So the back story…
Flash back to September of 2010. It was the day of the huge fundraising yard sale we held back home in Midlothian. I had been in contact with a sweet adoptive mom from our previous church back in Richmond, and she showed up at the yard sale with her sister. Her sister, Monica, was in the process of adopting independently from eastern Congo and shared his sweet pictures with me that day. This short encounter stayed in the back of my mind, and I couldn’t help but wonder what ever happened with their adoption.
Flash forward to early spring 2012. Rwanda was shifting their focus to domestic adoption and foster care, thus giving us a heavy dose of reality that we will likely never bring a child home from Rwanda. After weeks of crying and questioning and mourning this, I began to feel as though it time to move on. The call to adopt had never left, and we began to research other options. Our heart remained in Africa, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should look into the DRC. So, I read and prayed and asked questions. I remember vividly the morning in March when I woke Matt up from a dead slumber to announce something along the lines of, “Just FYI, I really think we’re supposed to adopt from Congo.” At this point, Matt was just beginning the process of mourning Rwanda and was not quite ready to process the thought of adopting elsewhere (especially in his sleep). But I continued to pray and research.
Though it had been nearly two years, I eventually contacted Monica to get a feel for her take on adoptions from Congo. You see, I had always been hesitant to consider the DRC, as corruption and unethical practices are rampant. However, as Monica talked me through her process of bringing her little boy home from an orphanage in eastern Congo independently (without the use of an agency), I began to feel as though this might be our answer. I was visibly shaking as I walked into the house after hanging up the phone with Monica, as I felt God’s hand at work in my heart and our adoption in such an overwhelming way.
After many more weeks of praying and processing, Matt was completely on board. We contacted Monica again who, in turn, put us in touch with another woman, Holly, who has recently returned to the States after serving as a missionary in eastern Congo for years with her family. Holly, too, adopted from the same orphanage in eastern Congo, and through the process became passionate about improving the conditions of this particularly destitute orphanage. She has since launched and managed a non-profit with the intention of supporting this orphanage and providing formula for the malnourished babies. Holly agreed to be our point person through the process of adopting from this very same orphanage from which she and Monica both adopted. Having lived there for years, Holly knows the right people. She personally knows our lawyer and the orphanage director. She knows the in’s and out’s of this region and the culture, and she has graciously agreed to hold our trembling hands throughout the process.
So, where are we? Well, we just had a social worker over to our house a week ago to have a new home study completed. (De ja vu much?) Once we have that in our hands, we’ll request a change of countries from USCIS. Meanwhile, we are gathering documents left and right for our dossier. Most of these do not need to be notarized… and none authenticated. Bless you, Congolese officials. 🙂 Hopefully, we will submit our dossier this summer and may receive a referral shortly thereafter. I have been told that the average wait time from submission of paperwork to travel to bring one’s child home is 7-9 months. Things could potentially move even faster than this, and, as we know all too well, they could move slower. However, in general, things should be a bit more predictable this go-round, as we are not at the mercy of a long waiting list.
I know this still leaves many questions unanswered, and I will get there. Patience, my friends. It’s a lesson we could all benefit from these days. 🙂