Closer Than Ever; Still Waiting

It’s been quite awhile since we updated the blog, and a lot has happened since we last posted an update in June. Here is the brief version of what has happened in the last two months and and outline of what comes next.

In June we wrote about completing the Nigerian adoption process and just having the U.S. visa and immigration process remaining. Unfortunately, we were unable to get an appointment closer than two months out, and so we waited to see if there would be an earlier opening. By mid July, I (Markus) was running out of time off and we had not had any success in scheduling an appointment. As a result, we decided to take our paperwork and start the process back in the United States. I left Sarah and Olivia in Lagos and returned home to work and to submit the completed paperwork by mail.

Since then, USCIS has approved Olivia’s I-600 petition, which is a huge step towards bringing her home. Her case is now in route back to the U.S. Consulate in Lagos and we are awaiting them to invite her in for the visa interview. We do not know how long this process will take – some cases have gone quickly and others have waited several months. We are praying for favor with the Consulate so that Sarah and Olivia can come home and we can be reunited as a family.

Please join us in prayer. Pray for our government leaders, for the Consulate staff, and for everyone else involved in our case. We are grateful for all the people along the process that make adoption possible, and it is our prayer that these officials are able to continue to streamline the process so that our family and future adoptive families have a few less hurdles to bringing these kids into a loving home.

We are so thankful to you all for your love, your encouragement, and especially your prayers. We are truly blessed beyond measure to be surrounded by such love and care. Please know that every kind word and prayer is felt and greatly appreciated. We are so excited to bring Olivia home to such love and support.

This time of separation for us as a family is difficult, so we appreciate continued prayers that we might be reunited very soon. We are trusting in our Lord who has shown his love, care, and providential hand throughout the process, and we are confident that everything he has brought us through and will bring us through is for our ultimate good and his glory. As difficult as it has been, we see our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness day after day, and the three of us could not be in better hands.

For His Glory,

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia Yager

Nigerian Process Complete, Prayers for U.S. Process

We wanted to write a brief post and let all of you following the blog know that we have completed all the paperwork, meetings, court dates, and received the necessary documents to move on the the U.S. Consulate!

We are so grateful for the staff at Morgan Hill Children’s Foundation for the hard work and dedication they put in to make sure adoptions in Nigeria are safe, quick, efficient, and above board. They have tirelessly checked and rechecked to make sure we have the documentation needed to bring Olivia home.

Now it’s time to take all that hard work to the U.S. Consulate and (hopefully quickly) get Olivia’s immigrant visa approved. We hit our first snag in the U.S. process – for some reason the online appointment scheduling website is not accepting her case number, so we have not been able to set up the first appointment yet. Please pray that this gets resolved quickly and we can set up the appointment as soon as possible.

After the initial appointment, we will need to have a medical exam done and get some photographs taken for the visa. We then wait to hear if our case is approved and we can go in for the interview or if we will need to wait longer. We are praying that these several steps we have left go quickly. Pray that the glitch with her case number is resolved quickly and that her case is reviewed and approved in record time.

We continue to trust the Sovereign One who is faithful even when we are not. It is our prayer that we all can come home together before Markus has to return to work – please join us in praying for this.

For His Glory,

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia

Meet the Yagers!

We are so happy to announce that we are officially a family! We had court finalization today in Lagos, Nigeria and they approved the adoption. This means that, as far as Nigeria is concerned, Olivia Angel Yager is in every way our daughter. Happy Yager Day!

We now have three documents we need in order to schedule our first appointment at the U.S. Consulate: the official court order paperwork, her birth certificate, and then her passport. We need the birth certificate to get the passport, so pray all of these documents come in quickly. Pray also for favor in the immigration process – it can go relatively quickly or it can take many months. It is our prayer to have the passport next week and then schedule the soonest available appointment. Thanks so much for your prayers thus far – we have a great and merciful God, and we continue to see Him more clearly as the adoption unfolds. Pray for his mercy and grace to continue to be poured out on our family.

Brief Update

We wanted to post an update here for those following along with the blog. Court went well on Monday, as the judge approved Olivia’s release to our care for bonding. Now we are just waiting for the paperwork to come through, so we are visiting her at the orphanage until then. Above is a picture of some of the daily traffic we experience in Lagos!

Once we have her in our care, the bonding will need to be approved by a social worker, and then we can finalize the adoption on the Nigerian side. Please pray that we can get her into our care as soon as possible. Thank you all so much for your prayers!

The First Few Days in Nigeria

It has been a wonderful first few days in Nigeria getting settled and meeting Olivia for the first time. Sorry for the delay in updating the blog – the internet was pretty spotty at first and Facebook was working best for updates. We hopefully have those issues sorted out now. We do want to remind anyone that is not already part of the private Facebook group to reach out to us if you are interested in receiving more frequent and detailed updates.

Arriving in Nigeria, May 4

Our flight to both Amsterdam and Lagos went smoothly, so we are thankful there is nothing noteworthy to report there! It took us a little while to get through visa/processing when we arrived in Lagos, but it went pretty smoothly as well. When we landed we definitely noticed that it was HOT and very humid. We were ready for a shower and bed by the time we made it back to the apartment.

Sunday, May 5

Sunday was a restful day for us, as we got to sleep in and unpack. We were able to livestream our church service from back home, which was wonderful. We are hoping to go to a local church here possibly next week. We were thankful for the macaroni and cheese and other snacks we brought so we did not have to go hunt for food without Nigerian currency or a driver!

Monday, May 6

We started the day by going to Morgan Hill Children’s Foundation, the agency that handles all adoptions in Lagos. The staff there is amazing – we could see their passion and love for the kids they help. After a good meeting there, they sent us with our case worker and driver to the orphanage to meet Olivia. She was very shy and timid when she first came into the room, but she went right to Sarah and let her hold her. After a little while she grew more timid and cried a bit. We would have been happy with this meeting if that’s where it had ended, but were thrilled when we started to play ball with her and she really opened up. We were able to spend another couple hours playing, swinging, and laughing with her before we went back and she took her nap. Words can’t describe how sweet it was – God was so gracious with our first meeting! We then got to experience our first trip to the supermarket ShopRite, which went well.

Tuesday, May 7

Our driver picked us up at 9:00 and drove us to the orphanage, which is only a few miles away, but it took us over an hour in the traffic! We were able to spend 3 hours with Olivia before she went down for a nap and we headed back to the apartment. Today’s meeting with Olivia went well. She was very timid again when we saw her, but came right to me and let me pick her up. She definitely warmed up more quickly than Monday. We were able to break the ice with the swing set, and then we brought out the equivalent of Cocoa Puffs and won the little girl over through food! She loves being outside and watching the birds come and go, which she fondly named “coo coos!” It was another good day.

Wednesday, May 8

Today we met with officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, so we didn’t get a chance to get out to the orphanage. The meetings were brief but went well – the Lagosian people are very kind and welcoming. We tried our first bit of Nigerian food – we ordered it through Jumia, an African app similar to Uber Eats. Jollaf rice is somewhat similar to fried rice but cooked with tomatoes and peppers. It is delicious but very spicy! We also tried fried plantains, and they were pretty tasty as well – a lot like fried pieces of sweet potato. Last and definitely least was goat pepper soup – I know other families have enjoyed some form of pepper soup when they were in Nigeria, but this version was extremely spicy goat organ pieces in broth. We will not be ordering this again, but we have talked to a few locals who like it! Our outdoor supper had to be taken indoors – it looks like dusk is feeding time for the very large bats that live near us in Lagos!

Thursday, May 9

Today as we left for the orphanage we had quite the ride as it was pouring rain! The drainage on some of the roads to the orphanage was poor so there was some localized flooding. At one point on our trip, I looked out my window and we were sitting stuck in traffic in a fast flowing river down the middle of the street. We got quite wet as we knocked on the gate and honked for someone to open the door over the noisy rain and thunder. We were able to stay and play with Olivia today for a few hours today, which was really nice. We colored, played with some stacking toys we brought along and fed her some Cocoa Puffs and cookies, which she really likes. We got lots of laughs and squeals as we played hide and seek with her. She is such a sweetheart and her personality is starting to come though even more. Each time we leave it gets a little harder for everyone to say good bye. We believe we will be back to visit tomorrow.

Prayer Requests

We are praying we can have court early next week to get the approval so that she will be released to our care – pray this happens quickly and the bonding does as well. Pray especially that our family would grow close in the coming days and weeks ahead. We continue to trust the Lord’s sovereign plan and in his perfect timing.

Coming Up Next

Our next update on the blog will likely be when she is released into our care for bonding. We are so thankful for everyone of you – looking forward to sharing more updates soon!

Arrived in Nigeria & a Big Thank You

Knowing how many people are praying for us has made the journey thus far a joy.

We wanted to let you all know that we’ve arrived safe and sound in Lagos, Nigeria! It took a little while to get out of the airport last night, but we made it to our apartment and slept very well! Today we are in the process of unpacking. We brought along some American mac & cheese (including the gluten-free/dairy free kind) so we would have something to eat today before we go grocery shopping tomorrow. The power did go out once already, but it came back on after not too long.

We are meeting with officials tomorrow and our hope is to meet Olivia for the first time! If we don’t meet her tomorrow it will likely be Tuesday. We are very excited!

As we settle in to our apartment in Nigeria, we wanted to post and say thank you for all your prayers, love, support. We have been overwhelmed with love over the past few days from our family, our church family, and friends. Knowing how many people are praying for us has made the journey a joy! We know that God is the good Father who loves to give his children good things, and we are trusting in this truth no matter what lies ahead.

Thanks again for everything!

Markus & Sarah

Preparing for Departure!

We are happy to announce that we are in the process of finding airfare to travel to Nigeria in early May! We received our welcome letter today are so excited! Now that we have this letter, we can reserve our plane tickets. Once we have the actual dates we will be arriving in Nigeria we can apply for our Nigerian visas and finalize where we will live.

Prayer Requests

In addition to praying that the travel prep goes well, please continue to pray earnestly for the U.S. Consulate and for little Olivia’s paperwork in order for her to enter the United States. The time it will take for her to get approved is completely unknown at this time. Please pray specifically for favor with the Consulate, that the process goes quickly and smoothly, and that we are able to all come home together.

We are so thankful for all your prayers and encouragement!