Gotcha Day

1 year later

A year ago today we walked into a very unfamiliar orphanage and looked into the eyes of two little girls who’s faces we had been staring at for what seemed like ages and who we couldn’t wait to wrap our arms around.  It’s been a full year…a year of hard fought battles and fits of laughter…a year of what we thought were unnecessary tears, but ultimately they were tears of hurts being healed and memories being mourned.  It’s also been a year of sisters learning to be sisters and daughters learning to be daughters.  I think it’s safe to assume that is a day we will never forget.

We’ve recently asked them what they remember about that day.  Sifa willingly offered that my pants had a lot of pockets and Jen had awesome hair.  Yeye simply said she didn’t like me.  I remember looking at their feet and holding their hands, they remember our style and my facial hair…go figure.  But they also said they were’t scared.  WHAT?!?  They weren’t scared to leave what they had known as they held our hands and walked out of the gate into a world they did not know.  Maybe they surrendered to the thought that this is simply another day in what has been all too normal.

We’re still learning how to be a family of six.  Jen has recently accepted a position at one of our awesome high schools, so we are learning how to be a family of six with two working parents and four girls in school.  Needless to say, it’s been a crazy adjustment, but we love watching the Spirit gracefully thread himself through every fabric of our lives drawing us closer to Him and each other.

Here are some things we have learned over the past year:

  • You can read here what we had learned in the first six months.
  • It’s harder than we thought it would be…but so was having twins.
  • First grade is hard for a child from the Congo who was in Kindergarten for five months.  It’s also hard on her parents…But God is good!
  • Yeye LOVES to sing songs that make no sense.
  • Sifa is AWESOME at soccer, and when I say awesome, I mean so awesome that I see her potential and I become one of those dads that no one likes…so much so I’ve heard other coaches complain that she’s too rough!  My response, “There’s only one way to play in the Congo!”  Let’s face it…she’s my only hope for an athlete.
  • All four of our girls are hilarious.
  • Van rides over 5 minutes are not fun.  (Fighting, singing loudly, asking questions, throwing things)
  • Sifa & Yeye still remind us the healing process is not over.

Others have traveled this road, but I do believe we all have similar feelings and thoughts.  Jen Hatmaker has a great blog that expresses our thoughts exactly: The Truth About Adoption: One Year Later.

It has been a GREAT year, but that doesn’t meant it hasn’t been a difficult year; so we are extremely grateful for the people that God has put in our lives for such a time as this.  All of this has been so new but with a touch of familiarity as it defines our relationship with a loving Father who adopts His children into a forever relationship with Him.

Again…thanks for walking with us, hurting with us, crying with us, and serving with us!

Jarred and Jen


The Beautiful Mess…

There is no denying adoption is one of the more frustrating experiences one could go through.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.  I recently heard about a celebrity who went through the process, but backed out before the adoption because it was “too difficult.”  When you’re doing it for the PR, then yes, it’s gonna be too difficult for you.

Last week, Jen and I had the opportunity to share our story and thank an organization (One Less Ministries) for the work they are doing in rescuing children from a hopeless situation.  The only words I could come up with to describe our experience so far were, “adoption is simply a beautiful mess.”

I doubt I’m the first one to inform you of this, but adoption is messy.  The gambit of emotions one goes through may be a little overwhelming.  There have been so many scenarios that have been out of my control – from crazy bugs to an unspecified illness.  These are the things make you wanna crawl under the bed and cry for a month or two.  It’s also messy mentally.  The moment you think you have it all settled in your mind, your agency director will send you a 3 word email that will send you down a maze of what ifs and unopened doors.  Let’s not forget it’s messy financially.  The OJay’s song “For the Love of Money” will become your families adoption theme song!

But it’s also beautiful…It’s the Gospel.  Adoption is messy, but it has been one of the most beautiful experience we’ve had and I can think of no greater picture of the gospel.  God rescued us from what can only be described as a horrible situation and brought us into His family giving us an eternal inheritance through Jesus.  What is more beautiful than this?

The past few weeks have landed in that “messy” category for us.  Both of our girls had surgery on their feet and one of them has been in and out of the hospital for treatments of a disease that she may or may not have.  Clearly this has been an extremely stressful time for us, because there is absolutely nothing we can do but live life here while thinking about them over there, but God is still good!  He has to be, it’s part of who He is.

My daughters have been through more than I could ever imagine, and I get stressed out  when I have a long day in my leather chair in my “dang it’s cold” office.  We get stressed out over the things we can control, they can’t control much of anything, but by the looks on their faces, they roll with it.

They are both in a new orphanage for now and they will be there until we come get them.  That could very well be within the next 10 days…but we don’t want to get our hopes up – it’s messy enough as it is.


knit together…

…even though we are an ocean apart.  When we started this journey, we knew the road would be long and bumpy.  Every adoption story is different, but all have a common thread…patience is a must.  Sooner or later, your patience is going to pay off.  TODAY we received word that we have passed all of our stages except for the final two.  Tomorrow we will send in our final paperwork to the American government and await their approval to go and bring our daughters home (second to last stage), which will be followed by what we hope will be a short wait and then given a date to travel to their homeland and bring them to their new home.

We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.  Legally, there are two orphans with new names.  They probably don’t realize their names have changed.  They may not even realize that legally they have new parents who are longing to come and see them for the first time…to shower them with love (and gifts the likes of which they have never seen before).

We are one step closer to bringing them home, and one step away from bringing a long and winding journey to an end.  Continue to pray for us as we climb these last couple of steps.

Since I have your attention, let me also say this…if you would like to support us financially by buying one of our adoption shirts (guys girls), just let us know a size and we will send you one for your donation.  Through grants and support from family and friends, we have paid for our adoption costs for our agency and now we simply need to finalize our transportation costs.  We are that much closer, and youCANhelp!

Thanks for following us in this journey!

Another Appropriate Adoption Update

“Jarred!!! Jarred!!! You have to read this, you won’t believe it!” Normally this wouldn’t freak me out, but when it’s at 6 o’clock in the morning, it will start your heart up a little. Needless to say, I shot up and tried to focus my blurry, “OMGoodness it’s early,” sleepy eyes on what seemed to be a small screen retina burning screen. After wiping the eye boogers out of the corner of my eyes, I stressed to read the 10 type Ariel font.

I don’t remember the exact wording, but it went something like, your family has been chosen to receive a grant. Woah! It was a great grant, and one I’m sure our agency was grateful to receive. We found out later that this grant has resulted to our being “paid in full” to our agency. Now that means we save for our travel expenses.

A couple days after, we received word from another organization informing us they were sending us a grant to help us in our journey. We still have a ways to go, but we have been blessed by what God has done in the past week.

Our family memory verse for the month is, “my God will supply all your needs” Phil 4:19. God continually proves His Word to be true.

In addition to this crazy roller coaster, we found out this week that we have passed court in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. How crazy is that? God provides and God delivers!!! We now find ourselves in a 30 day wait period before our paperwork can be turned in to the Embassy.

It’s been a great week, and we wait with hearts of love ready to spill out on our daughters.


an appropriate adoption update…

Let’s just say the past couple of months have been one of the craziest rides we’ve been on in our lives.  Two months ago, our view of adopting from Ethiopia was getting fuzzy.  What was becoming clear, adoptions in Ethiopia were coming to a slow crawl.  It’s understandable…the government wanted to make sure everything was done in an appropriate manner.  I don’t think anyone would expect less.  During this time, Jen and I began to pray about adoption.  We don’t believe God changed His mind, but was He changing our hearts?  The clear answer to this was no, we believe without a doubt God has lead us to (and on) this journey.  But there was something different…there was something changing.  As we prayed for direction and clarity, God led us to a new agency, and a new country.  Not something I would recommend, but something we did nonetheless.

This is when God decided to “step on the gas” a little.  We are happy to let everyone of you know we have ACCEPTED A REFERRAL for TWO girls.  Two sisters who’s eyes will melt your hearts.  Two sisters who have two sisters they’ve never met waiting for them in a town they’ve never heard of.  Two sisters who have two sisters who have been praying for them every morning before they get out of the car for school.

We have seen their faces!  We have seen their smiles…well at least one of them.  We know our daughters’ names.  We are in a completely different place than we were two months ago, yet it feels eerily similar…it feels like waiting.

When we feel comfortable sharing with you where they are and what they look like, we will.  You’ve been on this journey with us.  I know you would like to meet them as well.

But Jen and I get the first hugs!