A year ago, we said YES to adopting Elizabeth, and we are weeks away from traveling across the ocean to bring her home. When we first read her story and saw her picture, it was like seeing an ultrasound. There were features familiar to us, that she’ll share with others in our family – her mischievous grin, her deafness, and her beautiful birth country of China. But there’s so much that a photo doesn’t show, and we can’t wait to know more about who she is, what she hopes, fears, dreams, loves.
The steps we have taken to reach her are familiar. We are only walking in the love we’ve been shown by God and our families and following others who have called strangers brother, sister, son or daughter. We’ve traveled the adoption path to China once before, and we know the joy that awaits us on the other end, see it every day in our son Joshua. And although the waiting is hard and costs are many, we believe there’s profound purpose in both – from protecting children to preparing parents and families.
In addition to the costs of adoption, there are medical expenses to consider, and we long to take our family with us on our adoption trip. We saw how taking our children to adopt Joshua grew our faith, deepened our compassion, and bonded us as a family. We wanted Joshua then and Elizabeth now to have the truest sense of the family they are being brought into, and we want our other children to glimpse the life their Chinese born siblings are leaving behind and the huge change we are asking of them.
Until two months ago, we believed we would be traveling in March or April 2019. When our Letter of Acceptance came from China one to two months earlier than anticipated, we celebrated. And then we panicked. The time and money budget that had been falling into place had to be scrapped. We needed a new plan. And fast.
As if the adoption tsunami of emotion weren’t enough, we are also walking with my mom through stage 4 lung cancer and the sale of her home of forty years.
The intersection of so much joy and anticipation — Elizabeth’s arrival, a new chapter, a new home — and so much fear and doubt — how long does Mom have, will she get to meet Elizabeth, will she make it to move-in day — all the uncertainty of life and the unforeseen of a new parenting journey — have stripped away every shred of control we would be tempted to claim. We are past the end of ourselves with no idea how to do this — the timeline of it, the provision of it, the big and small of it.
God keeps showing up in people who reach out to help even before we articulate our need. Friends have offered to watch our dog Mickey, clean our house and fill our refrigerator while we’re away, assemble a small wardrobe, and they have handed us generous donations – before we ever thought to ask – matching dollar for dollar our need in that moment.
Now, our home church, NorthPoint Des Moines, is partnering with Lifesong for Orphans to offer us a $5000 matching funds grant, and all of you, our friends and family, have encouraged us to reach out for help.
It’s hard to ask for anything when we’ve already been given so much, and we know that when we adopt a child, all of you adopt with us. We may go to China to bring Elizabeth home, but we know she’ll find her way (as our other children have) into your homes and kitchens, your backyards and minivans, and your arms and hearts.
photo credit: Sarah B Photography
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 “Janni 8091”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.
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