Ismael and I have always wanted to adopt. Even when we were dating it was something that we discussed that was a big desire for both of us. We really thought we would adopt before we had a biological child. A few years into our marriage we were in the process of getting approved to be foster parents and we got pregnant with Stella. Because of that we put fostering on hold. I had also wanted to adopt from Haiti for some time and had spent time researching that thru talking with agencies and we both traveled there. In the midst of having Stella, putting foster care on hold and researching adopting from Haiti we had started to do mission work in the Dominican Republic with our youth ministry. Our mission work was thru a group called Filter of Hope in which we installed water filters for families giving them clean water and also using it as an open door to share the gospel.
During our time in the Dominican Republic we always spent a day working in an orphanage with the kids. We all served with different age groups and I always helped with the babies and toddlers. Our first year we were there I was working in the baby room as well as one of the girls that I invest in that was in our youth group at the time. The girl that I was investing in was holding a baby that had just recently come to the orphanage. She was tiny and sweet and we all fell in love with her. The next year when we went back to that same orphanage I was looking for that same little girl to see how she had grown. During my time there I learned a lot about her story and spent more time with her one on one. I also found out that she was Haitian. I left the orphanage that day with a feeling that never left me. I knew that I wanted to have a further conversation with the director about this little girl. Ismael and I have a very close relationship with the director so she was more than happy to have a conversation with us about the possibility of adopting this little girl. Ismael and I spent time researching the possibilities of how we could adopt her knowing that it is harder to adopt from the Dominican. As we got further into the process I decided to contact Lifeline Children Services, an agency in Birmingham, AL. The director of the Latin America program was so helpful to us in walking along side us to figure out the possibility of adopting her. As she researched this with her lawyer and the central authority in the Dominican we realized there was a possibility we could do this but there would be a lot at stake for our family. There was a possibility that we would spend years living in the Dominican and would only get guardianship of her. So knowing that we decided to put the adoption of her on hold and pray that things would change with the process in the Dominican.
In the meantime we were having conversations with our social worker about going ahead with our home study and pursuing children from another area within Latin America. As we talked thru the different countries we felt like Colombia was the best fit for our family. Colombia has a big need for people to adopt sibling groups and children with special needs. So we decided to get approved for a sibling group of 2. As we were in the process of getting approved thru home study we were made aware of a brother and sister that was available for adoption in Colombia. We took a week to read their files and then moved forward in submitting a letter of intent for them. So their file is currently on lock. We do still have to technically go thru an official matching process with them. Once that is done we can start communicating with them.
When we originally started this process we mentally prepared ourselves that this would take a year or two. But as you can see this process has happened a lot quicker than we ever imagined. We have been in shock and so thankful! As long as we are funded and everything goes as planned we could possibly travel to go get them in the Spring of 2019!
This does not mean that we have given up on the little girl in the Dominican. If and when the process changes there we will pursue adopting her. We do know that this may not change but we are praying that it does.
I know that is a lot of information but we wanted to make sure you knew all the details of our journey to adoption. It has not been a short one and there have been many speed bumps. In saying that we are so thankful for where we are in the process and are trying to enjoy each step of the way to Stella’s Siblings. Please pray for our family as we get closer and closer to bringing Stella’s Siblings home!