Bringing T Home

Jennifer Garity
Jennifer Garity Racine, Wisconsin

Our adoption journey began in 2013, when our eyes were opened to the global orphan crisis. We had Jacob and James at the time and thought our family was “perfect”. God had a different plan. We started to question what we were doing with all we had been blessed with. This led us to China’s special needs adoption program. Ten months after starting the process, we brought Josie home from China. Growing our family through adoption has been an incredible experience. We have become even more passionate about caring for orphans over the past 6 years.

In 2019, we participated in an orphan hosting program. This was a wonderful experience, and we have a sweet relationship with our host daughter in Latvia. We realized through this process that we still have room in our home and hearts for another child. We found T on an orphan hosting site and when we learned more about her, we knew that she was meant to be in our family. We pray she will be home in early 2021!

We have been awarded a $5,000 matching grant from Tim Tebow Foundation Adoption Fund, administered by Lifesong for Orphans. This means your donation will have double the impact! We are extremely grateful for the support of our family and friends! It takes a village to adopt a child. Thank you for being our village!!

 


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Garity 09293”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 9, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
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Raised to date by 25 people
 of  $5,000
10 days left

My Story

Our adoption journey began in 2013, when our eyes were opened to the global orphan crisis. We had Jacob and James at the time and thought our family was “perfect”. God had a different plan. We started to question what we were doing with all we had been blessed with. This led us to China’s special needs adoption program. Ten months after starting the process, we brought Josie home from China. Growing our family through adoption has been an incredible experience. We have become even more passionate about caring for orphans over the past 6 years.

In 2019, we participated in an orphan hosting program. This was a wonderful experience, and we have a sweet relationship with our host daughter in Latvia. We realized through this process that we still have room in our home and hearts for another child. We found T on an orphan hosting site and when we learned more about her, we knew that she was meant to be in our family. We pray she will be home in early 2021!

We have been awarded a $5,000 matching grant from Tim Tebow Foundation Adoption Fund, administered by Lifesong for Orphans. This means your donation will have double the impact! We are extremely grateful for the support of our family and friends! It takes a village to adopt a child. Thank you for being our village!!

 


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Garity 09293”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 9, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
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One Week Home

June 6, 2021

Yesterday Jay said to me “I’m so tired I don’t even wake up to go to the bathroom overnight anymore”…my reply was “ME TOO!!” haha This week has been good but draining as we navigate our new normal. 

As exhausting as it’s been for us, we can only imagine how it must feel for Jessica. We are in our home country, in our home with everything we are used to. This is all new territory for her. 
 
Jessica is amazed by everything, from Jay turning on the sprinkler outside to the colors of the sky at sunset to National Donut Day (I hope you didn’t miss it!). 
 
Our biggest challenge is the language barrier. She isn’t speaking any English yet and we aren’t sure how much she understands. We have two issues with google translate – she’s embarrassed to use it (she doesn’t like any attention on her) and it rarely understands what she is saying when she tries to tell me something. She communicates mainly by pointing and shaking her head yes or no. 
 
There is one word that she uses often – “no” – we hear a lot of “No Josie” and “Josie no!”. God knew Josie needed a 3rd parent! haha! Jessica is a wonderful big sister. She and Josie have fun together without words. Last night, Josie fell asleep before Jessica got in bed and as I walked by their room, I saw Jessica kiss Josie on the forehead and cover her with a blanket. She is very loving! 
 
We have an appointment tomorrow with Mrs. Meyers Reading Room. We are hopeful that they will be able to get us started with learning to read and speak English. Yes, I know I taught English to kids in China for over 3 years, but this feels like something we need someone else to take the lead on for now. 
 
Jessica is getting to the point now where she will sit with us outside and watch the kids play. She is not willing to engage in play with them, but we are happy she is feeling more comfortable with getting outside and being around the neighbors. Baby steps!
 
Today we are planning to introduce Jessica to our church by going after 2nd service has started (my parents are going to save us seats) and leaving before it ends. That way she won’t have to deal with the stress of people wanting to meet her. Hopefully this will be a good way to start! 
 
Many of you have asked how you can help us – thank you! The meals and food have been an amazing help!! At this point, we don’t know what else we need, other than prayer. Prayer for wisdom in making decisions that help ease Jessica’s transition and for peace for all of us as we adjust. 
 
Thank you again for everything! We love you!
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Home

May 30, 2021

I’ve never been so happy to be home! And I’ve never been so tired! (obviously I blocked the memory of our trip home from China) 🙂

We all slept great last night in our own beds!! 
 
Jessica is enjoying exploring her new home. She seems to love everything, especially the beautiful things my mom has made. 🙂 She is very nervous about going outside and doesn’t want to meet new people yet. She met my parents but when the doorbell rings (neighbor friends) she moves out of sight. We are trying to put ourselves in her shoes. Jacob, James and Josie are used to going outside and running around with friends. Jessica is used to being inside one building at all times. Before we left Colombia, we could have gone to Jessica’s orphanage to say “good-bye”. She did not want to go. She said the kids there are mean. It makes sense that she is nervous about meeting other kids, especially since she doesn’t understand English yet. 
 
As Jay said this morning, the trip to Colombia was the “easy” part, now is when the real work begins. The work of healing, earning her trust and proving to her that she is precious and dearly loved. 
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Transition

May 28, 2021

We got Jessica’s Visa! Thank the Lord, we are going home tonight! Our flight leaves at midnight!! 

It’s hard to think of Jessica leaving her birth country behind and everything she is familiar with, but we trust her future is bright. We know she has mixed feelings about leaving but are encouraged by the fact that she is wearing her Wisconsin shirt today. 🙂 
 
We have no idea what to expect with Jessica’s transition home. Josie’s transition home was really tough. For example, it took 18 months before we were successfully able to attend church as a family. Jay and I took turns going to 1st and 2nd service until she was ready to be there. The sights, sounds, and all the people completely overwhelmed her. 
 
Jessica has 11 years without guidance and parents to care for her, teach her manners, how to manage emotions, how to read, how to interact properly in social situations, etc. We will be careful not to overwhelm her when we get home. I already told Jay that I will not take her with me to Woodmans for a while. 🙂 We will start with our small family gatherings and see how it goes before being in larger groups. All of the transitions ahead will take time, but we are ready! 
 
In 12 hours, we will be in the air!! 
I know this is the second picture I’ve shared of dog walkers, but I just couldn’t resist. Can you believe all the dogs?! Our favorite is the giant one with the sweater on. 🙂
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Relief

May 27, 2021

Last night at this time, we were talking over a backup plan if we were not able to fly home this weekend. We were considering having Jay travel home with Jacob, James and Josie while Jessica and I would stay behind until everything was complete. As we were having this difficult disussion, we got the call that our embassy appointment was scheduled for today! Oh my goodness, I cried many tears of relief!!

My Dad immigrated to the USA when he was in his 20s. Being from a different country, he has always had a special appreciation for the USA. I have a small glimpse of this as we’ve been away from home, both here and in China. Seeing our flag at the US Embassy today brought tears of relief to my eyes again. I know the US has many issues, but our country has a heritage of faith and freedom, that makes me very thankful to be an American and excited to get home!

More tears of relief came today as all 6 of us passed our covid tests!! 

The last step is to pick up Jessica’s Visa at the embassy – hopefully tomorrow morning. Once we have this in our hands, we will be free to go!! 

I didn’t realize how much I missed home until I started crying over every detail these last 24 hours! 🙂

This picture is from last week in La Mesa. 🙂

 

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Trust

May 25, 2021

We receive updates from the US Embassy in Colombia. Tomorrow will be the largest mobilization of demonstrations to date. We only have one appointment tomorrow morning – and I am the only one who has to go. After the appointment tomorrow morning, we will be able to request our appointment with the US Embassy. The US Embassy is now allowing Americans with expired passports to return home, so we feel like they will be in a hurry to get us the heck out of here. 🙂 We are still praying for a Thursday appointment.

It’s very interesting to talk with the Colombian people about the political situation. They are concerned about their country turning into another Venezuela. There are many Venezuelans on the streets here begging for money and food. It’s heartbreaking to see and hear about what is happening. 

Today I had a sweet conversation with the lady who helps translate for our appointments. She told me she is a Christian and has a close relationship with God. Because of the unrest, she doesn’t typically go out of her apartment, except for when she has an adoption appointment. She completely trusts that God will protect her because she is doing work that He wants her to do. 

This afternoon, a lady came to take family pictures. She said her husband was concerned about her driving to our apartment but she also trusts that when she is working for adoptive families, she is doing what God wants her to do and she is in His hands. 

This is exactly how we feel. I’ve thought numerous times while we’ve been here – are we crazy?! 🙂 But God reminds me that this has all been ordained by Him. It’s His perfect timing and plan. He has us safely in the palm of His hands. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

The picture is from our trip to the coffee plantation – will it be upside down this time? Who knows?! 🙂

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Back in Bogota

May 24, 2021

We made it back to Bogota last night! It was quite a drive over the mountain in the dark. Jay and I both whispered “crazy!” multiple times as we saw drivers who must have been auditioning for the next “Fast and Furious”. 🙂 

 
It was sad to say “good-bye” to our new friends in La Mesa but good to be back to the amenities of the city – we are able to brush our teeth with water from the faucet here, I’m not worried about a snake joining me in the shower, we have FIVE bathrooms in our apartment and there aren’t any bugs! 🙂 
 
We got a lot accomplished today –  Jessica now has a new birth certificate and ID card with her new name on them and we applied for her passport. Tomorrow we will pick up the passport and a couple other documents. Please pray with us that we will get an appointment with the US Embassy for Thursday at the latest. If we don’t, we will not be able to come home this weekend. 
 
Please also pray for Jessica’s ear. She seems to have an ear infection….probably from all the swimming in La Mesa. Thankfully, we were able to get ear drops for her at a pharmacy. Tylenol is also helping with the pain. 
 
Our apartment is beautiful but we are starting to feel like we are losing our minds when we have nowhere to go….or maybe it’s just me that feels a little crazy! haha It’s not like we can just go sit outside and get some fresh air. On the other hand, Jessica strongly dislikes leaving our apartment. She is much more comfortable when the 6 of us are alone together, much less on guard. 
At this point, we can’t wait to get home!!
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Best Friends

May 22, 2021

We will truly miss our new best friends, Mango, Yukka and Arroz when we leave La Mesa. The owners of the farmhouse call them their guard dogs. They are the best guard dogs! Every morning when we wake up, they are waiting for us outside the gate by our bedrooms. It’s like a party when we come out of the gate. 🙂 They follow us everywhere. One of our first days in the pool, James swallowed a bunch of water and was coughing. The dogs came running down the steps towards him and just sat by him until he was ready to go back in the pool. We adore them!

We will bring many mosquito bites and sweet memories back with us when we leave later today. 🙂 

 

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Two Weeks In

May 22, 2021

We are adjusting to life as a family of 6. Jessica is sweet, easy going and affectionate. She is learning to swim while we are in La Mesa and doing really well! 

Of course we are having our growing pains. Each child has cried at least once, which is good because it helps show Jessica that it is okay to cry and we work out our problems together. There are lots of adjustments now and I’m sure many more in the days to come but we are bonding and growing and it is good. 🙂
 
Our travel plans to Bogota changed a bit and we will go back tomorrow night rather than on Monday. We appreciate that our agency has our safety as top priority. We will miss La Mesa! It’s been an adventure I never expected to have in my lifetime. As we experience so many crazy things – power outages, internet outages, a frog hopping past my feet right now as I type, bats flying by my head, many beautiful butterflies and birds we’ve never seen, noises we’ve never heard, toilets that sometimes work, fruits we’ve never tasted (or heard of), our hostess always says “welcome to the jungle!” 🙂 I wonder if we will bring any creatures back to Bogota in our suitcases. 🙂 
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In the Jungle

May 20, 2021

We made it to La Mesa yesterday!

The ride here was like nothing we’ve experienced before. We were literally driving through clouds at the top of the mountain with our flashers on. Our driver had to put the minivan in different gears as we went down the mountain – around curve after curve. Again, the views were stunning! I enjoyed the crazy ride completely! At the beginning of our trip, our driver (who doesn’t speak English) was doing the sign of the cross many times over. I wasn’t sure if I should feel confident or concerned. ha!

 
We went from the bustling city of Bogota to the middle of nowhere. I can’t even believe how beautiful our surroundings are. We are staying on a working fruit farm. They have over 100 mangosteen trees and 1,000 lime trees. Also, cows, geese, dogs, and at least one noisy donkey. 🙂 The owners of the farm are Colombian American. They lived in Minnesota for 16 years, as well as some other states. They built this farm and its ponds, where we were able to feed the fish. 🙂 We are the 17th adoptive family they’ve hosted. They only have adoptive families stay with them. 
 
It feels like true natural living here in the middle of the jungle. As they were showing us around when we arrived, there was a frog in the toilet. We have to keep our bedroom doors closed at all times to keep critters out. The windows are sceens and sleeping last night was also an adventure. I can’t get over all the noises. The roosters were up at 3 AM and I’m pretty sure a goose was murdered based on all the squaking. 🙂 
 
The kids were swimming until bedtime and back in the pool at 8:15 this morning. It is a welcome change of pace from Bogota. 
 
Thank you so much for praying! Maybe you know the song with the chorus “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, The God of angel armies is always by my side.”  This is how we’ve felt as the way has been paved for us each day. 
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Record Timing

May 20, 2021

The judge in La Mesa signed our Sentencia in record timing, which means it’s officially official, we can now introduce our new daughter – Jessica Daniela Garity!!

We will be in La Mesa until Monday when we will receive documents with her new name. Then we will travel back to Bogota for more paperwork and an appointment with the US embassy. 

Today was a huge step in the process! Thank you, thank you for praying us through!!

The picture of Jessica was taken just before we met her. I love the way they prepared her for our special meeting (Encuentro). The clothes the kids wear for Encuentro are brought by their new parents. In one of our Skypes, we asked Jessica what she wanted to wear and she said “overalls!”. She’s worn them at least 3 of the days we’ve been together. 🙂  

In not so important news, the owner of the house we are staying in was just telling us about the tarantulas that live in these parts. Great pre-bedtime conversation! As I’m typing this in the dark, in our bedroom, there are bugs crawling across the screen. 🙂

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Tomorrow

May 18, 2021

Tomorrow we are supposed to travel to La Mesa for the court proceeding. Because of the current unrest in Colombia, we won’t know until tomorrow morning if we can actually go. The protestors block roads so it all depends on what highways are blocked. If we aren’t able to go tomorrow, we would hopefully be able to leave at 5 AM on Thursday. We’ve heard from others that dramamine will be necessary for all of us. We will be going over the mountain again and apparently it’s quite a drive. 🙂 

If we aren’t able to go to La Mesa tomorrow, we aren’t sure how that would impact our adoption process timing. We’d really appreciate your prayers that the roads are clear tomorrow!

I was able to get a picture of a dog walker today and have to share it with you since I mentioned how much we enjoy seeing them! 🙂 

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Coffee!

May 17, 2021

Today is a holiday in Colombia. It is Ascension Day. 

Yesterday we had a private tour of a coffee plantation. It was another fascinating experience. We were able to see the entire process from planting the seeds to drinking the coffee. The kids were able to put some of their science knowledge to the test and they were able to pick coffee beans. We ate guavas from the ground and oranges from the trees. I even drank black coffee and liked it! 🙂 

We had to drive over a mountain to get to the coffee plantation. It took about 2 hours to get there. Driving through Colombia is amazing! It goes from complete chaos in the city to driving past hundreds of people biking through the mountains. 

Bogota doesn’t have seasons. The weather is always in the low 60s with some rain and some sun. When we went to the coffee plantation, we were at the bottom of the mountain, which means it was quite a bit warmer. 

Today we are hanging out in our aparment. We went for a walk to get lunch, but other than that, it’s a much slower day today. 🙂 

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Underground

May 15, 2021

We went from the top of the world to 600 feet underground. Today we visited the salt mines. Wow, what an amazing adventure! There is a cathedral in the salt mines because with all the people who died in the mines from explosives, they felt they needed a place to pray. There are 14 beautiful crosses for each of the 14 stages of the cross. Ave Maria was playing as we walked through the tunnels. At the bottom of the mine, there is a very large cathedral. The whole thing is stunning! Again, we all learned a ton today!

We’ve been in Colombia for one week. If all goes well, we will travel home two weeks from today. 🙂 We are totally soaking up the Colombian culture and breath-taking scenery! We feel incredibly blessed to have this experience!

I thought this picture would be “safe” to share because you can’t really see JD’s face. 🙂

 

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A New Name

May 14, 2021

As you know, our new daughter has requested a new name. She is adamant about it. At her medical appointments, they called her by her birth name and she would say “NO” and say her new name. We have been calling her by her old name for such a long time, it is taking some getting used to. We’ve only slipped a few times. 🙂 She is keeping her current middle name. We can’t wait to share her full name with you!

Today she had to write a letter to the judge requesting her name change and giving the reason behind it. It was quite a process. Our Colombian friend wrote it in Spanish for us and Jay helped her write each word. Can I just say that Jay is the best – he does such a good job keeping things laid back and fun! Not only does he travel the world for his kids, he loves them so well! 

(It kindof drives me crazy that these pictures won’t rotate on this site! I need to start taking all landscape pictures) 🙂

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Policia

May 14, 2021

Another sideways picture and another shout out….this one to the police here and everywhere that work to protect our communities! We are so thankful for them!

There are armed forces everywhere! Army, riot police, Presidential Guard, police in training and tons of private security with many K9s. 

Two other fun facts:

1. In our neighborhood, there are dog walkers everywhere, sometimes walking 8 dogs at a time. We yell “dog walker” every time we see them because it’s so fun to see! In the older parts of Bogota there are stray dogs everywhere.

2. JD drinks coffee. It sounds funny when Jay says “I’ll make coffee for the 3 of us” in the morning. 🙂

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What an Adventure!

May 13, 2021

Today started with JD and I being picked up at 6:20 AM to get her blood drawn, which is part of the Visa process. We got to the medical building at 6:40 AM and there was a line (what seemed to be) a mile long on the sidewalk outside. Our driver didn’t speak English, but said “WOW!” when we arrived. Real encouraging! haha After standing outside, thinking we would be there all day, watching our driver run around (I had no clue what was going on), he came running towards us and we literally ran to the front of the line. Jay calls this particular driver “the heavy” because he knows how to get things done. It’s probably good I have no idea what anyone around us is saying. 🙂

 
We are staying in the safest neighborhood in Bogota, which is especially good since we are not here at the best of times in Colombia. Today we heard a lot of commotion and were wondering what was going on. A few minutes later, one of our new dear Colombian friends called and said there was a (peaceful) demonstration happening in our neighborhood. Don’t worry, he said, it’s only about 50-60 people. 🙂 
 
Despite the fact we’ve passed dozens of police officers in full riot gear, we feel safe and we love Colombia! We are quite sure we are the only people staying in our apartment building, so we have a full time security guard to ourselves. 🙂 
 
Yesterday we visited Montserrat. It was fabulous! It felt like we were on top of the world. We were 10,200 feet above sea level. It was amazing to see people exercising up there when we were out of breath just from walking. 🙂 
 
The girls are loving one another’s company! They hold hands whenever we go out and copy each other’s motions and faces. Who needs words? OK, I do! Google translate is my best friend, except for when it doesn’t make any sense. haha
 
That’s all for now! Thanks for sharing our adventure!
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And Then There Were Six

May 11, 2021

Wow! What a day!! We woke up a family of 5 and are going to bed a family of 6. Amazing!

It’s hard to put all the emotions of the day into words. Maybe after some sleep, I’ll be better able to articulate what today was like. 🙂 

Right now, Josie and her new sister are watching Toy Story in Spanish. I think Josie is going to learn Spanish quickly! 🙂

You may be disappointed that the picture I’m including is old news (from yesterday). It will be about 10 days before we are able to share pictures and JD’s official name on an online forum like this. We can’t wait to share! I’m also sorry that the picture is sideways. 🙂

Thank you again for all your prayers and support to make today possible! 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

 

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IN Colombia

May 9, 2021

We arrived in Bogota yesterday afternoon. It’s been a whirlwind as we’ve found our way around, been on an outing, met with our agency staff and unpacked. 

We are in a beautiful neighborhood! We are surrounded by embassies from around the world. Our driver, Nestor, was our teacher today. We had 4 hours with him and learned a TON about Colombia. My brain is jam packed right now – pretty sure I can’t fit anything else in today. 🙂 

Tomorrow morning, Nestor will pick us up and bring us to a place that serves “the best coffee in the world”…we can’t wait!! 🙂 Tomorrow afternoon, we go to JD’s orphanage to have our pre-encuentro meeting. We are getting so close to the BIG DAY!! 

The picture attached is looking out one of our apartment windows. The mountains are fabulous! We are at an altitude of 8,000 feet. So far the elevation hasn’t been much of an issue. It’s hard to believe we are in the Andes Mountains! 

I’m having issues with our cell service but I am able to connect to wifi. If you want to send us a message, the best way is through Whatsapp (262-488-2862) or email (jengarity@gmail.com). 

Happy Mother’s Day!! 

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Green Light!

May 6, 2021

There are too many crazy details to share but after much of the day on the phone with American Airlines, mainly rescheduling our flights, we depart for Colombia at 5 AM on Saturday!! 

Our covid tests were negative! Thank the Lord!! 

 

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May the Forth be With You

May 4, 2021

Sorry, I couldn’t resist on the title for today….I live with Star Wars fans. 😉

This afternoon we will be 96 hours away from travel, which means we are able to get our covid tests. We have appointments at CVS this afternoon and hope to have the results by Thursday. 
 
Would you please pray with us that all of our tests are valid (Josie’s was invalid last time) and that the corona bug is no longer present in our noses?
 
On the surface, the extra two weeks of waiting has been helpful to us. Jay isn’t missing month end at work right now. The kids were able to complete two more weeks of school. My final class of an 8 week Biblical Citizenship course was last night. I was very happy to be able to complete the entire course. 
But our deeper concern right now is for JD. It is hard to imagine any extra time waiting for a family being beneficial. Only God knows. We trust He is making everything beautiful in this time. 🙂 
Thank you for interceding on our behalf! Your prayers are powerful! I can’t wait to update you with news of our results in a couple days!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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I Sense a Theme

April 30, 2021

Do you remember my almost-unbelievable story of purchasing the Wisconsin T-shirt? You may remember that the Colombian adoptee etsy seller was also selling shirts to help fund an adoption for her sister’s family. Of course, I purchased one. This week was warm enough to wear short sleeves so I pulled my new shirt out and guess what it says on the front (I didn’t remember until I saw it) – “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” 🙂

We might as well have a billboard in front of our house with this verse on it, right?! Amazing! 

We skyped with JD yesterday and told her we will be tested for covid again on Tuesday. We told her we are all praying for negative results so we can travel to Bogota next Saturday and finally be together! 

Thank you for continuing to pray with us!!

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Breaking the News

April 23, 2021

Today was supposed to be our final Skype with JD. 

The staff at her orphanage told her we had a surprise to share on today’s Skype as they expected us to say “we are flying to Colombia tomorrow!”. Ugh, it was painful to say we have to wait 2 more weeks. She was clearly sad and disappointed but her sweet translator said “God is perfect and you will be together at the perfect time”….Amen, sister! 🙂 Her translator also encouraged us by saying she would do an extra English lesson with JD after our call and help her to feel better. 

JD is seriously sweet! We told her the trees are budding and everything is getting green. She said she wants to be here to experience Spring with us.

She’s also already defending her Dad. We showed her where Jay works downstairs. He pretended to be working, while dancing at his desk. The translator said “your dad is crazy!” (in Spanish) and JD said “Nooooooo!!!”. 🙂 

Remember the picture of the card I shared yesterday? My Mom sent me this picture and said she saved it as the background on her phone last week. Don’t you love it when God gives you the same message over and over again? 

 

 

 

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Positive

April 22, 2021

Our pre-travel covid tests came back positive. 

We are working on changing all our travel plans for 2 weeks later. We are shocked, disappointed and sad. Most of all because tomorrow we will have to tell JD that we can’t leave on Saturday as anticipated. We know how anxious she is for us to get there….two more weeks seems long. 

But we have HOPE and hope does not disappoint. God has been in every detail of this process and we know He is in these details as well. He is paving the way for us and we trust Him completely. He is faithful and His ways are perfect. 

Our friends gave us the card you see here just yesterday – how perfectly appropriate, right?

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One Week

April 17, 2021

One week from right now, we will be in the air, on the way to Colombia!

Thank you for joining us on this journey!! 

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JDG

April 10, 2021

We had another wonderful Skype with T yesterday!

Actually, let’s start calling her “JD” from now on, shall we? 🙂 She told us her favorite “J” name and asked our opinion. We think it is perfect! She has until our 2nd week in Colombia to change her mind, so we while we are trying to call her by her new name, we know it could change. Can’t wait to share it with you once it is official! 🙂

The main theme of our phone call yesterday (other than us doing a dance routine to “Baby Shark” in Spanish, thank goodness that wasn’t recorded), was how much longer until we are together. She asked many questions trying to pin down a time when we will get there. She wanted to see our suitcases. Thankfully, I had just opened one and started filling it, so we were able to show her that we are indeed packing. She wanted to know how much longer until we are done packing. She asked when we would finally get that last piece of paper we need (Article 5). Oh how we wish we knew! She was very excited to find out that her brothers and sister are traveling to Colombia with us. 🙂 She asked if this was our last Skype….again, hopefully, but we don’t know. Waiting as an adult is difficult, we know that waiting as a child is much more difficult. We just want to be there for her NOW. 

Thank you for praying with us that we will be with JD very soon! 

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Yesterday

April 1, 2021

Yesterday we had our second Skype call with T. We were all much less nervous for this meeting. My parents came for the call and each of the kids had something they wanted to show T. It could not have gone better!

 
T had LOTS of questions for us, which was fun! She asked how many pieces of paper we have to fill out before we get to Colombia. 🙂 We said “one” and she asked what it is called. 🙂 She asked if we could change her name to a “J” name. We gave her some J name suggestions. Can’t wait to hear what she decides for her name! 
 
We played a game where we said a color in English and she said what it is in Spanish. For our Skype next week, she is planning to sing and dance to “Baby Shark” and she asked if we would choreograph something to show her next week. We better get to work on that! 🙂 
 
She asked to see the bedroom she and Josie will be sharing. I wish I had been recording her reaction – it was priceless! She has the BEST smile and is excited about every detail! 🙂 
 
As if that wasn’t awesome enough, our friends (the Beyers) who are currently in Colombia for their adoption, met T yesterday after our Skype. Each child at T’s orphanage has a going away party before they leave Colombia to fly home. The Beyer’s new daughter had her going away party and they were able to make the connection with T. Kaia (Mom Beyer) sent me lots of pictures and videos. I wish I could share them with you, they are precious!! T was wearing the necklace we sent her and showed the Beyers the photo album we sent. Kaia said T is so sweet and perfect for our family. What an amazing gift it was for us to have them make this connection before leaving Colombia! 
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I800 Approval

March 30, 2021

We received our approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services in the mail yesterday (I800)!! 

Now we apply for T’s visa and wait for Article 5 (a letter stating our approval by the authorities) to be delivered to the US Embassy in Colombia. Once they receive it, we will be given the green light to travel. The typical timeframe from I800 approval to travel is 3 weeks. 

I started our packing list spreadsheet this morning! 🙂

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Miracles

March 17, 2021

My Grandma saw miracles in everyday life. 

I believe I tend to get my thoughts on miracles from her. For example, yesterday at Woodmans there was a checkout lane open with no line and no waiting – I exclaimed to myself “it’s a miracle! Thank you, Lord!”. 🙂 

 
I have two “bigger” miracles I’d like to share with you:
 
Last week, we received a $10,735 invoice from our agency. Thanks to your support, this is fully covered!! I can’t explain what a gigantic relief it is to know that our adoption expenses are not something we need to worry about. This is a marvelous miracle for us!!
 
On Monday, I got up to do my Bible study before the kids got up. For my Bible study, I sit at the kitchen table, in the spot we call “Jesus’ seat” because it is the seat that is always unoccupied during our meals. I sat down and saw a piece of paper at my feet. I picked it up and recognized my Grandma’s handwriting right away. It was a piece of paper I have never seen before, dated 7/9/2007. It was a cryptogram puzzle with 4 verses she had solved. This piece of paper took my breath away. There is no possible way I had this piece of paper in my house and it just fell out of something. Jay recalled taking his shoes off in this chair the night before, and the paper was not there at the time (this was after the kids had gone to bed and the house was quiet and cleaned up). My Grandma died 6 years ago and I don’t have anything written from her. You better believe I will be committing these 4 verses to memory! 
 
All this to say, we have felt God’s presence with us in a significant way throughout the adoption process. We know He has us and T in the palm of His good hands. There is no greater joy than following and trusting Him!
 
The verses on the paper include:
“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” 1 John 3:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”1 John 4:18
 
“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” 1 Chronicles 15:7
 
“May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience” Colossians 1:11
 
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6
 
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Care Package

March 13, 2021

T’s care package is on the way!

We packed a small backpack for her including:

A card with a note from each of us in Spanish

A necklace with her birthstone and the stamped words “so loved”

The Wisconsin t-shirt I told you about last week

Hair scrunchies

A stuffed rabbit

Notepad and scented gel pens

Fingernail stickers

Candy! She loved talking about her favorite candies when we talked with her this week 🙂

We can’t wait for her to receive the backpack and pray she feels “so loved” as she sees each of the things included! 

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A Sweet Skype

March 10, 2021

We met our daughter today! It’s still sinking in that we finally were able to see her face and talk with her. 
Our Skype was scheduled for 1 PM and we all anxiously crowded around the computer around 12:50 PM. By 1:10 PM, we still hadn’t received the phone call or any information about a late start. I contacted our agency and finally at about 2:10 PM the call came in. It was a nerve-wracking hour waiting and staring at the computer screen! 🙂

When we saw her smiling face, our nervousness faded. Our happiness was matched by her. She referred to us as mama and papa and Josie as her sister and the boys as her brothers. She asked many good questions and always made sure each of us answered each question. She asked where her grandparents were (we will invite them next time!). 🙂 We talked about everything from favorite foods to what we do on the weekends and what part of the USA we live in. She loves the photo album we sent and showed us her favorite pictures in the album. Her favorite animal is a dog, which is perfect, since we have one. 🙂 
The translator, who sat next to T off screen, was very sweet and helpful. 
Our meeting really could not have gone better. We are so pleased and are thanking God for His goodness!! 
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Every Detail

March 4, 2021

Yesterday was an eventful day! Here are the highlights:

We found out T knows about us! She received the photo album we made for her. The photo album includes pictures of our family including extended family, holiday celebrations, vacations, the inside and outside of our home, and pictures with friends. We hope it gives her a glimpse of what our family is like. We sure would love to know what her initial thoughts are! 🙂
 
We were able to sign T up for English lessons. She will receive 1-2 hours per week of English instruction from now until we get there. 
 
We will meet T via Skype on Wednesday afternoon next week! They set up two Skype sessions for us – one next Wednesday and another one a few weeks later. We are super excited and I’m sure we will be nervous when the day arrives!!
 
OK now this is crazy….here is the background: our friends, the Beyers, are leaving for Colombia soon to adopt their daughter. They are going to bring a care package from us and give it to T, since their daughter is at the same orphanage. Kaia (Beyer) suggested getting T a Wisconsin t-shirt to put in the care package. I searched online for a Wisconsin youth shirt and one caught my eye right away – it is the outline of Wisconsin with a heart in it. I exchanged messages with the etsy shop owner and ended up telling her the story of why I am purchasing this shirt. She replied with “You’re never going to believe this, but I was adopted as an infant from Columbia back in 1980.” WOW. I then looked at all the other things in her etsy shop and she is even selling shirts to help fund an adoption (of course I bought one).  This is such a sweet reminder that God is in EVERY DETAIL!! 
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Accepted Referral!

March 1, 2021

I’m sorry we haven’t updated you in a while – it’s only because we haven’t had any news to share – until now! We finally received and accepted T’s official referral! 

This means they will be able to tell T about us very soon and we will be able to schedule a Skype call to meet her. 🙂

I want to share a quote from the documents we received:
“T says that for her, adoption means having a mother and a father to give her love and protection forever. She is excited to find out who they will be.”

We are now filing paperwork with US Citizenship and Immigration for T’s immigration. Once approved, it will only be a few weeks until we are able to travel. We can’t wait!

Thank you once again for all you’ve done to help bring T into our family! We love and appreciate you!! 

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More Waiting

January 27, 2021

Yesterday was T’s birthday. We were hoping she would know about us by now,but “waiting” seems to be the theme of this adoption. Lord willing, she will never celebrate a birthday without a family again.

The great news is our dossier was approved by Colombia last Monday!

You may be asking: what is the hold up? We are waiting for T’s official referral to be translated into English so we can sign it. Once it is signed, they will finally be able to tell her about us, give her the photo album we made for her and set up our first skype call with her. Maybe her official referral will arrive today? We are always hoping! 🙂

As I’m writing, I’m also watching out the front window…..WAITING for the UPS truck to deliver our second round of FBI clearance documents. I have to sign for the delivery and do not want to miss it! Some of the documents in our dossier can not be more than 6 months old by the time we travel, which means we have to re-do a number of things, such as FBI clearances, medical and employment forms. All in the name of love….. 🙂

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

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Waiting

January 18, 2021

Hello! You haven’t heard from us lately, because we don’t have any new information to report. I was hoping by now to share with you that the adoption committee at Tatiana’s orphanage met and officially approved our dossier, and told her she has a family…..unfortunately, when they met last week, they didn’t have enough time to go over our dossier. We are praying they will have time for us this week!

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

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Timing

December 16, 2020
This week we learned that the adoption committee at Tatiana’s orphanage will be on vacation from December 21 through January 4, therefore, we will not be officially matched with Tatiana before Christmas. Our dossier will be translated and ready to be reviewed by the committee once they return from their break.
 

The encouraging news is that we should be officially matched by Tatiana’s birthday at the end of January. She and Jay share the same birthdate. 🙂 Our social worker also mentioned that she expects we will be traveling to Colombia by early March. It’s especially reassuring to have our social worker give us an idea of when we will finally be able to bring Tatiana home!! 
 
Reading Psalm 136 this morning was perfect because it shows how God has been faithful from creation throughout history. While we were hoping Tatiana would know about us by Christmas, we trust that God’s timing is best! 
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever…..to Him alone who does great wonders, His love endures forever.” v1,4
 
Thanks again for praying with us through this process!
 
 
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Dossier to Colombia

December 6, 2020

On Friday, our dossier left our agency and started its Fedex journey to Colombia! This is a HUGE step! We’ve been working on the documents included in our dossier since we started the process in February. Our dossier includes what seems like a million documents, such as: home-study, psychological evaluation, FBI clearances, references from friends and family, proof of employment, background checks from every city, county and state we’ve lived in, financial documentation, proof of insurance, pictures, multiple applications, approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration, medical reports, etc. Each of these documents has been notarized and apostilled. 
Once our dossier is in Colombia, it will be translated into Spanish. This process will take one to two weeks. After that, it will go to the adoption committee at Tatiana’s orphanage for review. Once approved, they will tell Tatiana she has been chosen for adoption! We keep praying this will happen by Christmas. 🙂 We will keep you posted!! 

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Immigration Approval

November 20, 2020

Yesterday we received a very important piece of paper in the mail – our approval from USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to adopt. This was the last piece of paper we were waiting for to complete our dossier. Once this document from USCIS is aspostilled by the WI Secretary of State, all of our dossier documents will go to our agency and from there to Colombia, where they will be translated into Spanish. Once our dossier is approved, we will be able to start having contact with Tatiana. We can not wait! So thankful to be one more step closer to her!! 

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Comments

$50

Brooke

Apr 10, 2021

“So excited to see this beautiful journey unfold.”

$50

Terina

Dec 4, 2020

“I'm so excited you are able to expand your family even further. I remember the long process when you adopted Josie. I'm so happy, and especially for little Tatiana who is blessed to join such a special family.”

$100

Jessica

Dec 4, 2020

“Wishing you and your family a blessed journey as you bring Tatiana Home!”

$75

David

Nov 30, 2020

“Awesome act. Best wishes”

$50

Keith

Nov 28, 2020

$25

Hidden

Nov 25, 2020

“The world could use more people like the Garitys. Good luck in your adventure!”

$350

Chris

Nov 25, 2020

“You and your family are such an inspiration Jay! What a blessing Tatiana will be for you all.”

$200

Richard

Nov 25, 2020

“Best wishes”

$100

Frank

Nov 24, 2020

“Happy Thanksgiving and what a great story! Thanks for sharing with us.”

$50

Jennifer

Nov 24, 2020

$100

Cathy

Nov 24, 2020

“Thank you for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best!”

$50

Susan

Nov 23, 2020

“Bless your family for helping make a child's life so much better! You're family is an inspiration. Best wishes on the final steps in the process.”

$100

John

Nov 23, 2020

“Congratulations on growing your family!”

$50

Sheri

Nov 23, 2020

“Glad to help! From our family to yours! Jay, so happy for you & your growing family! Sheri Renguette & family”

$100

Todd

Nov 23, 2020

“Best of luck. Happy Holidays from The Draak Family (JFG).”

$50

Tami

Nov 23, 2020

“God bless you both for following this calling to bring home another child to love and raise!!!”

$100

katie

Nov 23, 2020

$50

Stacie

Nov 23, 2020

“What a wonderful story to share Jay. I wish you and your expanding family a wonderful holiday.”

$25

Ed

Nov 23, 2020

“Thanks to the Garity's for your efforts to make a child's life better!”

$100

Jill

Nov 22, 2020

“I’m so happy for you and your family! Enjoy your Thanksgiving- it feels so appropriate to help you with this future blessing at this time!”

$130

Alicia

Nov 4, 2020

“The kids were proud to raise $30 with their map tracing :) We are all so excited for you!”

$80

Julie

Nov 3, 2020

$75

Elizabeth

Oct 30, 2020

$1,000

Hidden

Oct 30, 2020

“Glad to be able to help! Can’t wait to see this all unfold.”

$1,025

Hidden

Oct 23, 2020