How do I begin this post…
I’ve been asking myself that question all week.
Because as your anticipation increased… so did mine. I’ve been half way giddy all week about telling everyone about this next adventure that’s well on it’s way.
We are adopting. Two babies. From the Congo.
There… it’s out. Now, my fear is that you’re all a little bummed because it’s not what you thought… or you’re thinking all this hoop-la for babies that aren’t even here yet. But, I think if you stick with us, you’ll start to realize that this is and will be an amazing thing to have all this hoop-la and excitement about.
I know there are others of you that will be just as excited as we are!!
And, for the rest of you who are kinda thinking we are crazy right now…. if you’re not……
wait a minute… yes….. 2 babies + 2 babies = 4… there you go, now you’re thinking it! 🙂
Well, we kinda are crazy…. crazy in love with each other, crazy in love with these two amazing kids God has basically dropped into our family, and now we are crazy in love with TWO faceless babies who have no family of their own yet. (and they already have names… you will find them out in the weeks to come)
source This little one isn’t ours… but he is a war orphaned child in the DRC.
Why Now? Well, it’s kinda a strange story but my husband has been wanting to adopt internationally ever since we were married and I just didn’t at the time. Even after having Zoe and Jack come into our lives, international adoption seemed so daunting compared to domestic adoptions (especially our 2 weeks ones) But God worked on my heart and through a sister of a friend of a friend’s story, God spoke loud and clear that we were to adopt from Africa, specifically the DRC. So, I called Dan and said “want to adopt a baby from the Congo?”. Without missing a beat, he replied, “Definitely!” Thus our journey began. This was last summer.
We applied, and were accepted, and have slowly been getting things done since then. We still have a ways to go in getting things together and turned in. But right now there are only four couples ahead of us in getting our referrals. (meaning, being matched with our children) So, with that being the case, we could travel as early as late summer/early fall.
Why Congo?If you google Congo, you’ll most likely get images for huge silver-back gorillas or the infamous monster fish. Add in the images of militia, poverty, and pain you wouldn’t think the Congo is most people’s first choice of a nation to go to, much less adopt from. And up until recently, you couldn’t. But the DRC has opened it’s doors to letting Americans adopt it’s growing number of orphans. (roughly 5 million) There has been so much war, pain and destruction in the DRC over the past decade due to genocidal evils.
One way to look at international adoption is yes, to bring a child who doesn’t have a home into a family who will love them forever, but adoption also helps a struggling and hurting nation rebuild itself and relieve some of the stresses and fund caring for orphans who haven’t yet found a home or can’t for some reason.
Even in the process so far I have found myself opening my heart to love this nation, even in it’s poverty and struggle… I want to help. Dan and I fit all the requirements to adopt from there currently. That won’t always be the case. There is no promise that tomorrow the Congo will not close the doors to adoption there. But today… they are open. So today… we will walk forward.
Why Two? When we started talking about what the requirements would be for letting them know what child we would want a referral for. We couldn’t help but to think of how that child would impact our children and also about how being in our family would impact that child. We feel right now that keeping the current birth order in our family is important for these years of early development. So we knew the child would need to be quite a bit younger than Jack. (a year or more)
Then we thought about the fact that both Jack and Zoe will know and Lord willing have relationships with their birth-moms. We have always been okay and desire that for them. They will know the beauty of adoption and the sacrifice their mom’s had to make in giving them to us. That won’t be the case with this child. They most likely won’t know anything about their parents… if they were abandoned by them or if their parents were killed in war or by disease. They won’t get to live in their native culture…. America will become their culture, their home.
So, that really made us think. And it didn’t take long to figure out that we wanted two children from the DRC. We wanted them to have each other. I see the bond that Zoe and Jack have with each other and I want that for these two as well. They may not know their birth-moms but they will be able to look into each others eyes and see a part of their heritage staring back at them. (with the DRC’s policy being that they prefer only having two children in the home for adoptive families, we understand that if we did this one at a time they might let us adopt a second child and they might not… so we really don’t want to take that chance.)
Why Us? Why not us. I realize there are a lot of people who can’t adopt right now. But we feel that God has placed us in an amazing area where BOTH our families live close close by, we have friends and co-workers and professors who support us and would be here for us if ever whenever we needed them. I have ALL 8 of my awesome siblings right here in the same town… who LOVE my two children now,they have made quite the impact on them and will love these two precious ones to come with all their hearts.
We have a church body who loves the heart of adoption and a small group that has already done a lot in helping us with Jack’s adoption. I’m able to be at home full time and Dan is doing what he loves. We have both always desired a big family. For me it’s all I’ve known… for Dan, his heart for family is huge!
In losing a child already, I have come to realize that children are a gift that one should not just expect to have on their terms alone…. a lot of times God’s ways in building a family are not the ways we set out to have or ever imagined having. But His ways ARE so much higher and better than our ways. And for now… this is one of those things that we didn’t expect or plan but through His gentle leading find ourselves completely overjoyed to pursue.
The Risk.There is risk. There is risk with any adoption…. with any pregnancy… with any child.
The risks with adopting from the Congo are some I’ve mentioned already. They may choose to shut the doors on international adoptions there… with no indication for when they would re-open them, if ever. If that were to happen, Dan and I both feel as though that would be completely in God’s control and according to His will. We also feel like we would still continue to adopt from Africa and use wisdom to help us choose a country there that would accept our paperwork from this adoption thus far. I also understand that although I feel strongly that God has two children that are supposed to be in the Chappell family in Congo, I know that He loves those two babies FAR more than Dan or I do and I have to trust His care and love for them were the doors to close and redirect us to another country.
Another risk is it’s dangerous in the DRC… well anytime americans travel to a country that may not have great attitudes towards internationals there is risk. We really trust the agency we are with and understand that they are cautious but also understand and love the people there and are most often loved and understood back.
The Expense. Yes, adoption costs. We already have made sacrifices and we know it’s only the beginning of the sacrifices that are to come our way, but we really feel like those sacrifices really aren’t that big of a deal compared to having a daughter and a son for the rest of our lives; not to mention a daughter and a son having a family, a home, a heritage for the rest of theirs. We actually will be able to apply for many more grant programs than we were with Zoe because we are doing this on the front side of placement.
But we’d be foolish to think that we could do this alone, even with grants. It takes a Village. I can’t tell you how blessed I tell people I am because of the “village” God has placed us in. Some of you might be laughing because our church is called The Village….. and while I’m referring to that as well, I’m really meaning the whole of who God has put into our lives. It will take your involvement in our lives… in these little ones lives. I don’t want to make this a sob story about them.. or us. I don’t feel like it is. It’s an awesome adventure that I think only God can accomplish and see it through to the end…. but I hope and pray He lets you be a part of this. Because Friend, it’s going to be amazing!! (and hard, and unknown, and mind blowing, and awesome, and frustrating, and wearisome, and overwhelming, and beautiful, and …. )
The Joy. But… I will promise you this…. raising money has never been this much fun….. or enjoyable! Tomorrow I will be featuring the first of six of Casey’s “Best-of Baskets” You see, I’ve always been a fan of Oprah’s favorite things… and while I may not be able to give away a car or a trip, I can offer MY favorite things, and I’m telling you, you’re going to want this first basket!! Here is a little sneak peak of what is to come TOMORROW!!