Thursday, November 29, 2007

More News from AoH

Rachel from AoH sent another email update. I'm going to include only the part that applies to us right now. I am believing that we will be one of these families!!! Please pray and believe with me.

I know that many of you are on the edges of your seats, as I am, awaiting referrals. As you know, changes in the US Embassy as well as Liberian policies, prompted us to "revamp" our referral process so that much of the investigations and paper-chasing that occurred after the referral will now occur before. This caused a window of time where children were entering the program but were not yet "referral-ready". Certain delays have occurred during this time (for instance, our staff brought seven relinquishing families to see a judge who did not show up for his appointment, causing our staff to have to take them all home and re-gather them later for the same purpose). This is typical in Liberia.However, earlier this week, I received a list of over 60 children who are in this process of being prepared for referrals. I am awaiting the final steps to be taken and then referrals will begin flowing over the coming weeks.

I cannot wait to find out who our newest member of the family will be!

Devotional- Paneled Houses

I got this in an email from Zach. Not sure where he got it from but I wanted to share.

Paneled Houses
Haggai 1:4"Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"
There is a crisis of grand proportions in the spiritual house of God today. The moral fiber of our world has eroded. Greed, idolatry, and pleasure are the gods of our day. And it is no different in the Body of Christ.
The prophet Haggai wrote about a people who had lost concern for the need to build God's house because they were so focused on their own worldly needs. It is a dangerous place to get with God. When our world begins to focus around increasing our pleasure, building bigger and better homes, and failing to make what is important to God important in our own lives, this should be a warning to us.
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," He said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers' " (Matthew. 21:12-13).
Jesus came into Jerusalem and found the businesspeople buying and selling in the temple. As far as they knew, this was an acceptable practice in their day. Their fathers did it, and now they were doing it. It was business as usual. Jesus got angry, turned over the tables, and said that His house was a house of prayer. He found the businesspeople of the day seeing His house as a place for profit, not prayer. They had stepped into a place of complacency that was not acceptable to the Lord. When we begin to blend in with the moral condition of an ungodly world, we begin losing God's perspective on life.
It is easy to begin blending in with our culture and to accept what is being modeled by the ungodly. God called us to be salt in a world that needs much salt. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men" (Mt. 5:13). Each of us must ask ourselves if we have lost our salt. Are we having an impact on our world? Or is our world having an impact on us? Ask God to give you a vision for how you can be salt to your world today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More news from the office

Friends and Families,

I am pleased to update you on the progress that has been made since our last "post from the office." Much has happened in that short time and we have been able to find solutions to the difficulties we were facing at the Embassy. For one thing, the State Dept. promises to send more help to the Embassy next month. This is a necessary step as the reason given for tightening up on agency appointments was that the Consular's office didn't have enough resources to process more cases.

Also, we are working with the families most closely affected by the new policy (because they are ready to go through the Embassy procedures) to pioneer new ways of acquiring visas. As we see what works and what doesn't, we'll come up with a strategy to aid families further "down the pipe." Through it all, Acres of Hope will be here to guide you through the process. Of course, I can't predict how the policies will continue to change, but we are dedicated to these children and it is our strongest desire to see them united with their families and in their homes. All of Acres of Hope's staff, from Patty on down, are working hard to that end. The Liberian staff has been putting in long hours, working evenings and weekends on behalf of the children. Yes, all of this is difficult for everyone and things will be different in the long run, but Acres of Hope continues to be strengthened through it all.

And, it is important to recognize that despite all the difficulties, there have been at least 12 children (3 of them with special needs) who have come home in the last 6 weeks. And, as you all know, there are two more families (representing 3 more children, one with special needs) coming home next week. What you may not realize is that 4 more children will be escorted home next week as well! That's almost 20 children united with their families in a few weeks that were fraught with difficulties! And, we are scheduling travel for even more families in the coming weeks as we expect the new way of doing things at the Embassy will actually speed up the process at this point.

In addition, I have good news for those of you who have been waiting for a referral. We just heard that our new system of referrals is being embraced by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Because many of the steps, including paper-chasing and investigations, will be done *before* the referral, the rest of the process will be returning to time frames we saw about a year ago. While it's difficult to predict the exact timeline until we have some experience with this new procedure, we anticipate the time from referral to travel to shorten to perhaps 4 to 6 months.

Be encouraged, my friends. This IS a difficult season in Liberian adoption, and international adoption in general, but our God is good, and he's big and he loves those orphans beyond understanding. He'll make a way for those of us he calls to be their families, if we will only stand firm through the storms. The storm may not be over yet, but it does seem we're past the worst of it. And, one thing I know about storms--God reveals himself through them as the glorious victor and those of us who stand with him.well, we get the front-row seats!

Faith and hope,
Rachel, for all of us at AOHL

Remember, we're in the 'waiting for a referral stage'. I'm believing we'll know by Christmas who our dear daughter is. Please pray with me for this to be possible.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Important New from Liberia

This is something that was recently posted on our AoH group. It seems that there are constantly new road blocks and setbacks in Liberian adoptions lately and it is rather frustrating for ALL involved, no matter where in the process we may be. Please pray for all of us families and more importantly for those who are advocating for not only the families, but more importantly the children in Liberia.

Dear Families and Supporters of Acres of Hope-Liberia,
We have just received word this morning that the US Consulate in Monrovia has chosen to further limit adoption-related appointments at the US Embassy. She will now take only one appointment (for the required biological family interview OR for the adopting family to file their I600) per day, and only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That means rather than four appointments per week, there will now only be two. To this date, every Acres of Hope-Liberia family has received their child/ren's visa from the Embassy. And, we expect that trend will continue, despite having fewer opportunities to apply for visas.
Please understand that this is out of our control and our hands are tied. However, Patty and this agency are doing all that we can to advocate for change in this policy. Upon Patty's return to the US later this month, we plan to fly to Washington, DC to see what we can do to effect change. And, in the meantime, we will be contacting our network to explain the situation and require change.
We are extremely disappointed in the Consulate's decision because we have been face-to-face with mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers who are desperate to provide a better life for their children.Thousands of children in Liberia remain in need of loving, permanent homes, aside from those we are able to care for in our programs.
Acres of Hope-Liberia exists to serve God through serving the children who truly are the "least of these" in the world. We stand together with you in that commitment and we will not be daunted. We recognize that our struggle is beyond that of flesh and blood. We have an Enemy who hates the uniting of God's most precious ones with committed, loving, Christian families. Indeed, we are in battle "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12b) We are united with you and with Christ in this battle, and we will carry through our commitment before God.
Throughout our lives and the life of this organization, we have found that spiritual growth thrives on challenges. Every obstacle we face is an opportunity for personal growth and for our growth as an organization. In fact, one of our goals for Acres of Hope-Liberia is that we would be constantly improving in our ability to meet the purposes of Christ through this organization. We are encouraged that our organization, as well as the entire process of adopting from Liberia, is being sharpened, honed, and improved through these challenges.
We are more than grateful for your dedication to the nation of Liberia, particularly her children, and your commitment to Acres of Hope-Liberia. We know that the families that partner with us in adoption and humanitarian work pray for the nation and orphans of Liberia, and for this organization regularly. We cannot thank you enough for standing and battling with us in this most significant way. We feel the power of your prayers. Now is the time to band together, to encourage one another in faith and hope. In the face of this challenge, we ask you to reflect on your original desire to invest your lives in Liberia. Draw strength from that commitment and expect our God to do the marvelous and miraculous on behalf of his beloved children in Liberia.
With expectation of great things,
Patty Anglin, Executive Director
Rachel Wilson, Adoption Coordinator

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Answers to your questions...

What happens next is that we're pretty much now in line for a referral. So many things are changing in Liberia and therefore our agency is trying to adjust the best it can, so that makes it hard to know how long that will take. I'm praying it will not take 6 months, but it could take longer. Then from there it could still take awhile to get the rest of the paperwork together, VISAs approved and all that. I know that the Lord's hand is in the whole process, I can just see Him moving through it all. I'm praying He will speed things along (or else that it will seem like its flyin' by). And yes, it totally felt like a positive pregnancy test.

It hasn't been until this past week that I have felt like I'm ready to get pregnant now. I just feel more peace about that. And its funny how when I let my guard down about that God blessed us with our paper we've been waiting for! And for the record, I think it would be awesome to be pregnant and in the adoption process at the same time. What added blessings that would be!

Monday, November 5, 2007


After 3 months and 2 days we FINALLY got our I171h approval!!!!! I saw the envelope in the mail and started jumping and running to the house yelling, "Woooo, we got it!!!!" People probably thought I was nuts but I don't care I am ECSTATIC!!!!!!!!!!!