Matt and Jenn Adopt Benjamin!

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Let’s meet Matt and Jenn – Part 1

A child needs a family. We are a family with room to grow. Adoption is a blessing for us both.
Jenn has had a lifelong desire to adopt, the desire to mother children not yet her own. When Jenn met Matt she expressed her feelings of adoption and whew, he was on board! After they married they knew God would open the door to adoption in His timeframe and they would pursue this desire together. Together they have five children, age’s three to nine. They didn’t anticipate adopting now in their timeline; but they can see how they are much more equipped to parent an adopted child than they would have been if they choose their own timing.
Matt and Jenn chose Adoption Associates, Inc. (AAI) for three reasons. First, AAI is Hague Accredited. Due to international adoption uncertainties it was a non-negotiable. Secondly, AAI is an agency committed to Christian values and therefore a partner who shared their values. And lastly, they chose AAI because they were local. They loved knowing they could walk through the door of the agency at any time.

As they came to the decision of starting the process, they knew they would begin with international and AAI’s Ethiopia program, as it seemed the best option for their already large family. They considered China, however a special needs program seemed intimidating. During their time in the “waiting room” of adoption, God worked in their hearts and grew them to be open to the joyous challenge of special needs. As their biological children grew older, caring for a special needs child seemed more do-able! Adoption parenting isn’t about being the right person but about being willing to become the right person.

Open Door. Keep walking. – Part 2

An adoption journey is not something that can be planned out, but rather more of a spontaneous journey. The reward after is, Oh So Sweet! After waiting in the Ethiopia program and facing some of those valleys, they realized the likelihood of brining an Ethiopian child into their family would take several years. So, they went back to praying about what the best option was for their family. Then, God very clearly and very unexpectedly brought the possibility of an adoption through China’s Special Needs program to their minds and hearts. After contacting Adoption Associates, Inc. to gather some basic information, they took their time and prayed about the possibility of pursuing this option. They also learned that AAI allowed them stay active in both programs.

Open door. Keep walking.

It was only a few days in all of this happening that Jenn opened her email one day to find two messages from AAI with information on two little ones waiting in China. Whoa! Either of these two was a good fit for their family. The timeline just sped up, hold on! They agreed to look at both files.

Open door. Keep walking.

One of the precious ones was a little girl with more severe special needs than they felt equipped to handle.

Closed door. Breathe.

The other little one was a boy, whose needs seemed consistent with what they felt was possible to handle!

Open door. Keep walking.

They sent the medical information to a doctor in Chicago who reviews international files for adoptive families, and they sent it to their own pediatrician. They received the analysis back from the doctor in Chicago stating nothing unexpected, good news!

Open door. Keep walking.

They are so joyful over this big open door to this dear little boy, and they keep walking through it!

3 people, 5 carry-on bags, 7 flights…here we go! – Part 3

“We are so excited to travel to our boy and as the hours countdown I find my thoughts becoming more and more weighty. There is seriousness to our hearts. We know that all that awaits us is the unknown. Just like with the birth of a child we don’t really know what this child’s needs will be or how our family will change because of them. We do not know what joys and struggles we will face together. We may think we have some idea, we may have done our best to anticipate well but honestly, we have no idea. We are as ready and prepared as we can be but we are not ready we are not prepared. So how do we do this? We simply continue to follow our Almighty Faithful God. He has given this joyous gift of adoption to us. He will make us ready, He will prepare us, He will guide us through the toughest of moments. We are willing but it is God who is able.”

Noah, 4years. “And this is you [Mommy] and Daddy and Isaac on the plane in the air.” Precious to watch my kids processing our upcoming excitement at their own levels, we’re sure going to miss them! – Jenn

Their luggage all ready to go! They are taking their oldest son, Isaac with them to China. He will do a great job traveling and will hopefully help ease the transition for their new little guy. This is Isaac’s first flight ever and Matt’s first trans-continental flight.

China, a new part of our family– Part 4

“Our flights all went very well, no delays or surprises and our suitcase of donations and gifts made it too! We did have a very long layover, 7 hours, in Shanghai which was tiring especially after the 14 hour flight but we made the best of it. Isaac and I slept on the benches while Matt stayed awake to watch our bags. I hope the flights home go just as well.”

We’re here!

“We explored Green Lake Park and the Stone Forest as well as local streets and restaurants a couple days before we were able to meet Benjamin.”

As the rest of the family is back at home, being cared for by extended family, they are all connected by the prayer bracelets they made and wear.

Meet our Benjamin – Part 5

“Benjamin has now been with us for 12 hours and it is oh so wonderful!! He is doing so well all things considered. He was definitely nervous and unsure but calmed pretty quickly for me and he really was interested in watching Isaac. The snacks we brought for him really seemed to help calm him the most. It is obvious that he was well loved and cared for by his foster family, we are so thankful for them!

We were able to tour the orphanage and meet the staff that cared for him. It was wonderful to see the place that was home our son, and to thank the staff that so lovingly cared for him, but heartbreaking to see all those kids who still wait for families.

Today was our last day in China. We now have Benjamin’s visa in hand and leave soon for the airport. We are thankful for a wonderful trip and we can’t wait to have our family altogether!”

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