T-Shirt Reminder & Another Easy Way To Help

T-Shirt Order Reminder

We want to thank everyone who has given to our adoption fundraiser so far! We are very blessed to have such supportive friends and family. If you have not yet ordered a t-shirt and would like to do so, please do it quickly here as we are closing our shirt sales on Thursday of this week.  We may do another order later this summer if there is interest, but we might not, so if you are sure you want one this is the time to get your order in. Thanks again for all your love and support!

An Easy Way to Help

For those who shop on Amazon, one easy way to help is use the link below. By using the link below and shopping as you normally do, we get a percentage of the sale to use towards our adoption. You still get the same prices and other benefits, we just benefit too!

The link is: https://amzn.to/2K1n5hu

You can easily make a favorite shortcut to our referral link so we get credit every time you shop through Amazon. We linked to different ways to do this below for the most popular systems. If you have any questions or issues with this, let us know!

Make a Favorite in Safari for iOS (iPhone & iPad)

Make a Favorite in Chrome (Windows & Mac)

Make a Favorite in Safari (Mac)

Adoption Update & Fundraising News

Waiting for two new Yagers and launching our T-shirt fundraiser!

Waiting for Two More Yagers

Its hard to believe we are 10 months in to our adoption journey! It has been awhile since we’ve sent out an update – mainly because there has not been much news. At present time we are just waiting for a referral from Nigeria. We did officially change our request from either one or two children to a sibling group of two! We are thrilled to be growing from a couple to a family of four. 🙂

We are still hoping to get a referral any time and travel this fall, but that is always subject to change. The Lord has been very gracious to us and the waiting has been easier than expected, though the longer we wait the more excited and impatient we get. Please pray for continued grace for us and for a referral soon!

Fundraising: T-Shirt Orders!

We are also excited to announce the start of our t-shirt fundraiser. The shirts are 100% cotton and do shrink in the wash some. (After washing they seem to be very typical size). The shirts are very soft. (If you have ever seen or had a Thrivent “Live Generously” shirt, they are very comparable.) The youth shirts will be the same design as the adult shirts but may come in a slightly different shade of green.

In order to get shirts by July, we need to have our order placed by Thursday, June 21. It is possible we may do another printing if there is interest, but not guaranteed. We will be offering our adoption t-shirts for a suggested donation of $15 for adult sizes and $12 for youth sizes. If you are interested in supporting our adoption process and expenses in this way please click on the Google Form here to place your order. You can pay via cash, check, or online via our GoFundMe page. If you have any questions at all we would be happy to answer them.

With our decision to adopt two children, the total costs for the adoption are a bit more clear. Even though some costs of the adoption double when bringing home two siblings, we are glad that we have a better idea of our total goal we need to save and raise. As we continue in the process we are still considering other fundraising ideas and will keep our GoFundMe goal amount updated as we continue to get more concrete and final cost numbers (i.e. final plane ticket prices, lodging prices, etc.).

Thanks so much for all your support. We’ve been overwhelmed by the love and care people continue to show us, and it makes us even more excited to bring home our kids to such an amazing group of family and friends.

Why We Are Adopting From Nigeria

One of the most frequently asked questions that we get when people find out we are adopting is: Where are you adopting from? When we reply with Nigeria, we quickly get asked the follow up questions: Why Nigeria? Did you pick that country? Have you ever been there?

The aim of this post is two-fold: to share with you how we came to join the Nigeria program and to share a little bit with you about a country that has been growing in our hearts for the past seven months.

I know that there are many of you reading this who have heard our story, so for some of you portions of this post may be a little repetitive. For that, I apologize.

Once we chose Nightlight Christian Adoptions to be our placing agency, we were quickly connected with a representative at the agency who gave us a small list of counties which they thought could be a good match for us. By small, I mean two. 🙂 As we looked further at these two countries we arranged to speak by phone with a representative from the agency to learn more about these programs. Our first phone call was with a representative about the India program. At the conclusion of that conversation I was fairly confident that we did not need to have the next conversation because that program seemed right to me. However, that first conversation was soon followed by another phone call about the Nigeria program. As the phone conversation continued both Markus and I grew excited for this program. Though there was no lightning bolt from heaven or an audible voice telling us that this was the right program, we both came to the conclusion that we wanted to proceed with the Nigeria program. There were and are so many scary things about adopting from Nigeria, but we both felt a peace about moving forward with this program.

I know that there are some of you reading this post and you are wondering why our list of countries was limited to just two. For those of you who are not very familiar with the current state of international adoption, you may find it interesting to note that, many countries have closed their international adoption programs for one reason or another. Countries that use to be open to United States citizens adopting their children such as Romania, Russia and Ethiopia, and many more no longer allow these inter-country adoptions to take place, and not necessarily because they don’t want them too. International adoptions are down 80% since 2004, and if this trend continues these adoptions will cease entirely by 2022. This is rightfully described as a crisis, and there is currently a petition for the White House to look into this issue and prioritize reversing this trend. (You can sign here – we have! If you do, make sure to watch for the confirmation email to ensure your signature is counted.)

Another interesting thing we ran in to when looking at different international programs was the fact that the countries that remain open have quite a few restrictions, such as how old both adopting parents must be in order to adopt, how many years the couple must be married, the age difference between parents and children, the birth order of children, as well as the number of children you have. These policies can all play a role as to whether or not you are eligible to adopt. It was some of these restrictions that further limited our country options.

If you are like us and didn’t know or don’t know a lot about Nigeria we would like to share with you a few facts (taken from the CIA World Factbook) about the birth country of our future kid(s).

  • Nigeria is located in Western Africa and shares borders with Cameroon, Niger, Benin and Chad.
  • It has an area that is about six times the size of Georgia and is a little bit bigger than two times the size of California.
  • The country of Nigeria is the most populous country in all of Africa, with approximately 191 million people living there. It is made up more than 250 ethnic groups.
  • The Lagos metropolitan area (where we will be living) is 21 million people, which is slightly more popular than the New York City metro area.
  • Though there are over 500 indigenous languages spoken in Nigeria, you may be surprised to know that English is the official language. This will make things much easier for us while we stay in country and communicate with government officials and judges. It also eliminated the need for all of our documents to be translated into another language.
  • Nigeria is 50% Muslim and 40% Christian. The remaining 10% is a mix of indigenous religions.

Prayer Requests

  • That the matching process would go smoothly, and that it would be clear if we are to accept the match when it is presented to us.
  • That God would continue to provide more funding for our adoption expenses.
  • For the Langdon family. They are the second family from our agency and they in Nigeria with their two daughters waiting to get their U.S. visas to come home – pray for this process to go quickly – it can take quite a while!

So thankful to all of you for your prayers and support!

Adoption Update: Waiting for a Match

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Here’s a quick update of where we are in the process of adoption: 

All our paper work has been sent from our agency in the U.S. to Nigeria!  Now we are in the “real” waiting process. During this phase of our adoption we are waiting for Nigeria to match us with a child – or two – that they believe will be a good fit for us. This process could (and likely will) take months. It’s hard to believe we sent our initial paperwork off seven months ago!  If all goes well, we are still thinking we will be traveling in late summer or early fall.

As we wait on the Lord’s perfect timing, we have been very busy looking and applying for as many adoption grants as possible. A few weeks ago I sorted through 100 grants online! I was able to narrow it down to just the dozen or so that we are eligible to apply for, and we have been very busy filling out these often lengthy applications. Adoption is very expensive, and any grants that we can get are helpful in minimizing the amount of money that we will have to take out in loans for our adoption. We are also brainstorming and planning some fundraisers – more on this to come!

Until our next update, here are a few prayer requests:

Praise

  • Our paperwork is in the hands of those in Nigeria!  Pray for grace and wisdom as they look for a match for us.
  • We were awarded with our first grant!  Very thankful to Amy’s Legacy for this blessing.

Prayer Requests

  • That the matching process would go smoothly, and that it would be clear if we are to accept the match when it is presented to us.
  • That God would continue to provide more funding for our adoption expenses. 
  • For the Langdon family. They are the second family from our agency and they are now in Nigeria with their two daughters – pray for them tomorrow as they go to court to finalize the adoption!

So thankful to all of you for your prayers and support!

 

Photo Credit: Natika Nichols

Why International Adoption?

“Ultimately, we are excited to reflect the family of God – from every tribe, tongue, and nation – in a small way in our own family.”

Several people have asked why we chose to adopt internationally instead of domestically, either from Minnesota or elsewhere in the U.S. It is true that there are many children in Minnesota and all across the country that are waiting to be adopted. Some have been born already, others will be born soon, and many are waiting as frozen embryos. My prayer today is that God would be raising up more families to be open to the call of adoption- maybe even yours!

Let me share a little bit with you about our journey to international adoption. When we first seriously entered the process of adoption, we weren’t sure where or how to begin. We had heard the name of several agencies and began to do some internet searches, probing deeper into these agencies and many others. As we dug further, we found one agency nearby that was hosting an informational meeting. Though we didn’t end up using this agency as our own, we are thankful to the agency for the abundance of information that they provided us with. Specifically, they laid out the variety of adoption programs, including foster to adopt, domestic adoption, international adoption, and embryo adoption. The informational meeting exposed us to the beauty of adoption and also the current state of adoption at this present point in Minnesota, in the United States, and globally.

Although we did not have a miraculous sign or audible calling that the international program was the path we should travel down, Markus and I decided that we would begin our adoption story here. There were several factors that contributed to this decision, most notability the shorter wait time and the need in certain countries. Ultimately, we are excited to reflect the family of God – from every tribe, tongue, and nation – in a small way in our own family. We believe that this is the best choice for us.

We do know that international adoptions can be very risky and extremely unpredictable. A country could break out in a civil war, and government elections could occur in either our country or the adopting country that could break down relations for us to complete the adoption. Also, we may not have accurate information on the child/children that we will be adopting. At the same time, domestic adoptions have very real risks too. In truth, any adoption is risky and difficult no matter which path you take. But, as we have been assured by those who have been through this before us, adoption is absolutely worth it.

As we continue to post on the blog we would like to share with you some answers to prayer that we have seen as we have gone throughout the process as well as some prayer requests that we have as we continue on in the process.

Praise:

  • Our dossier is in Missouri and being thoroughly looked over before it gets sent to Nigeria! We are hoping it will be any day now!
  • We have been able to connect with an adoption support system close by and are excited for the opportunities to connect and be involved in a great organization.

Prayer Requests:

  • For our future child/children: that the Lord would, in his divine sovereignty, watch over them and protect them.
  • For the Haff family: the first family from our agency adopting from Nigeria. They are there in Nigeria now just waiting for the visa to be issued so that they can bring back their daughter to the U.S. Pray that this process would go quickly.
  • Adoption costs: this past week we were made aware that the cost of our adoption would be raising just as our dossier payment is due. We are trusting in God’s provision – pray that he would provide and that we would trust him fully.

Waiting with great anticipation and confidence,

Sarah (& Markus)

Dossier: Complete

We are extremely excited that the biggest paperwork hurdle – the “dossier” – is finally complete! Our dossier is basically a thick stack of paperwork that gives the Nigerian adoption organization a look into our lives. It includes:

  • Original copy of our home study (we will do a more detailed post later about what is all involved in a home study)
  • Both of our birth certificates
  • Our marriage certificate
  • A health statement for each of us from our doctors certifying we are healthy enough to adopt
  • A letter from our employers that give details about our jobs
  • 3 months of utility statements
  • 3 months of pay stubs
  • 6 months of bank statements
  • 3 years of tax returns
  • Color copies of our passports
  • Passport-sized photos of both of us
  • Photos of our family and home

All of these documents need to be either official copies with seals and signatures or be notarized. We need at least two sets of originals and two copies – this equals a lot of paper! None of these documents were actually hard to get – it was just very tedious and time-consuming. Just the sorting alone took hours!

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Barring any mistakes (which there may very well be a few), we are hoping that our adoption agency can get our dossier off to Nigeria by the end of next week. Then we wait for a match…and keep ourselves busy applying for grants. 🙂

How We Fit In to God’s Plan for Adoption

We are adopting from Nigeria!

For those who haven’t yet heard the news – we are in the process of international adoption from the country of Nigeria!

We always knew adoption was something we were interested in. We have several friends and family that have adopted or been adopted, and in this we have seen how God uses adoption to expand and bless families. Adoption here on earth, even through difficulties, is a beautiful and powerful picture of how we are adopted into the family of God through Christ. We knew this and believed this, but initially thought that the possibility of adoption was something we would look into sometime in the future.

However, as we were open to biological children and continued to think and pray about adoption, we became convinced that this is what God is calling us to – not sometime in the future, but here and now. We may or may not be able to have biological children in the future, but we also realize that adoption doesn’t have to be a last resort – it is an important way God calls his people to grow their families. For some people adoption may be the only way that they are able to have kids, and this is often how God calls people into adoption. But this doesn’t have to be the only path – all believers are called to care for the most vulnerable among us. Considering adoption is an important part of this call, whether or not a couple can have biological children.

So, as of August 11th, 2017, we have officially declared our intent to adopt from the country of Nigeria. Recently, we were excited to find out that our home study was finalized the day after Thanksgiving. If things go as planned (which they often do not), we will travel to Nigeria sometime in the fall of 2018 to meet and officially adopt our child or children.

There are many unknowns. We don’t know the exact time frame. We don’t know when we will be matched. We don’t know if we will be matched with one or two children, or what sex he/she/they will be. We don’t know what needs, hurts, and challenges our future child or children will come home with. We don’t know for sure that everything will work out to enable us to adopt. The one thing we do know is this: we serve a great, powerful, loving, and good God, and he will use this process for our ultimate good and his glory. It’s this, more than anything else, that allows us to move forward with confidence and excitement to see what He has in store.

Photo Credit: Natika Nichols