Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hanging In There

We're hanging in there down here in Colombia. These past few days have had ups and downs but the downs haven't been as far down as earlier in the week.

Thursday was a busy day as we went to the orphanage to allow him to say goodbye to his friends and have a celebration with them. After that, we grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the airport for our flight back to Bogota. 

Silas did great on his first flight! He enjoyed looking out the window and seeing all of the clouds. He fell asleep for the last twenty minutes or so of the flight, so were thankful he at least got a little power nap.

Our new hotel here in Bogota is an adoption hotel and several Colombian adoptive families that I've connected with the past couple of years recommended it to us. We are in a good neighborhood and can walk to a nice park, grocery store, and mall....which has a Juan Valdez coffee shop 😀

The kids back home really miss us...and it makes it harder to be here on the hard days, to be honest. But I know they're okay and we will all be together soon. I've never heard of anyone who was permanently stuck in country forever because of an adoption, so...

We ended up in Court 9 and our rep in Cali said that is a good court to be in and the judge is very fair and pro-adoption. Our main rep in Bogota feels like it should only take 2-3 weeks for everything to finish up in court, but there are no guarantees. If her timeline is correct, then we could be home by Thanksgiving.

Please keep praying with us. I miss my kids at home so much that it makes my stomach hurt...which makes it hard to eat.

Silas is doing well...were all still figuring this whole thing out, but we're seeing some good signs of bonding, I believe. I hope to talk with our post adoption counselor on Monday or Tuesday and get her take on things, as well.

We feel your prayers each day and the messages and Facebook posts and texts are wonderful. I can't always respond but please know that I get them and they are always good for my heart. Monday is a holiday here in Colombia, so it will be Tuesday at the earliest before we have any kind of update.

Hope everyone has a fun Halloween!,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015



That's the single word I can use to describe the heart condition of these sweet kiddos, like my son, when they come to us. Because that's what trauma breaks them.

I've read about, studied, and tried to prepare for this broken state...but nothing prepares you for it in full and then you suddenly find yourself laying on a cold tile floor next to your son who won't let you near him. Who fights you if you try. Because his heart has been so broken and no one has ever tried to repair it. 

So you lay there next to him, holding on to your husband as you fight away the enemy who whispers, "Just take him back and go home."

And you plead for strength and all you can do is whisper, " him. Help us."

And after several hours he finally turns to you and you gently slide the water and cookie over to him and he glances up....and he realizes you're still there. You didn't leave, you stayed by his side. So he takes what you've offered and scoots a little bit closer to you...and a little closer....and a little closer until he lets you pick him up and hold onto him for dear life. For his dear life and his dear heart and you beg Jesus again to please help him.

Because your precious child has a never known forever, unconditional love and all the months and years of paperwork trying to prove yourself as a parent to so many people....yeah, it totally prepared you for this moment when you're trying to prove yourself as a parents to the only one who matters in this whole broken and trauma filled process.

And you ask your friends to join in this fight for his heart and they do. Oh they show up big time and prayers are felt and walls are crumbled. You let out the raw emotion and your anger and you use words your mama taught you not to use, but for some reason you just need to use them to describe your true emotion. And the very ones you can be this emotionally raw with - they're standing in the gap for you and they're praying the prayers you cannot begin to form in your heavy and weary heart.

And you keep whispering, " him. Help us." 

And then you watch as your son starts to get a glimpse of what this whole "being a son" thing can really be...and you see that familiar look when a child walks with his daddy, holding his hand, and looks up at him and smiles. 

And you put him to bed and praise the Father for the good things He has done in this tiny hotel room in the past 48 hours....because 48 hours ago, if you were weren't so sure.

And then you wake up again....and you pray, " him. Help us." You do this every day and commit to keep doing it every day for as long as it takes.

Because the Lord is doing good things. And we keep our hope in Him.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Sweet Son

I'm sitting down to write and I don't even know what to son is sleeping 3 feet from me and even though it's his first night with us, it feels like he's always been here.

We started the day kind of slow, enjoying a wonderful breakfast at our hotel and drinking coffee on the front porch. We were working on a list of questions to ask at the orphanage in regards to his routine, likes and dislikes, etc. and I looked up and watched a father and his newly adopted son building blocks and playing together in such a natural way. I couldn't help but think that very soon, I would watch Jacob sit in the floor and play with our son in the same manner. 

Our guide arrived at 9:30 to take us to the orphanage which was about an hour away. We drove through the entire city of Cali to get there. We saw the nice areas and the poverty-stricken areas...the type of area where most of the kids at the orphanage come from. Maybe I'll talk about it more later, maybe not....I haven't decided and wouldn't know exactly what to say a out what we saw and how it broke my heart.

When we arrived at the orphanage there was a lot of construction going on. They are adding a whole new section so they can house more children. On one hand, this is good - Silas' orphanage is very good and the children there are well taken care of.  But on the other hand....they need to make room for more orphans. MORE orphans... I'll just leave that right there.

We met with his social worker, medical doctor, and psychologist for about an hour and they went over his medical and family history, as well as his daily routine and favorite activities. He's a good eater, he likes to help, and he's very active. They told us that he loves animals and we've already seen evidence of that today. A favorite new toy of his is an animal board book that Anna Beth picked out for him. It's the best and most realistic "touch and feel" book I've ever seen. We plan to take him to the zoo tomorrow to see some real animals and have a family outing.

It was time for the moment I have prayed and wept and begged God for these past 2 1/2 years. Prior to our arrival, we had sent him a photo album with several close ups of Jacob and I together, U.S. And the kids, the kids themselves, and then each of us holding an 8x10 picture of Silas. When he walked into the room, he had the photo album tucked under his arm. He looked up, saw us, and recognition filled his face....he reached for his photo album and immediately turned to our pictures. Praise you, Jesus, for the great things You have done!!

The next five minutes were a whirlwind of emotions and then we left. Can you imagine being 2 years old, seeing some people in real life after seeing their picture, and then being whisked away by them? Try to imagine how that would feel - and that can tell you how it was for Silas. We gave him a sucker (praise Jesus for dum-dum suckers!) and a sippy cup of water which settled him momentarily until he fell asleep on the way back to the hotel.

One thing that breaks my heart is that, as a two year old, he can completely feed himself...incredible use of a fork and control over a large cup. Now before you start saying how great and how "advanced" he has nothing to do with that. It ha everything to do with the fact that he was 1 of over 100 children in an orphanage and he had no choice but to learn to feed himself if he wanted to eat. It is what it is. That's the reality for these precious children. He can also give himself a shower, complete with washing his hair. At TWO. YEARS. OLD.

However, at lunch - right after we got back - he did let me feed him....which is really good for bonding!! After lunch he needed a nap....we all he snuggled up in my lap and Jacob sat beside us and he slept for about 45 minutes. The rest of the afternoon was spent with him warming up to us and even giving us a few smiles and giggles. And those giggles are the sweetest sound...they completely drown out ever tear and scream of frustration that I've let out over the past 2 1/2 years of this process.

We sent the kiddos back home a picture of him and we will skype with them this weekend. They're still doing great and are very excited that we got their brother a day early. Side note: AB had her follow up appointment for her arm today and it is healing very well! She goes back in 2 weeks and may get a temporary cast at that point!

Dinner was more of the same and he let us feed him again. We spent a lot of time in the floor this afternoon and evening playing with play doh and pushing a car back and forth. We laid him down in his bed after his shower and he immediately started to cry, so we picked him right up and rocked him to sleep again.

Overall, it was a great first day - but who knows what tomorrow will bring. This morning I read from Psalm 52 (following a prayer through the Psalms outlined by our worship pastor) and I read this verse..."For what you have done I will praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name for your name is good." adoption agency, court judge, or even me and Jacob did the good things that happened today. None of it. Do you hear me? I praise for only my Heavenly Father for what ONLY He has done. And I will continue to hope in His name for all of my days. I invite you to do the same...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Colombia - The First Days

So it's kind of been a whirlwind since we arrived in Colombia Tuesday at 1.

It was hard to leave the kids Tuesday morning. We left our house at 3 am, so we kissed their little heads while they slept. We had said our tearful goodbyes the night before. They were so conflicted....they want their brother home something fierce - but they didn't want mommy and daddy to have to leave. They are doing great so far with Jacob's parents.

We had great flights the whole way down - and those barf bags they put in the seat backs in front of you on the plane? Sadly I can attest to the fact that they hold up pretty well. Other than that - it was a great day trip down!

Our precious social worker - let's also call her my good friend - Beth, has been in Colombia on business for the past week and a half which worked out perfectly for us to be able to meet up and have dinner that first night! We sat with her and Soraya, our in country representative, and went over some final in-country things and then Jacob and I headed back upstairs for a nap before going to dinner with Beth, Ana and Miguel and their boys, and Juan David and his friend Alejandra. Ana, Miguel, and Juan David are part of Lifeline's incredible unAdopted ministry here in Bogota and are also part of Bida Bogota, a local church that we will attend during our stay in Bogota. Have you ever worshipped alongside brothers and sisters in Christ, in separate languages? Oh my friends....a beautiful picture of what heaven will be like when people from every tongue and nation will be together praising Him. I canNOT wait to stand beside my beautiful Colombian friends and worship our Jesus!

Wednesday, we flew out to Cali - the city where Silas has lived in the orphanage. We are staying in the most charming place - Hotel Stein. A lot of adoptive families stay here and the staff is simply wonderful. All of our meals are included, there are many things we can walk to, and they will do our laundry. All we have to do while we are here is to be mommy and daddy and show Silas how precious and loved he is. And survive. I suspect there will be a few days of survival mode :)

We just found out that we actually get to meet and bring Silas home Thursday instead of Friday - at this moment we're just trying to take it all in. We are so thankful that the Lord reduced his number of days as an orphan by one more. He doesn't have to wait any longer. We get to love on him sooner. Praise Jesus!,

Here are some pics from the two days.
                                   See ya in a few weeks, America - going to get my baby!!!

                                  All I could think was "The heavens declare you are God..."

             This was the view outside our hotel room in Bogota. Bogota sits in a valley in the mountains 
             at 8,500 feet above sea level.

             This is Beth....she has fought for our family for 2 1/2 years. She's prayed with us and talked us through some of the deepest trenches of the adoption process. Lifeline is truly blessed to have her on staff and our family is beyond thankful for her. It was so very special for us to see her in Colombia on our adoption trip!

              This is Ana, Miguel, one of their two precious boys, Juan David (all on the right) and Beth, 
              me, Jacob, and Alejandra on the left. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Crepes and Waffles
              on Tuesday night!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Counting Down

We are officially COUNTING DOWN to go get Silas!! After a whirlwind week last week, I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and give an update.

Our agency told us to prepare to travel around the first week of November...we really prayed that we would travel the week before that, but were prepared to wait that extra week.  But, God....

We got an email last Tuesday that our "meet Silas" date is October 23 and that we would need to be in Bogota on the 20....exactly TWO WEEKS! That afternoon was crazy as I finished up some paperwork that needed to go on to Colombia so we could get our official invite letter and book plane tickets. Once you're within that two week time frame, ticket prices go way up. We were able to get a pretty good deal on one-way tickets to Bogota. We did one way since we don't know our exact return date. Here are the schedule of events for the next several weeks...

Sunday, 10/18 - Jacob's parents arrive to stay with the kids while we're gone
Tuesday, 10/20 - Jacob and I leave fly out of New Orleans at 6 am and land in Bogota around 1 pm; meet and have dinner with our in country rep, Soraya, and our social worker, Beth (she's in country on business)
Wednesday, 10/21 - Fly to Cali, Colombia....the city/region where Silas currently lives
Thursday, 10/22 - Meet with all of his workers and caretakers at the orphanage
Friday, 10/23 - GET SILAS!!!!! Many of you have asked and, YES - we will leave with him that day.  We will be sort of like foster parents for him until our adoption decree is signed in court
Following 2 weeks - bonding the end of this time, we will sign papers taking full custody of him and our paperwork will be filed in court where we will be assigned a judge to grant the adoption.
Following 3-4 weeks - We will fly back to Bogota to wait for our court date. Jacob will get Silas and I settled in our adoption hotel in Bogota for a couple of days and then he will return to the states to take care of Anna Beth, Lynnsie, and Creek. When we get our court date, Silas and I (accompanied by Soraya) will fly back to Cali to sign the papers for a quick day trip.
Final week in Colombia - medical and visa appointments to get permission to leave the country and come HOME!

So if you're following that, we will be in Colombia for a total of 5-7 weeks. Jacob will be there for the first two and Silas and I will be there an addition 3-4 by ourselves. This was a hard and somewhat scary (for me) decision to make - but the truth is, Silas and I will be just fine. We have an incredible team through Lifeline who are in Bogota and will be available for anything and will be an amazing support. I've also connected with several other Colombian adoptive moms will be in Bogota at the same time and playdates will occur.

Pray hardest for Silas - his world is about to be turned upside down.  Because he is deaf and has zero language, there is no way for the orphanage staff to prepare his little heart for what is taking place. Through his eyes and mind, two strange white people who look, smell, and sound funny are about to take away from the only thing he has ever known. The first many days will be horrible for's just the reality. Adoption is hard and comes from tragic and broken situations....and more tragedy and trauma have to occur before the heart can begin to heal and understand love and family and safety. So please pray so hard for him.

Pray for our kiddos we're leaving behind for a short time - Anna Beth recently fell out of her favorite tree and broke her arm, Lynnsie's world is shaken with good things (but still shaken), and Creek is about to lose his "baby of the family/only boy/room to myself" status.

Big changes are coming our way and although the final outcome will be good - the goodness of that final outcome is many months away.

And now here's a super fun update...

We are FULLY FUNDED!!!!! Yes, you read that right...with less than 2 weeks left to travel to Colombia - the Lord fully funded our adoption through some final donations, a matching grant, and our Facebook auction! We had people ask us this past weekend if we needed more money and we were able to say, "No - God has fully provided!" We never doubted, but it is still so humbling to see all that He has done through the hearts of family, friends, and strangers.

Nine more days!!!!!!