return.
  8. No price tags: seriously, I enjoy a good barter from time to time. It can be fun on occasion. But to have to negotiate bargains on EVERY SINGLE THING is so exhausting. I can’t wait to hit up Wal-Mart and Target when I get home and just roll up to the checkout line with my stuff….in complete silence. Oh, what a glorious day that will be! Plus, prices here are SO expensive for most things that expats enjoy, i.e. ice cream, coffee, cereal. Ice cream runs you about $8 for a small tub, a small bag of terrible coffee costs between $8-10, and cereal has price tags up to $15! I’m not even exaggerating.
  9. Poor electricity: do me a favor. Go into your bathroom and turn on your HOT bath water. Go in your kitchen and turn on the oven. Isn’t that amazing….it comes on! Now imagine if you could only do that about 3-4 hours a day when your generator comes on. I do all my cooking for the day during the lunch hour because our generator comes on then. So most every evening we have cold/lukewarm food because it was cooked at lunch and put in a container until dinnertime. Electricity is a biggie….looking forward to having power on a consistent basis, and I’m definitely looking forward to hot meals at dinnertime!!
  10. College sports! We have already missed out on a whole year of college football and basketball. College football season kicks off next weekend. We are in mourning.

Q: If you could show everyone one aspect of where you live, what would it be?

We spend a lot of time outside on the property where we live because of the serenity and beauty here. Coming home from the craziness of the city to where we live, a place called “Restawhile,” is what refreshes us and keeps us sane. Here are a few pics of the property where we roam and play. You will see the tree house on our neighbor’s property where we play with the kids, the tree swing and play set, the benches and table where we have our afternoon drink, and the fire pit….we spend MANY evenings around the fire with the kids. This place is very special….our first home together as a family. congo-home

Q: When will you get to come home?

Unfortunately we have no idea. The earliest would probably be October at this point, but there is just no way to know when that time will come because it’s all in the hands of the Congolese government. If we are home by Thanksgiving, we would be stoked because are so anxious for our families to meet our kiddos!!

<<< OUR ADOPTION >>>

Q: How did you come to decide on the two girls that you have? With so many children needing homes it has to be really hard to make a decision.

Thankfully, international adoptions don’t work this way. We aren’t given the opportunity to “select” our children. Best practices and policies have been put into place to protect children from child traffickers. Instead, we were approved by the US government through our Home Study to adopt 2 children from the Congo, boy or girl, ages 0-5. We were able to say whether or not we wanted to adopt a child with special needs and if we would be open to children who weren’t related. Our agency then worked with their partner orphanage to match us with children based on our Home Study approval, preferences, and family dynamics. We were sent profiles of our 2 girls in January 2014 and were able to say “Yes” or “No” to those referrals. (Once we saw their faces, though, it was GAME OVER for us.)

Q: What was it like to meet the girls for the first time?

I remember being so nervous and equally excited that morning! We had only seen them in pictures for 9 months….and now we were finally here on their turf, ready to look into their eyes for the first time. When we were first led into the room at the orphanage, it was dimly lit and I can remember trying to be courteous by maintaining eye contact with the director who was talking to us about the children and the home. However, I was secretly scanning the room trying to find my girls every chance I could get during the conversation. I finally laid eyes on Segera in her little ruffled dress. She looked so scared at first as they finally led her over to us to make the introduction. Our hearts melted during that first hug. She was so precious…so fragile. Then they brought out Moriah from another room. She, too, had a look on her face like, “Who are these people?!” but we were so happy to scoop her up and kiss away on those cheeks. Those first few minutes were awkward, for sure. Jeremy and I were the main ones who were elated and happy….the kids were most definitely confused and a bit terrified. But as the time went on during the visit, they opened up a bit and you could see them relaxing. We gave them little pillow pets and blankets for their first gift. We wanted them to have something special for their bed each night. The hardest part, though, on that day and the many weeks and months after, was leaving them behind at the orphanage when it was time for us to go home. UGH…I am so glad those days are over. That was the worst feeling as a parent to leave your child behind day after day when they should be in your care.

first-dayQ: What was it like to see Justice’s first reaction to meeting his two new sisters?

Justice was so sweet during that first visit with the girls (he’s been so sweet to them on most every occasion since!). Inside the orphanage when we first met them, he was just right by my side taking it all in. I mean, he was just under 3 years old and didn’t FULLY understand what was going on. He just knew that we were finally meeting “sissies.” He sat with us on the couch and helped us get out the gifts to present to them. We pulled out some snacks later and he was quick to help us serve the girls. Later he pulled out my phone and wanted to show Segera some of the games on there that he likes to play. We were really proud of him that day, and continue to be proud of the way he cares for them on a daily basis! All three of them love each other so deeply.

Q: Tell us about all three of your kids personalities and how you have seen them come out over the past year!

Justice is our little energizer bunny boy. This kid is up at 6 or 6:30am every day and is ready to rock ‘n roll. As soon as breakfast is over, he’s ready to change clothes and hit the outdoors. He is so happy to be outside and spends the majority of his day there. He and Segera will pretend play for hours, and they will cook (using bean pods, mud, water, etc.), take care of babies, and clean. He loves his cars and trucks, too, and will play with them inside when he’s resting from the heat of the day. He is very independent and has grown in his desire to try new things and accomplish things without our help. For example, he saw our neighbor riding a bike with no training wheels and took the notion to hop on his bike and take off on his own without us even being outside to help! And the crazy thing is….he did it! Aside from this, he’s a very sweet boy and has such a gentle spirit about him. He loves to cuddle, hold hands, and give hugs and kisses, and he loves the beauty that is found in flowers and sunsets. I see him go up to Segera and Moriah out of the blue and give them kisses on the cheek numerous times throughout the day, and he is constantly picking flowers for me and wants me to put it in my hair.

Segera is going to be our little class clown. That girl is hilarious! It didn’t take her long to come out of her shell after our arrival in Congo, but man oh man, her personality shines even MORE since coming home to live with us! She is so dramatic and funny, and loves to make people laugh. She, too, has the best laugh and will just bend over in giggles when she does or says something funny. She has the best faces and is incredibly sassy. She enjoys playing outside with Justice throughout the day. Half the time they are out doing their own thing as they have become little buds. She is very observant. I am not exaggerating when I say that it takes her 45 minutes to eat her meal because she is so busy taking everything in. She loves to watch people and will comment on their every move. We have to tell her to eat over and over because she is so into her surroundings. Also, she is very inquisitive and wants to know EVERY detail. Whether it be through an overheard conversation or something that she sees, she will ask a million questions in attempts to gain a better understanding of the situation and what is to come. This girl doesn’t miss a thing. She is also opinionated, smart and confident.

Little Miss Moriah. That girl is something else. She’s 19 months old now and we can tell that she is going to be a little fire ball! She tries her very best to keep up with Justice and Segera throughout the day. She can’t stand it when they are doing something that she is not allowed to do….it drives her bonkers! Moriah has quite the temper and will throw a giant fit if she is scolded or told “no.” She likes to have things her way and makes it very known what she wants. I’d say she has found her voice! She has come such a long way already since coming home to live with us, though. At first, she was stuffing her face so quickly every meal time and eating adult portions, then getting upset when I refused to give her more. Now she is eating normal toddler portions and has slowed her pace dramatically. Her stomach has gone from bloated and hard to a normal, soft chubby belly from having a balanced, nutritional diet. She has steadied her gait and can almost hit a jog where she chases the others around all day. Her speech is starting to kick in, too, and she’s saying more and more words: momma, daddy, bird, night-night, baby. She is an excellent sleeper….in the bed by 6:30 or 7pm every night and sleeps all through the night. Lastly, she loves loves loves to give hugs and kisses! I will hold her in front of my face and ask her to give me a hug. She puts her arms around my neck and squeezes so tightly…then will eventually back away and give me a big wet, slobbery kiss. She will laugh and giggle and will repeat that several times until one of us tires out. Love that sweet little thang. kiddo-collage

Q: Are your daughters adjusting well to your family?

We think so. It’s been amazing to see the transition that they have gone through in the last 4 months, but they seem to have bonded well with both of us, Justice too, and are truly happy little souls. We have gotten into a nice little rhythm each day which has been helpful because they know what to expect and seem to be secure in our family routines and practices.

<<< OUR FAITH >>>

Q: What has fueled your hope?

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.”

Q: How has this journey brought you even closer to God than you were before it began?

Our faith walk is full of peaks and valleys just like when we were living back home. In our experience, that hasn’t changed regardless of where we live. In all honesty, we can’t necessarily say we are closer to God. There are some days that seem like God is near and others when he seems like he’s nowhere to be found. When you’re wading through struggles in your life, it’s often hard to see the forest for the trees. Hindsight is 20/20 and we’ve seen how God has used the struggles and adversity to develop our character and address things in our personal lives that we should have dealt with years ago. Living in an entirely different culture and experiencing a whole new way of life has a way of doing that to you. As a result of our time here in Congo, we’ve learned to not sweat the small stuff of life, to be patient and embrace our journey no matter how difficult it may be or where it will lead us, and to trust that things are happening behind the scenes even though we can’t see them while they are happening. Our faith in God has increased and has enabled us to experience his peace and contentment in a very tangible way.

Q: What has been one of the most reassuring and real abiding truths of the Lord through the past year’s experience?

This is a hard one. We have learned so much about God’s character and purpose through this journey. It’s hard to sum it up. Probably the biggest one for us is the fact that we may never understand God’s timing or why he allows certain things to happen, but we can trust that he is sovereign and in complete control throughout the chaos. He always has a greater good in mind that we may not ever see this side of heaven. We had some really dark moments during our time of fighting for custody of the girls and our faith was tested. We questioned the Lord and even felt as though he had abandoned us at times, but we realize now that He was always there and sustained us through that darkness, even though we couldn’t feel him or see him at work. He was working all of it for good, and our job was to just persevere and trust. His grace was sufficient and the suffering eventually came to a close, just like he promises.

resmer-family

The Meaning of Home

finally family dayIt’s been a month now, and April 16 has come and gone. The beautiful day that has gone down in history for the Resmer family as the day when all the striving finally ceased and our girls came home after a 7 week custody battle. Well, “home” in the sense that our family was finally together under one roof, I suppose.

Our current residence is in Gallatin, Tennessee. We would label that as our “home” for this season of life.  Some say home is where the heart is….but what our journey indicates over the course of the past 8 months is that home is wherever we are in the world, together.

We haven’t graciously accepted our story as some probably think that we have judging the posts on our blog or Facebook page. There are days where Jeremy gets angry or frustrated over seemingly small things out of his discontentment with being here. The difficulties of internet, for one, in a third world country like Congo are enough to make one go mad when the weight of work and earning a paycheck is on your shoulders. Other days I feel suffocated by the walls of this house and the compound that we’re in and just need to get out, even if it means to go to the grocery store. And still other times we struggle to maintain our composure with taxi drivers when we just want to get from A to B without fear of losing our life or our minds because of the constant battle over another dollar for the fare. This place doesn’t always feel like home; in fact, there are days where it feels quite the contrary and seems more like a prison or remote island. But what God is teaching us is that a content heart is a peaceful heart.

We don’t know how much longer this journey in Congo will take, but one thing is for sure…we wouldn’t have done this any other way. When I take a look at my daughters and look deeply into their eyes realizing the days and moments that would have been missed, the connections that wouldn’t have been made at an early age, or the love that wouldn’t have been felt by them had we decided to stay at home, there is no doubt whatsoever that we are home….right here in Congo.

Our story has been one of struggle and victory, beauty and pain, adventure and mundane, faith and doubt. I, for one, have struggled to maintain my faith and sense of trust in the Lord through this process. The constant, seemingly unending struggle of “why” and “when” definitely got the best of me as we fought for our girls against ridiculous odds and forces. But I can already see the fruit of our waiting. I can see how the Lord is using our story for a greater good that is slowing unraveling before my eyes. I am now beginning to see that He has been there all the time and has been writing our story, our family’s story, this whole time….and his story is beautiful.

So today, moment by moment, we choose thankfulness and gratitude. Even in the hard moments when we are missing family and friends back home and longing for the ease and comfort of life in America, we will remind ourselves that our home and our love are HERE. Wherever God takes us in the world, no matter what He calls us to do next (Lord, please not another adoption anytime soon!), and however long it takes for His plan and purpose to unfold, we will trust that the pen is in the hands of the Lord and his story is perfect. lori with children

Happy New Year from Congo!

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you have had a blessed Christmas and New Year’s celebration with friends and family. We have entered 2015 after spending the last 4 months of the year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here are some of the highlights (good and bad) of 2014 for our family in Congo thus far:

  • Jeremy was on live TV our first month here, discussing orphan care with the show host.
  • We were in a car accident with missionary friends (thankfully everyone was ok).
  • Justice got dreadfully sick our first week in Congo, almost causing us to pack our bags and go home (see post from September 2014 for details).
  • Justice turned 3 in September, as well. We spent the day at the Zoo, eating at our favorite restaurant and then had a birthday party at the orphanage with all the kiddos that afternoon.
  • We spent Thanksgiving at the Carlson’s, a missionary family that lives next door. We were able to have the girls attend with us (first time outside of the orphanage) and had a wonderful time celebrating with new friends.
  • Later, we were able to have the girls spend the whole day for Christmas with us! It was wonderful. We ate 2 big meals together, opened presents and played with toys all day. Ended the day with a photo shoot with our Congolese dresses on (just the girls and me, of course). Once the adoption is final, we’ll post some of us with the girls so that you can “meet” them.
  • We started a new family tradition this year called “The Jesse Tree.” We had such a good time doing this advent activity together with Justice. Looking forward to doing it next year with ALL the kiddos.
  • Christmas 2014Aside from spending Christmas day with the girls, we had other memorable events that we attended, as well. Just before Christmas, our neighbors had a sing-along where we got together with 30+ people to sing carols and hymns after enjoying Wassail and desserts. Christmas evening we spent at the pastor’s house of a church plant that we are attending. It was beautifully setup for dinner on their long front porch. We enjoyed turkey and dressing, Indian dishes, many sides and tasty desserts. Also, during the week, we had a Christmas play at our church as well. I helped to narrate the play while the kids performed. It was really fun!
  • Moriah (the baby we’re adopting) turned 1 on Dec 27, so we spent the afternoon there celebrating with all the kids over cake and ice cream! She conked out during the party and spent the rest of the time sleeping in my arms while the others danced and played.
  • We made the decision to learn French since it looks like we’re going to be here for a while. We ordered Rosetta Stone as our Christmas present to each other, and we’re gonna attempt to become fluent before we come home!

Aside from these moments, we have spent the majority of our time here at the house working. Jeremy is still full-time with World Orphans and spends his evenings on the computer and on conference calls. He normally takes a quick 15 minute break to have dinner with us, but then he’s back to work. During the day, he has been working relentlessly on his new website called Fund Your Adoption. I am so proud of him and the hard work that he has put into this site (although at times I want to selfishly yank him away from his computer). We just launched the site a few weeks ago, but now we are excited about what’s happening this weekend: his new book releases! He is actually giving it away for FREE on Sunday only (January 4), so be sure to download it on Amazon this weekend. Even if you miss the giveaway, it will be for sale for only $5.99. It’s a great resource for families who are considering adoption OR for families already in the game. Excited to see how our site and this book help more and more families take the step to pursue adoption and not let finances get in the way!

As for our own adoption, we have not seen much movement at all over the past few weeks. We have literally been waiting on documents to be finalized for both girls. For the baby, we only need a final piece of documentation to take custody of her, but we have been waiting on it to be produced for several weeks now. For Segera (the 3-year-old), she has passed court, but the documents have yet to be served to the Municipality, initiating the final 30-day waiting period. Once she’s through that waiting period, we will be official with her, as well, and will be able to take custody (once we get the Act of Adoption, of course). The adoption suspension is still in place, so once we have custody of the girls, we will be residing in Congo until the suspension lifts….for however long that takes.

I am terrible at the waiting game. Simply terrible. It’s showing up in all sorts of ways, including frustration, tense neck and back muscles, headaches, restlessness, and loss of self-control (i.e. indulging in comfort foods), to name a few. Jeremy seems to be better at this than me, but I think a lot of his has to do with the fact that he has work to keep his mind and time occupied. I, on the other hand, have much more free time than him where I’m just hanging out with Justice, and my mind continues to reel with frustration from the strain of waiting. I am just ready to be with my girls 24/7, not just a couple of hours here and there. Four months in and we thought we would have custody of them weeks ago; at this rate, we aren’t even seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet. [Sigh.]

Thankfully, God continues to be gracious to us in numerous ways. We are trying to count our blessings and maintain perspective and an attitude of thankfulness when the feelings of hopelessness try to take over. For one, we realize that there are many adoptive, waiting families who would give their right arm to be living in Congo like we are right now until the suspension lifts but are unable to do so because of work. Knowing this helps us to get through those difficult moments where all we want to do is moan and complain about everything. It could be worse: we could be waiting AWAY FROM HERE where we don’t even have the opportunity to bond with the girls in the meantime.

Another way that God has shown His favor is in the place where we are living now. It has been such a blessing to us, one that didn’t even open up until we were already in DRC. It’s on a missionary compound just out of town, and it’s extremely quiet and peaceful here. We have a neighbor just next door who is our age and a missionary with the Assemblies of God. He is from Missouri and engaged to be married to a girl from France. We have enjoyed his company over coffee on the front porch at the end of long work days. Also, another family I’ve mentioned is just on the other side of our wall…the Carlsons. They have been a gift from above. We have enjoyed getting to know them, as they have been in Congo for years (20+ if I remember correctly). We have enjoyed feeding their fish in the pond, picking fresh herbs from the garden, and talking over meals together. Just this week, Karen brought over a fresh bouquet of flowers for me because she saw my post on Facebook about my struggle with waiting to take custody of the girls. They are super sweet and have been a breath of fresh air to us! So incredibly thankful for them.

IMG_2645-1Also, we have met many great friends through our church and at missionary get-togethers. Most of them have children, which is great, because Justice has met several little “buddies,” as he calls them, and we have made some good friends in our short time here. As much as we feel isolated at times and like we’re on a little Congo “island”, I can’t even imagine how exaggerated that emotion would be were it not for our many friends that we’ve connected with here! Thankful for community as this would probably not even be possible long-term if it weren’t for these interruptions in our daily grind.

As for a prayer request to wrap up this post, we need a long-term visa…and fast. Our tourist visa is only good for 6 months and expires on March 1. We have to figure out a way to stay here long-term, as this process is most definitely going to extend past our 6 month expiration mark. We basically have to pursue a missionary or a work visa. There are some irons in the fire for both, but nothing has come of it yet. We have some big, big decisions to make in the very near future, so please be lifting our family up during this time. Trying to not stress over it, but it tends to concern both Jeremy and me because if we don’t get our visa figured out, then we would be forced to leave the country on March 1. That is not an option for us, though, so we are trying to trust that God will open up the door for us at the right time, just as He’s always done before.

Thanks for reading! Be blessed as you begin your own adventures in 2015!

Leaving a Child Behind

We are coming up on two months here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These past few weeks have definitely had their fair share of ups and downs, no doubt. Week one was our tragic event with Justice, where we almost lost our little guy in what was the most horrific nightmare of my entire life. This event happened just days after meeting our two daughters here and experiencing the emotional high of finally being able to see them face-to-face and embrace them in our arms after eight months of being matched with them. We have celebrated birthdays, explored a new town, and met new friends. Most importantly, we are building memories with our family that will last a lifetime. Even through the longing to be back home, we know that we wouldn’t have it any other way than to be right here, right now. There is no other alternative than being together. Every sacrifice, every struggle, ever dollar….it’s all been worth it.

The part that is really difficult right now for me as a mother is the grueling process of gaining custody of the children. We should have already had custody of them by now. Yet, we are thankful on one hand to be able to visit them daily for a couple of hours at a time, it also is no easy thing to do and is quite difficult on us AND the girls. How do you explain to a 3-year-old and a baby what’s happening? How do you ease the fears that you see in their eyes when you’re packing up your stuff to go and they are undoubtedly wondering if you will return or not. I mean, these girls have experienced loss, losses that most of us cannot even begin to fathom. It’s almost impossible to provide any reassurance to these little ones that you are in this for the long-haul….that you aren’t going anywhere. Our oldest daughter, for example, is a live wire and all smiles when we first show up. Perhaps she’s so excited to see us and to have a break from “orphanage” life. We play, run, color, sing and snuggle for two hours. But when it’s about time to go, her demeanor COMPLETELY changes. The smiles are gone and the walls go up. It is absolutely destroying me.

It’s different for the baby. While she doesn’t exactly understand what’s going on, it kills me in a different way with her. She was brought to the orphanage at one month old has spent the last 9 months in an orphanage with various caregivers. This is prime attachment and bonding time, but she has not had any of that because she hasn’t had a primary caregiver for so long. She is very laid back and doesn’t cry much, but most of that has to do with the fact that their cries don’t do much good when there are 17 children and 2 caregivers. It’s breaking my heart for days, weeks and months to go by with them right under my nose, when all I want to do is scoop them up and take them home to love on them from this point forward. But, the only thing I can do is…..wait.

Several times my mind has been brought back to my NICU days with Justice, with all the feelings, emotions and breakdowns I had during that time. For those of you who have gone through that experience, you understand exactly what I’m talking about. As a mother, you feel like you’re deserting your child by leaving them behind at the hospital each day, even though it’s a necessary and important thing. In our hearts, children are supposed to be WITH US. AGH! It is such a hard thing to have to go through. I’ve been thinking that perhaps the Lord allowed me to go through that time with Justice in the NICU to prepare me for this season here in Congo. I mean, He knew we would be here. And I can quite honestly say that had I not had those seven weeks in the NICU, I would probably be pulling my hair out this very moment. It is quite possibly the hardest thing to have to come and go, leaving our girls behind, day in and day out. We are over 50 days now….and counting.

While it’s still ridiculously hard and the wait is almost suffocating at times, I can take a deep breath at the end of the day and embrace the peace that comes from knowing the Lord is in full control and has my babies in His constant care. He loves them so much more than I do, and He has so graciously allowed me the opportunity to be “momma” to these three beautiful children. These children are changing my heart on a daily basis and giving me more and more of a glimpse into the Father’s love for me. I am forever grateful for every day that I have with them, even if those moments are few during this season. So I will wait. I will cry. I will struggle. I will hope. And most important, I will love.

Lord, please let these next few weeks be expedient. I need my baby girls home with me. But more than anything, those baby girls need to be with their family. Please let it be so….and until that day comes, please grant our hearts serenity and comfort in your presence, knowing full well that your love is perfect and sufficient while we wait.