The Loopstra International Adoption Journey

Jonathan & Carol St. Paul, Minnesota

The Beginnings of our Adoption Journey

Ever since our marriage in 2007, we have considered adopting children, especially since we both grew up in close-knit families with strong Christian values of caring for those in need. We knew that if God were to open the door for adoption, this would be an opportunity to give a child in need a loving, life-long family.

We were naturally drawn to international adoption since we have had so many cross-cultural experiences through our extensive travel and living abroad. We also had no doubt that a child adopted internationally would be loved and welcomed into our extended family, most of which come from mixed cultures.

When we spent two years helping to develop a university in Northern Iraq, we began to understand in a fuller way the plight of orphans in need of a permanent family.  We were able to connect with groups working with street children, and we got to know Iraqi children that had been impacted by the war.  Once back in the States, we began to look at international adoption. Yet we experienced delays as we worked through the major transitions of an out-of-state move from Ohio to a new home and new jobs in Minnesota.

During this time, doors opened and closed, and eventually, Serbia was suggested as a good match given our backgrounds and experience.  Jonathan regularly teaches the history of this region, and is familiar with the local cultures.  Moreover, here was a country that has had a history of recent war, civil turmoil, and intense conflict between cultures and religions; here also was a people group that had experienced much persecution and hardship in the 20th century.

Once finally settled in Minnesota, we took up the journey. We sent our letter of introduction to the Serbian Authority and waited. On September 24th, Jonathan’s birthday, we received a referral, and after much prayer and consideration, we accepted. We are thankful to have been matched with two sibling boys, both of whom need a permanent, loving home. The boys have bonded well, living with the same foster family, and are in good health.

Although the Serbian Authority had some time ago listed these boys for domestic adoption, no family came forward to adopt them in their own country.  After waiting a year, the authorities asked us to consider adopting these boys. Of course, if you are familiar with international adoption, accepting the referral is just the beginning. We have spent several months gathering dozens of personal documents and have now submitted our dossier for review by the Serbian Authority.

We now await our official papers to be invited to Serbia to work through the formal process of adoption. We anticipate traveling in the fall to meet these two boys, ages 6 and 9. The older boy enjoys swimming classes and going on walks, and the younger b, loves to play with his big brother and learn new things. We will immerse ourselves in their world for 23 days, and if all sides agree on the match, we will bring them to their new home in the United States.

There are, however, a few more steps to take and financial hurdles to cross in preparation for this adoption. First, we are blessed in that over half of our needed funds have been met, thanks to grants, a benefit concert, and our personal funds. We are truly grateful!

But now that we have been matched with specific children, we are nearing the end of the adoption process. We have about $10,000 in costs still remaining, which will cover fees for travel (for four), international services, in-country costs, post-adoption, and, for the boys, medical exams, visas, and U.S. citizenship.

As we are nearing the end of this long journey, we would like to invite family and friends to partner with us in raising this last amount. If you would like to be a part of bringing these boys home, we would be thrilled and grateful! Here’s how you can help:

PRAY  …Ask God to prepare these two boys for all the changes ahead for them

…Ask God to prepare us for being the kind of parents these children need

 

GIVE FINANCIALLY

 …Many of you have expressed interest in providing funds for us to adopt, so now, here is your opportunity (see details below). Any amount you contribute is deeply appreciated.

…If for any reason your gifts are not needed for our adoption, 100% of your donated funds to Lifesong will go towards adoption costs for another child in need of adoption.

 

We hope you will join us in supporting this adoption, whether by prayer, encouragement, or finances, so that one day these children will come to know that they are always part of a wider loving community! 

————————————————————————————————————-

To donate by check, make checks payable to “Lifesong for Orphans.” In the memo, write “Loopstra #6839” to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, 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.

To donate online, click the red DONATE button above. NOTE: Your donation is processed by STRIPE with a 2.2% + $.30 (3.5% for AMEX) per transaction fee. 100% of the donation received by Lifesong will go directly to the adoption.

————————————————————————————————————-

■ NOTE: In accordance with IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit
organization, Lifesong. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
■ Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totalling $250 or more will
receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent
upon request. Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.

Read more
Raised to date by 42 people
 of  $31,220
3 days left

My Story

The Beginnings of our Adoption Journey

Ever since our marriage in 2007, we have considered adopting children, especially since we both grew up in close-knit families with strong Christian values of caring for those in need. We knew that if God were to open the door for adoption, this would be an opportunity to give a child in need a loving, life-long family.

We were naturally drawn to international adoption since we have had so many cross-cultural experiences through our extensive travel and living abroad. We also had no doubt that a child adopted internationally would be loved and welcomed into our extended family, most of which come from mixed cultures.

When we spent two years helping to develop a university in Northern Iraq, we began to understand in a fuller way the plight of orphans in need of a permanent family.  We were able to connect with groups working with street children, and we got to know Iraqi children that had been impacted by the war.  Once back in the States, we began to look at international adoption. Yet we experienced delays as we worked through the major transitions of an out-of-state move from Ohio to a new home and new jobs in Minnesota.

During this time, doors opened and closed, and eventually, Serbia was suggested as a good match given our backgrounds and experience.  Jonathan regularly teaches the history of this region, and is familiar with the local cultures.  Moreover, here was a country that has had a history of recent war, civil turmoil, and intense conflict between cultures and religions; here also was a people group that had experienced much persecution and hardship in the 20th century.

Once finally settled in Minnesota, we took up the journey. We sent our letter of introduction to the Serbian Authority and waited. On September 24th, Jonathan’s birthday, we received a referral, and after much prayer and consideration, we accepted. We are thankful to have been matched with two sibling boys, both of whom need a permanent, loving home. The boys have bonded well, living with the same foster family, and are in good health.

Although the Serbian Authority had some time ago listed these boys for domestic adoption, no family came forward to adopt them in their own country.  After waiting a year, the authorities asked us to consider adopting these boys. Of course, if you are familiar with international adoption, accepting the referral is just the beginning. We have spent several months gathering dozens of personal documents and have now submitted our dossier for review by the Serbian Authority.

We now await our official papers to be invited to Serbia to work through the formal process of adoption. We anticipate traveling in the fall to meet these two boys, ages 6 and 9. The older boy enjoys swimming classes and going on walks, and the younger b, loves to play with his big brother and learn new things. We will immerse ourselves in their world for 23 days, and if all sides agree on the match, we will bring them to their new home in the United States.

There are, however, a few more steps to take and financial hurdles to cross in preparation for this adoption. First, we are blessed in that over half of our needed funds have been met, thanks to grants, a benefit concert, and our personal funds. We are truly grateful!

But now that we have been matched with specific children, we are nearing the end of the adoption process. We have about $10,000 in costs still remaining, which will cover fees for travel (for four), international services, in-country costs, post-adoption, and, for the boys, medical exams, visas, and U.S. citizenship.

As we are nearing the end of this long journey, we would like to invite family and friends to partner with us in raising this last amount. If you would like to be a part of bringing these boys home, we would be thrilled and grateful! Here’s how you can help:

PRAY  …Ask God to prepare these two boys for all the changes ahead for them

…Ask God to prepare us for being the kind of parents these children need

 

GIVE FINANCIALLY

 …Many of you have expressed interest in providing funds for us to adopt, so now, here is your opportunity (see details below). Any amount you contribute is deeply appreciated.

…If for any reason your gifts are not needed for our adoption, 100% of your donated funds to Lifesong will go towards adoption costs for another child in need of adoption.

 

We hope you will join us in supporting this adoption, whether by prayer, encouragement, or finances, so that one day these children will come to know that they are always part of a wider loving community! 

————————————————————————————————————-

To donate by check, make checks payable to “Lifesong for Orphans.” In the memo, write “Loopstra #6839” to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, 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.

To donate online, click the red DONATE button above. NOTE: Your donation is processed by STRIPE with a 2.2% + $.30 (3.5% for AMEX) per transaction fee. 100% of the donation received by Lifesong will go directly to the adoption.

————————————————————————————————————-

■ NOTE: In accordance with IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit
organization, Lifesong. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
■ Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totalling $250 or more will
receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent
upon request. Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.

Read more

An unexpected turn…

October 12, 2019

Thank you for continuing with us in our adoption journey. We are truly grateful for your support.

We have been delayed on our updates because we hit an unexpected turn in late August. We received news that despite the careful efforts by social workers to introduce the boys to the idea of adoption, the older boy was opposed to being adopted.  Consequently, though the social workers there still believed adoption is the best option, they decided not to move forward. Though we are disappointed, we certainly do not want to go against the wishes of a child.

As difficult as this news was to hear, we were encouraged by the immediate efforts of the authorities to match us with another child in need of a permanent family. They offered us a new referral, and after reviewing the child’s behavioral and medical reports, we accepted the referral. Plans are successfully moving forward (thus far!) and we look forward to sharing more details in the near future.

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Paperwork, travel dates, adoption news for the boys

July 29, 2019

It seems there is always one more document to complete in the ongoing adoption process. Keeping records updated is a constant challenge as time goes by and expiration dates come up. Our previously approved application to USCIS to adopt internationally was nearing its expiration date. We’re happy to report that our approval has now been extended for another 15 months!

We are still waiting to hear about when we will travel. We know it will likely be after October.  With Jonathan’s teaching, department chair, and other responsibilities (and with over two hundred students in his classes), the timing of our travel is of utmost concern. Unfortunately, with his level of expertise, the university cannot simply call in a substitute teacher. Please keep us in your prayers that God’s timing will be perfect.

Perhaps most importantly, we just got news that the boys will soon be told that an adoption opportunity has come about. As our social worker reports,

“the social center will be sending a psychologist to introduce their opportunity for adoption, working the way to more specifics of an American family, then more specifically your family and ultimately will interview the children to confirm desire to be adopted since the court will permit the oldest to have input. I’ll be sure to let you guys know. It’s so hard because kids don’t want what’s best for them sometimes.”

Please join us in prayer for these children as they receive this news. It’s hard because, on our part, we have had pictures, video, and very intimate information about these two boys for nearly a year. This being the case, if they decide against being adopted by Americans, we would accept their decision. So pray for God’s will to be done in this situation.

We continue to be encouraged as your thoughtful notes and support keep coming.    Thank you!!

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Thanks for joining our journey!

June 10, 2019

We are overjoyed at all the responses we have received from family and friends in support of our adoption journey!  Thank you for joining us and sharing in our joy!  We so appreciate the letters, phone calls, and in-person words of encouragement from so many of you, and your generous gifts towards the adoption funds! Many of you have emphasized how you are praying for us, and that truly means a great deal to us. All of your support gives us courage to be even more diligent in our preparations – thank you!

We love hearing from you and staying in touch!

 

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Comments

$1,603

Emily

Nov 6, 2019

“Love you both”

$50

KELLY

Oct 28, 2019

$500

Sharon

Aug 26, 2019

“My dear, dear Carol (and Jonathan), I never meant to be so silent. I am a very bad communicator, but rejoicing with you through all the hoops and loops and praying God blesses each and every step and you soon have both boys in your arms. Much love, Sharon”

$300

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Aug 26, 2019

$25

Simone

Aug 16, 2019

“We love you'se guys. God's grace and peace!”

$350

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Aug 5, 2019

$100

Emily

Jul 31, 2019

“Can't wait to meet my new 2nd cousin once removed!”

$210

Hidden

Jul 31, 2019

“Keeping you in our prayers. Love from us all! Elsie, Norm, Nicky, Abby, and AJ.”

$50

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Jul 24, 2019

$500

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Jul 15, 2019

$200

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Jul 9, 2019

$100

Nawal

Jun 28, 2019

“Looking forward to seeing pictures of the boys. They are so fortunate to have you as parents. Love you!”

$150

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Jun 17, 2019

$350

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Jun 14, 2019

$200

Sharon

Jun 9, 2019

“We are so excited for both of you. Let us know if we can help in any way.”

$200

Anthony

Jun 1, 2019

“We're wishing you the best. We love you. Esther and Tony”

$32

Jonathan

May 28, 2019

$500

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May 28, 2019

$30

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May 27, 2019

$3,000

Ross & Barbara

May 26, 2019

“With our love and prayers, Ross and Barbie”

$500

Tim & Sana Karam

May 24, 2019

“Carol and Jonathan, Big hugs to both of you as you embrace this new, ambitious chapter in your lives. Tim & Sana”

$50

Kurt

May 22, 2019

“We are very excited to see the Loopstra family grow, and look forward to hearing more!”

$1,190

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Mar 18, 2019

$490

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$1,000

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