Thursday, October 1, 2009

Liberian adoptions featured on Oprah

From Angel (our adoption coordinator);

Sorry for the short notice, but I just found out the Oprah taping we did in the spring is going to be on tomorrow. The episode is entitled "Fascinating Families."
Go to to see what's on Oprah for the week. You can click on the photo for 10/2 to see a short clip from this episode. You can also go to to get more information about when it will be on in different areas. If you are sending out info. about the show to friends and family and want to use it as an opportunity to update them about what is going on with ACFI's continued ministry to the children in Liberia, you can direct them to .

Here goes...

So... the reason I haven't written much in the last few months is because I don't want to sit down and really think through it all. It's easier to distract myself from reality regarding Kelvin and Hawa. It's just hard to feel the emotion of all of this right now. For me, writing it all down requires me to really hash it all through to come up with what I think about the matter... and I just don't know what I think. But I'll try... so here goes...

If you read the post before this one, you have an idea of where the process is. It is going nowhere, and nothing is happening. Not even for the children whose adoptions were virtually completed. We have been told that our best chance to get our children home is to find someone in the US State Department who can advocate for us.
Well, I called that person, as have many adoptive parents, and I had to be borderline pushy in talking with her just so she wouldn't cut me off. There doesn't seem to be much compassion or hope for advocacy there... but I hope I'm wrong, cuz she's supposed to be our "best shot".

We are facing the reality that things may not turn out the way we had hoped and planned. We still have hope, and we continue to press into the Lord for a miraculous turn of events.... for the heart of President Sirleaf to be moved into God's agenda... for these many children, for Kelvin and Hawa, to come home. But the question has settled on my mind often...

What if God brought us to this place so we could care for their needs... but not to be their literal parents?

We have no doubt that the Lord has directed us here. None. But I do find myself unable to fully be confident of the outcome that I always had assumed would take place. I can no longer say that I KNOW that God will allow the kids to come home to us. What if he brought us together so that we can help them to be raised in Liberia; providing food, schooling, and medical care long-term? What if? Would we do it?
Absolutely... no doubt, and with great joy.
Is that what I want?
I want to hold them and love them and raise them to know Jesus, and watch them develop incredible bonds with Asher and Anika. I want to watch the clouds together and take them to the lake, read good books and spin and dance in the living room. I want to be their Mama.

So, we are continuing to pray for God's mighty intervention and for our children to truly be "ours" one day. But if the Lord asks us to surrender that to him, we will need his deep grace to do it. We want to please him above all. Believe me, I don't say that flippantly or lightly. It is a sacrifice of praise to say those things aloud, or to write them down, and often, just saying it makes me cry because it's painful. What I want and what God wants for me are often two very different things. I need him to mold me to be more like himself so that I can truly say, "Lord, not my will, but yours."

On a last note (not because it is unimportant, but because it is of the utmost importance), I talked to two dear friends of mine yesterday who told me that their children are praying for Kelvin and Hawa everyday.
No exaggeration.
That alone blesses me and makes me want to cry. But you know what is even cooler? They have faith that God will answer them. They're kids... we tell them to trust God to take care of the things on their hearts, and they do.
I want to be just like that.
One of the little girls (she's 4)prays that God will open the gates of Liberia, and that their President will let Kelvin and Hawa come home to us. In her sweet child-like mind, she imagines there's a literal gate around the country of Liberia, and she prays the God swings the gates open so that my kids can come out. You know what's funny in a profound sort of way? That's exactly what it is. The gate may not be literal, but it is real... it's just a spiritual reality instead of a tangible one.
The battle belongs to the Lord.

Letter to US Legislators

I'm sorry for the lack of posts about the adoption for those of you who check for updates... it's just that nothing is happening... and there's nothing encouraging to say about the process right now. Below, you'll find a pretty good synopsis of the situation.

The following letter is one composed by our adoption coordinator to our US legislators. We have been given permission to post it and to copy and send it to our representatives in the Congress and Senate. If you have any interest in sending it on our behalf, just to raise awareness of the issue within government offices, we would be grateful.

Here is a link to the contact information for your representatives:

As one of your constituents, I am writing to request that you contact Ruth Lincoln at the State Department and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the US Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia for answers about when Liberian children who were matched with adoptive families before the current moratorium will be allowed to finalize their adoptions and come home to their US families.
In January 2009 during her annual address to the legislature, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf put a halt to all adoption activity in Liberia citing concerns with two adoption agencies and corruption by Liberian officials who were asking for bribes from American families. However, eight months later, little action has been taken by the Liberian government to process adoptions again, and the same officials who were accused of corruption continue to sit on President Sirleaf’s Adoption Committee. Furthermore, to date, the two adoption agencies who were accused of abuses have been cleared, one by the Liberian court system and one by members of President Sirleaf's Adoption Committee. Meanwhile over 25 children who have court decrees of adoption, making them the children of American parents “as if they were born to them,” remain in institutions and foster care in Liberia. In addition, over 75 more children who were matched with American families before the moratorium also continue to wait as President Sirleaf’s unannounced halt left these children and US citizens without recourse.
Adoption service providers as well as adoptive families have been in contact with the US Embassy in Monrovia for advice and assistance as they have waited to bring children home. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and former Consular Alma Gurski provided little help in these matters. For six months, service providers were told that adoptions would resume as soon as new adoption laws were passed in Liberia. In the spring, the House of Representatives in Liberia did pass a Child Act that contained revised adoption laws. However, the legislation stalled in the Senate while President Sirleaf and her Adoption Committee decided to ratify the Hague. While ratification of the Hague is a worthy goal, it is a process that took fourteen years (1994-2008) for the US to accomplish. The Liberian children who were matched with US adoptive families before this moratorium cannot wait for a process that could take decades in a developing country.
Adoption service providers have continually warned the US and Liberian governments in meetings and through the Liberian media that the consequences of delaying action on this issue would be tragic for the American families and Liberian children involved. Eight months into this halt we have lost three children to death who desperately needed medical attention. This medical attention was blocked by the Liberian Ministry of Health in one of these cases. The basic human rights that these children have to survive and be raised in a family, rights that are outlined by the Hague Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, are being violated. The United States cannot stand by and allow such violations when it enjoys a close partnership with Liberia.
In a recent speech by Secretary Clinton, she said:
“Whether in Latin America or Lebanon, Iran or Liberia, those who are inspired by democracy, who understand that democracy is about more than just elections – that it must also protect minority rights and press freedom, develop strong, competent and independent judiciaries, legislatures and executive agencies, and commit for democracy to deliver results – these are the people who will find that Americans are their friends, not adversaries. As President Obama made clear last week in Ghana, this Administration will stand for accountable and transparent governance, and support those who work to build democratic institutions wherever they live.”
As seen in the way the adoption issue has been handled, Liberia has not yet taken the necessary steps to become an accountable or transparent government. I encourage you to keep this in mind as a legislator who is responsible for voting on millions of dollars in aid to Liberia each year.
In addition, I would like your assistance in making sure that the children who were matched with families before the moratorium was announced on January 26, 2009 are allowed to come home to their families quickly. Remember that out of approximately 100 children who are part of this group, three have already died in the past eight months. It is dangerous enough to survive as a young child in Liberia. It is even more life threatening to be a child without a family to raise you in Liberia. That is why it is imperative that a resolution be reached quickly.
Thankful for your assistance,