Friday, May 22, 2009

This "Journey to Liberia" has been much different than we anticipated. I've come to the point where I'm okay with that, but it's taken awhile. I still have no idea how this journey will end. As for today, we continue to wait to bring Nana home. We have no control over whether or not we will be allowed to continue to wait. If we are allowed, we have no idea how long that wait will be. One day at a time is all I can handle right now.

At least for tonight, I'm okay with that.

I don't know if I'll post here for awhile. I probably will only post here again if I have concrete news on Nana, or on this process ending. In the mean time, feel free to visit our family at my other

Monday, May 18, 2009

I was about twelve weeks pregnant with Riley when I started bleeding. I remember laying in my bed thinking that this could be it, it might all be over. All I could do was wait and see if I would lose my baby that day. I was full of fear. Riley will be eight years old in August, but I still remember every feeling from that day so vividly. All of those feelings returned tonight. I don't know what tomorrow may bring, but it's possible that this may all be over, we may lose our baby.

I only post all of this here because I know so many of you that read this journal pray for our family and for Nana. Please pray for us tonight.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009.
A very good day. I enjoyed spending the day with my mom and grandma. My thoughts drifted to Nana often as I watched my boys play today. My mom gave me my baby bracelet and my first locket to give to Nana. I can't wait to put that bracelet on her little wrist.

We sang this at my parents' church this morning...

Things in the past, things yet unseen
Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true
All of my hopes, all of my plans
My heart and my hands are lifted to you

Lord, I offer my life to you
Everything I've been through
Use it for your glory
Lord I offer my days to you
Lifting my praise to you
As a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer you my life

I guess that's all that really needs to be said.
To those of you waiting today as well, Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

International Adoption Waiting Disorder...

Symptoms may include irritability, moodiness, forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, and sleep problems.

Some days I feel like I'm walking around in a fog. Yesterday I was just plain loopy. I was careless while doing some cleaning around the house and almost seriously injured myself. I'm okay, but quite sore today. I also may have broken my pressure canner in the process, which would really suck. I also managed to somehow send a very emotional and personal email that I had written to a friend who is adopting as well, to my caseworker instead. Excellent, very professional. Luckily, my caseworker is a very kind and understanding individual who has been through this process five times. Five times, are you serious? I really can't imagine doing this again. Of course, I said that the first time I delivered a baby as well.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I stepped out on the porch this morning to take my boys to school and saw a package sitting by the front door. A gift was inside for Nana, a very special gift. My friend, Sarah, had mailed a quilt she made over the weekend. She lives in Washington and is adopting a little boy from Liberia that is about the same age as Nana. I have absolutely no crafty/creative abilities, so I get really excited when someone gives us something handmade for one of our kids. The quilt is BEAUTIFUL, all pink, purple, and girly!

I'm ready to start working on her room, but something keeps holding me back. My head says it just a lack of time right now, my heart wonders if that is the real reason I haven't started. I think I've been guarding my heart a bit. This gift might be just the motivation I need! Hopefully it will motivate my husband too, because the room needs a lot of heavy duty construction work and I can't do that by myself. Thank you so much, friend. It really is a beautiful gift!

I sure do wish I had more to share with you all today about progress in Liberia. I don't. God has blessed us with His peace during this part of the wait, although some days are harder than others. Of course, we always welcome your prayers. We always need them. If you could pray especially today for Nana to remain in good health while wait for her to come home, we would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The two year old said from the back seat of the minivan yesterday...

"Mommy, is God and Jesus with sister bear in Liberia."

I almost had to pull the van over to the side of the road.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The latest news from Liberia...

The Liberia House has passed the new Children's Bill. This is very good news and protects the children of Liberia in so many ways. However, the adoption guidelines that we have all been waiting for patiently have been removed from the bill. At first, this sounds like a set back. However, I really think this is a step in the right direction. The President has decided that she wants a separate Adoption Bill to come before the House. She has ordered that a Central Adoption Authority be established that will have the responsibility of ensuring that adoptions in Liberia are ethical and legal. So, we have no time line and the suspension has not been lifted yet. But, we are encouraged to hear that the President is giving so much time and attention to the adoption situation and are hopeful that special needs adoptions will be considered in the near future. Keep in mind, we are not really sure what "the near future" means in Africa...certainly not what it means in the United States.

Thank you for your prayers, please keep praying.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm posting today to specifically ask for your prayers for our family, our daughter, and the children of Liberia. It seems as though things are beginning to move forward, which direction they are moving is yet to be seen. However, at this point in time we welcome movement in any direction. You see, the unknown is what makes this all so very difficult. The Liberian legislature is in the process of passing the new Children's Bill. My understanding is that this is the bill which will outline the new guidelines for adoption. According to the President's address in January, adoptions were suspended only until these guidelines were put into place. We do not know the details of the bill, which means we do not know yet how this will effect our ability to bring Nana home. I have spoken with Diana at Alliance for Children today and she is in the process of trying to find out these details for us. I am incredibly grateful for Diana. If you ever decide to begin an international adoption, I would strongly recommend working through an agency rather than working independently. Diana works hard to protect our family and we are so thankful for her help.

For the last few weeks we heard nothing from Liberia. This made it much easier to just wait. Now things are moving to some degree and my mind and heart get caught up in all this again. What we need is peace in our home. We need God's peace, to rest in His timing.

Thank you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We were at the zoo today and noticed that some strange things were happening with the elephants. They were in different locations than they usually are and the pregnant elephant was lying down alone with another elephant standing guard by her. I kept commenting to Eric about how strange it all was. Now I know why. We left the zoo around 1:30, at 2:35 the baby was born. Elephants are pregnant for about 650 days. In some strange way, I feel like I can relate. In case you are wondering, we started this adoption 17 months ago.

Here's a link to an article about the new baby elephant.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Last night five of us went to see Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It's hard to even know what to say. Inspiring is the first word that comes to mind, although that does not even begin give this film the credit it deserves. Liberia's story simply captures your heart, and this story that follows the incredible Women's Peace movement to end a 14 year civil war is simply amazing.

I wish I had other adoption news to share with you. I don't.

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Here is your sweetie and she is doing great. She continues on the
medicines. Will send the medical to Diana soon. Trying to walk
holding on to care giver Happy and just beautiful."

This came in an email from Patty Anglin today. Four pictures were also attached!
As you can imagine, this made my day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

There are 5002 miles between me and my daughter.
It's 3:37am in Liberia right now.
I'm here in Ohio and have remained present with my boys all day today, which is no small accomplishment. But, as I watch them sleeping in bed tonight, my mind can't help but wander to the west coast of Africa and think about a little girl sleeping there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I just walked into the laundry room and found a huge bag of baby girl clothing. One of Eric's co-workers gave them to us, but I think they had been in Eric's car for awhile. I didn't know they were there. They are all summer clothes, the size we would need for Nana this summer. My heart hurts right now, that's the only way I know how to describe how I feel. I wish I could dig down deep and find some hope that she might be wearing these this summer, some days I have that kind of optimism and hope...some days I just don't. Eric had a conversation with our case worker on Friday...long conversation, no answers. Tuesday I will be talking for the first time with Patty Anglin, the director of Acres of Hope. She is now in Liberia, which is a very good thing. I'm looking forward to talking with her. I'm hoping for at least a few answers, but even if I just get some reassurance that Nana is doing well I'll be happy.

As I sit here typing I hear Riley in the other room..."Mom, this stuff is so cute. come look. Trey look at the pj's!" I'm going to dig way, way down and find some hope, for their sake at least. It's time like these where my prayers must start to sound really desperate, almost like I'm begging God for some help with this. I really don't even know how to pray tonight, just hoping the Spirit speaks to the Father on my behalf.

Friday, February 13, 2009

To be honest, I'm a bit nervous to share too many details on the internet about this process right now. Yes, I'm probably paranoid.

At the same time, I want to keep this blog going because I know many of you check this regularly so you know how to pray. Your prayers mean so much to us right now. We need them!

The concrete good news I have right now is that all children have been returned to Acres of Hope's orphanage. Our Nana was never removed because she is in a different facility. Although we have been so grateful that her care was never disrupted, we have been worried sick about the children who were taken from the only home they know and from their nannies. This is also very good news because Acres of Hope must be in good standing with the Liberian government for our adoption to be processed.

I don't have any more official news at this time, but things are looking more hopeful and we look forward to sharing more good news with you as we receive it.

Again, we rely on your prayer support. It is what sustains us right now. Last week I was numb to all of my emotions regarding this adoption. Maybe that was gift, maybe I needed a week off from all of the feelings. Today it all became real again, which is good too. Allowing myself to feel makes my prayers more consistent and urgent. The trick is to not allow fear to creep in.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Last Sunday my grandmother reminded me of some very important words a friend had said to us in December. This man is a friend of our family who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Grandma and I saw him in December and we were sharing with him that we had been praying daily for his healing. He appreciated our prayers and then said, "This isn't my battle to fight. It never has been. It's His." My grandma thought it might be best for me to focus on those words from Marvin. I did, and it brought such freedom this week. It's Sunday again and I need to remind myself again that this week will be full of so much joy, peace, and freedom if I can refuse to take back what I've given over to God.

Friends, it's so true. This is not my battle to fight. I love this little girl already, but how much more does her Creator love her. I already want to fight for her, but how much more does He.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Just when you thought things couldn't get the US has issued a statement. I didn't post the official Liberian statement earlier this week. Long story short...Liberia has shut down international adoption. I believe they have very legitimate concerns and things need to change, but I can't explain how bad it SUCKS to be stuck in the middle of this. I have a special needs child waiting to come home in a fourth world country. My child needs medical attention and I want her home. I just got off the phone with the head of our adoption agency. He was very kind and doesn't believe that it's time to give up on this. But, he was also very honest and realistic. My baby is worth fighting for, but it would be best if we prepared ourselves for a long fight. While I'm being honest, I'll just throw in that I'm going to need some serious help to get through this. I'm going to be meeting with a counselor to hopefully gain some coping skills, because I am near the edge of losing it right now. To say that we need your prayers would be an understatement, friends.

Anyway, here's the official statement from the US State Department...
Us State Department Issues Statement on Liberia
Government of Liberia Suspends Intercountry Adoptions

The Government of Liberia (GOL) suspended processing of adoptions on January 26, 2009, on the recommendation of the President's Special Committee on Adoption. According to the Liberian President's statement, processing of adoptions was suspended due to mismanagement. The GOL expects to resume adoptions this year after its adoption law, policy, and guidelines have been established.

American citizens are alerted that the Government of Liberia suspended adoption services provided by the agencies West African Children Support Network (WACSN) and Acres of Hope (AOH) on January 22. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare announced that it is investigating WACSN and AOH to ensure that the children in their care are properly cared for and that adoptions are conducted in accordance with Liberian adoption law. American citizens who have pending adoption applications with either agency should contact the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia at before traveling to Liberia.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"There is hope in the midst of hopelessness. Death is not where we lose; the onset of hopelessness is the great defeater. So allow hope to rise up within you. And when it seems that hopefulness is the least appropriate response in this situation, let it rise up even more. Whisper your hope when you lie down at night; scream your hope when you wake in the morning.Live your hope as if it is the one and only thing that sustains you in this ravaged world. You will not be disappointed."

I thought some of you who read this blog, and are longing to hold your children in Liberia, might need a little extra hope tonight. I know I do. I know I've posted this before on both of my blogs, but it's worth posting in the midst of all these questions. Join with us in prayer tonight. I really do believe it makes a difference.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pray for the Acres of Hope children in Liberia today. Pray hard.
We received some very sad news that I quite honestly lack the energy to go in to completely right now. It most likely does not involve our Nana directly, but so many children are hurting right now. So many families are scared and worried.

What man intends for evil, God can use for His purposes and bring good.
HOPE. That's all we have right now.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Our passports arrived in the mail today. I sure am ready to use them. This baby girl is all I can think about tonight.

I haven't forgotten our New Year's letter, it just might be more like a Happy Valentine's Day letter. We've had quite a week with Eric's accident and I'm a little behind.

Sweet Baby Girl,
Your mommy already loves you and can't wait to hold you. Your big brothers pray for you every night. Tonight the two year old prayed, "Dear Jesus, please be with baby Nana way way way out there." They ask about you all the time. We pray Jesus holds you tight tonight, that your dreams are sweet and peaceful. We pray that you will remain safe and healthy until you are in our arms. We pray for your caretakers, that they give you all the love and attention they possibly can. Some day soon, sweet girl, you will be home. What a party we will have then!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We have decided it would be best to not post pictures of our new daughter on line at this time. Instead I will be working on a New Year's letter that I'll be sending out which will include a picture of Nana. I'll be using snail mail for this, so if I don't have your home address and you would like a more complete update and picture, leave it in the comments section here or email me at

At this point in time, things seem to be moving forward as they should be. We're praying this continues.

Please continue to pray for our daughter and for her caretakers. This past week our family joined the rest of the Stetler gang at Fort Rapids, an indoor water park. Riley and I were standing at the very top looking down at all the water. I asked my son to stop and pray with me, that his sister would have clean drinking water this week. We take so much for granted here. We were literally playing in our extreme abundance, while so many simply need a new well. Join with our family, as we all anticipate the arrival of our daughter from Africa, and educate yourself on life in Africa.