The journey for each family to adoption varies greatly, as does the time frame of how it all comes to be.
For those that are interested in what this journey looks like for us, here’s the timeframe so far:
January – A clear call from the Lord to begin the process, NOW, after years of prayer over adopting.
February + March – Pray over agencies for homestudy. Pray over where the Lord wanted us to purse adopting from. Basically, pray, pray, pray some more. And waiting for His direction on this.
March 22 – Pre App submitted to our placing agency + app submitted to homestudy agency
March 25 – Application to Forever Families Adoption Services approved (for homestudy in VA… we highly recommend them if you live anywhere in VA!)
March 26 – Decide on Congo + Pre App approved (placing agency)
April 15 – First Homestudy meeting
April 30 – A’s homestudy physical
May 16 – Second Homestudy metting + individual interviews
May 17 – Final Homestudy meeting
May 28 – L’s homestudy physical
June – Gathering documents for dossier
July 11 – Official completion + approval of homestudy. Huge step!
July 29 – USCIS form submitted
August 26 – Dossier complete. Huge step!
August 27 – USCIS fingerprinting appointments in DC
September 14 – Yard Sale Fundraiser made possible by an incredible group of friends and strangers that loved us well!
September 25 – DRC issues an exit letter suspension and no legally adopted children are allowed to leave the country. At this point, it was not expected to last long, and just a month later, we accepted a referral.
October 31 – Referral of our sweet girl!
May – Pass court. W is legally our daughter.
July – First trip to DRC to file our i600 investigation paperwork with the embassy (not able to go all the way to see our daughter, in another area of the country, because the domestic flight stopped running).
September – Lauren’s trip #2 to DRC, this time all the way to meet W. Amazing time with her, but very challenging time with orphanage and director. Became more and more clear things weren’t right and money was not being spent on kids. Clear that orphanage director was a very evil man.
September 25 – Bio family interviews at embassy for I-600 investigation
Sept-Dec – Will, another parent of kiddos at same orphanage, stays to live near kids. Goes everyday to care for them, teach them English, and feed them. We receive lots of crazy updates during this time, from kids having no water to changes in the original stories we were told about our kids.
Nov 13 – W’s I-600 case deemed “Not Clearly Approvable” and forwarded to USCIS Rome
Dec. 23 – Nicole, Will, and lawyer attempt to get the kids out of the orphanage, with all legal paperwork. Lots of meetings, lots of crazy, and ultimately Nic and Will fly back to Kinshasa without our kids on the plane. This was the point in the journey we believed it was over, but we still didn’t know the whole story. We entered a very sad, dark season.
The Lord prompts me to begin sharing our story more vulnerably, even though I want to keep it private. In the midst of grief and sadness and so much unknown, God spoke to each of our hearts very clearly: “I will be glorified.” So we began sharing, to point this story to Heaven.
Dec. 28 – Receive word that the orphanage has been shut down. All the children are placed with family members; W placed with a former caregiver. We still wait for information from her bio family on whether they are going to take her home or want her adopted. It is unclear whether they truly abandoned her.
Jan. 14– Agency sends the third lawyer back out to orphanage to get the full stories from birth families. We learn that several bio families were told they could not have their children back without paying the orphanage director money for the time he had their kids. Worst nightmares are confirmed as we realize children were exploited. Our DRC adoption journey comes to an end, but W is reunited with her bio mom, and for that we are so grateful.
We grieve so much as a family during this time, our kids having lost their sister and we having lost our daughter that we knew, loved, and prayed for daily. But we have a peace in it all, knowing the Lord used us to be a part of bringing her home, even though it wasn’t our home.
We continue to pray about moving forward and where to go from here, knowing the Lord has still called us to adopt. We’re praying through domestic adoption and know He will lead us.
February 2 – Step out in faith after a couple of weeks of sensing the nudge but feeling so hesitant to move forward because of the risk….Application sent to domestic consulting agency!
February 4 – Official contract mailed to agency
February 9 – Homestudy update visit (part of changing our international hs to domestic)
February 10 – Officially contracted!
February 13 – Kids Phsyicals
March 10 – Homestudy Update Complete
March 16 – Everything in the mail to our referral agency + we are officially active! (more waiting!)