This time in Africa-the comments and the reply

I received this comment after my post last week.

How awesome that you’re not letting massive corruption/human trafficking for the purpose of international adoption in DRC get in the way of you purchasing a Congolese child!

Not rumors of corruption, actual corruption so awful the State Dept issued multiple warnings about it (forged paperwork for Boudreaux letters and exit permit paperwork), starting in 2011!

Did you somehow miss the 48 Hours episode about corruption in DRC adoptions?

Clearly you don’t care. The fact that the DRC is among the poorest countries on earth with a barely functional government, little reliable electricity and next to nothing in the way of social services… yet you trust that very DRC social services agency to be capable of verifying if a given kid truly needs a new foreign family.

You simply don’t care. You’re happy to purchase the kid of your dreams. I have no idea how you sleep at night.

Ps go check out — she got the adorable Congolese girl of her dreams home and exactly what she deserved

I wasn’t going to acknowledge this comment. I wasn’t going to give this person the public space they wanted to say untrue and potentially damaging things about Congolese adoption. I definitely did not want to engage in a debate or any kind of conversation with someone who is willing to make these assumptions about me however I received the following comment after posting yesterday. From a different email but I suspect the same person.

I’m appalled that despite allllll the fraud and corruption and baby buying… you’re still on track to adopt a Congolese kid. You want the kid sooooo badly, you don’t actually care if she’s been kidnapped. Or trafficked. Or has family that would be raising her had you not felt the need to spend upwards of $35k purchasing her.

You’re excited about the acquisition. I’ll be praying the exit permit ban is NEVER lifted. That the little girl stays in her country where she belongs and that your agency keeps ALL your money so you can never, ever buy a kid again.

I replied and I replied under the assumption that these comments were left by the same person based on tone and writing style. Obviously I realize there can be more than one person sharing this opinion and that is the reason I have chosen to reply.

Thank you for your comments on my most recent blog posts. I have debated whether or not to respond as I do not wish to debate adoption ethics or my own adoption process with you. I also cannot speak for everyone adopting from Congo but I decided I needed to at least clarify a few things. 
First,  I do know my daughter is an orphan. I too am very concerned about the ethics of MY adoption and adoption in general. Please do not assume that because I haven’t disclosed the private details of her case on the world-wide web that I have been callous or complacent. It would be a mistake for you to assume anything about any adoption, there are plenty of people in process, living this everyday, that are just as concerned, if not more concerned about ethics than you. 
I did see the 48 Hours special about the one corrupt adoption agency and lawyer. It was devastating to watch because so many children being placed by that agency are in fact legitimate orphans and in need of a forever home. Now they are having to wait much longer to make it into those waiting families.
You mentioned the state department alerts and yes, I have seen them and I am actually in contact with them regularly via email and phone calls about specific details in my case. I am glad to hear you are keeping up with them as well! So important to stay informed. 
I am aware of the issues facing the Congolese people, some of which you mentioned in your comment. The list of hardships is endless for so many. Some people are barely surviving. Some of my very dear friends are Congolese and it can be very frustrating and even excruciating at times to watch their struggles. 
I chose to adopt from Congo for some of these exact reasons. In doing my research and working closely with organizations that work to sustain families and care for orphans I have become educated and I do care.
You asked how I can sleep at night? Truth is, I don’t. My daughter has been gravely ill and I worry for her safety every minute of every single day. I worry about the street kids I have met first hand and the children living in orphanages waiting for a family that is never coming. I worry about the state of Congolese adoption, as you mentioned we are talking about one of the poorest countries on this earth. A country where orphans age out at 14 and are left with nothing and no one to sleep on the streets. A country where there is constant civil unrest and violence toward women and children is unimaginable. I don’t sleep.
Bringing my daughter home will not be the end of this journey. It is only the beginning and it is when the hard work begins. Parenting a hurt child is extremely difficult and it can take a very long time to help these precious children heal, if they can at all. Someone out to purchase a child or in it for the acquisition does not sign up for the work that adoption entails.
The exit permit suspension is just adding to any other hardships, especially for our most vulnerable children. Without the income orphanages receive from adoptions children who once got a meal a day are waiting 2-3 days between meals. Babies are very literally  starving to death. Orphanages are also in desperate need of  diapers, clothes, shoes, medial supplies and medical care for sick children because people are not traveling at the rate they were before. A difficult situation has become impossible. There are children ready to come home, with visas and still waiting, children considered  medically fragile and in need of medical attention.  
What would happen to the millions of legitimate orphans in DRC if adoption were closed to foreign families? Adoption breeds organizations committed to orphan care and keeping biological families in tact. I personally know of a dozen or so organizations started by adoptive parents that would not have been had these beautiful people not been there and seen these children and these circumstances for themselves. Organizations that are employing Congolese people to be their leaders, voices and hands in county. The Congolese people have been forgotten by so much of the world and their own government. Proud and beautiful, hard-working and kind, I won’t forget them. There are brighter days ahead for children in Congo, there are solutions. Though it is just a small part, adoption IS a part of that. 
I truly hope that the changes being made to Congolese adoption right now help to ensure that greedy and unethical lawyers and agencies do not bankroll off of families suffering. Child trafficking and kidnapping are a parent’s worst nightmare, biological or adoptive. 
Thank you again for your comments  and for the crusade you seem to be on regarding ethical Congolese adoptions. In the future please keep in mind that to help make a real change there are organizations out there that would love to hear your concerns and give you a place to voice them in a productive and less condescending way. 
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This time in Africa-still getting there

I was scheduled on a flight to Kinshasa through Brussels for Saturday Feb 1, we got to the airport and in line to check in about 8 30a and our flight was scheduled to leave at 10 40 to Chicago and then from there to Brussels at 7p. As soon as we got in line for the kiosk I knew something was up. People were on their phones and looking angry. Then we saw it, CANCELED!!!! I don’t know how else to describe the feelings I had while staring at that stupid kiosk. My mind and maybe my mouth wass going a little, WHAT THE WHAT, WHAT THE BEEP, YOU GOTTA BE BEEPING KIDDING ME RIGHT BEEPING NOW, AHHHH BEEEEEEP!!!!!!! Not proud, just sayin’.

When I got to the desk the poor kid working the counter had fear in his eyes. He did not look like he could handle one more raving lunatic or sobbing nightmare so I reined it in, mostly.

He was trying his best but I’m not sure he understood how flights and airports and connections worked. Seriously. He was trying to route me through Philly at 5p for a 6p flight to Brussels, he was trying to get me on a plane the next day for a 26 hour later arrival in Kinshasa, things weren’t going to go well in the reining in the lunatic department. I could feel my crazy start to creep in. I kept thinking I cannot miss an entire day with her!!

Finally I just told him what I wanted. I told him where I needed him to get me and how he should do it. He was so confessed that my directions were more of a relief than an annoyance. That meant different airlines and different everything. It also meant shorter time in the air, and an earlier DRC arrival. Silver lining for sure. Finally he worked it all out and we went from his united line to the delta line which was literally 2 ft away from us. I was just as close to the delta kid as the united kid but had to get out of line and get into the delta line. Checking in at delta with the other new kid on the block that day was also exhausting. After about an hour or so of this hot mess my mom and I were finally on out way to our gate, YAY!!!!

FLIGHT DELAYED!!!! Of course it was. Luckily I was packing xanax and valume for these exact situations. Turned out to only be about a half hour delay though so things were fine, everyone was fine, everything was just fine.No xanax needed, at least not yet!

We had about a 4 hour layover in MSP, the MSP airport is one of my favorite airports.  It is clean and friendly and big and if you need to shop, not that expensive, things are laid out well and  it just make sense.

The flight to Paris was smooth, it seemed to go by quickly (but that could have been the drugs). They served a meal right when we got on the plane of chicken or beef with vegetables and a roll and desert. They could have served slop and I would have eaten it joyfully because meals on airplanes make time fly by. From the first person getting their food and watching the flight attendants to putting down your tray and stashing your bag to eating and then the clean up, then pretty soon it has been an hour and a half. They also served a light breakfast, some kind of breakfast sandwich, fruit and a drink.

The Paris airport is pretty sick. Dior, D&G, all the big names in a clean, modern mall where planes just happen to take off and land. The bathrooms (I wish I would have taken pictures) were huge and bright and clean. Pink and orange stall doors. Room for you and your roller carry on in the stall along with a small child if you have one. A bottle of water cost $8 though. Obviously an airport with Dior is high-class.

The entire  flight from Paris to Kin was rough air. Despite death and destruction hanging over my head it wasn’t too bad. I, or the other passengers, did not experience any of my typical flying freak outs. These include but are not limited to crying, shaking, grabbing strangers and flight attendants or trying to get off the plane. In fact the only things that happened were sweaty palms and occasionally praying for safety. They also served a meal on this flight and it seemed to go by more quickly than I expected.

When the plane touched down in Kin it was 6 40pm on Sunday night.  I finally took a deep breath and wiped the sweat from my palms. I could already feel the butterflies and then remembered why we were here, ahhhhhhhh!!! I had been so focused on getting myself from take off to touch down with some dignity I completely forgot the scariest part of this. THE AIRPORT!!!

We got off the plane and stood there on the pavement waiting for our shuttle to take us to the airport which is literally right in front of you, like the bad parking spot at the mall kind of in front of you.

I have been reading about and talking with other people about the airport experience for 2 years and I was dreading it! Every time we passed a checkpoint or officer or customs official or solider I would relax just a tiny bit, no troubles. In fact, every official or airport worker we encountered was extremely pleasant. The only issue was with my job. I had to eventually lie and say I was a teacher because the concept of being a child care provider was literally unimaginable to the man reading my entry card.

Our guy was waiting for us when we entered the baggage claim area and things were as crazy and chaotic as I had imagined but there seemed to be enough people working for our protocol that we weren’t worried about much, well until I saw my name on the missing and delayed baggage board. Literally a board with a piece of paper taped to it with my name on it. I knew this was likely but I was so so praying it wouldn’t happen to me. In the end I figured 1 out of 5 bags lost was pretty good and then we noticed another bin had been opened, zip ties cut and a computer and half of the supplies gone. Ugh!!!

We made it through the rest of the airport and filing a baggage claim without any incident. Once outside with the humidity and heat smacking me in the face like a wet towel I got to walk into the open arms of my sweet friend. Felt so good to have my feet on the ground and be hugging someone I know, a friendly face. I think my mom and I both felt relieved that part was over.

We made it, and the next morning, after 20 years of knowing I would adopt and 4.5 years of being in process, 2 countries, 4 agencies, 3 ectopic pregnancies, 5 homestudies, 21 months of staring at her picture, 7,400 miles and 25 hours  of travel I was so so close to holding my baby!!! GASP!!!

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This time in Africa, getting there

It has been a very long time since I have written and an even longer time since I’ve had something worth writing about. Now I do, I have met my girl.

    me and H

I have hugged and kissed and held her. I have fed her and bathed her and played with her and sang to her and rocked her and chased her and cried with her and ached with her. It may be worthy of words but I just cannot think of them.

If you read this blog you probably remember that I had tried to go visit my girl in November but got the big travel visa rejection? I have been working on going again since then, getting a new letter of invitation, getting a new visa application, new pictures, answering a ton of questions, emailing and calling repeatedly and finally this came in the mail.

              blog post 9

I will post more details later.

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The new year, a better year?

Today I have seen blog and facebook posts from so many people with the good ole recap of 2013. Oh, I love reading them and catching up with the awesomeness that has been some people’s lives. The biggest things that happened to me…the best things this past year were..the top ten most awesome 2013… I have no such facebook or blog post. No.2013 in flashbacks or pictures. No signs or balloons to celebrate leaving misery behind and starting anew. I don’t really want to think about my year again, barely made it out with my sanity and my ability to still wear pants (I have been eating like crazy). I am pulling my hair out and dying it blue and the list goes on and on folks, no need to relive all that. I also am not going to compile my fb posts or blog posts into a neatly organized list, mostly because I didn’t write much of anything anyway. I just don’t have the ability to end any post with a cute clean summary of how my trials and tribulations have brought me closer to Jesus or closer to my inner spirit or made me smarter and wiser. I know that is how this blog thing is supposed to work : ) I myself enjoy a stellar wrap up that inspires or motivates or encourages. How terribly sad that life  isn’t always cute in the end, the messy middle sometimes never gets cleaned up, it doesn’t always make sense, sometimes crazy and unfair are just crazy and unfair. Sometime we already know the big lessons that life is trying to teach us or sometimes we refuse to learn them at all. And probably most heartbreaking, our prayers and our questions often go unanswered.

So as my farewell to 2013 and a reminder to myself that just because things don’t always wrap up nicely or finish happily ever after there can still be joy, there are always things to look forward to, I would like to share with you 13 things I am looking forward to in the coming year.

1. Getting Harper home

2. Moving

3. Traveling more (adoption is paid in full so life can sort of start to resume, I miss my people)

4. Spending more time with friends again

5.Getting a new foster/adopt HS for interstate foster care adoption

6. Learning to play the guitar

7. Harper

8. Maybe dating

9. Meeting Dr. Laure, finally!!! It has been so very long ad I feel like she is a part of my life so much already!

10. Meeting some of the wonderful new friends I’ve made through adoption at  conferences and reunions

11. Harper

12.Roller derby

13. Learning to cook Congolese food oh’ and one more thing, Harper

I guess I will leave you with one memory from 2013, I loved cat lovers, in 2013 people who love cats cracked me up. Seriously.


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What’s going on?????

Since I blogged last so much has happened with DRC adoptions. Well kind of, but nothing has really happened. Most of the same people who were waiting then are waiting now.

The state department issued another alert in October, DGM would no longer allow single parents to leave the country with their adopted children.  Terrible news for the single kind obviously and so I didn’t plan my trip over Thanksgiving. I just didn’t know what was going to happen. They then said that those people with a Bordeaux Letter (spelling) signed, stamped, sealed, dated, prior to Sept 25 (the day the DGM shutdown began) would be allowed through and not have to wait out the suspension. They said any single parents would be let through and there would be a list released by the embassy with everyone’s name on it. It took a couple of days for me to find out I had a letter, YAY and a week to find out I was NOT on the list WHAT? I was then assured by the state department that it was fine and the list was incomplete. WHEW.

So I was relieved for about 3 seconds until I received pictures of H and saw all of her bones sticking out of her all too skinny body. I started getting messages from friends who’d seen the pics posted on orphanage sites and were worried, I got a message from Dr. Laure saying the situation was not good, I contacted my agency who said that the in country rep was concerned. With all the uncertainty and chaos surrounding adoption right now and especially my single parent adoption from DRC I couldn’t believe we now had her being so sick and so malnourished to worry about. I tried for a week with constant phone calls, emails, sending people in country to pick her up and bring her to foster care with no luck. No one would help me move her and so after a week I booked a flight for Thanksgiving. 10 days out.

I sent in my visa application Monday the 18th. The first business day after buying my ticket. Visa turnover is usually 3-4 days so on Thursday afternoon when no visa had been shipped out yet I started to call and email the Embassy. They called back Tuesday the 27 and I was told they were not issuing my visa because they needed to wait for word from DGM. They were not to allow adopting families to travel because DGM isn’t open and not issuing exit letters. I explained again how I was only visiting and my child didn’t even have a visa yet. By the end of our conversation he told me to email again and state everything I’d just said and he would overnight my visa. By Wed afternoon it was clear he didn’t. No visa, no visit, no lovig foster family for H.

Now DGM is not honoring their word for families with B Letters and so will they even honor what they’ve said about singles with B Letters? Who knows.

Since I saw those pictures I have started to bug the US Embassy about her health I have seen my case update date change 7x in the last 3 weeks. Of course I am excited to see movement but it means nothig, just more waiting.

I know last year I wrote what I was thankful for each day of November and about the kindness advent each day in December, I was so much more cheerful and motivated. So here it is, for the entire month of November I can sum up my gratitude like this, I am mad thankful for my family and friends. They’re so rad and I am truly blessed to have always had such an amazing group of people in my life. I feel surrounded and protected and though I sometimes feel alone in my adoption crazy I know I don’t have to be. I am doing the kindness advent again this year. I better get started : )

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At least it’s Friday

It’s early Friday morning, 12:02am actually and I cannot sleep. Just thinking about what’s next. There was that whole good news thing about embassy investigation movement but no visa appointment yet. I know, I know, it’s only been a couple of days but I was hopeful. Maybe the email will come tomorrow? I am still hopeful and praying for soon, like next week sometime. Come on appointment in October! The last couple of appointments I’ve heard about have been scheduled for the week of the 23rd so running out of time.

Because I have decided that I will for sure be traveling for a visit in late November or early December I would love to have her visa issued because I am thinking (wishfully) that leaving her behind may be just a teeny tiny bit easier then. Everything will be done except the whole bringing her home part.

I have heard from AP’s that visits are so hard on your heart. I have talked to moms who have woken up in nightsweats from dreams or memories that have evoked some serious terror. I have talked to moms who say every second of time spent is so precious. I need those precious moments with her even if the terror comes. It’s already been so long and I cannot wait to start having a real relationship with this beautiful girl instead of the one that lives only in my mind (although that one is magical).

This trip has given me a little something to look forward to and I love it. Not only will I get to meet and love my girl up I will also get to bring so many of the donations I have been collecting for a year and a half. Medical supplies for the amazing Dr. Laure and her clinic and for the orphanages I plan to visit. Formula, clothes, shoes, toys,, vitamins and food. Awesomeness! Another really great part of this trip will be more memories and pictures of H in Congo. I will have even more time to learn and experience her culture and help her to keep her memories alive in the future. See? This is exciting! 

And while I’m there I may or may not have plans to scope out some new digs, just in case.  


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At least it’s not Friday

Well Friday’s alert on the state department website was enough to send me into a deep dark place. One not even friends, prayer, banging my head against the wall, alcohol or salt water taffy could pull me out of. I spent the weekend in and out of that dark place just staring off into space and thinking, this cannot be real, can it? Is it? Have I just gone completely and certifiably mad? 12 months? What?

If you didn’t read the link above, it’s another delay. DGM (Congolese immigration) is suspending all exit letters (you need one to take your adopted child out of the country) for an unknown amount of time.Ahhhhhhh! My heart is broken for not only H and myself of course but all those babies waiting. There are families in country now waiting on an exit letter. Some were about to travel to pick up their littles and then so many others about to be ready. Hopefully those families pre investigation process won’t be affected at all by this. No news as to when they will start to issue them again and there of course is always a chance that they won’t. Sigh, just like in any kind of adoption the end could always leave you exactly where you started. I have been trying to make my peace with that truth for a while now. Since I have been adopting for 4 years and waiting for her specifically for 17 months you’ll have to forgive my debbie downer attitude. Not used to winning at this whole becoming a parent thing. I don’t think I’ll believe it until that plane touches tar right here in MN.

After my pity party this weekend I got an email on Monday morning saying that the embassy had been to H’s commune her investigation is moving!!! This is amazing! This is music to my ears! This is me hoping like mad that this means we’ll have an embassy appointment soon!!! I long for the day that beautiful email shows up in my inbox at 3am. If that goes well they will then issue her a visa which has been taking about a week post appointment. Then I will get my visa which will take a couple of days and then WAIT some more for word that DGM is again issuing exit letters. If it doesn’t look like she will be home for Christmas I will go and visit. I cannot wait another year to get my hands on her! I can barely wait another minute.

So that is the update. I have decided that I will need some other things to focus on during this next part of the wait, running (a little), cleaning out my house and daycare, getting some projects I’ve been avoiding done, getting my Lingala on, and I am going to find a new church. I am really going to work on being present at work even with the email and fb info coming in constantly. I need to get my head in the game!

Also I have no idea what is wrong with my dashboard but suddenly there is no spell check so, sorry about it, there are bound to be many many spelling errors.

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I have so many things to say but this is what I end up writing…

4 months in

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just a random thursday

Hi dear friends! I have been trying to write something for a long time but just ended up with about 17 unfinished blog posts that are all just sitting there staring at me whenever I log on. I haven’t posted because I am busy and because I am pretty ugly lately and because I don’t have much to say even though I have a ton to say. So here is…just some stuff I guess.

Lots of people are traveling lately. Both to visit and pick up kiddos! This means of course that I get pics and videos and details about Harper (the general consensus is that she is rad) a little more and that I have been able to unload some of my orphanage donation stash onto others : ) Which if you know me in real life and if you’ve been to the crib lately you have seen the beautiful nightmare unleashed on every surface of my house. Love it but worry about too much luggage and going broke taking it so love to send with others as well.

I am insanely jealous of those people picking up their babies and having babies right now!! In most cases (not all) I was here first and I want to be next, I want to get my baby next damn it!! It is an ugly feeling that sadly isn’t all that new to me. It’s come and gone over the past 4 years.

I love watching people go (even though I just confessed my jealousy) it is so amazing to be able to pray for safe travels and smooth transitions instead of process and speed. It’s fun keeping up with travel stories and pictures and watching these little beauties thrive once they are with their parents. It is remarkable and I love it.

I am wracking my brain for a fundraiser that will work well and that is original. No such luck. Travel time has recently gone from being about a week to being between 3-5 weeks. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!! Terror for a single self-employed woman, soon to be mother. I am sweating now just having written that. No work means no money and no money means, well you know what it means and it’s scary! Not only will travel expenses be more but the loss of income will be greater. I haven’t slept in the past few weeks because I worry about this all the time. I know, I know, it is still short in comparison to other countries and that’s nice but I didn’t pick those other countries. I picked a country with a travel timeline that I could handle well.

The in country process has become difficult for singles. I will have to prove that I am not gay when I go. Nice. Not  sure besides a few letters from others stating I am not how else to prove it. I am just going to bring my entire box of old x boyfriend collectables and their phone numbers.

My medical supplies from MedWish International are in route to my house and this makes me so excited. I cannot wait to get them and pack them up : ) Working with another exciting organization to get some other much-needed supplies and I’ll tell you more about that later.

I have gained a million pounds during this adoption.

I have gone back to cutting my own hair late at night in the bathroom after a cocktail instead of paying a professional. 3x in one week I forgot deodorant.

My bathroom remodel (my bathroom fell through my kitchen floor this past spring) is finally done.

So to sum up this maddness there is nothing new to report yet and I am still just plugging away at waiting, getting it done. Still doing adoptionally disturbed, like a BOSS.

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Half the wait

Almost 3 months into the investigation process. The investigation process that could take 3-6 months. Then there is about 3-4 weeks to the embassy appointment, then about 2 weeks to travel. That is still so much time, so much more crazy making waiting but the good news is that there is finally some movement!! Families getting their visas, their tickets, their babies, and coming home. It’s taking longer and seems more stressful than pre process changes at DGM but there are people going and then coming home. I am slowly starting to feel attached to this adoption again. Every time a parent talks about getting a visa appointment or posts a picture I think, that could be me soon. It could!!! Right?

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