Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finishing our Homestudy

On Tuesday we will be meeting with Kelly to complete the paperwork side of our "homestudy". We have acquired birth certificates, a marriage license, dog vaccinations, proper security for our firearms, letters of reference, letter stating our septic is adequate, physicals for all eleven of us, employment verification, etc.

On Thursday we will meet with Kelly for a final appointment and a chance for her to walk through our home. She will take notes on beds, sleeping arrangements, and checking to see that our home is safe for little ones.

Once our report is written it will be returned to us. We will then send it on to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. From there the report will be approved and sent onto the Embassy in Liberia. At the same time we will be working on several steps here in the United States.

Together with our agency in Florida we will be collecting documents to send in our dossier to Liberia. These documents must all be notarized and apostilled (an official stamp from the state that the notary is registered).

At the same time Pastor Flomo in Liberia will begin to find children for us. The children will be staying with members of Pastor Flomo’s church until we have clearance and funds to travel.

Speaking of funds…each of these government agencies require money to do their job. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Office requires $1340 for investigation and clearance for us to adopt and $160 for our fingerprinting. The government in Liberia requires $6000 for all the work done on behalf of the girls in their country. Our agency here in Florida requires $2500 for the work here in the states. This is just to give you an idea of what we are in need of raising in the next month or two.

As soon as our funds are raised, clearance is given for us to adopt internationally and the girls are formally declared orphans, we will be ready to travel.

This week will put us one step closer to bringing the girl’s home. Please pray that all goes smoothly. Also pray that we will be able to raise the funds needed. We have seen the Lord provide each step of the way. May He be praised!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thank You

Over the past two weeks we have been greatly blessed by so many people. We met a dear lady from Liberia, received encouraging notes from several countries around the world and accepted generous donations from family and friends. It seems everywhere we turn God is confirming Liberia, West Africa in our hearts and minds. We cannot begin to thank each of you enough for partnering with us to bring home our little girls.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Journey Continues…

This past Thursday Andrew and I met with our homestudy agency. Kelly reviewed the paperwork that we completed for the meeting, informed us of the next steps, and educated us on medical conditions, bonding issues and other helpful information as we get one step closer to bringing our little ones home. We will meet with Kelly again the week after Thanksgiving to finish up our homestudy.

Today we were embraced by our church family. It is so wonderful to know that our children will be wanted and loved by so many in our church family.

Please pray with us as we continue to raise funds. We are also looking for frequent flyer miles or buddy passes to help lower the cost of travel.


Monday, November 17, 2008

A Little Bit of Background

I think it will be helpful to understand a few facts about the country of Liberia and some of its history, so I've put together a few details that I've gathered from numerous sources. Hopefully the following will give you a glimpse of the great many challenges that the country has experienced, and is experiencing even today.

The country...Liberia

After 14 years of civil war, Liberia is the second poorest country in the world. The war being the most deadly and devastating ever fought in Africa, has left nearly ¼ million orphans in a country of 3.4 million people.

There is no electricity, running water or mail service. Generators, wells and cell phones are a luxury. Unemployment is approximately 90% and illiteracy is 85%, yet there is still great hope for this nation.

Some history

Liberia was founded, as a colony, by the United States in 1822. In 1847, freed slaves (who were brought to Liberia) from the United States declared independence and founded the Republic of Liberia. In 1980, the government was overturned in a military coup, and from 1989 to 2003 Liberia was in a state of unrest, enduring the First Liberian Civil War (1989-1996) and the Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003).

Over the years the United States has played an important role in the continued economy of Liberia. In 1926 Firestone opened the world’s largest rubber plantation in the country. This plant employs around seven thousand workers that tap native trees to drain latex for the production of tires in the United States.

Another important role the US has played in Liberia was during World War II. The United States began giving technical and economic assistance by providing personnel to assist in building the Roberts International Airport and the Freeport of Monrovia.

In the early 1980’s, the United States paid Liberia $500 million for pushing the Soviet Union out of their country and allowing the United States exclusive rights to the Liberian ports for use in spying on Libya.

14 Years of War

The 1989-1996 Liberian civil war, which was one of Africa's bloodiest, claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and further displaced a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries. Entire villages were emptied as people fled. Soldiers stole children, committed atrocities, raping and murdering people of all ages, in what became one of the world's worst episodes of ethnic cleansing.

Liberia's civil war claimed the lives of one out of every 17 people in the country, uprooted most of the rest, and destroyed a once-viable economic infrastructure. The strife also spread to Liberia's neighbors, contributing to a slowing of the democratization that was progressing steadily through West Africa at the beginning of the 1990s and destabilizing a region that already was one of the world's most marginal.

The Second Liberian Civil War began in 2002 and ended in October 2003, when United Nations and United States military intervened to stop the rebel siege on Monrovia and exile Charles Taylor to Nigeria. By the conclusion of the final war, more than 250,000 people had been killed and nearly 1 million displaced.

Facts about Liberia

  1. Area: 43,000 square miles
  2. Population: 3,489,072
  3. Language: English
  4. Capital City: Monrovia
  5. Life Expectancy: 40 years
  6. Infant Mortality: 156 deaths/1,000 live births
  7. Unemployment: 90%
  8. Illiteracy: 85%
  9. Health Care virtually non-existent
Hopefully this has given you a brief glimpse into the challenges that are faced in Liberia. Our hearts truly go out to the people. When we reflect on how much we have, we're blessed beyond measure in comparison.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our Quest to Adopt...

If you've read the brief introduction about me and my family, you'll potentially be wondering why on earth our family would be interested in adopting. I can surely understand this thinking...I mean, the Lord has already blessed us with nine of our own children, and there is a strong possibility that He will bless us with more through natural child birth.

So why adopt?

Let's examine what God's word, the Bible says about orphans:

James 1:27

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

It's true, the Lord has blessed us with so many of our own children already. But you see, there are so many children that don't have what our children do. It's for this reason and many others that we are seeking to adopt children from Liberia.

With that said, we hope that you'll join with us in our endeavor to adopt two beautiful children from Liberia. How can you join us? Well here are a few practical things that you can do:

  1. Most importantly, become a "prayer partner" with us and ask that the Lord will bless our efforts to adopt these children.
  2. Pray that the Lord will provide the financing necessary to enable the adoption.
  3. Ask the Lord to bless you financially, and then pray about how you can help us with the resources that will be required to make this goal a reality.
We want to thank you in advance for your willingness to join us in prayer and, as the Lord leads, in other practical ways to help make our desire to be obedient to the Lord in this area of adoption a reality.

In Christ,