Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Well I mentioned the other day that I had someone new to introduce you without further delay I'd like you to meet Amy. She blogs over at feet 2 our faith. Amy and her family are in the middle of adopting two children from Uganda. Currently there is a fundraiser going on to help Amy's family through Uppercase Living. Let me tell you....I have never heard of Uppercase Living until this fundraiser started. And now all I want to do is shop!!  I wanted to tell you about this great fundraiser, and I also thought it would be fun to learn more about Amy, her family, and their adoption journey.  Below is Amy, in her own words, answering some questions I had for her.  Oh, and remember.....head over and check out the Uppercase Living fundraiser on her blog!   <3

Our family is: Brian (a dairy farm manager, loves photography, missions, Indian movies and P90X), Amy (SAHM, Star Diamond Beachbody Coach, runs our photography business Silver Sand Images, loves people, blogging, missions, reading and exercise), Jensi (5th grader who loves horses, is a constant entrepreneur, plays basketball and loves to write), Anneli (3rd grader who loves to read, play imaginatively and is an excellent gymnast), Oliver (a homeschooled preschooler who loves dinosaurs, tractors and making spaceships out of couch cushions) and Darrah Kate (a 20 month old who loves to dance, explore her siblings possessions, pretend with Oliver and has a best friend: her elephant Fluffernutter). We have three children who await us in heaven as well: Timothy, Hope and Oskar.

God led us to adopt. This was a decision that was not made by emotion but rather out of obedience. We knew that orphans were living without families all over the world. The command in Scripture to care for the orphan as well as the psalm that declares God is a Father to the fatherless and that he sets the lonely in families spoke deeply to our hearts. I have also had a life-long desire to have twins. One of my pregnancies was a set of twins but about halfway through, sweet Timothy went ahead to Jesus. I have accepted that perhaps I will join those in Hebrews 11 who did not see the answer to their promise in this life, but will receive it in full in Heaven. However, after our son Oskar died, I felt the Lord encouraging me to not give up in praying for another set of twins. Of course I assumed my next pregnancy would be a set of twins, but it was not (it was Darrah Kate...who is arguably as busy as a set of twins!) After feeling “settled” with our 4 children, God reminded me of praying for another set of twins. I stayed silent regarding this and told God that if He were referring to adoption, then He needed to speak to Brian about this. Less than 2 months later, Brian called me broken over the orphan crisis and the above mentioned Scriptures were burning in his heart. He asked me if I had ever considered adoption. I smiled and answered, “well, yes I have.” That week we decided to follow God in obedience to adopt and have never looked back.

We began with the countries closest to our hearts: China (we served there for 2 years) and India. China’s adoption timeline is running 4-5 years and we wanted to adopt while our oldest girls are still children. India has a policy that 4 children in the home is too many...and we’d need to adopt older than our oldest, something we came to understand was not in our other children’s best interest. We then considered the neediest areas in the world: Africa. We pursued adoption from Zambia and applied to an agency, but just as we did, they closed their Zambia program due to the corruption in the Zambian government. They recommended us to our current agency, Generations Adoptions, and after much research, we took this recommendation. They work in Mexico, Uganda and Ghana. We chose Uganda because our hearts drew us there.

We are nearing the end of the first 1/3 of the process. We have completed our home study...almost. We await a document that takes up to 4 months in Ohio. (It’s been 2 1/2 months so far.) Once that is finished, then we will apply to USCIS (Immigration). Then we will be able to send our dossier to Uganda and await our referral.

We do not yet know anything about the specific children we will adopt. Our agency works with a babies home that is a ministry arm of a local Ugandan church. All of the children in the home have been abandoned and most are double orphans (have lost both parents). Most children are under the age of 2, although age is sometimes difficult to assess given malnutrition and lack of history. We have requested at least one boy and have mentioned a preference of twins, although we are okay if they are not.

Advice...I don’t know that I’m far enough along to give advice! I would repeat some advice given to us: “If you know this is what God is asking, do not delay in getting going. The process is so lengthy, just get started!” I would also encourage interested adoptive families to do good research into agencies and ask lots of questions about where the children will come from. There is sadly a lot of corruption in the adoption “market” and one must be vigilant to find an agency that comes highly recommended with no record of shady dealings. I would also recommend that they get involved in the blogging community, whether or not they choose to blog themselves. I have met the most amazing people this way and they have taught me much and encouraged me along this sometimes difficult path.

Other things about our family...we have a passion to serve God overseas and feel we are constantly trying to go. However, we have been placed in this NW corner of Ohio for a reason and we are embracing that as His place for us for now. We would love to one day go overseas and serve in some capacity as an entire family of 8...but we will wait for God to reveal that plan in His time!