Wow we were moving so fast! From the time we expressed interest into adopting, to turning all of our initial paper work in, it was really going fast! For those of you who have adopted or like us, have had friends who have adopted…you know what is next: the process slowed down….I mean like really slow.
One minute things were going so fast, I had no time to update everyone because updates were coming so fast. Not so much now.
We have completed our home study (kind of). All meetings are done, the report has been written, but we had some paperwork that was sent to the wrong department…so….things got slowed down.
Amazing how perspective changes when the pace slows down. I remember earlier this summer I had the pleasure of joining some amazing doctors and friends from First Baptist Church Dothan AL. on a mission trip to Guatemala. One afternoon I found myself in the back of a pick up truck being driven all over the city in the middle of a thunderstorm. As the weather showed signs of getting more intense, we noticed lightning beginning to flash around us. I got a little concerned, but the doctor that was with us in the back of the truck just smiled and said, “Don’t worry pastor, God has great aim…and He has never missed”. Not only does God not miss…he has never been late. This message would play in my mind for weeks. It was both a great memory, but also a source of encouragement. Part 2 of this lesson was on its way…and landed on the platform of our church yesterday.
Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for our church service, someone knocked on my door. I opened it to find waiting for me was a little boy…both he and his parents are amazing people. This little boy began to share with me that he had recently placed his faith in Jesus to rescue him from his sin. His explanation of the gospel was beautiful…and full of faith. I love hearing from children, but this time was a little different…I was amazed at the comprehension, the faith, the resolve in his little voice. He gave me a hug and shared with me, “I have been praying for baby Frankie…and all of his paper work so you can bring him home.” – I was speechless. Later that evening prior to our Bible study, this little boy made his way to the front of our church and asked if he could share with our church the great news he had shared with me just hours earlier…of course he could!! This little man with much confidence and conviction shared with everyone the work God had started in his life. Hearing this same determination in such a young voice, left me amazed. I let him share as long as he wanted to share and then asked if I could pray for him. He nodded yes, but then asked if he could pray for me first. This six year old boy took the microphone in his hand and began to pray. He praised God for the cross. He praised God for His love. He asked God to open everyone’s heart to believe the gospel. He prayed for a friend of ours, a church member who was on his way home from a two week mission trip to African. He prayed for my son….Frankie. He prayed. Exercising great patience, grace and faith…he prayed. This little boy took this need to God…and was satisfied.
This was one of the most beautiful lessons on prayer I have ever heard. I was not simply entertained by the innocence of a six year old voice. No…this was different…I was praying with him…praising God for my new brother and his intercession for my family.
So following the example set by this amazing little boy, please join me in praying for Frankie.
- We are currently waiting on fingerprint clearances. We had the proper paper work, but the date needed to be updated. We have been waiting for weeks on the date to be updated so please pray with me that this will move quickly.
- We then turn our completed Home Study in with our completed I800A form for the US government.
- When this process is completed, we have to get all of the paper work that has been collected authenticated by the county, the state, the US and prepared for China.
- When we turn in all the paper work to China, then we wait for the Chinese government to give us the green light! or the LOA (Letter of Acceptance).
- When we receive the LOA, we will complete a a few more steps (that will be explained in more detail in the coming weeks)…and then we fly to China.
All this time…there is a little boy waiting. God never misses, He is never late…and our response should always be: Cast all your cares on Him….and while you wait for God to move….praise Him.
A lot has happened since the last post…
Without further delay….allow me to share with you how Jesus has blessed our family. We are adopting…FROM CHINA! If you know our family and are familiar with all the crazy turns this adoption process has taken us, then I am sure you have some questions. Before I explain, allow me to make a disclaimer: “Blogs” kind of get on my nerves. So…I have no real aspirations of keeping this going after we complete the process of adoption. For the next few months I will be using this as a way to update our process…and specifically how Cindy, Chandler, Caroline and myself will be praying. We would love for you to join us in prayer.
How did we get here? Why China?
There is a simple answer to both: “Because the Word of God tells us to take care of widows and orphans”. To do my best to ensure that this does not turn into a long post, allow me to share how we got here:
- 2010 – we started exploring adoption to Ethiopia. The door closed do to previous medical issues.
- 2011 – we started exploring adoption to Uganda. The country was starting to whisper rumors of a change in adoption law. Our Social worker referred to this the country “shutting down” or “closing”.
- 2011 – 2012 – we started working on adoption to Russia. We sought adoption of Roman, and was paired with him by the Russian government. We had completed our home study, international requirements and all clearances. All that was left was for us to travel to Russia. As you know, this never happened. Russia changed its laws and we were told no American would be adopting from Russia.
- 2012-2013 – Cindy’s mother moved in with us. She was diagnosed with Leukemia and we had the honor of having her live with us until October 2013. Through the blood of Christ, Mrs. Huddleston received her reward and is now healed of all sickness in the presence of our Savior…Thank You Jesus for your love.
- 2013 – monthly phone calls with the State Department giving us and hundreds of other families updates on the developments withing the Russian government in regards to the status of US adoption.
- 2013 – two families approached us at different times (not knowing each other) asking if we would pray about adopting via private adoption. We assured them we would pray and asked for them to keep us updated. We never heard back from them.
- 2014 – We moved toward becoming foster parents. We attended Alabama GPS training as mandated for foster families. This process took 12 weeks. We only needed the final home visit before being able to be certified foster parents. We never heard back from DHR on the final home visit. (We did get a call four days ago asking for an opportunity to schedule another home visit, we told them that we would pray about it as we are in the process of an adoption – we still plan on being foster parents).
- 2014 – prior to beginning the process of adoption from China, Cindy and I were approached with an urgent need to prayerfully consider being adoptive parents for a child in need who is out of state. After multiple conversations with the foster mom, we never heard back from the case worker.
- then….things Changed.
through this process it was not uncommon for us to visit a website (Reece’s rainbow) on a regular basis. On one visit to the site there was a new little boy listed as needing an adoptive home. I was captivated. I did not think much more about it. A week later I saw His face on another child advocacy site. I “screen shot” his pic and sent it to Cindy. A week later, a friend asked if we had seen this “‘precious little boy’ from China who needs a home”…it was the same beautiful face. Finally as Cindy and the kids were on a mission trip, I was looking on face book when I received a message that there was an American child in need of adoption…they listed that he had Down Syndrome. I clicked the link and it redirected me back to the same beautiful Chinese face.
After spending much time in prayer with my family and seeking counsel from some close friends…we joyfully began the adoption process!
We did not want to share with anyone right away, we certainly know that this has been crazy. However while we were on vacation, we received word that we had been officially paired with “Frankie” by the Chinese government. We are thrilled!
So now you are caught up. We are ready to go get him. We hope to have our home study completed soon. When this happens – things will move a little quicker.
Here are our prayer needs:
- Pray for Roman. We pray often for his adoption by a family who loves Jesus.
- Pray for Frankie. I pray that God will prepare his heart for our family.
- Pray for a quick movement of paper work…lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of paper work ha ha.
- Pray for our family. That in this process of waiting, hoping, preparing….that we would in all things honor Jesus.
Here we go…
Tuesday will be a day that my family will not forget. I was sitting at the office and checked my email and twitter account when I noted a tweet from Russel Moore (I highly recommend following Him on Twitter). It simply read: “Russian parliament to vote on banning US adoption” My heart stopped. I wish I would not have called Cindy with the “I can not believe what I am reading” tone in my voice. Her heart broke. I should have been with her when she found out.
Within hours we were asking for your intercession and found ourselves hanging on every web page, twitter report, waiting on email, facebook updates….anything….we simply wanted to hear. We still want to hear. Our adoption agency has sent out one email. Basically they said, we will let you know when we hear something. But as much as we wanted (and still want to) hear more from them…there is simply nothing to share at this time… We are just waiting.
Many have asked us, “Why did Russia do this?” Below is an excerpt from an article written by Simon Shuster with Time Magazine”
As a result, the Lower House of the Russian Government voted (Twice) to ban US adoption from Russia. Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of the Duma’s foreign-affairs committee said “These parents adopt children to get extra welfare benefits, to get money, or they just began to hate this child. It doesn’t matter. There needs to be justice. It is a nationwide consensus. That is why we initiated this.”
There have been other comments…some hurt too much and cause too much anger for me to re-post. There have been some from fellow Americans who simply say…”We are glad this is happening, because we should focus on adopting American children, stating we (adoptive parents) should be ashamed for ignoring the problem (children needing a home) here at home.” This has been a very intense season of Spiritual battles for our family and hundreds like us.
We read one report, that stated: Putin said yesterday that the ban on adoptions couldn’t take effect immediately because a treaty between Russia and the U.S. regulating the process requires a year’s notice to withdraw. We began to hope. But we were told today that courts could “unofficially” impose this immediately by simply canceling court dates. We heard of this being the case today with one family in Russia awaiting a court date, but it was canceled and now this family is awaiting direction.
So what now? We wait. For now it appears that hope is the hands of Russia’s president. As for me and my home…no president holds our hope in his hands. We wait on Jesus. We hope in the Lamb of God.
This is not an attack on adoption alone. This is much bigger. It is bigger than my family. It is bigger than parents… this is bigger than children in need. This is an attack on the gospel. It is an attack on the Glory of Christ and movement behind this effort is much bigger than any government. We are in the middle of a historic spiritual battle…please pray.
We pray. We hope. We wait on Jesus. As more is made available to us…we will pass it on. Our family has moments when everything thing feels overwhelming…then there are moments of complete peace. Our faith is not based on mood or peace. We trust Jesus. We are desperate for Him…if our son comes home, it will be because our God moved men….governments. The comforting news is, our God is able.
Pray for our Son.
So let me begin by saying that Cindy and I are grateful to have been introduced to a group of other parents adopting from the same “region” we are adopting from. I have been reading anything and everything I can about the weather, hotel stays, court expectations, paper work, and a world of eye opening / realistic expectations. The past few days have been eye opening…and sobering.
Our agency at one time…shared that the process often takes 9-12 months. Of course Cindy and I heard “9 months” ha ha. This along with the rather fast pace that we have experienced things so far led us to believe that nine months would put us into late spring…or early summer.
We then learned that the courts that address adoption in our region, take the summer off! So there is a possibility that at the end of May our efforts could be put aside till the Fall. Ouch.
We were told at one point that while the courts expect adoptive parents to make three trips to the region that they often wave the final trip for many special needs children. However…two weeks ago there was a law passed that the third trip will not be waved. (insert deep dramatic sigh)
again…not set backs…just…you know…
It is hard to put into words how much Cindy and I (and our kids) have fallen in love with this little boy. We love him…and we are ready for him to come home. Please pray for endurance.
I am not sure how effective posting prayer requests have been…but if you have been reading and praying for my family, please pray for us as we move forward. Pray for open doors and for grace.
Your friendship and encouragement mean more than you know.
My friends Adam and Laura Swann are in the process of adopting. They have a great website…
I will be doing my shopping here…I hope you join me!
There has been so much happening in the past few weeks. Rather than writing an elaborate post, I will make this very simple.
1. We have completed our Home Study! It is being reviewed, so please pray for this process. I hope that there are little to no revisions that need to be made.
2. Our son is no longer listed on the Reese’s Rainbow website as a child who needs to be adopted, rather He has been unofficially paired with our family!
3. For pastor appreciate day, our church gave us a plane ticket to Russia! We are grateful to be part of such a sweet church family. However, I am not sure how to take the big bold print that reads: “ONE WAY TICKET”
4. We have completed our i6oo form. (I think that is what it is called….it is times like this I am rejoicing that my wife is a social worker and can do most of this in her sleep)
Now…this is why I am writing this blog post. We would like to introduce you to our little boy! I am still unable to post His name, so the link I am providing you has his name listed as “Ellison”. This will be how we refer to him until we have been officially paired with him by his local government. If you would like to know his real name so that you can pray for him by name, message me and I will gladly share his name with you.
If you would like to see him…go to this link! ELLISON!
- Please pray for our friends Jason and Lauren Ayres. God is doing great things in their family as they prepare to adopt two beautiful children! Find Lauren on Facebook for more information about their journey!
- Pray for our friends Adam and Laura Swann. They are adopting from Africa and have a great opportunity to purchase amazing gifts that help in this process. For more information click HERE.
- Please pray for our next round of paper work…While we look forward to Christmas, for adoptive families it is an intimidating deadline as many governments shut down for weeks at a time. Please pray for our paper work to be processed without delay!
- Pray for our son. The four of us want him home as soon as possible. His room is ready…now we just need him to get here!
- Pray for the faith and endurance necessary for this process. IT IS EXHAUSTING! Cindy is a champ! Caroline and Chandler have also worked hard. God has blessed me with such a special family.
FINALLY…If you are going to purchase Christmas gifts for teachers, Sunday School Teachers, CO-Workers etc. Please consider purchasing items from those who are raising money for their adoption. If you would like some links I will gladly help…This helps in more ways than you could imagine.