Family Picture

Family Picture

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 2-GOTCHA DAY!!!!!!!

Our gotcha day happened on Saturday.  We got up, ate breakfast, got our gifts ready for the nannies and workers at the orphanage and then we WAITED!!  Our in country guy, let's call him D, well he was super busy on Saturday.  There were a lot of adoptive families in country that day, so he had a full plate.  D was going to bring the kids to us.  After a long day of waiting at 3:30 D pulled up with the boys.  We ran out to meet them in the parking lot.  Patrick ran up to me and gave me a big hug, Constantin ran up to Matt and John shyly came up to us.  We held them and loved on them.  I turned to ask D about their schedules and their needs and he said, well we have a problem.  The hotel had contacted D and asked us to leave as they did not accept international programs.  Luckily D was able to get us a room at the first hotel that had said no.  So it was a two minute gotcha moment followed by running up to our rooms, packing our bags and moving on to the next hotel.  We came to find out that there are not many places that accept adoptive families primarily because they are worried about child trafficking.  And rightly so!  These are their country's children and although they maybe cannot care for them, I admire and respect the way they protect them.  Not everyone adopts ethically and some adopt and then do not take proper care of the children.  They are right to be concerned.  So we got to our next hotel, got our bags to our room and settled in.  It was now time for supper so we went downstairs to the restaurant and found the best thing ever!!!  Another adoptive family!!  Yay!!!!  It was such a blessing to spend the week with the most awesome family ever!!  So the boys got to play with their friends, we ate some supper and then called it a night.  We were all exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep!  The one thing I remember during all the chaos was thinking that the boys were so small.  And they are so tiny.  It was a joy just hugging them and loving on them.  And my adrenaline was pumping as I ran to meet them.  Such a sweet, sweet moment that I will never forget.

God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. Psalm 68:6

Because of all the chaos we only have the one gotcha day picture, but it is a precious moment of a dad with his boys!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DRC-Day 1

**Disclaimer:  These posts regarding our time in the DRC are honest posts about our specific experience.  What we experienced will be very different than others who have traveled outside of the US before and are familiar with international travel.  Being we are hillbillies and this is our first international trip, it was a little different for us.  And these are just our opinions and thoughts.**

We left early on a Thursday morning to get to Minneapolis airport heading to Kinsasha.  The thing we were most scared about on the whole trip was the airplane flights.  But those ended up being the easiest, least scary part of the whole trip.  Our flights to Kinsasha were easy and uneventful.  Long and boring, but easy.  We arrived in Kinsasha at 6:40 on Friday night.  We were lucky to have another adoptive family on the same flight as us, so when we got to the airport we could stick together with them.  The Kinsasha airport is definitely not like any other airport, it is unique and all it's own.  But you know, it's Africa and the DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world, so what do you expect!!  Navigating the airport was fairly easy.  Our agency had things set up very well and our airport person met us right away and helped us get our luggage.  We were glad to have him upon exiting the airport as there were a lot of guards staring at us, speaking quite loudly.  We then loaded our luggage into a Jeep, except that there were 2 families and we had a LOT of luggage.  Maybe pack light next time????  So we had to put suitcases under our feet and on our laps.  And our friends had to sit on each other's laps in order to fit in the Jeep.  Safety first baby!!  The car ride to our hotels was crazy.  And I came to find out that this was light traffic.  Lots of cars going everywhere, honking the horn contantly, no stoplights, people walking in front of the cars.  Because it was dark we didn't get to see much of the city; Matt and I's only memories of what we saw is that a lot of people were out partying.  The sides of the highway were lined with people, fires are going and they are just hanging out and enjoying each other's company.  They do life together so well in Africa.  A lesson that we in the US need to learn from.  We need to do life together better here instead of being so isolated.  On a side note, we were the first family to adopt three kids with our agency, so we had a few hiccups.  The first issue was the hotel.  We had a hard time securing a hotel because the hotel our agency recommended did not want five people in one room.  They told us no repeatedly and our in country staff no repeatedly.  So our in country guy had lined up another hotel for us to stay at.  Perfect!  So we were informed of this on our way to our hotel.  We arrived, looked it over, looked good, checked in.  Went to sleep, ready for our gotcha day!!!

These are pictures taken from our hotel.  It was like a tropical oasis.  At this point we felt like we were on a tropical vacation.  There was a restaurant next door to our hotel and we would hear the wonderful noises of women having a party.  So vibrant and wonderful in Africa.  So day one is a bit boring.  Please stay tuned for Day 2- Gotcha Day.  I guarantee it gets better and more interesting!! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reflections-1 Week Home

We arrived home from the DRC on Sunday morning at 2am on March 17th so we have been home exactly ten days.  And what a ten days it has been!!  This adoption thing has rocked our world!  And we are stronger and better because of it.  So many thoughts have went through my head about what these past couple of weeks entailed.  First and foremost I realized as soon as we got home that I definitely romanticized adoption.  The idea of adoption and these sweet kids is so much different than the reality.  Not for everyone, but for ME.  I thought that we would just run over to the DRC, pick up three sweet boys, see a bit of Africa, come home, our girls and boys would love on each other instantly, the boys would love us, they would be so thankful for us, and our love would overflow for them.  Ah, and then reality hits me on the head.  Our boys are broken and they need to be redeemed!!!  Just as we were broken and our sweet Jesus redeemed us by dying on the cross for us.  So these past couple of weeks have been wonderful in a bittersweet way.  We have learned so much, prayed so much, pressed into Jesus harder than we ever knew we could.  We have relearned how to be parents.  We have relearned how to really give love.  As I process through our journey I think of how we as Christians often romanticize the gospel.  Jesus died on the cross for us and we say yep that's great, let's pray our prayer, give my 10%, go to church, pray a little, read the Word every once and a while and call it good.  We are saved, it's all good.  And we ARE saved by a Jesus who loves us, but I think he calls us to much more.  He CHOSE Paul to preach the gospel and Paul suffered for it.  He didn't choose Paul and say here you go, here's the easy life.  He called Paul to do great things for him and he was always with him, but it wasn't an easy life for Paul.  Paul is my go to guy whenever I think about our adoption process.  We are Paul.  We are chosen and God is with us and for us even though it is not always easy.  And my favorite part about all of this is that I praise GOD for it!!!  Matt and I feel SO blessed that we were called, we obeyed, and we get to know our GOD in greater ways.  It is humbling and amazing. 

And yet we are weak, we lack wisdom, we mess up daily.  And so we rely on a God whose grace is sufficient for us.  We are totally dependent on God to get us through each day because we really don't have it.  We don't have enough wisdom, enough love, enough patience.  But God does and he gives us everything we need to make it through.

"But he said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may
rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses,
in insults,
in hardships,
in persecutions,
in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 9-10