Their Cries for Help

April 22nd, 2014

As of right now, our daughters have been legally ours, according to Congolese law, for 14 months.  Most of you know, the Congolese government issued a suspension of all Exit Letters for orphans seeking to leave the Congo on September 25, 2013; one day after our daughters received their US Visas. The suspension is said to last up to one year while DRC officials investigate and reevaluate their adoption procedures and practices.  Ultimately, their goal is to best ensure safety and well being for their country’s children; a noble and worthy goal.

 

Recently, we received an email from our agency director.  She is just returning from the Congo where she spent two weeks with our children.  Her update was heartbreaking.  Our children have grown weary, they want to come home, and they long for us to visit them. Their cry for help is almost more than we can bear.  These are our daughters. They aren’t just three beautiful children in a photograph.  I’ve kissed their faces, wiped away their tears, and sung them to sleep. Sometimes I wonder if this excruciating wait would’ve been easier on them if they had not yet met me; if “Mommy and Daddy” were just an idea in their heads and we were still just two faces in a photograph that sent them clothes and gifts.  We pray that our week together last summer has continued to give them hope as they wait.  We pray every day that God would fill them with joy and peace that passes their understanding.  And of course, we pray for their protection.

 

This adoption has brought us to the very end of ourselves.  We have lived on the mountain tops as God has continued to provide for our every need over the past 18 months; opening impossible doors and moving immovable mountains to get our girls home.  We have also experienced the depths of dark valleys as our plans crumbled and we are once again face to face with God’s sovereign hand as we wait for His next move.  He is a gracious and merciful God. Surely He has not brought us this far to leave us where we stand.  Our finite minds have gone down every road of possibility.  If God said go we would sell everything we have and move to the Congo to be together as a family.  If we have to wait another year, two years, three years; our daughters are worth every tear, every sleepless night, every sacrifice we could possibly make to bring them home.  Right now we are empty.  We have exhausted every resource, we are working extra jobs, and we are bringing our petitions daily before our Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

 

We cannot explain why, after nearly seven years of infertility, the Lord chose to bless us with a baby girl during this difficult time in our lives.  This new life has surely been a blessed distraction and a reminder of the hope that is within us.  Annie Rose will arrive sometime around the first of August.  According to my doctor, I have 4-6 weeks left to safely travel to Africa.  We are praying earnestly and asking for any help available to allow us to go visit our girls.  Obviously it is our prayer that this would be the last “visit” before their homecoming, but that of course is unknown.  What we do know is this:  we would never ever consider going this long without seeing our biological children so why should our daughters be any different?  We are praying that the Lord will provide what we need to go see them next month. The last thing we want to do is ask for more help, but this is not about us so until the Lord closes the door we will continue to pray and hope.

 

If you or anyone you know may be able to help us get to our daughters, will you please contact us?  Would you prayerfully consider bringing our need before your church or Sunday school class?  We would be happy to share our story (long as it may be) with anyone wanting to listen.  Any donations made out to our church will be tax deductible.  Our remaining needs, as we can currently foresee are below:

 

 

May fees for all three girls (orphanage, food, security, medical):                     $1500

June fees for all three girls (orphanage, food, security, medical):                   $1500

July fees for all three girls (orphanage, food, security, medical):                     $1500

August fees for all three girls (orphanage, food, security, medical):               $1500

September fees for all three girls (orphanage, food, security, medical)        $1500

One week trip for Josh and Audrey to visit their daughters:                              $5,000

Josh’s return trip to DRC to bring the girls home:                                                 $10,000

 

Total remaining needs:                                                                                           $22,500

 

Fees and expenses paid in full up to this point:                                           ($76,883.32)  TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!!!

 

There will be a day…

March 26th, 2014

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

~Jeremy Camp

It has been a weary season in my life recently.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of being tired and weary.  I’m tired of four-digit, monthly invoices reminding me that our daughters are still in an orphanage 7,000 miles across the globe yet they’ve been legally ours for 13 months now.  It is very likely, apart from a miracle, that we will have waited two years by the time we bring our girls home.  Two.Years.  I long to be with them.  I long to hold them and sing to them and weep with them for all of the time we’ve lost.  In the past two and a half months we’ve missed yet another birthday for all three of them.  Our sweet twinsies turned 3 in January and Hannah turned 6 last week.  Clothes hang in their closet, empty pillows remain on their bed, and two car seats and a booster remain latched onto the seats of our 12-passenger van, which seems like major over-kill for this current family of five.

I’m 21 weeks pregnant now.  Climbing into our big van is getting increasingly difficult; four months from now will be just plain comical, if not a little dangerous.  God is so good in the midst of life’s storms.  This miraculous pregnancy has served as a sweet distraction to our seemingly endless wait for our daughters.  The weekly progress and little milestones that one forgets about after seven years of infertility have been cause for great joy.  Our oldest son turned 11 on February 20th.  On that day, all five of us filed into the doctor’s office to find out the gender of our sweet little tie-breaker baby.  Everyone crowded around my belly and the little black and white screen.  The doctor said with a smile in her voice, Well boys, I know you were prepared for three sisters, but how about four??  IT’S A GIRL! My eyes remained glued to the screen.  Are you sure?  Are you serious? After three boys, I truly couldn’t imagine my uterus housing a baby girl, but there she was on that tiny little screen.  We’re going to have a daughter.  We’re going to have four daughters.  This little girl has really thrown me for a loop.  I had the worst first trimester of my life.  When I wasn’t sleeping I was either hugging the toilet, trash can, or curled up in the fetal position in bed wishing I was sleeping.  Thirteen or fourteen weeks brought major relief and my energy slowly returned.  Now I’m just passed the halfway point and I’m an emotional basket case. These girl-baby hormones are no joke.   The window of time in which my doctor feels comfortable allowing me to travel to Africa is quickly closing.  It doesn’t take much, or sometimes anything at all, to bring on ridiculous tears that I can’t stop.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so out-of-control with regards to my emotions.  We’re taking it one day at a time over here.  We’re doing well playing catch-up on our school work and we look forward to the summer months when our reward for finishing our school work is several hours by the pool.

I’ve come to realize that the remaining wait to bring our daughters home might not feel so urgent if it weren’t for the pregnancy.  We have prayed throughout the entire pregnancy that God would bring them home before Annie Rose’s arrival.  (That’s baby’s name:  Annie Rose.)  It isn’t looking very promising and that breaks my heart.  In reality, what is six more months of waiting?  It’s been 18 months since we first set eyes on them.  Six months will surely fly by.  I also realize that no matter which month we’re able to bring our daughters home, there will never be a day in Annie’s life that she won’t remember having three big sisters.  Our new life, new family, will begin when we’re all under the same roof.  I suppose I will continue to pray that we will be celebrating this coming Christmas as a family of nine, all together at last.  Hopefully, this time next year, all of the waiting and hurting, stress and tears will be but a distant memory and we will be able to say, It feels like our family has always been this way.  It feels like they’ve always been here.

Our house will be messier and louder.  There will be more dishes and far more laundry.  School work will be a challenge.  Successfully leaving the house will be a major accomplishment.  Meals will be planned down to the minute because goodness knows you have to stay on your A-game when feeding seven young children.  I’m so thankful for friends who have been able to travel to our daughters’ country and assure us that they look wonderful, happy, and healthy.  They’re being loved and very well taken care of.  We are so grateful for our agency and the staff at the transition home where our girls have lived for the past nine months.  Wow, it’s been nine months since I saw their faces in the person for the first time.  I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live.  Hannah’s sweet little raspy voice and the bossy tone in which she uses when she speaks to the younger children.  The innocent smiles of pure joy on Zoe and Ameris’ faces as we sat on the swing and they said over and over, I love you Mama. The twins were clueless when they were taken from me to return to the orphanage after spending a week with their new mother.  They smiled and waved ‘bye-bye’.  Hannah was a different story.  She wept, she pushed me away, she hid from all of us.  When I was finally able to sweep her up into my arms, I kissed her bald head over and over and promised that Papa and I would return very soon and bring them home forever.  I sure wish soon had been sooner than now; sooner than the fall.

Our friends and family have played a vital role in carrying us through this tumultuous journey.  Although it hurts that our daughters are not home yet, it is invaluable to us that so many still ask about them every week.  They are not forgotten.  They are loved and longed for by more than just the five of us.  Your love, encouragement, and support will never be forgotten.  Our airport day will be here very soon.  I can just feel it.

There will be a day…

 

 

 

 

BBQ and Estate Sale

March 17th, 2014

We have some dear friends who have graciously put together a big fundraiser for us at the end of this month.  The exit letter suspension has caused our daughters to remain in the orphanage for many months longer than we anticipated. By God’s grace, they will be home any month now and we’ll finally all be together.  Below you’ll find all the information needed to participate in the fundraiser.

 

WHAT:  BBQ LUNCH AND ESTATE SALE TO BENEFIT THE WILKERSON’S ADOPTION

WHEN:  March 29th, 2014.  Estate Sale starts at 8:00am and BBQ Lunch begins at 11:00am.

WHERE:  Church of the Good Shepherd in North Augusta, 920 Belvedere-Clearwater Road, North Augusta, SC 29841

If you’d like to purchase a lunch ticket, they’re $10 each.  You can use the donate button to the right of the screen and I will email your ticket number and leave your ticket at the BBQ table on the day of the sale.  All proceeds from the sale will go toward our remaining adoption and travel expenses to bring our daughters home.

Will you please pray with us as we prepare for this fundraiser; that God would be glorified and that He’d use it to provide much of the remaining needs for our adoption.

Please feel free to email me with any questions:  audrey@madetoorganize.com

God bless!

Christmas Miracle

February 1st, 2014

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:3

 

Thirteen years ago I had the privilege of attending Josh’s grandmother’s funeral.  Mrs. Bennett had nine children.  All nine children, 43 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren were present at the funeral.  It was the most amazing, God-honoring service I had ever been a part of.  All weekend I soaked up all of the amazing stories and love that came forth from that one woman and when we left I whispered to Josh,

I want nine children.

Of course I wasn’t being literal, but we did say early on that we would love to have a lot of children.  I guess we’re doing pretty well so far, right?  Next month we’ll celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.  Any month now, we’ll bring our daughters home and we’ll have six beautiful, healthy children.

Getting pregnant wasn’t something we tried to do for our first two children.  Three months after we were married I found out we were expecting baby #1.  Seven months after Joshua was born I apparently failed at successfully tracking my cycle and discovered we were expecting baby #2.  In 2005 I began having thyroid issues.  After trying to get pregnant for over a year we finally got pregnant with baby #3.  I cherished every moment of that pregnancy.  I no longer took fertility for granted.

Did you know that even the healthiest, most fertile couple only has a 25% chance of getting pregnant each month?  I never knew that until my doctor told me while we were trying to get pregnant a fourth time several years ago.  It has been seven years since I got pregnant with Owen.  We have tried many, many months over the last seven years to get pregnant again, but finally accepted that the Lord gives and He takes away and it became clear to us that my season of childbearing may be over but we were thrilled to add to our family through adoption.  What an incredible blessing it has been.  We still pray every single night that our daughters will be home next month…and then the next…and the next…

We know His timing is perfect.

On December 4th I received a text from a close friend.  This is how the conversation went:

A: Random question:  Any chance you’re pregnant?

Me: Haha, I guess anything is possible.  Hasn’t happened in seven years, but we sure would welcome it!

just to be silly, I went to the bathroom and dusted off a dollar store pregnancy from the cabinet.  I intended to take the test and then send her a picture of the negative result…just to say SEE?

Imagine my COMPLETE AND UTTER SHOCK when the test turned positive in about 10 seconds!?!

Me: I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!  THIS JUST HAPPENED!!! <insert positive pregnancy test…I’ll spare you that picture!>

Of course the rest of the conversation was pretty hysterical and resembled that of two middle school girls squealing over the latest breaking news.

I was in absolute shock.  This was not even on my radar.  IT’S BEEN SEVEN YEARS!!  Seven years of not preventing pregnancy.  Seven years of trying, off and on, to get pregnant with no success whatsoever.  I truly never thought it would happen again.  I haven’t even kept track of my cycle in ages.  Who knows WHEN I would’ve realized I was late if it hadn’t been for Ashley.  It was a precious moment for the two of us and it was so sweet of the Lord to use her to surprise me with this news.

I’m now almost 14 weeks.  The first trimester was, um, horrific.  I was terribly sick, in the bed, unable to function for weeks.  I also had several scares with spotting.  The first few times were small and normal, but the last time it happened was quite scary.  As a result, I had several ultrasounds during the first trimester and baby is alive and well!  It was absolutely amazing to see how much baby would grow, sometimes double or triple in size from week to week.  The picture below contains ultrasound pictures taken only three weeks apart.  On the left, you can still see the yolk sac, basically as big as baby’s head.  The picture on the right was at about 11 weeks (sorry, that one is upside down).

This is one of my favorites.  You can see baby’s belly and it’s legs are crossed at the ankles.  SO CUTE!


We’ll find out what we’re having in less than three weeks (if baby cooperates).  We’re all very excited to find out if the boys will continue their reign or if the girls will finally outnumber the boys!

We’ve been overwhelmed by the excitement of all our friends and family.  We’re so blessed to be surrounded by people who see children as we do; as an incredible blessing from God–each and every one of them.  Now that the extreme nausea has passed, sometimes I find myself forgetting that I’m pregnant…until I try to button my jeans.  I can’t believe we’ll have SEVEN children by the fall!!  Will you please continue to pray for our girls, that we would be able to bring them home before I’m too pregnant to travel that far?

More updates soon!

 

~audrey