Monday, April 26, 2010

Going Private

Well, as you can tell, I've joined the club. Those of you who follow several Congo adoption blogs probably noticed that we all disappeared within a few days of each other. Those of you who just know me personally probably wondered why in the world you couldn't read my blog anymore! I'm so sorry for the sudden departure! We were advised by our attorney to be super cautious about what we say about our adoption in a public setting.

I'll be honest. I felt kind of sad about it. With a blog, I felt like I could be a voice for all of the orphans in Congo. I could help raise awareness and maybe, just maybe, spur someone on to action. And it was working! My little blog was generating 300 - 400 hits per week! I know, I the blogosphere that's not that many, but it was exciting to me! That's several hundred people who may not have ever thought twice about Congo or the people there.

But at the same time, the warnings to go private had me freaked out a bit, too. I knew child trafficking could be an issue. And I worried a little, too, about a ransom situation. Beyond that, though, I wasn't sure if there was a specific concern or what was prompting this recommendation.

My ultimate conclusion? Better safe than sorry. I took the blog down right away, because ultimately I do not care to do anything that would put Blake or any other Congolese children or adoptive families in any danger.

We spoke with our attorney last night, though, and she put some of our fears at ease. The main reason for the recommendation that we go private was just that while our adoption is being processed, it is best to not have our information fall into the wrong hands. A blog is like a newspaper for the world to read, and anyone looking for a bribe, or just to cause trouble, could read it.

We did talk about the risk of danger, too, and her point was that Congo has been an unstable country for years with lots of extreme violence. There has been a recent case where some Red Cross workers were kidnapped (and thankfully, released) which caught the west's attention. Due to that, there's been more travel warnings posted lately. As our attorney pointed out, though, millions of innocent people have unfortunately died in recent years. It's completely wrong that the west doesn't want to pay attention until there are Red Cross workers involved. What about the MILLIONS of innocent victims who have lost their lives in the last fifteen years? Does no one care about them!?!?

Yes!! Yes, there are people who care!! And most importantly, God cares!!!

So yes, I'm being more careful with my blog. I want to protect our son and all of the other children in Congo. But I still feel so torn because I want the world to know that the people of Congo need us.

The women there who are violently raped and left for dead need us.

The people who have fled to a refugee camp to try to find safety, in spite of the fact that there aren't enough resources there to care for everyone, need us.

The boys around Josh's age who are being forced to pick up a machine gun and terrorize innocent people need us.

The families just trying to survive and live their lives in peace need us.

The babies, the children, the innocent who have no one to love them...I'm in tears thinking about it. They're hungry. They're scared. They're sick with completely preventable diseases. They need us.

They need us to be Jesus' hands and feet. They need us to love them. They need us to care.

I can't tell the world anymore. But I can tell you. I just did. And maybe you can tell someone else. And slowly but surely maybe we can make a difference.

***(insert pause here, while I take a deep breath)***

Our attorney told us that it is possible our adoption will take longer as there may be some additional hoops to jump through, but she does not feel at this point we have any reason to worry that we won't be able to get our children, or even safely travel to get them.

This entire adoption journey is a leap of faith for us. All this recent news is just one more way that we'll need to trust that God is in control and that He will work out all of the details in His perfect time!

So, welcome to my private blog. I'm glad to have you on this journey with us. I'm thankful for your prayers and your support for our family... and also for the people of Congo.

While I would love for you to share with others things that you learn about what's happening in Congo, I would ask that you please not repost any of our personal information found here (especially about our adoption) without our permission. Thank you!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Like Christmas in April

There really is nothing better as a waiting adoptive parent than to get new pics of your child! There's a group in Congo now finalizing three adoptions and I knew that our attorney's husband (their escort) would be visiting Blake while they were there. Our attorney told us the other day that he visited Blake and delivered 50 lbs of formula and baby supplies, but we didn't think we would see pictures until he returned to the States.

Imagine our surprise then when we returned from our interracial adoption training today to see new pics in our inbox!!!!

Oh. My. Goodness. I just stared at those pictures for an insanely long amount of time - over and over again, inspecting every single detail. Admiring his sweet little hands and face. Worrying because his belly seems big (it has since dawned on me that they use cloth diapers, which I'm not used to. He's just an itty bitty guy in a giant cloth diaper - that would easily explain the big belly!)

As I sat there studying the pictures, I alternated between really big grins and tears. I'm so touched by seeing the genuine love and care in the face of (who I'm assuming is) his foster mama. Grateful doesn't even come close to explaining what I feel for her and her family for caring for Blake while we wait to bring him home. And my baby? I cannot wait to hold him in my arms and kiss his sweet, sweet face.

He's so beautiful, so tiny, so precious, so helpless. So perfect. So very loved.

The "Perfect" Ride!

After my post about our search for a new vehicle, we were sent this by a friend. Don't you think it'd be PERFECT!?!?!?

I especially love that it's called the Kool Bus! (Does it really need the sign? It kind of speaks for itself, don't you think!?!) And if you know me personally, you know that nothing really describes me better than, "Bad to the bone." hahaha!!! : )

Can't you just see us pulling up to soccer and baseball practices, the grocery store, swim lessons, and church in it!?!?

Crack. Me. Up.

It is "kool" and all, but I think we'll keep searching!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Driving Along In My Automobile

As a soon-to-be family of 7, we're currently hunting for a new vehicle. I have a Chrysler Town & Country minivan right now that I love, but it unfortunately just won't fit us all. Believe me, we've tried. We just don't think Josh will enjoy riding with one cheek on the seat and one in the cup holder.

So we're checking all sorts of websites (,,,, and and checking local car lots for a vehicle that is large enough to fit us all, yet manageable, and at least a little bit stylish. And because of our commitment to stay out of debt, we're paying for the car outright, which means we're most likely buying a "previously owned" or "new to us" car. Here's the four we seem to have narrowed the list down to:

Ford Expedition EL

Cadillac Escalade ESV

Chevy Suburban

GMC Yukon XL

Anyone have any feedback on any of these? Love 'em? Hate 'em? I'm so nervous about driving something so huge, but I really have no choice. Because I'll probably need a double stroller with me on a regular basis and we like to travel, we want something that has some storage space, in addition to being able to seat our whole family safely.

And if anyone knows of someone who's wanting to sell one of these lovely SUV's, or even if they want to give one away (hey, a girl can dream!), please contact us! With all the expenses we have coming up (GULP) to complete two international adoptions, buy a new vehicle, get a new bunk bed and mattresses for the girls, and purchase lots of extra baby supplies, we'd like to be as wise as we can with the resources God has blessed us with! We know He has called us to this, and we know He will provide, it's just when you look at it all on paper that it seems crazy!

Oh, and please pray for us as we shop. No offense, but used car salesmen can sometimes be difficult. We were on a lot last night and about six of them stood in the middle of the road so we had no option but to stop our car to talk to them. We'd really love to find an honest, trustworthy one to work with!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's In a Name?

Naming a child is not usually easy. Well, I guess I really can't say that. Hubby and I talked about baby names on our second date (almost 14 years ago!) and we chose Josh and Sarah. I know, I know. That's weird. So those, actually, were quite easy choices. Megan's name was not as easy to choose, and choosing a name for our new little guy hasn't been the easiest either. I've had many people ask about our little guy's name, so I thought I'd share it and how we got to it.

I am a total planner. I have a list (and most likely a spreadsheet to go with it) for just about everything. Seriously. I'm that lady. So it goes without saying that as we've talked about names over the past couple of months, if there was one we liked even a little, it went on a master list I had. One of these names was one that I've loved forever, but Hubby wasn't quite as sure. As I read through the big list, I got to that one and looked at him and said, "I'm assuming you don't want ***** on the short list?" And he surprised me by saying it was fine to put it on the short list. Love that man! : )

Well, we ended up with four names on our short list and I looked up the meanings of each of the names. When I looked up this particular name that I've always loved, it showed its meaning as "dark, bright." Our first thought was that that seemed contradictory, but then it dawned on us. He has this beautiful dark hair, eyes, and skin, AND he's such a bright spot in our lives! (Not to mention that finding bright spots is my blog title!!) It just felt perfect for our sweet little man.

That name is Blake.

Love it!

Now onto the middle name...

We not only wanted him to have a Congolese middle name but we also found out that he had to have a Congolese name as part of his name. So, we began looking for names in Swahili or Lingala. Lingala names aren't exactly easy to find. We did find two that we liked in Swahili, but when we sent them on, we were told that those particular names aren't used in Congo. Try #2. We found a few more Swahili and African names, and also included some French names on the list. Nope. Those wouldn't work either. We finally found a Bible Table of Contents in Lingala and really liked the Lingala version of Isaiah, which is Yisaya. We sent the name off to our attorney and she thought it sounded nice. Only then we found out that he has a name they've been calling him and were asked if we could include that name. We were first sent us two names. The second one we weren't crazy about, but we really did like the one they've been calling him, and the meaning is very cool. It's Omole (we think it's pronounced oh-MOLE-ay), which means "His choice." We completely feel like God has brought us all together, and that He chose us for each other. That name was perfect, too!

So that's how we came upon his name. Blake Omole it is. Our (beautiful!) dark, bright spot, who was chosen by God. We love it, and we love him!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Journey Friends

This adoption journey is exactly that. A journey.

It's a journey filled with ups and downs and joys and stresses different from anything I've known up to this point in my life. A journey where I'm meeting people along the way that I'd otherwise never have gotten to know. I've said it before and I'll say it again that so many adoptive families are just plain awesome. I am just so very encouraged by adoptive families I personally know, but also by people I've never met, only having talked by phone or even only maybe by following their blogs. I just think it's really cool how God brings people into your life and I'm grateful for the people he's brought to my path through our adoption.

Tonight I had a meeting with a group of moms who all live within 30 minutes of me or so and are all adopting from Congo!!! Is that not amazing!?! I was so encouraged to hear their stories and see the pictures of their beautiful children and know that we are not alone on this journey. I count it a true blessing to have met them tonight and to be able to share in their joys and fears and walk on this journey with them.

Just feeling blessed.

In other adoption news, we don't have any further word on the one-month old. We are still waiting. Hubby and I are feeling more and more, though, like this may not happen and we are feeling our hearts open more to a different child instead. Not that we're closing the door, because if in fact he is still available, we would LOVE to be his Mommy and Daddy. We are just realistically coming to terms with the fact that the likeliness of that happening is becoming less every day. I think no matter what happens, though, there will forever be a spot in my heart for him, wondering about his life and praying for God's blessings for him.

At the same time, and in happier news, I am falling more and more in love every day with the little guy we know will be ours. I look at his picture about 1,000 times throughout the day and (confession time) may be caught from time to time talking to him via his picture. No, I'm not crazy! I promise! I just have this innate desire to hold him, kiss him, and be his mother. I can't do that when I'm halfway around the world, folks! This mama is desperate! : )

Our home study is written and we're just awaiting approval and edits from everyone who needs to see it. We've been working on our dossier, too, and I feel like we're making really good progress. My hope is that we would be finished with all of our paperwork by this time next week. Then the real waiting begins! We have plenty to do, though, to keep us busy while we wait! We'll move Megan in with Sarah, work on the nursery, shop for a new car that will fit our family of 7, buy any new baby gear that we'll need (if we have two children relatively close in age we'll need two of most of the baby gear), and hopefully have occasional updates about our precious ones in Congo. But we'll also be enjoying our family as it is now. We do not care to wish away any time together, even though our hearts long for our family to be completed.

This journey sure is a crazy, but wonderful one. I'm so grateful God has us on it and is guiding us through it all! Thanks for following along! (Oh, and if you're following, I'd love for you to let me know! Just click over on the right to become a follower! There's no pressure, it's just fun to know there are actual people who read along.) : )

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Breaking the Silence

Have you noticed I've been silent the last couple of weeks? Well, it was certainly not because of a lack of excitement! It's been an INSANE two weeks!! It was more because of a concern for privacy for our family and so many unknowns it wasn't even funny.

Praise God, though, things are coming together and I feel like I can actually update with real live news! Just as a disclaimer, there have been other things going on the past couple of weeks that I could have (and should have!) posted about like Josh's 7th birthday and his cool ninja party, some crazy terrible news that was actually covered in the States about extreme violence in Congo (you can read about it here and here from some awesome bloggers who share not only what happened but what YOU can do about it), and hubby's birthday. But for some reason, when I couldn't write about the adoption, I found it hard to write about anything. Period.

So...would you like to know what all is going on in our home?

Well, I alluded to the fact in a previous post that one of us had some medical issues that needed to be sorted out. It was me. I had some weird results from the routine adoption physical which led to 7...count 'em 7! additional trips to a doctor including two specialists. I just had another trip to a specialist today and got the final verdict....

I'm completely healthy!

Praise God for that!!! Of course, I would have preferred that I not be poked, prodded, and examined quite so thoroughly but it's a wonderful feeling to get a clean bill of health and to be able to move forward with our adoption instead of changing the theme of this blog to dealing with some sort of medical crisis! God is faithful, and I know that no matter what my test results were, He would be with us, guiding us, but I sure am grateful that I am healthy!

So onto much more exciting happenings....adoption news! We were returning home from my brother and sister in law's house 12 days ago and were both on our cell phones talking to our parents. Hubby had a call waiting beep on his and I could tell by the nature of his voice that it wasn't one of his buddies. My first thought was that it was our lawyer through OFA and she had a referral.

Guess what? It was our lawyer and she had a referral!!!

Ohmygoodness. We were so floored! Our home study wasn't even done yet! She was calling, though, because it was really a matter of life and death. She was calling about a tiny one month old baby boy who needed to be moved from the orphanage into foster care, but couldn't be moved until he had a family.

Our prayer has always been that if God placed a baby on our doorstep, we wanted to be available. We had no picture, no medical information, really very little knowledge about him, but we felt like he was a baby who had been placed on our doorstep. In faith, we said yes we'd love to have him as part of our family!!

Well, unfortunately, days went by with no word that he'd been moved from the orphanage into foster care. The commune (Congo's equivalent of like a town hall/gov't center) had not signed off for his adoption. At this point, we believed that it'd just be a few more days and then we'd have either their approval or find out that they had located a relative who could take him.

Here's where our adoption story got even crazier. Our lawyer called again with ANOTHER referral! While the commune had not signed for this first baby, there was an 8 day old little boy who also needed a family and they had signed for him. We actually received a picture of him the day after we learned about him.

But here's the thing...while we were wanting to adopt two kiddos, we didn't think we could adopt two non-biologically related children less than nine months apart in age. (It's called artificial twinning and most of the adoption world does not recommend it.) How could we choose between the two boys!?!? After a sleepless night, much discussion and prayer, and many tears shed by me, we just really felt God calling us to be open to BOTH of these boys. I mean, when you look back at the fact that He so clearly led us to Congo and then opened our hearts to two children instead of one, and now six short weeks later we had two referrals of sweet little guys who desperately needed a family?? How could we not believe that He was still leading us!?! After a tearful call to our social worker explaining the situation to her, she agreed that it is certainly a unique situation and she was not going to stand in our way. She would support us if we wanted to adopt both of them.

We called our lawyer back the morning after we had received the picture and said that yes, we'd love to have that little guy as part of our family, too!

OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! So very exciting! TWO itty bitty boys!!

However, in the meantime we've learned that the commune is still not prepared to sign for the one-month old. They've told our contact there they'd like to wait a couple of months. We believe they either know someone who witnessed his abandonment or have an idea of who his family is. So we do not know if this little guy will join our family or not. Our prayer is that a decision be made by the commune soon, though. If he has family there that wants him, that is wonderful! But if he doesn't, he needs a family so that he can get out of the orphanage and into a foster home while the paperwork is processing. We are taking it day by day, but our lawyer has encouraged us to be open to whatever child needs us and fits in our family. We don't have a lot of time to wait as our US paperwork will hopefully be submitted within a week or so and our dossier will be sent to Congo soon after that. She said that we need to keep the two children processing within a couple of weeks of each other. We don't want to travel twice!

So, we know at least one sweet little (now two-week old) boy who will be joining our family hopefully in the next four to six months. We have another little boy who has also stolen part of our hearts, but are not sure if he will be joining our family or not.

Okay...I've held off long enough. Would you like to meet our little guy?? Here's the referral picture we received...

The email we received (translated from French) said that it was unfortunately a bad picture; he's a cute baby. We think it's pretty tough to get a good read on what he looks like from this picture, but isn't he just precious!?! Those big brown eyes...awww!!!!

We did get notice this week that he was moved to foster care and is safe and sound! Praise God!!There's a group going over there right now to complete a few adoptions (so exciting!!!) and we've been told that we'll get some new and better pictures of our little guy. I can't wait!!!