Monday, May 25, 2009

Bulgaria? . . .

On Friday, May 17th we called Hope for the World to see if anything further could be done in Albania. The director told us that, due to the fact that there would be no telling how long everything would take to get up and running, we should not wait for them.

We decided beforehand that whatever his recommendation was, that it would be our final answer. We would not be angry with God nor would we question Him. He is in control and He knows what He is doing. So now we would move on and pick another country.

We looked through all of Bethany's options yet nothing touched our hearts like Albania. Besides we found we were ineligible for many countries. We were not in a huge hurry because we were still waiting for Jen's CPS check from Mass to return. So we were just left with asking God where to go from here.

On Monday, May 20th Jen got a call from our case worker. We told her Hope For the World would not be an option. Jen asked questions about all the other countries Bethany offered. She told Jen what we already figured and what deterred us from the other countries they offered. She then told Jen that they were just informed a few days prior that Bulgaria was opening up and we could think about it. As soon as she mentioned Bulgaria Jen felt peace. When Jen called me at work with the news of Bulgaria, I felt at peace as well.

We weren't sure how we'd be able to give our hearts to another country after falling in love with Albania. But we feel that our willingness to trust God and not question him has released a genuine work of grace in us. Our love for Albania has been supernaturally transferred to Bulgaria.

Part of the peace I felt initially with the news that Bethany was closing the Albania program was that at every point before this when we didn't know what to do we prayed and God answered powerfully. So we were trusting that He would be the same yesterday, today and forever. At the beginning, we didn't know what country or agency and He brought Bethany and then Albania to us. This time we didn't know which country, and He brought Bulgaria to us.

According to one article we read, Bulgaria is the poorest country in Europe. It was finally freed from Communism in 1990. It appears that it would only require 2 separate trips, maybe 7 days each.

So for now we wait to hear back from the case worker as to how we are to proceed with Bulgaria. We pray that there will be no restrictions due to our family size or our income.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Change in Country?

Last Friday the 8th, we received a call from our case worker at Bethany. She informed us that Bethany would be closing their Albania adoption program. We knew that Bethany was one of only two agencies in the U.S. authorized to offer adoption from Albania. Our case worker said we had the option to either switch countries or agencies with a completed homestudy.

We immediately called International Childrens Alliance (the other agency) only to find out that they were not taking applications at this time due to the fact that they are not Hague certified.

We found all this out literally minutes before Jen was to leave for the weekend on a ladies retreat with our church. So with no time to talk with each other or process anything she was off for two days and I was left with the kids.

When she returned Sunday afternoon, we had resolved not to question God or be angry. It's amazing the work that God has done in our hearts throughout this adventure that he has led us on. Jen has been all over the world with different missions organizations. I have not had the opportunity, but would love to travel as she has. However, we both were pretty content to live out our lives here and serve God in Toccoa, GA. So you can imagine how surprised we were to discover during these two days that God had been working on our hearts, connecting us with the country of Albania. I never in a million years thought I would feel any type of burden for a country. I could understand feeling this way if we had fallen in love with a child there, but a country?

Although our hearts were wrapped up in Albania, the country and not just our son, we would be willing to choose another country. But which one? We were at the beginning all over again. As far as we were concerned God had led us to Albania, so at this point one country was as good as another if it wasn't Albania.

We decided to check into one connection we had come across along the way, Hope For The World. We knew they ran at least 5 orphanages in Albania, so we would see if they had any other information. Although, we already knew there were no other options. You cannot adopt independently from Albania and the 2 agencies that were approved by Albanian government were now not an option. But we sent an email anyway asking for help.

I sent the email Saturday night and by Monday morning we had received an email from the director's daughter stating that her parents were off fundraising, but that she had contacted them and they would get back to us soon. Before Jen could contact me, the director had called my cell to ask questions and find out from us what was going on. He was very passionate about his kids in Albania and told us to give him a week and he would see what he could do or find out.

Well, it was a week yesterday, so I called him today. He confirmed that Bethany and ICA were closed doors to adopt from Albania. However, he said that Hope for the World was working on becoming an adoption agency for Albania in the U.S., but will still not be ready for some time.

We are considering waiting until Hope for the World is ready but have some questions for them about how things will work. Their answers will determine the next step for us, either choosing another country with Bethany or continuing to pursue Albania with a small delay.

We will keep you updated as soon as we know. In the meantime we are continuing to raise funds and God is continuing to show himself faithful. Over the past several weeks we have received over $700 randomly from friends, family and the mailman. Although we have not received many online orders through the Etsy shop, Jen has been baking nonstop for orders placed offline.

Jennifer's sister Jessica has begun an Etsy store of her own. Jessica is an amazing artist and has begun making her own greeting cards for different occasions. She has decided to sell these to help bring in money for the adoption. She will not be making any money for herself. Her site is