Wednesday, March 28, 2012

History: How the kids found out about us

In Peru (and I suppose in other countries too), there are 2 kinds of kids in orphanages: those that are adoptable and those that aren't.  There are many reason why some kids would be un-adoptable.  They may have family that comes regularly and love and care for them, just can't financially shelter and feed them.  They may have families that come around every once in awhile, can't take care of them, but won't officially let them go or "abandon" them.  For our five, they don't really have family left that can take care of them since their parents died several years ago.  And when they were extremely young, I don't know why no one filled out the abandonment paperwork on them and made them adoptable.  But as they got older, the oldest--Yhonson--knew that making them adoptable could mean that the five of them would get separated.  He refused to let that happen so he stated that he never wanted to be adopted.  Odds are, things just fell through the cracks, so no one ever questioned it.  So when we said we were willing to look into adopting them, we had to start at the very beginning.  How do we get them declared abandoned?  Because of the age of the kids, they got a choice. Scott and I knew that our willingness was only 50% of the decision.  The kids could easily say "No thanks.  I have friends and a life here. I don't want to go live with some Americans I've never met".
We came to the weekend that Kevin was going to tell them and we were giddy-nervous (like that's one word).  My journal read like this:

"So yesterday was a crazy day here!  Scott, Laney and I were at breakfast at Corner Cafe with Danny (my brother).  Scott was messing around with my phone when he saw an e-mail from Kevin.  Subject line: Talked with the kids. [Oh my gosh, I could hardly read fast enough without wetting my pants!]  He proceeds to tell us that he spoke with Yhonson first privately.  Kevin had a picture of the 4 of us and started to tell Yhonson that there is this family in the U.S. that wants to....before Kevin could even finish explaining, Yhonson said 'Yes, I want a family!'.  He told the other 2 boys and then the girls on Saturday and they all said YES!  We couldn't even believe it!  We thought we might hear on Sunday that they were thinking about it or something.  For all of them to say yes right away-that they are willing to leave everything they know-is incredible!"

If that doesn't rock your socks off, then...  There are teenagers in the States that would sell their parents if they could!  But this 16 year old wanted parents!  In reality, I think they're more excited about having sisters than having Scott and me but that's okay.  After this meeting, the ball really began rolling.  Yhonson's birth certificate needed to be found, which literally required a donkey ride into some remote area.  You can't make this stuff up!  The kids had some serious questions about us like if we were Christians and silly questions, like where do you pee in public?  Apparently guys can pee anywhere in Peru.  We also had a ton of paperwork to begin.  We pretty quickly made the calls to get the home study going and had to figure out the process!  At least for awhile anyway.  I'll talk about the "Big Fat No" in the next History Post. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Brief Update on SNA Meeting

Just so that you're not in suspense...we have not heard back from our agency about the meeting last Friday.  I don't think that means anything.  At this point, we don't know if Peru is going to request any changes to our paperwork (dossier) or if it's good to go.  So we wait.  I will update as soon as I hear.

In case you aren't really sure where we are in this whole process, we are currently waiting for a "referral" which is the official matching of us to these particular kids.  The referral is a big deal, especially with some of the exceptions that they have made for us.  It means that the semi-yes we got awhile back becomes a real, official yes!  Ask questions if you are confused...especially because I started this blog late and didn't go all the way back to the beginning. :)  I can fill in the gaps if needed.

~Lauren

Friday, March 23, 2012

Today...

Today is the day of the "meeting".  The one where our case is being presented to the decision makers in Peru.  I'm a tad anxious.  But I was just reminded of a verse that a friend gave us early on in the process, when we thought we were being told NO.  God HAS taken down walls.  I used to imagine him driving a bulldozer through a building, to breakdown the barriers of His plan if that's what it took.  He can do it again today.  And no matter what, He is still the God who calls me by name.

Isaiah 45:
I will go before you and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel,
who summons you by name.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

April Fundraiser

A friend wanted to do a fundraiser for us and we are so grateful!  This should be a quick, fun way to get something for your donation! Call Jes if you have any questions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

History: How this whole thing started

Sometime around January 2011, a friend sent us (and many others) an email with 5 photos attached.  The subject line was "We need a mommy and daddy".  I remember Scott and I looking at that e-mail and thinking about how beautiful the kids were.  And I even thought, "Someone rich should adopt them".  And then life went on.  Laney had her first birthday that month.  We had a 17 year old doing high school life.  And we were living like "normal".  Then in March, I went to Guatemala to visit a friend from college.  The week in the orphanage was hard.  120+ kids that because of some things going on with the government may never get families.  I spent several days with babies the same age as Laney, yet Laney has a mom and dad and these kids don't.  My journal said: "It was a rude awakening to see what hard, tiring, emotional work the people at the orphanage do.  They don't get breaks.  When do they have time to talk to their spouse?  When do they have time to themselves?  How do they recoop?  But I also saw some things I hope to never forget.   I saw an entire house of teenage girls receive letters from sponsors and you would have thought it was Christmas!  The girls would open letters, some completely in English that they couldn't read, and hold them to their chest as if it was the greatest treasure! The sponsor was someone that belonged to them.  Was theirs to love and be loved by.  I left, knowing that the week had been hard and trying to process all that I had seen and learned.  I didn't allow myself to fall crazy in love with any particular kid--knowing that the US can't adopt from Guatemala right now.  But what was I supposed to do with all this stuff in my head?  So I just kept processing..."
On March 29th, at a meeting with some friends, the 5 kids got brought up again.  It was the first time the discussion of those kids potentially being adopted was discussed by Scott and me.
And we knew something was stirring in us.  We were willing to talk about things that didn't make logical sense to us.  How do you afford the adoption of 5 kids?  How do you feed that many people on a regular basis?  How do you pay for weddings and college?  But God was laying groundwork in us that we could not have imagined.  I can't speak for Scott.  But I explained it like this in my journal at the time:
"For 14 months after Laney was born, my faith has been motivated by fear, comfort, safety...As a new mom you're so nervous something will happen to your baby.  That you have to protect every move.  But even more than that, it was motivated by financial security, having "enough" in reserve, having the best things.  My faith had always been a little wilder than that and I didn't like being so fear driven.  After Guatemala, I knew I wanted to find my wild faith again.  The Lauren that really believed God can do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)...I mean REALLY believes that.  Then Laci Thurn sent me a book called Reckless Faith to read while I was traveling.  It spoke my language!  The author reminded me that God is capable of so much more and that going out on a limb with Him is worth it.  If we move forward with the 5 kids--I might actually be able to say the book changed my life".
It's funny to read that now because I guess I should say it did.  That book changed our lives.  But really God changed us.  He asked us to do something that didn't necessarily make logical sense for us.  And on Easter Sunday 2011, Scott said outloud that he was willing too.  That day began the ball rolling.  (Ask me sometime why Easter Sunday is a big Sunday for us Sterlings in general).
And now here we are.  Almost a year later.  And LOTS of details that I haven't typed.  Shut and re-opened doors.  Walls God steamrolled through!  What a story!

Latest News

We found out this week that our case is being "presented" this Friday to the SNA in Peru.  The SNA is the governing body over women's and children's affairs in Peru, so this is a big deal.  We're not completely sure what Friday means.  Are they deciding things?  Or just looking at our file?  We have no clue.  But prayers for no issues on Friday would be MUCH appreciated.

Here we go...

I finally gave in.  I've avoided starting a blog because I felt like there is already so many out there to read! But I'm doing it for the few that want to follow our story.  And for us...to remember and document this journey.
Our family is in the process of adopting 5 kids from Peru.  Not just any 5 kids, but 5 really stellar siblings.  Currently, their ages are 9, 10, 12, 14 and 16.  Three boys and two girls.  Their parents died several years ago and they have been living in an orphanage near Pacasmayo, Peru for about 6 years.  We currently have 2 girls: Logan is 18 and Laney is 2. The story as to how we got to this point is long and has been like riding a roller coaster...sometimes without a seatbelt and with our eyes closed.
But we are getting close to the part of the story where we should get to travel and get these kiddos, so it's time to start writing it down.  I began journaling (the old school way, with paper and pen) on April 19th, 2011.  I will go back and type out some old entries here in a bit.  But I'll give fair warning that they are "archives" so that those who don't want to go backwards can skip over those. :)

Thanks for your interest in our story!  We welcome your comments, prayers, encouragement and questions.

~Lauren

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. "  James 1:27