Tuesday, April 16, 2013

iPad Mini raffle!

Many of you may have seen this on Facebook, but for those of you who don't have Facebook or are not "friends" with Elias or myself, I wanted to post our latest fundraiser here. We are raffling off a brand new iPad Mini! Entries are $10 apiece or 3 for $25. All you have to do to enter is click here: https://www.smartypig.com/loves/eliasjesszehr

Then you click "contribute" and choose our first account labeled "Adoption Account" (we have two because it makes withdrawing money as needed easier with this type of account). You can then enter the amount for the number of entries you are making. Under "optional message", leave your phone number so that we can contact you if you win! We will also announce the winner on Facebook at "Elias and Jessica are hoping to adopt". This is a community page, so anyone can view it. The drawing will be held May 6 and the winner will be notified and announced on May 7. Anyone can enter and the iPad will be shipped directly to you. It's super easy and only only $10 to enter! We can't wait to see who wins!

Please note, that if you do not feel comfortable entering online, please contact us and we will send you our address so that you can send us a check.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


There is a documentary that has been going around the international adoption community. This documentary is called "STUCK". "STUCK" was produced by the organization, Both Ends Burning, and is currently on tour around the country. Thankfully, it is also on sale online line for $12.99, which is how we chose to purchase it. The purpose of this documentary is to bring national attention to the challenges of international adoption with hopes that the US government will make some necessary changes to help bring children, living in institutions around the world, home to their forever families. I strongly promotes that children's homes and orphanages aren't bad, but they also shouldn't be a permanent solution. These children should not be living in in these homes that that don't have enough staff to care for them, when there are families that would be willing to adopt them if the process wasn't so challenging.

It also acknowledges that, yes, children would be better off in their country of origin, if they were able to receive adequate care and have a family there. Unfortunately, many of these countries do not currently have a foster care or adoption system established to provide this type of care for these children. I cannot say enough about this film. It educates regarding the complexity of the process while also addressing the impact that the flaws in our current system are having on children that are waiting to be adopted as well as adoptive families. If you have any interest in international adoption or orphans throughout the world, I would highly recommend that you watch this documentary. If you are interested in viewing trailer or watching this film, here is the link: http://buy.stuckdocumentary.com
If you are interested in the organization Both Ends Burning, you can check out their site here: https://bothendsburning.org

You all know by know that Elias and I have a huge heart for adoption and a special place in our hearts for international adoption. This information is vital to the future of international adoption. One fact that stuck out in my mind from this film was that Guatemala, who has been closed off to adoptions to the US for the past few years now, now has government run orphanages that are housing 750 children! Guatemala has been in the process of revamping their adoption system to become a Hague Convention country, meaning that simply put, they would comply with an international treaty that was established to protect intercountry adoption. A country doesn't have to come a Hague country, but many times they are told that they need to correct issues and they choose to become Hague compliant, which has actually turned into a negative thing and has resulted in countries closing off international adoption for up to 10 years at this point. Sadly, in an institution where there are 750 children to care for, there is likely is not enough staff to care for all of them and they certainly are not getting the love and attention that they need to be getting. Please join us in praying for international adoption and the changes that need to happen to bring more children home to their mommys and daddys.

Also, on a side note, we are planning on having a fundraising garage sale this summer and we are taking donations! If you or someone you know has items that you would like to donate please contact us and we will let you know how you can do so! Thank you!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A few bumps in the road

Some of you may have been waiting for an update and I have intentionally been waiting to provide you with one. If you have been following us thus far, you are probably learning that this journey is full of challenges, ups and downs and sometimes just plain chaos. So once, again we are facing some bumps in the road. We submitted all of our paperwork to the agency that we had chosen for adoption from The Congo. They accepted our pre-application packet and sent us the next set of paperwork that we needed! This was all very exciting until we started talking about our homestudy. Our current homestudy is written for domestic adoption, international homestudies require quite a bit more and have to be country specific. I was under the impression that converting a homestudy from domestic to international would not be that big of a deal. Even our social worker that wrote our homestudy didn't imply that it would be that much work. The agency however, thinks that we should get a whole new homestudy done since this one would need "significant changes". Our social worker is willing to convert our homestudy either for free or a very small fee where as a whole study would cost a lot more. So this could simply be a bump in the road that the enemy is using to discourage us, or it could be a stopping point for now.

In addition to all of this, I spoke with our attorney yesterday just to let her know where we are at and what our plans are. She understood and was very helpful, but she herself does not do international adoptions due to their complexity. She did however recommend that we stay signed on with her and the other agency that we are working even while we work towards this transition. Many people have asked me why we can't be open to both domestic and international at the same time. I have also wondered this, but at one point I was told it wasn't wise so we didn't pursue it. Our attorney however, is saying different and that she has had friends who have done this very successfully. So for now, we are remaining open to both. We will prayerfully consider any situation that comes up on either side and follow the road that God has set before us. If there is one thing I have learned, it's that just when I think I have God's plan figured out, I discover that I don't. So for now we are open, and the only thing that we know for sure is that we will adopt a child eventually.

Lastly I just want to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this process. I have read so many sad stories of families that are adopting and, for a variety of reasons, people do not support their decision. Thank you for never saying anything negative to us about this process, but rather walking alongside of us, supporting us. Many blessings to all of you! We will continue to keep you updated!