Saturday, October 17, 2009
Before this all began, in the fall of 2000, I heard Steven Curtis Chapman share his adoption story for the first time on Focus on the Family. One of the things he said was, "Don't let the cost of adoption keep you from it. If God asks you to adopt, He will provide."
Only a coupe of weeks before the idea of the Haiti adoption came up for us, we were interviewed by the local news station as part of the November "Adoption Awareness Specials". The reporter asked what we would say to someone considering adoption, and I quoted Steven Curtis Chapman about the financial part of adoption. When I discovered that the Haiti adoption, was going to be about $30,000, I immediately thought, "Oh, never mind; we could never do that." In that same instant I heard myself telling the reporter, "Don't let the cost of adoption keep you from it. If God asks you to adopt, He will provide." With a deep breath and a big sigh I nodded my head and prayed, "God, that's us. We can't do it, but you can."
With in the first weeks someone paid our initial agency fees, and another fee was waived. We were given an application for a grant and were awarded $1000. Another family with a huge heart for adoption paid our in-country fees for one of the children, and someone else sent a check for the entire amount of their inheritance - with interest! We received checks in the mail and donations on our blog through PayPal from long lost friends, family members and also from people we did not know. Each time there was an amount due, the money was there. We were so excited because in only two months the Lord had provided $18,000 of the $20,000! Because of God's amazing provision, we were not even concerned about the rest.
We shared our story in church to thank and encourage everyone. God was doing what we could never imagine. Then, someone whose heart was touched by our story, wrote a check for the remaining $2000. So amazing! At the end of our wait to bring the children home, a friend decided to have a mail box shower for us. We did not need toys and normal shower things, and people are very busy in the spring; so she sent out letters asking people to write us a note of encouragement, and if they wanted, to send a gift. Every day we were showered with blessings from friends and family. Our five-year-old waited outside on the porch each day for the mail lady to see what kind of nice words people would send to her.
We applied for a grant for $4000 to help with travel expenses to go get the kids, but were denied. Joel just said, "God's going to do something great, and we will just wait." Yes! The checks that came the week before we left and the week after we got home were the exact amount needed. Then, two more checks arrived in the mail, and our post-placement bill was paid.
Oh, there have been so many other blessings; things the Lord did not have to do, but He did. Like giving us the opportunity to meet and hold the little boys that were "Not for Us".
This journey has not been easy. At times it has not been fun, and at times the sacrifice has seemed greater than I wanted to make. But, oh the joy of obedience! I hope you get to meet our kids. They are awesome. Their smiles and laughs will touch your heart. Their stories, yet untold, will in some way change the world and the Kingdom for eternity.
If you are waiting, may God bless you! If you are thinking about adopting, may God lead you. If you know someone who is adopting, may God use you to bless them.
Friday, October 9, 2009
If I spend my days building skyscrapers with blocks, assembling cool stuff out of LEGOs and creating relationships with other moms at Starbucks, but have not love, I am only the siren of the kids' ride-on fire truck, annoyingly stuck on hold.
If I have the gift of knowing which child attempted to flush the Hot Wheels down the toilet and which one pushed her sister, and if I have faith that somehow we'll survive life's emergencies, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I save all my box tops and give outgrown clothing to the local shelter, and if I surrender my body to stretch marks and under-eye circles (without the benefit of BOTOX, tanning salons or diet bars),but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient when someone isn't ready to use the big girl potty. It is kind when my husband has a hard day. It doesn't envy my neighbor who drives the new sport utility vehicle I can't afford.
It is not rude, snapping at my spouse or children when things don't go my way. It is not easily angered at perceived or real injustices.
It always protects the smallest, sweetest family confidences; always trusts God to provide my children's needs; always hopes in the freshness of tomorrow and the bright future of family; always perseveres amid hardship and doubt.
Where there are sleepless nights, they shall end. Where there are diapers, Little League and dioramas built from shoe boxes, they will cease. Where there is knowledge of baby care trends, discipline strategies and boy-girl problems, it will pass away.
Now these three remain: faith, lived out in my daily circumstances and instilled in my children; hope, of one day rejoicing with my family in heaven; and love, which covers over a multitude of less-than-perfect moments.
But the greatest of these is love. It is what remains... long after I am gone.
By Cindy Sigler Dagnan
Published by Focus on the Family
Used without permission
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
We have been together as a family of six for five weeks now! I just read the Post Placement report written by our social worker at 3 weeks. What a difference!
The little girls are playing together more every day.
They are holding hands and sharing things.
Every one is going to bed with out Mommy in the room and with "close the door".
The only person sleeping with Mommy is Daddy!
Anna has convinced Emery that it is really the "Muffin Man" and not the "Button Man".
Every one is loving Emery's laugh and sense of humor! What a funny boy.
We are all learning and growing every day. There are still challenges that surprise us and dinner was mac and cheese tonight, but we are getting there. Maybe this week i will make something for dinner that does not have spaghetti sauce. Any ideas? Thank you for praying! and Thank you to the Hodge's for giving up your Saturday to serve us!!! We are so very blessed.
Friday, August 14, 2009
This week we have been to 2 wading pools and a spray park. Emery is a fish. He has a bath each morning asking for "big water" "Emery fish, swim." with lots of gestures and a huge smile. Today there were tear when i had to lift him from the tub so the girls could have a turn. He loved the spray park until we got in the car on the way home. Then, "no spshhh water, Mommy. Big one. Big big water. Emery Fish Mommy." The crazy thing is he can hold his breath and swim under water.
We have been enjoying the evening Thunder showers from the garage and continue to have our evening parades around the block. Also enjoying the company of a few friend again.
More pictures later. Until then, thank you for your prayers and calls. We re so blessed. Continue to leave messages as we have not yet turned the ringer back on on the house phone. :)
Saturday, August 8, 2009
As for the kids: it was amazing! Emery was ready and did not even want to show us his bed but only find his new bed in our room. Abby was not ready, but we held her, returned to her room, let her hug her favorite auntie and held her again. In less than an hour she was not crying with us. At bed time she defiantly wanted to go back to her bed, but we went for a walk, talked and prayed. I explained to her that God had put us together and He would take care of all of us. She acted like she believed me, smiled and laid her head on my shoulder. She slept well and was walking to me with big smiles the next day. They both have the greatest laugh. We took them to Mama Duncan’s swimming pool one day and they both loved it. Emery can not swim, but has no fear of the water and thinks he is a fish.
Monday was our day to go to town with the kids for the Visa appointment. A staff member went with us to the appointment and it was quick and easy. A couple of signatures and a quick look at our passports and we were done. The kids passports/Visas were to us on Wed. along with all of our other documents making it even harder to wait until Friday to go home. The kids were anxious to “fly” and we were very ready to take them.
Our suitcase with our family’s clothes and personal items was not at the airport with the other bags when we arrived. Despite emails, phone calls and a few people going to the airport, we still do not have our bag or any hope for it. While packing all the donations and things I put the dress clothes we needed for our Visa appointment in a bag with donations and had the “great idea” to split up the underwear. Thank you Jesus! We each had 3 pair of unders and the clothes for our Visa appointment. Other than that, it was what we wore on the airplane. We washed the clothes in the sink each night and they dried quickly. I found a little knit dress in the donations to use for a night gown. We were able to use the orphanage clothes for the kids while we were there and then all wore our Visa appointment clothes home. Guess we learned a thing or two there.
Before we flew out on Friday we were able to meet the kids’ birth parents. They were wonderful people. We were able to assure them of our love and care for the children and they were able to share with us their great love for them and to entrust them us and to God. I am sure that the pictures taken will be greatly treasured by the kids as they grow and by the parents as they continue. There was a pastor there with them and we were glad to see his heart to bring comfort and counsel to the family.
We are home now and learning and growing together. The kids have both gotten a new tooth and Anna has lost one, gained the new one and has another loose one now. We eat together at the table as a family, say please and thank you, excuse me, and I’m sorry. Baths are big fun and so is playing outside. Yesterday Anna got out the dress up clothes. Emery wanted her white “wedding” dress so he could be a princess. Anna convinced him to take the pink wings instead. He donned the wings, declared himself a butterfly and raced outside. Returning in only one minute to announce they “no work. “ Emery no fly. Emery no butterfly!” We asked him to tell us what he did, how he knew they did not work, etc. He told us (while laughing at himself) that he jumped off and fell, “no fly”. We all laughed and then wondered aloud why a boy would think he could fly. Have you ever seen a boy fly by? Nor have I.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
We are taking tons of walks to the school and to the park, or just around the block. Emery asks for the park because he wants "Emery tractor in sand box". We have 2 red tricycles. Our two oldest children are very competitive and both want to be first or at least keep up with the other. I now know the top speed of a little red "motocycle". I just laugh out loud to see those four little legs pumping as fast as they can. Running head to head, Emery's bike is a little bigger so he has the advantage there, but Anna is more coordinated and determined so she gets the upper hand by a thread. The little girls are into touring with comfort: feet propped up and lounging in the wagon or little car, being towed by their parents. That could only be made better by adding snacks to munch on while the parents do the work.
Saturday morning's trip to the park led us past 12 or so garage sales in the 5 blocks to the park. I kept wondering what Emery was thinking about these people putting all their stuff outside to show everyone. He, however, did not seem to notice. I was not thinking what all the Americans sitting with the stuff would be thinking about our normal little family on a walk to the park, but as luck and culture would have it, I did not have to wonder. Someone just said, in their out loud voice, "Oh, here comes the parade." Then I thought we should throw candy to them. No, wait; We have the kids, they should throw candy to us. Either way, no candy. But we did have fun times at the park and the parade continues mornings and evenings somewhere between Avenues B and D and 17th and 20th streets. If you see us, wave but don't throw anything.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Dear Family & Friends,
If you can believe it, the time is finally here!! The precious children God has chosen for our family are home! We know that each of you receiving this letter has, in some way, supported, loved and prayed for us. Because we know you care for Emery and Abby and our family, we want to share with you some information that we hope will best equip everyone to assist us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation - emotionally, physically and spiritually.
In many ways, Emery and Abby will be like all other children; we will parent like other Christian families as we bring our children up in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. But there will be a few, initial differences. For years now, we have researched bonding and attachment in children, especially those coming home through adoption from an institutional orphanage setting.
We are confident of this: God’s design is PERFECT! His plan for parents and children is a beautiful and meaningful picture of His love for us. Attachment between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker (usually mommy) meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is hungry, cries in distress, mom nurses & calms the baby - which teaches him that this person is safe and can be trusted. By God’s very design, an emotional foundation is laid in the tiniest of babies, which will affect their learning, conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others.
Children who come home through adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. The loss of a biological mother and family can be a major trauma on their little hearts. The good news is that we now, as Emery and Abby’s parents and forever family, rebuild attachment and help them heal from these emotional wounds. As our children come home, they are overwhelmed. Everything around them is new and they will need to learn not just about their new environment, but also about love and family. Our children have not been in a family for over a year and even their first family was in crisis; not strong and stable. The children were hugged and loved by so many different people in the orphanage that they have become somewhat indiscriminate in their search for guidance and affection. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, soothe and feed the children. As this repeats between us, they will be able to learn that we are their parents, their safe place and their primary love relationship. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. Once Emery and Abby start to establish this important bond, they will then be able to branch out and enjoy other, healthy relationships.
Emery and Abby will have, what may seem like, a lot of structure, boundaries and close proximity to us. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and thoughtfully made choices based on immense amounts of research and instruction from trusted adoption mentors. We will be doing what we believe is best to help them heal from the interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible. Why are we telling you all of this? Because you will actually play an awesome and vital role in helping our children settle in, heal, and lay a foundation for the future. There are a few areas in which you can help us:
The first is to set physical boundaries. It will help us immensely if all adults limit what is typically considered normal, physical contact with Emery and Abby. This will (for a while) include things like holding, hugging and kissing. Children from orphanage settings are prone to attach too easily to anyone and everyone - which hinders the important, primary relationship with parents. Waving, pats on the back or high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! Our children should know that the people with whom they interact are our trusted friends.
Another area is redirecting the children’s requests to have physical needs met or instruction given by anyone (including strangers) to having us meet their needs. The orphanage often had so many visitors and caretakers that the children looked to any adult to meet their needs and tell them what to do. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. It may appear harmless and as if they are “very friendly” but this is not best for them at this time. Please understand that we want nothing more than to have our children hugged, cuddled and cherished by ALL of you. But until they have a firm understanding of family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct them to us if you see that they are seeking out food, affection direction, or comfort.
We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us. We couldn’t ask for a better extended family & circle of friends for our precious children. Thank you so much for your love and support over the past many months. If you have any questions please feel free to ask at any time! We love to talk about our kids.
In Christ’s Love,
Joel and Gail
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Happy Birthday Emery!! Our big boy is four years old today. After a not so fun, but tolerated, trip to the doctor and much needed domi (sleep), we will celebrate the Bergstedt way. With ice cream!
I will try to post a well thought out overview of our trip and pictures of the kids and family after they are in bed (if I am still awake).
But for now:
1) It is going better than expected.
2) My mom is here to hep with every thing so we can cuddle kids and teach them to be a family (we could not do it without her help!).
3) All those hours of workshops, book reading and research were worth it.
4) God's faithfulness is seen in every moment of our days and nights!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
God's time is always perfect. We will wait with grateful hearts. Grateful that our children are safe and fed. Grateful that we are healthy and happy. Grateful that we are not facing tornadoes and floods. Grateful that we love each other and our marriage is strong.
We are praying for a few very specific things at this time. Already the Lord has provided 1/5 of our current financial needs. We are applying for a grant to help with the rest. Last weeks prayers were answered and this weeks requests are in His hands. Several children are coming home and we know ours will soon. In the mean time, Anna passed her swimming class with flying colors and Beth is loving summer and pretending to go the farm with her grandpa each day. The girls and I are going to visit my parents and brother's family for a few days. Great fun in the Flathead!
Happy Father's Day to my great Dad, to my wonderful father-in-law, and my amazing husband! You guys are the greatest gifts any mommy and little girls could have.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
We are waiting for June 26th when our USCIS birth parents interview will take place. After the interview, we will receive immigration approval and then a Visa appointment will be scheduled. Our children will have a medical exam and will attend their visa appointment. Then, once the visa is issued and printed, we will be notified that we can travel to get our kids.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It was a year ago today that we got a call and emailed pictures introducing us to the children that would one day be ours. Although they have not yet even entered our home, they are very much a part of our hearts lives and family. They have filled our thoughts and dreams and soon they will fill our beds. We are looking ahead to they day we are together as a family with longing and wonder. To hold and smell and hug them. To learn the sound of their voices and the pattern of their breathing. What will they love? What will make them laugh? Will they sleep in in the morning, or rise with the sun? Will they like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? What an exciting (and slightly terrifying) transition awaits.
It was also one year ago today that the Christian community held its breath and prayed as the news came of the loss of Steven Curtis Chapman's precious little daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with them today. God be near as their Abba Lord.
May God bless you as you celebrate today for all it's memories and hope for the future.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thank you to all of you who have joined us in praying for joy and contentment for little Ronese. This month's report was so different from her winter reports. Keep praying! It is reported that she has gained nearly a pound and "smiles, waves or laugh in response to positive adult interaction. She is also showing interest in new and other activities. Initiates play with others. Wants to do favorite activities over and over again." We are so happy to hear this. It is so hard to wait when you know your child is always so sad.
Wiguerson's report was much the same. Smart, happy, polite and playful. We are very thrilled at the possibility of spending the summer playing together in Montana! Thank you for your prayers and support of our family. We will keep you posted on the progress.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary
Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Oh precious little one, how we miss you today. Your first birthday was tragic for you and the beginning of a year of waiting. 365 days later you are still waiting and have no way to know it is getting closer. We are celebrating your growth, your survival and your strides. We wish so much that you could be with us. We would hold you and sing to you. We would even let you have icecream! Know that you are loved beyond measure. We are praying for Joy and Contentment in your heart. Jer. 29:11
Friday, April 24, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Check this out! Haitiancreations.com We had a purse party last night and you can too. The Purses are beautiful! They are made in Haiti by Haitian women enrolled in a sewing school. They sell their purses and by the end of their schooling have the opportunity to buy a sewing machine to start their own business. It was so fun to look at all the bags and try them on. Everyone chose something different than I thought they would. It was so fun to see the bags, know a little about the ladies who made each one and the Banana Flambe was good too. If you are interested in ordering a purse or having a party, just click on the website and go for it!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Yea! Our way-too-long-in-Second-Legal is over. I emailed our agency rep and happened to ask if she knew if we were in MOI yet. Yes! came the answer, March 19. Crazy that we celebrate starting another wait, but Second legal is where the adoption papers are signed and I am so happy to be out of that and into MOI!!! After MOI is passports, USCIS and Visas (approximately 12 weeks after MOI... I think). Also, this step comes with a whole ream of paper work for USCIS. I love adoption paper work.
Monday, March 23, 2009
In this life there is a delicate balance between "Let go and let God" and "pray without ceasing." I do not claim to have found that balance, but I know it is there and some days I get close. Having previously adopted we know about "the wait." What I knew about this wait before we began was that it would be humanly impossible for me. I knew there would be no way I could meet our kids, tell them good bye, and wait for the process to come to a slow and unpredictable culmination. I knew, after enduring the hardest waits ever, that once the kids are here and the family is together and doing life the wait would be a distant memory. But like child birth, the joy of the children never totally erases the recollection of the agony experienced getting them here. Also like child birth, the children do not come without the wait. Knowing this I agreed to this unimaginable wait clinging to the knowledge that God alone would help us through. I also enrolled in a Bible study on the book of Esther. I figured she not only survived, but honored God and saved her people from annihilation; there must surly be something I could learn from her.
The latest report says our children are doing well. In fact, Ronese was seen smiling at the other babies and is alowing the nannies to comfort and care for her. Oh, we are now 4 months in Second Legal (and counting), but I am sure MOI is just around the corner. We are so full of anticipation for "the Day!" But for today I wil enjoy this new picture. Hope you do too.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Our monthly reports state that the kids are doing great. Ronese has been seen smiling at other babies playing near her and Wiguerson is helping and sharing. Yea! Good job. We are all working on smiling more and sharing better. The report sates that their files are "in preparation for MOI." We think that means they are still in Second Legal, but are hoping that "in preparation" means someone is working on it.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
"The rest of the story". Paul Harvey, the news commentator and talk-radio pioneer whose staccato style made him one of the nation's most familiar voices, died Saturday in Arizona, according to ABC Radio Networks. He was 90.
I grew up listening to Paul Harvey's Noon News and Comment. Still try to catch it if I am in the car. I think I will miss that familiar voice.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This weekend we celebrated adoption by attending 2 different fund raising chili dinners. They were so fun! (For all of Kristi's friends who want to know: Yes, cinnamon rolls were served with the chili.) One of the fund raisers was for a local lady who is adopting a little girl from Haiti! We were so excited to meet her and introduce ourselves. Her little girl is the same age as Wiguerson and hopes to be home this spring. We are already looking forward to playing together.
I know adoption is not for every one, but supporting adoption is and it was very encouraging to see both places packed with people who love and support adoptive families.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Beth turned two today! She is so fun. We had a great time celebrating last night and again today with her birth family. I LOVE open adoption! After her little party last night, the girls woke up this morning promptly at 6:46 just like every day. We heard Anna inform Beth that today is her birthday again. After a little conversation between sisters it was time to call in the parents to get her "out please". Her breakfast request was for an other cupcake "for my Happy Birthday". How could your deny such a cute little girl such a sweet request when spoken with a soft little whisper right in my ear followed by the most precious smile of the morning. I don't know, but I did. No more cupcakes. She loved every present and had enough hugs for everyone. "Happy, Happy to you" Beth Alexandra. We love you very much!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Talk about more kids and more fun, last night was the celebration of Chinese New Year with other families who have adopted from China. There were around 50 children and their families gathered to celebrate and play together. This was Anna's glory hour. She played and loved being with her summer play group friends again. Beth was impressed with all the "Annas" and wanted a turn on the stage for the talent show. We had great food and great fun.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Although we have not heard that our adoption papers have been signed, we decided to tell the girls about it because EVERYONE knows and asks. Anna was very excited. She knew that her friend and his baby sister lived in the orphanage and when we told her they needed a family she asked repeatedly in rapid fire succession if we could be their family. We told her that we asked "Haiti" and they said yes but it will take a long time to do all the paper work. She then moved right to wanting to know if she could go on the air plane to get them. Sorry, but no. The next issue was where would they sleep and could the babies sleep by each other and me and my friend could sleep by each other so I could look at him at night and check on him. Yes, that would be great. Two weeks later, "Mommy, when can we get some more kids in our family?" Me: "Remember we talked about the 'Haiti kids'?" Anna: "Yea, but you said that will take a long time until I am almost 6. We should get some more kids first, before they come." Maybe she is just social, or maybe it was her first year in the orphanage, but she really believes that more kids are more fun. I hope this great desire for siblings lasts through the teen years.
Oh, we did tell her the kids names. She has been calling them “my friend and his baby” or “the Haiti kids” because we did not want to confuse the issue with different names and were not ready to go public with their new names until we exited IBESR and visited them. (We had Beth in our house for eight days before we knew we were adopting her and the name change was difficult for Anna and Beth still gets called “Baby” by all of us a lot.) Anna knows their Haitian names and uses their new names. She understands because she knows her Chinese name. In case you missed the names in a previous post, they are Emery and Abby. Beth thinks they are at our friend's house. Every time we go there she asks, "Where Abby?" We tell her she is in Haiti and she just says "Oh." I often wonder what goes on in her little head. :)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I am praying for you and your families. Screen your calls, take a nap whenever you can and don't be afraid to serve pancakes or cereal for dinner.
Love you all.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Register online now for the
Friday, January 9, 2009
I know nothing about mini vans. Can you drive them 200,000-300,000 miles like the Subaru? With 4 car seats is it important to have bucket seats in the middle, or can you crawl around that short bench? Do vans have 4 wheel drive? Are all vans crated equal or do some rise to the top? Do they come with that little soccer ball decal or do you get that later? What do you think?