We are not going to Congo in two weeks. We won’t be leaving July 23 to meet our son.  We won’t be returning home on July 31 empty handed.  Our flights and our plans have been cancelled.

Let me back up.  Most of you had no idea we were even going to Congo.  We were.  We had flights, accommodations, care packages for other families, packing lists, malaria medicine, suitcases packed, childcare was lined up for Odette.  Alas, we won’t be going to Congo in two weeks.  Due to security reasons I wasn’t going to blog about the trip until we were back, but those posts will not get written.  Teaser pictures of me holding A with his face blurred out won’t be taken.  This sucks.  Just being honest.  That’s what I do.  I haven’t been the most transparent this time around.  I felt a little too exposed and also wasn’t sure what I was allowed to share.  But this post is about me and what I think about the current situation.

Hope you are comfortable because this might take a while.

As you might remember, my much beloved, amazing grandmother passed away in April.  I was left shattered, devastated, heartbroken.  And mad at God.  It wasn’t that I was mad she was gone.  I rejoiced she was with Him in His kingdom.  I was mad that I had to watch her suffer.  But anyways, I was mad.  Just a few days later, Jeff was out of town for work and our basement flooded.  I stood at the top of the stairs and cried out, “Why God??”  I was more mad.  What the heck was going on?  What did I do wrong?  Jeff got home a couple days later when the mess was mostly cleaned up.  We stood at the top of those same stairs together and hugged and cried asking why.  Somewhere deep down the words came to me that I didn’t want to say.  “There must be something really great in store for us.”

I was an emotional mess.  I was lost.  I was mad.  I was sad.  I cried and cried and cried.  I had the worst case of emotional PMS.  Except something was missing.  That’s when I took the test.  I didn’t believe it and took 3 more.  **Seriously God?  You think I can take this on?  How in the world could I handle an adoption and a pregnancy?  This is the something great You were thinking of?  How about winning a surprise vacation?  How about getting all of our paperwork for A?  Then I remembered that when I was with my grandma during our last hours with her, I felt a whisper reminding me that the Lord gives and takes away.  I thought for sure it meant that by some amazing circumstance A would be home this summer and beat all odds.

**I am not at all overlooking the fact that many within the adoption community have dealt with infertility.  Please know that we feel completely and totally blessed to have this baby growing within my womb.  We do.  I am raw, open, and honest.  It took a while for it to feel like the true blessing it is.

Sharing the news with Jeff was interesting.  He asked me a couple of times if I was serious.  We were shocked.  This was in the plans for later.  To say that we were overwhelmed is an understatement.  We were in denial.  And being honest, I was mad.  God, we can’t do this.  We don’t have enough rooms in our house.  Our cars can’t fit 3 car seats?   How can we help A transition into our family while at the same time care for a newborn?  We’ve got the 3 year old thing down, but a baby?  How can we pay for childcare?  We could not see what He was thinking.

But more than anything my BIGGEST concern and beef with God was that He better not be giving us this baby to help us deal with losing A.  We are not losing him.  Do You hear me up there?  Good try, but we are not going to replace our son in Congo with this baby!  We are going to do both.  You gave us both, God.  Here we go.  Now please help prepare us for what this means!

And God, while we have you, do you realize this means that I can’t go to Congo to pick up A?  You know how much that means to me.  You know my love for that country.  You know I can’t do that to my son.  I can’t choose one child over another.  You want me to stay at home with the baby and not go see my son in his home country?  I am not good with that!  My son deserves the once in a lifetime opportunity to have his mom see firsthand his life in Congo.  I was DEVASTATED.

It took 12 weeks before we could share the news with our families.  It wasn’t because we wanted to get past the first trimester.  It was because we were having it out with God.

Slowly we worked out that Odette could move to the play room.  We would tighten our budget like never before.  Odette and A could be in booster seats.  Somehow we would learn how to care for a teeny tiny baby.  We can do this.  God, we are not going to lose A, do you hear me?

Then one night Jeff walked into our room late after staying up to work.  I called him over and told him that we needed to go visit A.  We had a couple months left of summer.  I think he had a few more vacation days at work.  Our parents could watch Odette.  We would figure out the money thing somehow.  I COULD NOT not see A.  I owed it to him.  I had to go see him.  Jeff, being Jeff, only took about 2 days before saying yes.  Yes, we could work it out.  We could go to Congo.  We could go do what was sure to be the hardest thing in the world to do.  Meet our son and say goodbye.  There were 2 things standing in the way.  Getting permission from my OB doctor to travel that far and get permission from our organization to visit.

My doctor had no hesitations at all.  She has been my doctor for a few years and knew we were passionate about Congo and adoption.  She found me safe malaria meds and reminded me to do the stupid exercises the flight attendants show you on the long flights.  Then came talking to our director.  Again, we got the green light.  Accommodations were found, details were being worked out.  Visa invitation letters were gathered.  We were all set.

Before we left for our beach vacation, our flights were booked.  We would fly out on July 23rd and arrive in Kinshasa July 24th via Brussels.  We would then have three full days at the orphanage with our son before we would have to say, “see ya later”.  We could tell him we were his family.  We could show him pictures.  We could hug him, love him, kiss him.  We could see his big personality for ourselves.  We could allow ourselves to fall head over heels in love with him.  We were beyond excited!  We even planned in a short stopover in Johannesburg South Africa on the way home.  We figured it was a once in a life time thing for us to be in Africa without any kids.  We were already paying through the roof for flights, what was a little more for a hotel room for 2 nights.  I have always been fascinated by South Africa even though I have never been and have bugged Jeff for years to move there.  I thought it was my chance to convince him.  We would return July 31st, determined more than ever to do whatever it takes to bring our son home, yet ready to take on the baby at the same time.  We were trusting God.  It felt good.

Earlier this week, the world came crashing down on us.  I got a phone call from the head of our organization asking me to cancel our trip.  I was alone in the car with Odette driving on the tollway in Illinois.  My mind was spinning.  I picked up cancel trip, uncertainty, and not much else.  I pulled off the highway and just sat.  Here I was with Odette in the backseat, Jeff back in Indiana at work, and somehow I had to relay this message.  I had more strength than I knew I had.  Maintaining most of my composure I called Jeff and filled him in.  What?  What does this mean?  No, we don’t want to cancel our trip and what does this mean for bringing A home.  We had more questions than we could articulate.  Our first step was calling the travel agent to ask about cancelling our tickets what I was told were nonrefundable.  We couldn’t imagine losing all that money and didn’t really understand why we were being asked not to go.

It would be the next day before we would have any answers.  Our tickets could be “cancelled” for over $2000 in penalties.  Again, we felt helpless.  Why us, God?  We didn’t really have the money to spend in the first place, but justified it because it meant meeting our son.  Now we have to throw a third of the money away for no reason at all.  Do you know what we could do with that $2000?  We kept coming back to why are we being asked to cancel?  What does this mean for A?  We are not giving up on him!  This baby that is growing in my expanding tummy is not here to replace A.  Do you remember??

Last night we finally had the chance to ask some tough questions of our organization.  (I will be a bit vague here because it is what I need to do.)  Why do you not want us to go?  What does this mean for A coming home to our family?  I will try to sum everything up as best we can.  First of all, our confidence in our organization was completely restored!  Their love for Congo and Congolese orphans is inspiring.  They were very honest about the given situation.  Our concerns were validated, yet we felt reassured.  The reality is that Congolese adoptions are in an incredibly volatile state right now.  We knew that.  I have known that for months.  We have had many, many concerns throughout our entire process.  Things are grim in Congo.  They were when we brought home Odette, but nothing like now.  Adoptions in Congo have exploded.  The process is changing constantly and becoming more and more difficult.  The fact is that more Congo adoptions are failing than ever before.  Our adoption with A is no sure thing by any stretch of the means.  When we hung up the phone, we decided for ourselves that we wouldn’t be traveling to Congo to visit A in two weeks.  We have made that decision on our own.  We are at peace with it for two reasons.  First, is it very highly unlikely he would be able to come home before the end of the year.  I will probably be able to travel again by the time things are finalized.  (I’m guessing we won’t have trouble convincing the grandparents to watch our little bundle of joy and Odette.)  Secondly, while we always knew it was a risk that we could meet and fall in love with A and not be able to bring him home  (Yes, we really, really knew that could be the case, but were trusting God’s plans for our visit.) we have to be realistic in that the chances of that happening could actually be quite high.  It wasn’t that we couldn’t handle that.  We couldn’t do that to him.  He can’t be orphaned twice.

Last night Jeff and I laid in bed awake talking about all that has happened.  We are having a baby.  We are adopting A.  We are now out over $2000 dollars.  We don’t need to rush as much to prepare for A to be coming home.  We won’t be traveling to Africa in two weeks.  We won’t be meeting A anytime soon.  We have no idea when he will come home.  It could be a really, really long time from now.  We started our second adoption process a year ago.  We aren’t giving up!  We will wait for years for A!  We are in it for the long haul!  We look at his face, and from that first moment, we knew he belonged in our family.  We have tried to protect our hearts, but love that boy we’ve never met.

As we said our goodnights to each other, we admitted that we’ve done all we can.  If A comes home it is completely and totally because that is God’s plan.  It will take the Lord to bring our boy home.  Pray that we trust God to carry that power in His hands.


Thank you for your prayers.  Being pregnant now, I equate this to hearing that there is a chance I could miscarry my baby.  It is incredibly painful.  We can’t imagine A not being in our family.  For over 7 months he has been in every dream we have for our family.  We are taking things a day at a time and hope you understand how difficult this is for us.  I’ve laid it all out here for you, but neither of us really want to talk about it. Thank you for respecting that.

Sarah Signature


10 thoughts on “CANCELLED

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Someday I hope to adopt from DRC, the news of the recent challenges with adoptions makes my heart sink. Praying that God’s plan is better than mine. I am sure you and A are under His watchful care.

  2. Thanks for sharing this part of your story. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you guys. Lots of thoughts and love coming from us to your family.

  3. Sarah,

    I’m sorry and know it is tough. If you or anyone else wants to get in touch with a network of parents who are lobbying for better policies in international adoption, please get in touch.

    “Advocating for international adoption because kids belong in families, not orphanages.“
    Children Deserve Families

  4. Sarah,

    Please tell your husband that I am praying especially for him. As a man and potential adoptive father, we have a few things in common. I know he is stressed about leading his family through this. He is not alone, and doesn’t have to feel like he is. I know this sucks, and I’m sorry. I appreciate the pain and vulnerability it took to write that post, it makes most of us not feel so off base.


    • Sarah, this is Erica. My thoughts and prayers are with you every day. This process is dragging on for us also and we don’t know when we will travel to our kids.We get updated pictures to get us through. This process stinks for the kids and us. You don’t know all of us out here but you have an extended family who cares about you.

  5. We will be praying for you and your family. We have also been in the midst of a very difficult adoption process from the DRC this year and I can relate to your fears and also understand your trust in God. Ultimately, it’s all in His hands even if we don’t understand all of the whys.


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