Many of you have been aware of our adventure in to the world of international adoption for the past several years. We began the process after much research, discussion and prayer. We had decided to adopt from Africa and had settled on Rwanda.
Shepard was a toddler, and we pictured adding two more children to our family. LONG story short, Rwanda closed to international adoption, and we found out we were expecting Gloria. Ok... maybe this is going to look different.
Fast forward-- Gloria is 6 months old, and we find ourselves discussing the adoption options on a long car ride home. Both of us felt that we needed to either move forward or reimburse everyone who had helped support us financially along this process. All of our paperwork was coming up on expiration, so now was the perfect time to decide. Anna hit the books again, examining our options. Still called to Africa, we found we were open to an older toddler/preschooler. Our only criteria was he be younger that Shep to help with that adjustment.
Ghana kept popping up, as our dear friend is Ghanian, we have a sponsor child in Ghana, and there is a need for adoptions of older kiddos. And wait! We can do an independent adoption! We'd settled on a facilitated/independent adoption (no agency) from the get-go, simply because we we're ok with doing much of the leg work ourselves. It's not for everyone, but we felt confident we would be able to navigate the system we'd been researching for three years! Not to mention the thousands of dollars we would save on agency fees.
In may we received a photo, birth certificate, and medical exam notes. In June we sent a photo book introducing ourselves to him. In July, we had a rescheduled court date. In August we received a renewed approval from the US government to adopt. In September we had a court date. September 27th, 2012 we became a family of 6! Johan Edmund Botz is now our son. We cried over the phone at the news, in awe and excitement that we have a new baby. It's simply remarkable how much love we have for this boy whom we've never met. Encouraging proof of what we'd believed: That children are born in your heart, families are made through crazy love.
We are so looking forward to bringing him home sometime early this winter. While we wait, we are incredibly grateful for the many wonderful people who take care of our little boy. We're preparing ourselves for the inevitably challenging adjustment. A new family, new momma, new daddy, all white people, new language, new food, new temperature! He will be so out of his element, we can only pray for the energy to support him and love him gently while he adjusts. The other 3 will adjust too, and we're thankful this transition will fall during the slowest time of our work-year.
The next step of this process leaves us awaiting the approval from the US Gov. to bring him home. We're also awaiting his Ghanian passport. From there we will endure the visa process, followed by a trip to Ghana to bring him home!!
To everyone who's supported us throughout this crazy adventure: THANK YOU! We would not be here today without your encouragement. Stay tuned gang, it's just getting interesting!
Anna, Lucas & Co.