Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Blog

In an effort to make life simpler, I have combined our private family blog (which I hadn't updated in a year), our Mexico Adoption Blog and any new posts. It is hard enough keeping up with one blog, much less three! So, from here on out, you can find me at  Taste and See

Friday, October 8, 2010

The End

Well, it has taken a month to finally update our adoption process on here!

 About 3 weeks ago we found out that Mexico will not allow our agency to reapply for approval- EVER! So, our options are over with them.

As I mentioned before, there is one other agency, Carolina Adoptions, that has Central DIF authority to process adoptions in Mexico. However, they have not received a single child referral (that's the match between a specific child to their family) since they became approved over a year ago.  Hmmmm.... I definitely think "something" is going on here....maybe political issues?

Anyway, in the process of talking to them on the phone (multiple phone calls!) the social worker told me that Mexico has just made a new regulation where they are recommending that no Mexican state allow families with 5 or more children to adopt in Mexico. Now, we only have 4 but we found out that Mexico will still only allow us to adopt one child- which will put us at 5 total. No adopting sibling groups.

In addition, they want to maintain birth order. So that means the oldest child we could receive would be 5 years old- which would be difficult to get since Mexico will only allow people to adopt children older than age 5.

So basically, even switching to another agency is out of the question since Mexico has limited our options so strongly. 

From the beginning, Brent and I have felt deeply called to adopt a sibling group since they are the hardest to find families for. We have spent the last 4 weeks really praying. A. Lot. And talking. A. Lot. And evaluating heart motives. A. Lot.

First, are we still supposed to adopt?
Or, did God open our eyes to the plight of the orphan, not to adopt but to support adoption in some other way?
Or, are we meant to be in Mexico ministering in some way?

Soooo many thoughts. So many questions. So much counsel sought.

In the end, we still feel God is calling us to adopt.  There have been too many confirmations along the way to deny His hand in moving us to adopt. Thankfully, we have peace about at least one thing!


We spent a large amount of time praying about whether God has specifically called us to the country of  Mexico, or called us to adopt children in a sibling group. 

This was a little bit easier. Although we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mexico- and could even see us moving there one day, we both feel pretty strongly that God has made it abundantly clear that a sibling group is what God has called us to. Which, in the end, means we must find a new country to adopt from.

God, in His providence, provided the answer immediately. During a phone conversation with our social worker, she mentioned the country of Colombia in South America. She told me that the country is essentially in a crisis with their sibling groups. They have over 5,000 siblings that need to find families and the country of Colombia is doing whatever it takes to find homes for them. Even expediting the time process and relaxing the regulations to meet the need.

Can you believe this? We would have NEVER considered Colombia a year ago. Yet just maybe God has had us go through this year long adoption process in Mexico to get us ready for a place where there is a multitude of siblings needing families. (Oh, it just breaks my heart that there are sooo many!)

Even so, we are walking slowly and carefully- trying to be certain that we are only moving ahead at His leading. We are hesitant to say "We ARE adopting from Colombia." because, as we have learned the hard way....

"The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." Prov 16:9

We've started the change of country process to see if God continues opening doors for us. If He does, then we will continue walking through them. If He begins shutting them again, we'll know He is steering us down a different path.

We are truly learning what it feels like to walk by faith and not by sight. We feel like we are trying to find our way in mostly darkness with just enough light to see the step ahead of us. It's good though. It is keeping us grasping for His strength and clinging to Him as we make each little decision.

We are both learning so many new aspects of God's character. And we are learning even more what it means to listen to the Holy Spirit. It would be so much easier if there was a verse in the Bible that said, "Brent and Tiffany shalt adopt from such and such place on such and such a date." But, there is none! LOL!  So we pray, pray, pray. Wait patiently (this is so  hard!) until peace comes. Then step!

So, I feel like I should discontinue this blog. Though the title "Blessings From Mexico" did not result from the same blessings as I assumed it would (3 little children), it did still result in blessings. We have received multitudes of Blessings from Him as He has taught us so much about Himself through this past year.

If nothing else, I pray that by hearing our experience and our journey of learning to trust God in adoption, we will  possibly stir up the desire of others to follow God's command to care for the orphan- whether that be by adopting themselves or supporting the orphan in some other way. 

Psalm 68:6 "God places the lonely in families...."
James 1:27 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction...."

I haven't decided whether to start a new blog on our Colombian adventure or not. If I do, I'll link it here.

May God richly bless you.

P.S. We would still greatly appreciate it if you would pray for our "almost" children that are being left behind in Mexico. Our hearts are still broken over not being able to be a family to them. Yet, we are praying expectantly that God will set them in a loving, kind family who will teach them of God's love very soon. The orphanage director has promised that she will contact me WHEN that happens. Please continue to pray for F, A, and B.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

God is Still Good

Since May, when our agency began having more approval problems, Brent and I have been praying that God would make His answers very clear in regards to our adoption difficulties. It is so hard to be left in limbo and confusion. After Gladney got the denial letter weeks ago, we knew that with an appeal process it would be very possible  for Mexico to drag things out for a long, long time- as in years. Yet, God in His sovereignty, has made His answer- at least that part of it- clear.

This past Wednesday we found out that our agency has received a second Denial for Appeal letter. Basically, the Central DIF will not allow them to appeal the original denial.

So, our answer is fairly clear now. For whatever reason, God has not seen fit to allow us to adopt from Mexico through Gladney. (Our agency is still holding out hope that they can possibly start the whole accreditation process over, however I feel doubtful that they would get approved after 2 denials on their record.)

Oh, it has been a sad, heartbreaking few days, don't get me wrong. (It's taken me 3 days to find the words to write this!) Our hearts are breaking over the loss of "our kids". Honestly, it feels the same as when we went through the two miscarriages in 2008. Kind of worse, though. What will happen to them? Will they be separated when the oldest turns 10? Will they ever have a loving family? Yet, God has given a peace that He will do what is good and right. That is all He CAN do! That is a comfort. And I can trust Him in that even if I don't ever know the details.

Surprisingly, after I had a good cry, I felt tons of relief. Relief that God is gracious enough to give us the answer now and not drag us through months and more months of misplaced hope.

We have no idea what that means for us, though. There is only one other agency in the US that does have Central Approval, however they are not having any success with adoptions anyway. It would be a huge gamble to switch over to them, and there are a few other details that are sending us red flags. This could mean that the opportunity to adopt in Mexico is no longer an option.

Brent and I both feel like God is telling us to just chill for a little while. Don't make any hasty decisions. Don't try to switch to another agency. Stay open to switching countries. Stay open to the idea that God has not called us to adopt after all. Stay open to whatever the Holy Spirit is telling us.

It's hard to do. In my flesh, I want to research, make phone calls, talk to the Embassy, call other agencies, network, look at other country requirements, etc. But I KNOW that we need to obey and just wait. Be quiet. Focused on hearing His voice and not my screaming emotions.

We, again, are praying that God would make His will for our next decisions about adoption very clear. We are humbly asking that all of you- our friends and family- would join us in this prayer.

-That our mourning will turn to joy.
-That "our chicos" would come to know Christ as their Savior so we can spend all eternity with them
-That we would not waste this setback by complaining, but would use it to proclaim His glory.
-That this time of waiting would be a period of spiritual growth and depth for our family.
-That we would not be hasty in any decision-even when our paperwork starts expiring.
-That we would be filled with patience and inner peace that defies understanding.
-That we would not be filled with fear in stepping out in faith again.
-That we would listen carefully to His voice and we would accept whatever He says with an open, submissive heart.
-That we can count it all joy to share in Christ's sufferings in this way.

Thank you for joining us in prayer. We are so thankful to be supported by so many family and friends who love us and want God's best for us.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hanging in there...

Just a quick update...
We're hanging in there. Thank you all for so many kind words of encouragement and for joining us with fervent times of prayer, often spontaneously in conversation.  We truly are grateful to be surrounded by believers who LIVE their commitment to Christ. 

We still don't have any more answers, but I have been on the phone with a bunch of agencies asking tons of questions and getting lots of advice- often much of it is conflicting.

More and more I am thankful that we are going through such a solid and reputable agency such as Gladney. I feel more and more confident of that each time they are proactively informing us of each and every step they are taking to appeal the denial.

Weekly conference calls to keep us updated even when there is very little to tell, just reconfirms my satisfaction with them. It's been so good to hear multiple times from other agencies that Gladney is such a good, honest agency to deal with.  They have been very willing to refund our money and return our dossier and do whatever we need should we choose to find another agency. We haven't done that because we are in this for the long haul. We are just really praying that things will work out and we can continue using them as our agency.

Now, if we could just get past this hurdle of the denial and get on to the real business of adopting! 

AND, I just found out yesterday there are TWENTY families in the Mexico program! I'm shocked! Only 12 have their dossiers done, but that is awesome that there are so many! Now, what I'm wondering is WHY DO HARDLY ANY OF THEM HAVE A BLOG!!! LOL!  (I don't mean you Michelle!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Heavy News

Deep Breath....Here it goes...

We have some heavy news. It looks like our adoption may be coming to a screeching halt. At this point we seriously need a miracle.  Here are the details:

As many of you know, we have been in the process of waiting for our agency to get accreditation from the Central DIF in Mexico City in order to be able to submit our dossier. This process of accreditation for our agency has been long and tedious and filled with broken promises from the Mexican government. Yet, everything seemed to be going well. Slow but well.

Until last week.

Last Wednesday I spoke to Beth, our social worker, who informed me that our agency's accreditation approval had been denied. Apparently, they were denied because they had listed several older waiting children on their website in hopes of finding them families. But this is against the new Centralization policy. So our agency got a denial letter stating that they cannot do adoptions in Mexico at all. It doesn't matter that they have written permission from children's govt. authorities  to post the pictures. The Central DIF didn't ever ask questions or mention the policy in the past so it was quite a shock to everyone when the denial letter came.

Our agency held a conference call with the Mexico Program Families and let us know of the situation. They immediately submitted an appeal letter to allow them to explain the evidence, however there is no "appeal process". So we are just praying that Mexico will be gracious and hear the request. We don't have a whole lot of hope, however. They haven't been very easy to work with up to this point, and with all the political unrest with immigration issues between the US and Mexico, we kind of think this has been a factor in the decision making. Already, it has been ten days since the Central DIF received the appeal request and there has not been a single peep out of them.

So, at this point,we realize that unless God chooses to do a miracle, we have lost our chance to adopt "our" kids and quite possibly the opportunity to adopt in Mexico at all.

Sadness doesn't even begin to describe the range of emotions we've been experiencing the past week. We are full of confusion and heartbreak. We have already lost the first set of children we had fallen in love with, and now the thought of losing these three little sweeties is almost too much.

Actually, it isn't so much our loss we are sad about. We will move on with life., make decisions about the future and go on living with our four children here in relative wealth. Yet, our heart is breaking for these three children whose future is now very, very bleak. The oldest is turning 10 this fall and from what I understand, she will be too old to stay in her present orphanage. We don't know what will happen to her. Will she be sent to another orphanage? If so, not only does she not get a family, but she will lose the only family she does have- her brother and sister... Obviously, this devastates us. Thinking about it makes me cry. These kids have lost so much already. Now this?

We have done a lot of soul searching and crying out to the Lord, wrestling with Him over our sadness. We have run the gamut of emotions. At first we were in shock as we processed the information and implications.

Then the doubt set in.

What if God was closing the door to adoption? What if we really didn't hear God's call? What if it was really just our own idea? What if it was all an emotional response after the two miscarriages we had the previous year? Maybe it wasn't God's voice we heard, but ours? If that is so, then I don't know if I've EVER heard God's voice, because we thought the idea of adoption was so clearly His idea.  Doubt. Doubt. Doubt  Yuck.

Thankfully, God sent many strong, faithful friends to uphold us, pray with us, and encourage us when we were too weak in our faith to think clearly. Wendy, my dear, sweet sister in Christ encouraged me with the statement (I think it is a quote...)

"Do not doubt in the darkness what you have known to be true in the light."

That was so helpful. The tears started flowing again when she said it- balm to my wounded heart. It really refocused me when I was letting the enemy distract me with doubt. After thinking on that and God bringing Scripture verse after Scripture verse to me, I feel like we are heading out of doubt and into hope.

Then came the questions? What are our other options? There is only one other agency that is accredited to work in Mexico (yes, only one- can you believe it?!) And unfortunately they only work in the state of Taluca. And, they haven't received a single child to their program even though they've been accredited for over a year. So that prospect didn't look too hopeful. And there is no way we could still get "our" kids in Mexico City since they aren't approved there.

There is another agency, who is in the process of getting accreditation, which is still doing adoptions the old way- directly with the state itself. Not through the Federal level government. And, they are working in Chihuahua, which is where we originally had hoped to adopt from. Yet, this situation poses tons of risk. What if they get stuck in the same mess that our agency got stuck in with the accreditation?  We could get all the way to the end of the process and the Central DIF could say it didn't count and nullify the adoption. So many questions and sketchy issues with this option.

Anyway, this is where we stand right now. We're overwhelmed.

Yet, through it we are trying to remind each other that God IS in control. He IS the One who gave us the call to adopt. We are certain of it. We are choosing to crush the doubt and confusion that the enemy wants us to wallow in. Our emotions are raw- yes. However, we will trust in His goodness and faithfulness. Whatever His plan is, we desire to follow it. WHATEVER. Even if it means we can't adopt "our" kids. Even if it means we can't adopt from Mexico. Even if it means we don't adopt at all.  Believing that and saying it from my heart is easier some moments than others, to be completely honest. Yet, no matter how small our faith is at this moment, We choose to trust that He will always do good. Always.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our kids' Orphanage Website

I was searching around on the net tonight and found our kids' orphanage' website! It's called La Quinta Carmelita. I used Google translate to try to figure out what it said. I got most of the jist of it. No pictures of the kids but their names are listed on the Sponsorship page.

Here's the site if you're interested!

Do you want to contact me?

I have had a few people that are in the Mexico adoption process try to contact me. They've left a comment but for some reason I can't see their profile or email so I can send a note back. So I've updated my  sidebar with my email address for people who want to contact me and chat about adoption related issues, or anything really! I LOVE talking about the adoption. Just ask my "in real life" friends who are sick of hearing me drone on. In fact they'd probably appreciate me having someone new to use up my daily word count on! LOL!

Also, in case you have been searching for Mexico Adoption Blogs and have found my other blog that says all the same things as this one, there is a reason. And, no, I'm not schizophrenic!

Our agency asked if I could list my blog on their website for other people who are going through the process. But, I can't have any fundraising information on that blog in case someone in Mexico who is part of the adoption process would get the wrong idea that we couldn't financially provide for the children we are adopting. So, in order to help them out, I set up another more basic blog for people to see that is  attached to the Gladney website.  Got it?