Friday, March 8, 2013

Feeling Stuck

Somone commented to me just after our adoption was approved by the courts "At least you know there won't be any more delays after this!" I wanted to agree. I really did. But my heart and mind knew differently.

Yes, yet again we have hit a snag. Our official court decree that should have been ready on March 8th is still not ready. That means that we cannot get his new birth certificate which means we cannot get our travel dates. I am frustrated, sad, and stressed. But I am not surprised. After all of the problems we have had, I expected something else to go wrong.

If you have watched the trailer for the Stuck documentary you saw the series of pictures where the little boy grew up as his family waited and waited to bring him home. That is exactly the situation that we are in. Asen was 2 when we committed to adopt him and he will turn 5 in about 6 weeks. Almost 3 years of waiting for his Momma and Daddy to come. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry.

It does not have to be this difficult people! Certainly there need to be safeguards in place to prevent traficking of children and ensure as much as is humanly possible that the children are going to safe homes. But the number of hoops that have to be jumped through and the cost of jumping through them borders on insanity.

Prayer Requests:

Please pray that our adoption decree will be ready first thing on Monday morning!
Pray about seeing the STUCK documnetary. I guarantee that you will learn something new, and I am fairly certain that your heart will break. There are things that we can do to advocate for children to be able to come home to their forever families more quickly!

Stuck - The Documentary

If you are in the Austin, Texas area and would like to see this movie with us please let me know. It will be showing at the Barton Creek theaters Friday, March 15 at 7PM. Tickets are $16. Our church will also be offering child care for a small fee if you are interetsed in going but (like us) have trouble finding a sitter. I am not sure why I cannot get the trailer to display in a more reasonable size. Sorry! STUCK is a new award-winning documentary film, produced by Both Ends Burning that uncovers the personal, real-life stories of children and parents navigating a rollercoaster of bureaucracy on their journeys through the international adoption system, each filled with hope, elation – and sometimes heartbreak. STUCK steps into the complex human experience of adoption, exploring the challenges faced by birth parents, prospective adoptive parents – and children. The film follows Tihun from Ethiopia, Nate from Vietnam, and Erickson and Therline from Haiti on their individual voyages from orphanages in their native countries to their homes with families in the United States. Filmmaker Thaddaeus Scheel tracks the chapters in the lives of these four children, and the three couples seeking to be their parents, revealing along the way the intense hope and disappointment they experience on the odyssey to unite as families. Some stories are heartwarming, showing incredible examples of kids who blossom after joining their families, while others offer insight into the emotional and physical impact institutional life can have on these kids. Through the lens of personal, real-life stories the film asks how the global community can take care of these children, safeguarding them from the very real dangers of child trafficking and corruption while also answering their need to move from institutions into loving homes and a normal life. STUCK is a testament to the power of human love and the inexplicable connection between parent and child – even when separated by thousands of miles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It is a love story of a different kind that celebrates the indefatigable human spirit, the loyalty and the devotion that bonds these parents and kids together as families. “International adoption is a wonderful way to provide children without parents a loving, permanent family that they otherwise would not have. I am touched by this film’s compelling portrayal of contemporary, real-life international adoption stories, and I was deeply honored to be part of the film,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu. “I hope that it will help invigorate the debate in our country and around the world about the proper place of international adoption.”

Monday, February 25, 2013

Helping Those Left Behind

One of the hardest things about being in Asen's orphanage was seeing all of the other precious children and knowing that they would still be waiting for their forever families. We have been thinking about ways that we could help these 75 children who continue to wait. We contacted the orphanage director and she told us that their greatest needs were for "basic necessities" such as diapers, food and clothing; as well as an industrial dryer. Right now the orphanage is hanging all of the laundry outside to dry! Can you imaging doing laundry for 75 children from newborn to 4 years old without a dryer?!? I can't even imagine doing laundry for my family of 7 without a dryer!

We would love to be able to bless the children left behind with some of these necessities. Our main goal is to be able to fund the dryer (about $700) and then provide as many necessities as we can. Because the cost of things like diapers is so much lower there, the best way to do this is to take cash with us and then purchase the items in country to take to the orphanage. The donations will stretch much further this way. The funds for the dryer will be given directly to the orphanage director.

If you have been looking for a way to directly impact the lives of orphans this is your chance! We will be collecting money to take with us when we travel at the end of March. The first $700 will be used to purchase an industrial dryer for the orphanage and we will use any extra funds to purchase diapers, food, and clothing for them while we are there. We will post pictures so y'all can see exactly what we were able to purchase to benefit these beautiful children. If you would like your contribution to be tax deductible you can send a check to Hays Hills Baptist Church and put "Love the Least Ministry - Orphanage Donation" in the memo. Otherwise, you can send your donation to us via mail or PayPal and let us know what it is for.

If you have a connection and are able to obtain items such as toothbrushes, small toys, etc. at a low cost we would be glad to take these along with us as well! As soon as we know which airlines we will be flying I plan to contact them to see if we can get the baggage fees waived so that we can take some donations with us.

The poverty was obvious to me when I travelled to A.J.'s country over the summer, but I was shocked to learn that the average monthly income there is only about $500. As the poorest country in the EU they have really struggled with their economy over the past 10 years. These children really do need us!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Asen James Jakubauskas!!

Our court date was today and our adoption has been granted! So what comes next? We wait some more. :-) The adoption decree will be signed by the judge in seven days (February 29). Then our facilitator will pick up the decree and take it to get the new birth certificate issued. That will take a week as well (March 1). At that point Elena will take both documents to be translated and make arrangements for our pick up trip. We should be able to travel to pick him up sometime after March 15, providing that there are no more delays. But honestly, after all of the delays we have experienced another delay at this stage would not surprise me at all. But just knowing he will be home before his 5th birthday is so exciting!

Curious about his name? We chose to keep his Bulgarian given name (Asen) to give him a connection to his birth country and his life before he became a part of our family. The staff at the orphanage is very fond of our little guy and they call him Sennie (Take the "A" off of Asen and add a long "e") and also Asencho (Asen plus "cho" like the beginning of "chosen"). Asencho is a diminutive form of his given name, sort of like when we call our Eve "Evie". Our family usually calls him Sennie when we talk about him, but we also call him Asen and A.J. His middle name is from James 1:27 - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Join us in praising God for this blessing!

We also ask that you join us in praying that we will have no more delays and Asen will be home as soon as possible.

If you are able, you can still donate toward our travel expenses and enter to win some amazing prizes at Forty to Forever.

Friday, February 8, 2013

To Scream or Not to Scream, That is the Question

Last week we got the wonderful news that our court date had been scheduled for February 8th. Obviously, we were very excited and started looking ahead to see when we would most likely travel and making plans for our kiddos who would be staying behind.

At about 3:30 am today I was suddenly wide awake and had an unshakable feeling that something was not right. With all of the delays and problems we have already had in this adoption process I was fearful that something had not gone well with our court hearing. About an hour ago I got confirmation of that. The judge that was assigned our case requested some additional documentation from our agency. Usually the judges will accept a scanned copy of the apostilled documents as long as the original is provided to the court before the adoption decree is picked up. Our judge refused to accept anything other than the original and will not hear our case until February 22nd.

Our wonderful stateside facilitator said  "Your family has had every delay imaginable and then some." and that just sums it up perfectly. If there is an issue or problem that has ever been seen in an adoption process we have seen it. And we have seen a few that have never been seen before.

Please keep praying for our family and for A.J. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Forty Days to Forever + An Update

Wow! I just went to make some changes to the template on the blog and realized that I have not posted anything since October! We had a surgery and several illnesses in November and December and that coupled with the usual business of the Christmas season put me way behind. And to be honest, there has not been much news to report on the adoption front. We had our Article 5 appointment and everything was approved; then our dossier was signed by the MOJ and submitted to the court. Right now we are waiting on news about our court date. As soon as I hear something I will update here so you can all join us in praying that everything goes smoothly and the judge will not request any additional information. One more delay might send me over the edge! ;-)

I also wanted to let you know about a wonderful opportunity to support orphans. Our family has been invited to participate in this effort to raise $20,000 for 40 orphans over the 40 days of Lent. We have the opportunity to raise $400 to put toward our final travel expenses (which will be about $4,000). Every little bit helps! Our family will be featured on February 21.

We hope that you will support our family, as well as the other families and waiting children by visiting Forty Days to Forever to find out more. There will be 40 different prizes as well as a grand prize given away, so you may win something cool while caring for the least of these! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Little Ways to Help

Sometimes when I think about the number of orphans in the world and the scope of their needs I get completely overwhelmed. It seems as if the problem is so big that the small things that I am able to do could not possibly make a difference. But I have learned that small things being done by many people add up quickly! If each of us does one small thing to help an orphan, the end result will be BIG.

Here are a couple of small ways that you can help....

The orphanage that A.J. lives in now has many needs. After talking to the director, we discovered that one of their greatest needs is for a commercial dryer to allow them to keep up with the huge amounts of laundry created by 70+ children. This will cost approximately $700. Our hope is to be able to raise enough money to be able to purchase the dryer when we travel to pick up A.J. If you would like to help us meet this need, you can leave a comment here or contact me on Facebook or e-mail.

We are involved with the Love the Least Orphan Care Ministry at our church. This ministry currently supports several orphan care initiatives locally and internationally. We are involved with building homes for displaced children in Haiti to prevent them from becoming victims of trafficking, supporting the Village of Hope Uganda through sponsorships and mission trips, assisting the Central Texas Children's Home in several ways, and also helping adopting families afford the cost of adoption. Unfortunately, all of this takes money.
As part of our fundraising we are sponsoring a "Christmas Shopping Party" on Saturday, December 1st. You've all heard of Tupperware parties or Mary Kay parties right? We this is the same thing, only much bigger.  We will have tons of vendors for you to chose from and part of each sale will benefit the ministry. And we will have refreshments too. You can get all of your Christmas shopping done in one stop, avoid the mall and Target, and get chocolate too!!  Plan to join us! If you, or someone you know owns a home business and would be interested in participating in the event please let me know.

How do you reach 147 million orphans? One at a time!