Radical Obedience: Weaving Unseen Beauty

Stephen Choate
Stephen Choate

God is at work in our lives even when we can’t see exactly what he is doing! Thankfully we can have hope in His promise:

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans

  to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope

  and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

 

Our journey to adoption started two years ago, when we were hosting a weekly meeting of Christian couples in our home. At that time we were reading Radical by David Platt. After reading chapter 6 “How Much Is Enough?” we began to talk about what adoption might look like in our family. 

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will

  listen to you.”  Jeremiah 29:12

 

We began looking at what was required and since we are already living outside of the United States, we began to lean towards an international adoption. During the next months, we decided to check with the local German department for families and youth to see if it was possible to adopt a child in Germany. In the following weeks we learned that because of the status given to us as U.S. government employees, we could not adopt a child using the German system, but we could be enrolled in their foster care program. We decided to complete the process to become foster care parents in our local area.

Sometimes God’s direction is a little different than what we envisioned for ourselves. The threads of our life seem to be sporadic and don’t make a lot of sense. This is when we have to trust that God is making something beautiful!

We waited for almost one year before we received a phone call asking if we would accept a 2-year-old girl named Georgia. Stephen remembers the moment when Kelly called him at the school in late August to let him know a child was available. We said yes and met the family the next day. The family was from Romania and the older brother, who was 4-years-old at the time, was undergoing treatments for cancer. The family left Romania in search of better medical care. The children’s father had come to Germany and found a job which allowed him to receive German medical insurance. The rest of the family soon joined him. The mother was going to be living at the hospital with the son during the treatments and the father was working night shifts. The family had no one to watch Georgia. The mother spoke some English and both parents knew a small amount of German. The children had only been raised speaking Romanian. At the end of our first meeting, we determined to provide all the help we could to this family. The next day, the brother went to the hospital where his right leg was amputated above the knee. The little girl came to live with us on Monday.

 

It was an eye opening experience to have this new child in our family! There were many tears the first day Georgia was dropped off, but she adapted to the new environment very quickly. Within a couple of weeks, the little girl was able to follow simple instructions in English. She started feeling more at ease in our family. The toughest part for our family was when she would go to see her father on the weekends. The transition in and out of families was hard for all of us, but we soon found a rhythm and God’s grace covered our families. After 6 months, the little boy was released from the hospital and our foster daughter was able to live full time with her biological family again. It was hard to see Georgia go, but it was much easier knowing her family loves and cares for her. During this time of fostering, we realized that our family wanted to provide a forever family for a child. When our responsibilities with our foster daughter were complete, we began looking into agencies that facilitate international adoptions and would work with American families living overseas.

We settled on an agency and began looking at the countries that they work with. While searching, we found that many agencies provide a list of “waiting children” who meet special requirements by their countries. Normally, the list is comprised of children with multiple disabilities or sibling groups that wish to be adopted into the same family. We were given access to a list of children from Eastern Europe and we were greatly impacted by the photos and stories of all the children. We felt almost paralyzed seeing all the faces and names of these children longing for families.

“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your

  name lead and guide me.”  Psalm 31:3

 

However, during our research we came across a little boy who was about 2 years old. He was born without a lower leg on one side, he suffered from cleft palate and lip, had some developmental issues with his toes and fingers, and is deaf. He had beautiful, bright eyes and we began asking for more information. We soon found out that this little boy is living in a country in which we have not had any previous experience*, and we were provided with some more photos and a video of him. After much prayer and seeking God’s will, we felt that this was the direction He wanted us to take. 

“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your

    heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”  

    Jeremiah 29:13-14

 

We submitted our dossier paperwork to the country in November 2018. At the end of January 2019 we accepted a referral for the precious boy from the waiting list, our soon to be son! We have had many ups and downs on this adoption journey. Sometimes, we feel like we are working a 40-hour week just for the adoption, while other times we have to learn patience while waiting for the next approval to be granted. We know that God’s timing is perfect.

Although it seems like this journey is all tangled up and filled with knots at times, we were reminded through the book Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom, that God is still working. Amen! “I held up the backside of the embroidery. ‘Your life is like this. See how dark it is. See how the threads are knotted and tangled, mixed up.  But when you turn it around then you can see that God is actually weaving a crown for your life. God has a plan for your life and He is working it out in beauty.’”

It is such a blessing that we get to participate in something that is so dear to our hearts and God’s: adoption. Because of our salvation through Jesus, 

“The Spirit we received does not make us slaves, so that we live

  in fear again; rather, the Spirit we received brought about our

  adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”

  Romans 8:15

 

In addition to all that God has already done, we have been blessed with a generous matching grant from the JFRH Foundation through Lifesong for Orphans for $3,000. We are reminded that since the creation of man, God has been partnering with us to build and extend his Kingdom. As we have traveled through this journey of adoption, we have experienced countless moments when God has used people to support, provide and encourage us. Will you partner with us in the work God is doing?

We greatly need your prayers for our family, our new son, the adoption process, our upcoming travel to pick him up and meet him for the first time, as well as his transition to our family!

We have calculated that our adoption will cost us around $34,000. In faith we have already paid more than half of that up to this point. We know God is moving, and He wants to give you and others the opportunity to be a part of His story. The money donated through myStory and Lifesong will be able to reimburse us for those costs, as well as the upcoming costs to pick up our son. This would be a great blessing to us as we foresee many future medical appointments, operations, and therapy that cannot be reimbursed. Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us meet our matching grant and cover the remaining amount needed for our adoption expenses to bring this little boy home? Our fundraising goal is June 1, 2019, but funds will be accepted towards our adoption until the child is in our home and/or our adoption is complete.

Your financial support will be directed to our account when you use our family account number 8216. All of the funds donated through Lifesong for Orphans will be used to support orphans and families in the adoption process. By sharing the resources that God has given you, your tax deductible contribution will be used to transform generations to come. You can help provide Christian families the means to raise orphaned children in the ways of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are excited to see how God will use this adoption to continue to mold and shape all of us into the image of his Son, Jesus.

As we wait, we pray and trust that our heavenly Abba (Father) will bring about His will, and that He will be glorified in and through our adoption!

 

* We are unable to release specific country information.


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 “Choate 8216”, to ensure it is credited to our 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.

  • 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 17 people
 of  $34,000
9 days left

My Story

God is at work in our lives even when we can’t see exactly what he is doing! Thankfully we can have hope in His promise:

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans

  to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope

  and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

 

Our journey to adoption started two years ago, when we were hosting a weekly meeting of Christian couples in our home. At that time we were reading Radical by David Platt. After reading chapter 6 “How Much Is Enough?” we began to talk about what adoption might look like in our family. 

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will

  listen to you.”  Jeremiah 29:12

 

We began looking at what was required and since we are already living outside of the United States, we began to lean towards an international adoption. During the next months, we decided to check with the local German department for families and youth to see if it was possible to adopt a child in Germany. In the following weeks we learned that because of the status given to us as U.S. government employees, we could not adopt a child using the German system, but we could be enrolled in their foster care program. We decided to complete the process to become foster care parents in our local area.

Sometimes God’s direction is a little different than what we envisioned for ourselves. The threads of our life seem to be sporadic and don’t make a lot of sense. This is when we have to trust that God is making something beautiful!

We waited for almost one year before we received a phone call asking if we would accept a 2-year-old girl named Georgia. Stephen remembers the moment when Kelly called him at the school in late August to let him know a child was available. We said yes and met the family the next day. The family was from Romania and the older brother, who was 4-years-old at the time, was undergoing treatments for cancer. The family left Romania in search of better medical care. The children’s father had come to Germany and found a job which allowed him to receive German medical insurance. The rest of the family soon joined him. The mother was going to be living at the hospital with the son during the treatments and the father was working night shifts. The family had no one to watch Georgia. The mother spoke some English and both parents knew a small amount of German. The children had only been raised speaking Romanian. At the end of our first meeting, we determined to provide all the help we could to this family. The next day, the brother went to the hospital where his right leg was amputated above the knee. The little girl came to live with us on Monday.

 

It was an eye opening experience to have this new child in our family! There were many tears the first day Georgia was dropped off, but she adapted to the new environment very quickly. Within a couple of weeks, the little girl was able to follow simple instructions in English. She started feeling more at ease in our family. The toughest part for our family was when she would go to see her father on the weekends. The transition in and out of families was hard for all of us, but we soon found a rhythm and God’s grace covered our families. After 6 months, the little boy was released from the hospital and our foster daughter was able to live full time with her biological family again. It was hard to see Georgia go, but it was much easier knowing her family loves and cares for her. During this time of fostering, we realized that our family wanted to provide a forever family for a child. When our responsibilities with our foster daughter were complete, we began looking into agencies that facilitate international adoptions and would work with American families living overseas.

We settled on an agency and began looking at the countries that they work with. While searching, we found that many agencies provide a list of “waiting children” who meet special requirements by their countries. Normally, the list is comprised of children with multiple disabilities or sibling groups that wish to be adopted into the same family. We were given access to a list of children from Eastern Europe and we were greatly impacted by the photos and stories of all the children. We felt almost paralyzed seeing all the faces and names of these children longing for families.

“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your

  name lead and guide me.”  Psalm 31:3

 

However, during our research we came across a little boy who was about 2 years old. He was born without a lower leg on one side, he suffered from cleft palate and lip, had some developmental issues with his toes and fingers, and is deaf. He had beautiful, bright eyes and we began asking for more information. We soon found out that this little boy is living in a country in which we have not had any previous experience*, and we were provided with some more photos and a video of him. After much prayer and seeking God’s will, we felt that this was the direction He wanted us to take. 

“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your

    heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”  

    Jeremiah 29:13-14

 

We submitted our dossier paperwork to the country in November 2018. At the end of January 2019 we accepted a referral for the precious boy from the waiting list, our soon to be son! We have had many ups and downs on this adoption journey. Sometimes, we feel like we are working a 40-hour week just for the adoption, while other times we have to learn patience while waiting for the next approval to be granted. We know that God’s timing is perfect.

Although it seems like this journey is all tangled up and filled with knots at times, we were reminded through the book Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom, that God is still working. Amen! “I held up the backside of the embroidery. ‘Your life is like this. See how dark it is. See how the threads are knotted and tangled, mixed up.  But when you turn it around then you can see that God is actually weaving a crown for your life. God has a plan for your life and He is working it out in beauty.’”

It is such a blessing that we get to participate in something that is so dear to our hearts and God’s: adoption. Because of our salvation through Jesus, 

“The Spirit we received does not make us slaves, so that we live

  in fear again; rather, the Spirit we received brought about our

  adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”

  Romans 8:15

 

In addition to all that God has already done, we have been blessed with a generous matching grant from the JFRH Foundation through Lifesong for Orphans for $3,000. We are reminded that since the creation of man, God has been partnering with us to build and extend his Kingdom. As we have traveled through this journey of adoption, we have experienced countless moments when God has used people to support, provide and encourage us. Will you partner with us in the work God is doing?

We greatly need your prayers for our family, our new son, the adoption process, our upcoming travel to pick him up and meet him for the first time, as well as his transition to our family!

We have calculated that our adoption will cost us around $34,000. In faith we have already paid more than half of that up to this point. We know God is moving, and He wants to give you and others the opportunity to be a part of His story. The money donated through myStory and Lifesong will be able to reimburse us for those costs, as well as the upcoming costs to pick up our son. This would be a great blessing to us as we foresee many future medical appointments, operations, and therapy that cannot be reimbursed. Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us meet our matching grant and cover the remaining amount needed for our adoption expenses to bring this little boy home? Our fundraising goal is June 1, 2019, but funds will be accepted towards our adoption until the child is in our home and/or our adoption is complete.

Your financial support will be directed to our account when you use our family account number 8216. All of the funds donated through Lifesong for Orphans will be used to support orphans and families in the adoption process. By sharing the resources that God has given you, your tax deductible contribution will be used to transform generations to come. You can help provide Christian families the means to raise orphaned children in the ways of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are excited to see how God will use this adoption to continue to mold and shape all of us into the image of his Son, Jesus.

As we wait, we pray and trust that our heavenly Abba (Father) will bring about His will, and that He will be glorified in and through our adoption!

 

* We are unable to release specific country information.


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 “Choate 8216”, to ensure it is credited to our 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.

  • 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.
Read more

Update: Interpol Check, Ministry Check, Next Stop Courts

May 22, 2019

Greetings All,

Tonight we received good news. Our Interpol background checks have cleared and the Ministry in our adopting country has approved our case. Now our documents will be collected and delivered to the regional court that will administer our case. God is truly blessing us along this journey!

We do request that you continue to pray for us and the road ahead, and also for our little boy’s foster family who has been raising him for most of his life. We know God is continuing to prepare all of us for the changes that are ahead.

Sincerely,

Stephen & Kelly

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Road Map: Interpol Check and Beyond!

May 12, 2019

Last week started off calmly enough, but in the course of only a few days, we learned that our paperwork had been completed at the US Embassy and had moved to the Ministry for children in our country of adoption. We then received confirmation that the MInistry actual had our file, and was initiating the Interpol checks. So, here is a rough outline of the next steps in our journey.

– Interpol results are received by the Ministry.
– Ministry Offical approves our case.
– Our in-country representative will take our documents to the Regional Court.
– A court date will be set.
– We will travel to the country 3-7 days before the court appointment.
– Court Date! We then will wait in the area until all the documents are prepared.
– The Court documents are used to receive our son’s country passport.
– We can then request an appointment at the US Embassy, and complete his medical physical required for the US immigration Visa.
– Appointment at the US Embassy!
– Receive the final travel packet from the Embassy!
– Find the best way home with our new little boy!

Of course, all of these events have very vague and moving timeframes attached to them! Lord willing, we will ALL be back home in the next couple of months.

Thank you again for your continued prayers and support. Our account with Lifesong for Orphans remains open for donations until our adoption is finalized at the Court in our country of adoption. Praise God that date is coming soon!

“…no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)

 

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Update: Paperwork has left U.S. Embassy

May 8, 2019

We are excited to report that we are another step closer this week! The Article 5 paperwork has been written and prepared by the U.S. Embassy and has been passed to the ministry for children in our country. We were told they would initiate our Interpol check this week. We are excited and a bit nervous as the process is nearing our pick-up date. Please keep us in your prayers!

Blessings,

Family Choate

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Following Whales

May 4, 2019

As I sat with my family watching an episode of Wild Kratts (https://pbskids.org/wildkratts/), I realized how our adoption journey is like following whales. Sometimes you are excited as you see the whales surface and spout. Other times you only see their backs as they break the surface. Many times you have to stop the boat to sit and listen. But, one thing is for sure, something is happening!

We are currently waiting for our “Article 5/17” letter to be prepared at the US Embassy in our adoption country. When it is completed it will be given to the country’s ministry that oversees adoptions.

We are looking forward to the next sighting!

Photo: Taken on Monterey Bay while visiting the Steisslingers, July 1, 2015.

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Update: Form I-800 Approved, case moving to US Embassy

April 23, 2019

Greetings All,

We received exciting news yesterday, that our paperwork has been approved by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The approval process at the USCIS was very rigorous, to say the least. We were notified by our adoption agency (https://childrenshouseinternational.com/) of the approval because the mail makes it to them well before we get it here in Germany. We have been waiting for this approval for many weeks.

Then we received notification today, that the NVC has forwarded our case to the US Embassy in the country we are adopting from. Now the Embassy will prepare a set of documents that will go to the host nation’s ministry for children. We are excited that we are two steps closer to finalizing our adoption and bringing our new son home!

Last week we had a number of gifts come into our account from Family and Friends in the USA and Germany. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. We are blessed to have your support!

 

With appreciation and love,

Familie Choate

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Comments

$300

Rosemary

May 18, 2019

“Im very excited for you!”

$100

Elisa

May 13, 2019

“Can't wait to meet this little guy 😊”

$500

David

May 8, 2019

“In Jesus' name, amen.”

$1,000

Jenna

May 8, 2019

“We are praying for your entire family and this precious child who has the privilege of joining your loving home !”

$100

Rachel

May 5, 2019

“We are praying for your family as it prepares to grow.”

$1,200

Jill

May 1, 2019

“We are so excited to meet baby boy Choate. The kids donated money also!”

$100

Robyn

Apr 29, 2019

“Marty and I are excited about the new addition to your family! God bless you all.”

$400

Michael

Apr 28, 2019

$100

The

Apr 26, 2019

$200

Madonna

Apr 23, 2019

“Children are a blessing. Best wishes on your adoption journey.”

$550

Offline Donation

Apr 22, 2019

$500

Offline Donation

Apr 19, 2019

$100

Gerd

Apr 18, 2019

“Wish you all the best!!!”

$3,400

Offline Donation

Apr 15, 2019

$250

Aaron

Apr 8, 2019

“We love and miss y’all. We are overjoyed to help you on this journey. Heather vividly remembers the girls night y’all first talked about adoption. You will be in our thoughts and prayers. There is no doubt one day you will hear the sweet words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!””

$1,023

Michael

Apr 8, 2019

“Your journey is truly inspiring. We love you and are praying for you all. Love, The Jimerson’s”

$100

Shannon

Apr 8, 2019

“Are we the firsts? God bless from the Filonczuks”