Beautiful Sanctification: MAJOR CHANGES AHEAD!

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“She will be saved through childbearing.”

1 Timothy 2:15

“Motherhood is sanctifying.”

Just a few weeks into my new normal of parenting two, this phrase offered by a friend stuck with me. It was almost a revelation of sorts. Day in and out I’m confronted with areas of weakness and have to mentally step outside my circumstances to grow. Life is filled with shot-gun prayers asking for guidance, patience, endurance, strength, courage, creativity… and sometimes a third arm (because really, what mom of littles has never once desired one temporarily?). Maybe because my marriage has been mostly easy God is using motherhood to refine the matters of my heart that you guys don’t see. Don’t get me wrong, I am in L.O.V.E. with my kiddos… they are showered with waaaay more of my cuddles and kisses than my husband. Their sounds, smells, and even messes send me into infatuation overload each day… how did I get so lucky to be THEIR mom? I really want to be good at this mom thing- I hope one day they believe that I am.

The most constant struggle I have to surrender each day is control. I was recently sharing with my small group about this. With the fall of humanity the woman’s sin issue would be primarily found in the root of control {Genesis 3:16, “Your desire shall be for your husband”}. Whether this displays itself in gossip (shaping social/relational situations), negativity (upset when things don’t go YOUR way), worry or stress, ultimately the heart issue is one of control. Let’s just put it out there, mine is STRESS. I love order, cleanliness, tasks to be completed quickly and right… ahh and honestly none of those comply with small children. If I want to be a good mom, I cannot let my kids feel that they are in the way of my hang-ups. Recently I’ve been working on teaching my two year old on how to clean up her “naughty” messes (playing is a TOTAL pass! Mommy just gets to that at the end of the day)… I’m talking about coloring on the wall- YES, my freshly painted walls!.. or pouring all the dog FOOD into the dog WATER… and then once its all expanded and soggy, dumping it into the kitchen floor for SLIP AND SLIDE FUN. I get down with her and -key phrase: TRY TO explain the difference between which messes are ok and not. And again, lets keep it real. This is becoming a more frequent task performed while trying to bounce my almost 3 month old against my chest. Nothing is done RIGHT. Nothing is done QUICKLY. I’m constantly interrupted. There are usually a few (or many) tears shed. I start to stress when it’s all of the sudden 3 pm and I’ve seemingly done nothing but kept the kids alive! HA! But what fun it is to laugh with Jordan at the end of my day about the crazy train that I somehow survived.

{SIDE NOTE: I am not claiming stress, anxiety or depression as sin. Speaking from PERSONAL experience with all three, I am saying that my desire for control usually expresses itself in the form of stress. What I do with that stress can SOMETIMES turn into sin!! So if you’re struggling with that, momma, I HEAR YOU. You are not alone!}

So control. CONTROL. God seems to be giving me opportunities to practice what He has been teaching me through motherhood. Jordan and I have several HUGE things we are rolling through as a couple and –OH MY WORD– how hard is it for me to just step back from the planning and lay it at the Lord’s feet?! One area that is applicable to discuss in this space is our adoption. Yes. Our adoption. YIKES.

I could go on for hours as to the WHY, but honestly these are just details to the certain point: Ethiopia adoption is no longer an option for our family. You can google or research adoption agencies to find many of the obstacles we’ve been facing in this program, but the important detail is that God is shutting the door for us right now. There are some agencies still performing adoptions within our parameters, but most (not all) of them seem to be comfortable with practices that dishonor the Lord. We could not swallow this.

Now, before anyone freaks out, we are STILL adopting!

God is moving us to a new African nation and we are actually SUPER excited about it. It’s strange and actually a little scary to make it public… In many ways I feel that it’s my duty to our supporters to force an Ethiopian adoption to work (control disguised as integrity). But I can rest knowing that we have done all of our homework, we made all the right phone calls to specialists, we have sought every last opportunity to make it work and it just won’t. If you have supported us in our fundraising (oh gosh, or even just in prayer… or if you’re just curious!), please feel free to ask us for those nitty-gritty details. We are happy to share. But for now, I want to focus not on the WHY, but the WHERE and HOW COME.

If approved, AND WE SHOULD BE, our family will be adopting from Burundi. You may be scratching your head because you’ve never heard of it… that would be because it is an extremely small and poor country in central Africa. It is ranked #1 for the most unhappy of all world nations. There really isn’t much that it’s citizens are proud of, as it is war-torn by genocides and corruption. Since independence in 1962, Burundi has been plagued by ethnic conflict between the majority Hutus and the Tutsis, who tend to dominate the government and army—but are only 14 percent of the population. Hutu’s and Tutsis? This sounds like something out of the Hollywood blockbuster, “Hotel Rwanda.” Yep, you would be correct. Burundi is located on the southern boarder of Rwanda and shares the same genocidal tragedies.

In fact, genocide is actually not just a part of their past… the country is under much political threat of it becoming their present. The night we settled on Burundi, BBC news published this article: UN Security Council agrees to send police to Burundi. In short, over 200,000 people have fled their homes. After a failed military coup, there have been allegations of mass graves and gang-rapes by Burundian security forces. And who is caught in the crossfire? The nation’s children. Due to Burundi’s volatile political landscape, there is currently an enormous need for willing adoptive families.

Jordan and I truly believe that God brought us to the African continent, and put us on pause a few years ago, SO THAT we could tread water until Burundi opened the doors for international adoption. Thanks be to God that we began fundraising, despite our holding status with Ethiopia, because now we can act quickly in our adoptive rescue.

So what does this look like now? Well. For starters we are staying with our original agency, All God’s Children International. You guys, if you want to pursue adoption and be saturated in prayer BY your agency… if you’re looking for a personal, one-on-one type relationship, not just a number in the system… if you want to know that your adoption will be centered on Biblical foundations that are Kingdom honoring, you NEED to explore the possibility of AGCI. You can learn more about them by clicking here: AGCI.  {FYI: There are currently 114 children with AGCI needing families! Maybe yours is one?} Because this is going to be a more expedited process, we’re going to push our home study back a few more months. This allows Owen to pass the 6 month mark (an AGCI requirement) and affords us the time to update personal paperwork/research grants that apply to our family. We still need a good chunk of money to complete this process, so please go before us in prayer. God, who is willing and able, is the ultimate “father to orphans” (Psalm 68:5)– we KNOW that because His heart is there, the money to complete the mission for their care will be also. We are willing to work and wait as long as we need to complete the task laid before us.

So here we go! Paperwork is going to be submitted, some initial fees paid, and the home study is on the horizon. We will keep you updated if anything crazy/exciting occurs. Honestly, let’s hope not! Let’s pray that we get through the upcoming holiday season with no hiccups and start the New Year with a sprint towards Burundi!!

Thank you, Lord, for opening up our hearts and teaching us let go of control for YOUR greatest plan. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

 *Our PUZZLE CAMPAIGN fundraiser is still in motion until August 15th! We still need a significant amount to reach our $5,000 goal. PLEASE PRAY FOR US!!!*

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And now I’ll leave you with some Burundian facts:

burundi

Burundi flag

BACKGROUND:
Burundi’s first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only 100 days in office, triggering widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. More than 200,000 Burundians perished during the conflict that spanned almost a dozen years. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians were internally displaced or became refugees in neighboring countries. An internationally brokered power-sharing agreement between the Tutsi-dominated government and the Hutu rebels in 2003 paved the way for a transition process that integrated defense forces, and established a new constitution and elected a majority Hutu government in 2005. The government of President Pierre NKURUNZIZA, who was reelected in 2010 and again in a disputed election in 2015, continues to face many political and economic challenges.

 

LOCATION/TERRAIN & CLIMATE:

Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, west of Tanzania

Hilly and mountainous, dropping to a plateau in east, some plains

Equatorial; high plateau with considerable altitude variation (772 m to 2,670 m above sea level); average annual temperature varies with altitude from 23 to 17 degrees Celsius but is generally moderate as the average altitude is about 1,700 m; average annual rainfall is about 150 cm; two wet seasons (February to May and September to November), and two dry seasons (June to August and December to January)

 

NATURAL RESOURCES:

Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, arable land, hydropower, niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten, kaolin, limestone

 

GDP:

68% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. Agriculture accounts for over 40% of GDP and employs more than 90% of the population. Burundi’s primary exports are coffee and tea, which account for 90% of foreign exchange earnings. Thus, Burundi’s export earnings – and its ability to pay for imports – rest primarily on weather conditions and international coffee and tea prices, although exports are a relatively small share of GDP. Burundi is heavily dependent on aid from bilateral and multilateral donors. Foreign aid in 2014 represented 42% of Burundi’s national income, the second highest rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. Burundi joined the East African Community (EAC) in 2009.

An ethnic war that ended in 2005 resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Political stability, aid flows, and economic activity improved following the end of the civil war, but underlying weaknesses – a high poverty rate, poor education rates, a weak legal system, a poor transportation network, overburdened utilities, and low administrative capacity – have prevented the government from implementing planned economic reforms. Government corruption has also hindered the development of a private sector as companies have to deal with ever changing rules. The purchasing power of most Burundians has decreased as wage increases have not kept pace with inflation.

In 2015, Burundi’s economy suffered from political turmoil over President NKURUNZIZA’s controversial third term. Blocked transportation routes disrupted the flow of agricultural goods. And donors withdrew aid, increasing Burundi’s budget deficit. When the unrest ends, regional infrastructure improvements driven by the EAC and funded by the World Bank may help improve Burundi’s transport connections and lower transportation costs.

ECONOMY:

Industry: Light consumer goods (blankets, shoes, soap), assembly of imported component

Agriculture: Coffee, cotton, tea, corn; beef

Exports: Coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides

 

TRAFFICKING PERSONS:

Current situation: Burundi is a source country for children and possibly women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; business people recruit Burundian girls for prostitution domestically, as well as in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and the Middle East, and recruit boys and girls for forced labor in Burundi and Tanzania; children and young adults are coerced into forced labor in farming, mining, informal commerce, fishing, or collecting river stones for construction; sometimes family, friends, and neighbors are complicit in exploiting children, at times luring them in with offers of educational or job opportunities

Tier Rating: Tier 3 – Burundi does not comply fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; corruption, a lack of political will, and limited resources continue to hamper efforts to combat human trafficking; in 2014, the government did not inform judicial and law enforcement officials of the enactment of an anti-trafficking law or how to implement it and approved – but did not fund – its national anti-trafficking action plan; authorities again failed to identify trafficking victims or to provide them with adequate protective services; the government has focused on transnational child trafficking but gave little attention to its domestic child trafficking problem and adult trafficking victims (2015)

 

ORPHAN CARE:

For many orphans living in Burundi’s orphanages, every day is a struggle. Lacking the funding to meet the most basic of needs, many orphanages are unable to provide beds, healthy food, or access to an education. AGCI is working to partner with the Central Authority office in Burundi to elevate care in existing orphanages and provide orphans with the loving care and resources they need to thrive! Burundi is now one of the first African countries to embrace the regulations of the Hague Convention— A BIG DEAL!!!

 

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