Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Who should go?

With Liberia Africa fresh on my mind...the plight of not only orphans, but families...families that are not only working, working, working...working to LIVE life. But families that are taking the time for the Lord on Sunday mornings. A Government that poses fees to business that open on Sunday's, a driver that says with confidence "no, my tires won't go flat (as did the cars ahead of her) My tires are covered in the blood of Jesus" Meaning, she took the time to attend church on said Sunday, whatever is in the road, won't touch her tires...and it didn't.

I got the idea of starting Hope Blooms, from God. Back in the summer of 2008. It has been a journey of twists and turns. Some good things, some bad. But I knew my heart surrounded the orphans...both near and far. I have a heart for helping those in need...and wish I could do more. I don't always do the right thing...but I aim to do the right thing. Hope Blooms went from creating a neighborhood for families to raise children in foster care in safe houses, to helping widows, orphans, caregivers and now providing support services to families that have adopted or are providing foster care, along with tinkering on helping orphans in Liberia to find US homes.

In parallel Wayne and I have gone from raising our five children..with just 2 minor children at home, to planing to adopt from Foster now bringing home a blind one year old to have his medical needs assessed, from Liberia...where the medical care is scarce. Our heart bleeds the longer we have to wait to get him here to at the minimum have prostetics put in his eye sockets. Or to see if he can get a transplant....For him to go back to the bush at this point, would be detrimental to his life. But if he can see, to be a witness to bringing him back to his mama for care...back to the very village that didn't want him. This little boy needs to have a chance to show his tribe he is WORTH every penny we spend on him to get here, to host him for a love on teach him to crawl and then walk. Are not all people worth it?

Over this time, we have heard...."why are they not adopting from the US, there are plenty of children in need" "A black child?" "If you bring home a 1 year old special needs boy, you won't have time to babysit your grandchildren" To many other countless unfair statements....statements that are laden with satan's evil scheme. But we know these comments are out of ignorance to what God calls us to be in this life...and we still care for the orphan in our back yard. We believe RED YELLOW BLACK AND WHITE, they are all precious in HIS sight. And we have so much room in our hearts to care for our grandbabies and other children.....There really are no questions....

Well, this morning I had the honor of being one of the first to view a video posted below by Visiting Orphans. They are a well established organization that is helping orphans and FAMILIES all over the world. this video made me think of the direction of Hope to better partner with other organizations....Which is a weird concept....partnering with other organizations....when I started Hope Blooms, I had other well meaning organizations tell me they just don't share information....I may apply for the same grant and get it...and they might not then....I was floored by the close mouthness of local charities! But, I was so refreshed to see Visiting Orphans (VO) talk about partnering with others organizations to get GODS work done....not VO, not HB, not XXXX, but GODS work done....if we work alone, it takes a long time....working together...makes lighter work...and many more people affected by God's love!

I hope you take some time to see what VO is doing. How they are helping in places you may or may not get to....Consider going with them to help families thrive...or helping someone else get there. Not everyone is called to adopt. Not everyone is called on a mission trip abroad or Stateside. But we are ALL called to care.

you can visit VO here....Visiting Orphans

Please watch this video. Then, try to NOT do anything! HA! Doing something will not only change your will change the life of someone...some family....GO. BE. LOVE!
Visiting Orphans You Tube Video


Monday, July 15, 2013

Long weeks ahead

As we sit in the dog days of summer, we are still plugging away on the best way to bring Shadrack here for medical care.

After talking with a great Attorney who works with Immigration, we are choosing to bring him here on Humanitarian Parole. This isn't a sure way, but it will get him here on medical care faster than adopting him. Plus it gives us a chance to find out his needs. Find out if he will be in fact be able to see again. Although it will be hard, if there is a chance he can see again, he is best off with his mom. She obviously loves him. So we feel this is the best route. We are legal guardians, and so hopefully this will be an uneventful process, and we are hoping Klobachars office will still help this process to be decided faster. They can help with immigration to decide in just a couple weeks. So we meet with the attorney on Wednesday, bring all of our documents, and sign our life away!!!

We have great people standing behind behind us! The Clear Lake Fire Department is working on a fundraiser to help us with our immediate needs. Plus people that just out of the blue hand over funds to help. We are truly thankful. Not everyone is called to help in the physical sense with orphans, but we are all called to care in some way. And we THANK each and everyone of you for your support!

We will keep you all updated on getting this little one here as we have more information!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

It all continues...and it isn't easier...

IF, I were to get a tattoo...this is what I would get! I truly feel that I left part of my heart in Africa. I have five beautiful children here, at home, in Minnesota....But, one important piece of my heart is in Liberia Africa. I am a horrible drawer, but you get the gist of what I mean.
I hate the place we are in. I am mad, sad, many struggles!
We found out an important part of our journey is a missing Home Study. usually in adoptions you complete a home study. But we were going the guardianship route first, to assess Shadracks needs and then adopt if he couldn't get care in Liberia like the US has to offer. The adoption agency we are using was asked multiple times weather we needed a home study along with the I600 I 600a paperwork. We were told no multiple times....yesterday I got a phone call that once our home study is complete, we can fill out the paperwork with Immigration and get him home....This adds on $2400, plus I think $720, plus another flight to Africa....Expenses we have not been planning on.
Currently we are working with an attorney to see if we can get him here faster, then to finish the adoption paperwork. But there are so many unknowns at this moment.
I hate struggling with negative emotions. I know it is part of this life. I keep asking why did we plan the trip to Liberia, and why didn't we know about the home study, and, and, and....THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF US BRINGING SHADRACK HOME! We cannot help but feel angry over the misleading of this all. Wayne burnt up almost ALL of his PTO to go to Liberia, and stay home for his initial doctors appointments.
That all said, we are so thrilled to have met and spent so much quality time with Shadrack. But it makes this time here so much harder.
We have had many people step up to the plate to help us. From our families to firefighters, to Wayne's co workers. We thank you all!
Our families are planning a fundraiser on September 15th. Wayne just got a message from some fire fighters that they want to help with a fundraiser. God is good amidst the struggles. Shadrack deserves to have some medical answers. He shouldn't still be in the orphanage. With everything we do...I cannot help but think of how we would be experiencing it through his mind's eye. From hearing the birds, to heading to the Little Falls Zoo today. To, the dark barking....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A few pictures

The first moment I held Shadrack. The starting of our journey.
One of my favorite pictures...even if with my "Africa hair" Natural curly hair is
not very favorable in Africa.

Shadrack loves his tootsies.

The first moment Wayne was holding Shadrack...

The wood carvers...most of our gifts were bought from the 
guys who hand carve these. We found their "wood" shop and watched them. 
We will bring sandpaper, tools and shoe polish back to them when we pick up Shadrack.
The view from our guesthouse. Tonya Doering says it 
looks just like Hawaii...

Another Beach view.

Our Driver Rebecca

Our guest house. Looking at it from the beach.

These women and children clean up the beach every morning, then chase out sand crabs to 
boil and make supper.

Today channel 5 is coming to do a news story on our journey...Thanks to Jen Forner. They say it will air tonight. Will keep you posted!
Help us fundraise! Any donations are Greatly appreciated~

Saturday, July 6, 2013

We are home....

This two week journey just simply seems so surreal. There are so many layers in all of this. But most importantly, we had to leave Shadrack in Liberia....after much bonding with him. The bottom line, in all of this, he is the one who suffers...we are devastated beyond belief, but he truly is the one suffering here....

So back to Tuesday the 2nd of July.
We were once again denied a Visa for Shadrack. So we knew at that moment...probably 3 pm that we were going to need to leave Shadrack at the orphanage when we left on Wednesday...That evening, Wayne, Nate and I decided to walk the half mile down to the Golden Key Hotel/Restaurant to have dinner...none of us felt like cooking that night....

A moment that I am hanging onto happened at the restaurant. We were at a round table and Nate was on my right, Wayne was on my left. I had Shadrack standing on my lap facing me. I was conversing with the guys.. I looked at Shadrack and started talking to him. He KNEW INSTANTLY when I started talking to him. He got a big smile on his face....and he reached up to gently touch my cheek. ONE precious moment that still brings tears to my eyes.

So, leaving him in Liberia was a hard step we had to face. Getting on the plane I just simply wanted to scream, cry, yell at anyone who cared to listen....We were both devastated and I had to hold it together for the sake of the 200 others on our plane.

Back Stateside, Christina's family and friends started a campaign with some local Politicians. Currently we have Klobachars office helping to expedite a few things for us....for this we are truly grateful!
So bottom line, and the true facts....

1. We shouldn't have applied for the Visa that we applied for. The Embassy simply isn't issuing those at this time. From what few things we have been able to figure out, there has been corrupt things happening with these Visa's and they will not issue them. Plus it would have been nearly impossible 6 months down the road to fully adopt him. The Embassy in reality did us some favors by NOT issuing this type of Visa.

2. We shouldn't have gone the guardianship route. It is messy, and now Shadrack is affected by that. With the Guardianship route, we obtain legal guardianship over him. Which we have. We obtain the Visa, get him medical care and assess the situation after medical care. If he were to remain blind, we would adopt him. If he has a chance to see again, we help him with that, and bring him back to his mom. Which is the best place for him. But given his current situation, he would be sacrificed if he were to stay with his mom in their tribe.

3. We believe Acres of Hope did what they think is best for the boys, but we are unsure if they actually knew how to navigate these waters. Currently they boys are at the AOH orphanage.  The nannies love them. It is clean. The children get fed. That is comforting to us in this moment. If it wasn't so costly, we can fly over there anytime and take the boys out of the orphanage as much as we want. We are their guardians.

4. We are working towards full adoption. Klobachar's office will be working to help us expedite both the home study...possibly 2 weeks. And the I600a with Immigration...possibly another 2 weeks. In reality, if things go well, we could have the boys in a month. But we are expecting longer...that way we are won't have our hopes set on it being 4 weeks. After the homestudy, AOH has about a weeks worth of stuff to finish up, which can be during the timing of the I600. Our prayers are that things can go off without a hitch. And fast!!!

5. Going the adoption route means traveling to Liberia again...We are torn about this. We loved being there. We just were simply not crazy about all the road blocks we had while there. It was a very frustrating process of hurry up and wait. Currently we are looking at
$2400 for home study.
$2100 for flight...not sure if one or both of us need to go
$1000 for lodging and food while there.

So it isn't going to be cheap...and our first concern is getting the home study complete. We are completely bummed that we put money into the flight at this point only to not have brought him home. But we wouldn't trade the time spent with Shadrack for the world. We believe God will bless this, we feel like we are his parents and we will get him home!

6. We started Hope Blooms almost five years ago. Through that, we have taken many courses. But we narrowed it down to providing support services to families that have adopted. That is where our passions lie. We also provide fun things for kids to do a few times a year...This journey has awakened in me a passion to check into helping other families adopt in Liberia....helping the process go smoothly. We will be looking into getting Hague certified. And partnering possibly with an organization from Africa. We have started the talk...but need to meet with them first. So we will still provide support services, but also be the American side of adopting from Liberia. Adoptions could open up in the next month...instead of just special needs adoptions. We are excited to start this part also. There are some pretty amazing kids, and Liberians thanked us many times for taking Shadrack to America to help him. They know their health care stinks.

In the guest house we stayed in, there was a house boy who stayed in a small house out back. His name is Chris. When we got back to America, he had sent Wayne a text asking if we made it back ok. And asking if we were ok. He saw how upset we were. That is what Liberia is....caring for others...we got asked for money plenty of times. But they are a friendly bunch. Had no trouble stopping what they were doing and staring at the white people carrying the black babies. We tried to fit in, but the strollers and front carrying packs simply do not fit in.

Liberia is listed as an unsafe country to visit. We never once felt that we were unsafe. In fact, a couple times we left the Golden Key restaurant a little later than planned and were walking in the dark. We felt totally safe...had lots of people praying for us in Liberia and home in America. We learned alot of history about Liberia to share with the boys some day. We cannot wait to do that! But more importantly we cannot wait to bring Shadrack home. James and Shadrack have both been in the same orphanage...for how long we don't know...

I have been dreading writing this post...I simply did not want to be on this side of the journey posting that we do not have Shadrack home with us. But the story will continue....and we hope to have him home in 4-6 weeks....

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About Me

Minnesota, United States
I am a wife, mother to five children, 2 cats, 3 dogs. Hoping to be a mother to more children someday through adopting waiting children in Minnesota.