"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" James 1:27

We continue to believe strongly in adoption - this blog serves to tell of our journey and encourages all who read it to learn of and love the journey of adoption!

Contact us at VJansen90@gmail.com

Monday, July 24, 2017

Home. For Now.

We had an amazing time in Ethiopia.  Our love for the country and its people expanded more than before.  Our time with our son was nothing short of amazing.  He is a wonderful young man and we can't wait to have him join the rest of the family.  Obviously, communication will take a while on his end and on ours, but we will get there.  Realistically, we are dealing with three different languages.....Ethiopian sign language, American sign language and then English.  It's going to take a while...but we all seem to be pretty determined.  :-)

We spent our time with our son playing lots of games - Uno, Bounce Off, etc.  He also enjoys throwing the football and kicking the soccer ball around and has a great sense of humor (necessary in our family!).  We also spent some time each visit comparing signs in our own language, spelling words and trying to just learn more about each other.  He did a great job testifying to the judge (with the help of his wonderful teacher) and was clearly discouraged when the judge said we needed to place another newspaper ad to see if his birthparents respond.  His testimony was clear....he wants to come home with us. He's spent at least 8 years in an orphanage and has watched numerous kiddos leave with their adoptive families.  He's more than ready.  We were delighted to learn that he remembers Martha from when they were at the orphanage together - what a gift that is!

We were also blessed to see and experience Ethiopia - the beauty of its landscape, the culture, the generous and welcoming people. We were able to worship Jesus Christ together with believers from all over the world - a little taste of heaven!  And, visiting a Young Life Camp in Ethiopia was definitely a highlight.  We also had our hearts broken again by some of what we saw....the poverty, the harshness of living on less than $2.00 a day for so many people.  It's hard to wrap our minds around so much of it and impossible to describe it.

For now, we're home.   And, our bodies, inner time clocks (and tummies) are still adjusting.  And, right now, we could really use your prayers.  We have a few decisions to make in a very short amount of time (like less than 24 hours most likely) and because we don't feel well rested /re-aclimated (and thus aren't sure we trust our decision making right now), we just need God to make things very clear.  We'd like to put out a fleece like Gideon (Judges 6:36-38) and have it that clear.  These decisions aren't easy - they involve lots of money, schedules, our family, other people and the possibility of one or both of us returning to Ethiopia in just a week - we don't take them lightly.  Would you please pray that we make the best decisions for everyone involved?   We depend on your prayers and the nudging of the Holy Spirit.....to God be the Glory!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Stressed and Blessed

As we are down to single digits before we leave for Ethiopia....my stress level is off the charts!  I'm a pretty detail oriented, organized person, so I am making list upon list, pile upon pile and my brain is in total overdrive (so much so, that I am having trouble sleeping....a rare thing for me. And, certainly doesn't help anything at all).  Dave is also trying to pre-plan and prepare as much as possible from the work/church end.  So - you can imagine neither of us are feeling the calmest of spirits.

I am trying to cover every detail imaginable on the US side....finances for adoption and day to day life here while we're gone, food, plans for the kids, sanity for my sister as she stays here, and just about anything I can possibly think of.  It's a lot.

Then, there's the Ethiopia side.  Making sure we have a place to stay and transportation.  Hoping to see a Young Life Camp and also some special friends while we're there (because when you travel that far, you need to pack it all in), and then there's our son.  Meeting him for the first time, spending time with him, seeing his world.  And, the main reason for it all....trying to get him HOME.  This will involve a lot of waiting, praying, talking and probably more waiting.  That's hard, this hurry up and wait stuff.  More than hard sometime, it's heart wrenching.  And, then (probably because I'm tired) my brain jumps to all the "what if's"......what if this trip doesn't help at all?  What if his case just gets pushed aside....for months? What if we have to stay and run out of finances to get all 3 of us home?  What if something happens back at home?  What if? What if? WHAT IF?

And, then I try to calm myself down with some deep breaths, wipe away some tears and listen to that voice that is trying to break through....."TRUST ME.  My plans are better than yours.  They are BEST."  And, then I put out a call for help with some meals for the kids while we're gone.....and the response is overwhelming.  And, then we receive another baked good donation for the bake sale.  And, then someone I just met tells me she has been praying for our family this past week.

So, instead of "What if?" my phrase needs to change to "And, then"

"And, then" because I know that I can trust my Lord Jesus, my Savior.  I know He holds my future and my family in His hands, not my own.  "And, then" because God is writing this story of ours and He has plans that I can't even see.  "And, then" because I'm going to re-tell this story in the future by saying "And, then, God did this....and this.....and this."

I'm crazy stressed out, so why am I taking the time to blog?  Because it just forced me to sit down, refocus, slow down and remember "And, then".

God is good.  All the time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Traveling and treats!

We have booked flights, a hotel and are getting ready to travel to Ethiopia!  We (Dave & Vicki) leave July 13 for Addis Ababa to meet our boy!!  We are so excited to spend time with him and be back in Ethiopia and experience it again.

We will also be going to see what we can do to try to expedite his case - we would greatly appreciate your prayers that we can see that happen in some way.  We are praying BIG and need you to join us in that.  There is some movement in Ethiopian adoptions again, but we are a bit anxious as to how long that will last and as to what extent.

We will be having a Bake Sale Fundraiser and "Lemonade for Lalli" stand on Sunday, July 9 from 3 - 6 p.m. at CenterPoint Lewis Center (7750 Greenmeadows Dr N. Lewis Center) to help offset some of the travel costs and childcare costs that we pay monthly.  Your support and help would be great - please stop by for some baked goods and lemonade and just to hang out for a while!  Weather permitting we'll be outside and would love to have our "village" come out in full force!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support in bringing our boy HOME.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

No news....

We are so grateful for so many of you who are praying and checking in on us and our adoption situation.  As they say, adoption is not for the faint hearted....TRUTH.

The recent visits to Washington D.C. by some Ethiopian Adoptive parents were well received and we feel good about what happened there, the results and the support of some of our Government officials.

Currently, there is no news about our specific case.  There have been updates on the adoption situation from various sources, but unfortunately, nothing really for us to grab on to.  The news and updates we receive seem to make us hopeful and then take the wind out of our sails, all in the same day.  And this seems to be happening every other day at least.  It's a bit exhausting and we try not to hang our hopes and hearts on any of it so much.....probably for our own protection.

As always, we plead for your prayers on behalf of our boy, our family and the over 200 other U.S. families in similar situations.  We continue to put our trust in God.....not in man.  Please join us in praying and knocking on Heaven's door as we continue to pray for a summer miracle!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Big Stuff = Big Prayers

The journey continues.....there is potential for some big happenings tomorrow with the Adoption situation with Ethiopia and all families involved could use some BIG prayers ALL day long....

*There are 4 adoptive Momma's in process of Ethiopian adoptions spending the day tomorrow in Washington D.C.  They have scheduled meetings with 7 Senators and 2 Representatives.  Some of those they are meeting with are on the Foreign Affairs Committee or Adoption Council.  These meetings start at 10 a.m. and the last one starts at 4 p.m.  At each of these meetings they will be leaving a "one sheet" from all families that sent them one (Yes.  You know we did!) These "one sheets" have pictures of our families and information about our adoption process/status.  I believe these amazing Momma's will also have extra copies available for impromptu meetings they hope to have with other politicians that they might run into.

*There is also a phone call scheduled at 2 p.m. tomorrow that Senator Blunt (MO) said he is participating in specifically about the Ethiopian Adoption situation.  In addition to your prayers, we'd ask you to CALL YOUR SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE MONDAY MORNING AND ASK THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PHONE CALL with Senator Blunt - or to at least call his office for more information.  Thank you!!

*We do have a Huge PRAISE from this past week.  A few years ago, the Democratic Republic of Congo had a similar situation with all of their adoptions.  The parents of DRC parents heard about the Ethiopian situation and started to reach out.  They have been a wealth of support, encouragement, contacts and ideas on how to navigate this process.  The meetings and "one sheets" for tomorrow mainly come from their wealth of knowledge.  What an amazing part of the details that God has worked out!

Please spend a few minutes out of your Monday and PRAY BIG for our boy (feel free to set your cell phone for 12:24 and pray for him everyday).

PRAY BIG for the government officials involved in the U.S. and in Ethiopia.  Pray for soft hearts with a passion for children to be loved and in families.

PRAY BIG for all of the parents on this journey....it is hard to explain how we can all love kiddos we haven't meant, but God does that in our hearts and it's an amazing, beautiful, miraculous thing.  And, when we parents love Big, the heartache and worry is big right now too.

Thank you!!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Prayers and Politics

We knew Adoption was a roller coaster....

If you haven't seen our Facebook updates, here is the latest~

On April 21st, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia declared a suspension on all intercountry adoptions. This suspension was declared with no advance warning.

We were able to participate today in a phone call with the U.S. State Department and USCIS.  They are actively trying to get answers for all of the families currently involved.  There has been no reason given by Ethiopia for the suspension and no idea on how long the suspension will last.  The State Department is actively advocating for all cases which currently have a referral/match - of which we do.  We went into this phone call with pretty low expectations and after completing it, those expectations were met.  There just doesn't seem to be a lot that can currently be done and doesn't seem to be much currently happening.  From our understanding, this is the situation of a little over 200 other families....some of whom are currently in Ethiopia with their children but can not take them home (some are even formally adopted).  It doesn't make sense and surely doesn't seem right for any of these kiddos who need a home and family.  This is just so beyond our understanding!

So - when the politics of this world don't seem to make sense - we turn to prayer.  We'd ask you to join us in setting your phone/watch to pray every day at 12:24 for our boy.  We have committed to do this until he is HOME.

Here are some of our prayer requests:

*That the powers that be in Ethiopia would change this adoption situation as soon as possible.
*That our boy (who knows he is to be adopted by us) would not be worried or concerned with the amount of time it is taking for us to get there.  Pray that he would have peace.
*Pray for peace and joy for us....this is a dark cloud with us all the time.
*Pray for financial issues.....even though there is a suspension in place, we are still making monthly childcare payments, etc.  We had planned to do this, but can only do that for so long until we need to do some more fundraising.
*Pray for the uncertainty....and that we can enjoy summer, make memories, possibly vacation if we don't travel to ET.  It's just hard to plan anything right now.
*For all the children and families involved.
*For our adoption case workers - they are often the messengers of bad news like this and it is beyond their control.  They still press on tirelessly to try to help children and families...but they get weary and discouraged too.
*Pray that our case would be expedited due to the special needs and age of our son.  He's been waiting many years for a family.....it's so unfair that he needs to keep waiting.
*That's the big picture of it all.....PLEASE JUST PRAY.  PRAY.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Prayer Request

For some reason, this week has been a little bit more difficult.

Maybe it's the fact that Easter is here and all of our family will be together....without the one we wait for.

Maybe it's because we had to sign a new POA (Power of Attorney) that we hope will catch up with our Dossier in Ethiopia very soon.  We had to have a new one done because of requirement changes....so that meant another notary stamp/signature, County Seal, State Seal and then sending the paper to D.C. for it's visit to the Embassy and State Department, then back to our Agency and finally on to Ethiopia soon.  This one piece of paper could slow things down significantly if it doesn't get matched up with our Dossier.

Maybe it's just that we know summer is coming.  Summer is when we pray he'll be home.  Summer is when Court in Ethiopia closes for a while because of the rainy season.  If we don't get him home this summer we will be extremely worried about whether or not we can get him home at all because we'll get closer to his birthday.....the birthday where he'll age out.  Summer coming brings a range of emotions right now.

Here is what we are waiting on:
1) First Court Hearing - we do not attend
2) MOWCYA Letter of Consent - This is the approval/review letter that will be submitted to court before the 2nd Court hearing is scheduled
3) 2nd Court Hearing - this one we must attend
4) US Embassy/Visa appointment (usually within 2-4 weeks after step 3)

The time period between 1, 2 and 3 can be months.....and months and even greater than a year for some. In our situation, we don't have that kind of time. We would greatly appreciate everyone knocking hard on Heaven's doors this next month that steps 1 - 3 happen soon and in pretty quick succession.  Maybe we are overly optimistic, but we know we have a God who still does miracles today!

We are deeply thankful for your prayers and look forward to sharing with you what God does!

Have a wonderful Resurrection Celebration this weekend!  He is Risen!