Sunday, September 22, 2013

Democratic Republic of Congo

Here it is...Sunny Days, Kinshasa DRC.  You are correct, it is a beautiful place!  The people are WONDERFUL, the place is immaculate (other than the messes our girls make) :).  It would truly be a fantastic place to spend time.  Here's the deal...we have been here for 40 days and in case you are wondering, that is TOO long!!! Thank you to our friend Eric DeHaan for allowing me to "steal" your photos :)  Our room is the one with the door open in the first photo and the last photo is actually Eric and Cara's room (and the Wilson's and the Larson's...yes we have been here long enough to have 3 families stay next door and there have been several days it has been empty too) right next to door ours but it is very similar to ours.

We came to pick up our girls having no idea what we were about to face.  Our first week went well, Brian headed to the US Embassy to request an earlier Embassy appointment, as our agency had a miscommunication and missed taking our girls to their appointment on August 5. 

Thankfully the Embassy was very helpful and we had the girls VISA's in our hands one week and a day after our arrival here.  The next step of the process was the Bordeaux Letter (we have also discovered this could have been started before we arrived).  The Bordeaux office began to express concern about us having 8 children at home and the fact that we are adopting 4 more.  We were even told that the Bordeaux office could overrule the court who had finalized the adoption and that there was even a very real potential that we could lose the girls.  This was obviously a definite "low point". 

Our agency went to work preparing reports and documents that showed our financial ability to care for 12 children, letters from both our social worker and our agency's case worker, photos of our family together and information and statistics about the number of "large" Christian families in America to show them that we aren't alone in our "craziness" :)

The Bordeaux office wanted the Minister of Gender & Family to sign off on our case herself, but unfortunately at that time we learned that there is an actual law in the Congolese law book that states that you cannot adopt more than 3 children at a time without a "Presidential dispensation".  Therefore, she also had to pass our case on. 

There have been some other "hopeful" ways around this "Presidential dispensation" in the past six weeks (some of which I may share in more detail in the future) but we hit a dead end each time.  So, here we sit, with an attorney and our agency working on our behalf to get our "Presidential dispensation". 

I do not have a "good excuse" for not updating our blog as the process has unfolded, all I can say is this:  the first couple weeks were both exhilarating and exhausting reconnecting and getting to know our girls; the next couple weeks were full of hopes that quickly turned into disappointments.  I was feeling too defeated, hopeless, desperate, impatient, depressed, broken down, bitter, irritated, disgusted, discouraged, conflicted, confused, lost, and distrusting.  The list could go on but I think you get my point.  I did not have the emotional ability to even put into words what I was experiencing.

In addition to the negative emotions I was experiencing, I could go on and on about the positive ones I was experiencing with my girls.  They are the more beautiful, hilarious, brilliant, and energetic than I could have ever imagined.  So the only heartache I really have had, is that I have eight amazing children at home and in the last 6 weeks, we have missed Joshua's 18th birthday, Jazmyn's 8th birthday, Mahlea's 14th birthday.  In addition, we have missed everyone's first day of school.  Bailey started her first year at Chief Joseph Middle School and Mahlea and Kenzie started their first year at Bozeman High School.  Dylon, Preston and Jazmyn started their first year at a brand new Elementary School (Meadowlark).  For this mommy's heart, this journey has been unbearable at times.  I've missed soccer try-outs  (and I wasn't there to comfort two kids when they didn't make the team).  I have missed flag football games and volleyball practices.  I have even missed HOMEWORK which I will confess isn't my favorite "Mommy duty" :)

I have not even been capable of intelligently expressing my heart so for now, I will quote my very sweet friend:

"I ache for you, my friend, but am realizing once again how finite and small my thoughts are compared to the large capacity of love understanding and Grace our God has. I can still rest in the truth that God has been, IS and WILL continue to carry my friend thru this season. The truth is that with HIM you are home, you are with family and are so abundantly loved that really the details to the rest of this story are an inconvenience of timing.....mind you a very large and painful inconvenience, but nonetheless in the big picture this is a short season in the life of your family and in the life of the much larger story God is writing for you. Do not give up, do not lose hope God is still in control and can be trusted. Thank you God for giving us times and moments of opportunities to grow in our faith in the most difficult of ways - when we have no control. I pray for strength, endurance, perseverance and abundant joy for my friends Danna and Brian today. Work mightily in their hearts and draw them even closer to you. Amen"

I will do my best to update from here on out.  I am SO excited to post pictures of our amazing girls but we have decided to wait until we are home.  If you would like to be added to our "secret" FB page (where I post LOTS of photos and daily happenings around our motel), send me a message and I will gladly add you.  "Thank you" doesn't even begin to cover how grateful we are for all our friends and family and your love, support, prayers and fasting on our behalf. We have experienced the beautiful picture of what Christ intended. 

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:10-11).


  1. Hi, Danna! My family is in the process of adopting three brothers from DRC. I would love to be added to your private FB group to see all the photos of DRC, so we can learn what to expect when we finally get to travel. Will see if I can find you on there and send you a message (will probably go to your "other" folder). I blog at Thanks! Hope you all get to come home very soon!

  2. Hi Danna! I just wanted to let you and Brian know that Mitch and I are praying for you from SD. I so appreciated your willingness to update this blog this week as I am not on facebook. (personal choice--some days I think I'm the last person on the planet but other days I'm thankful for my choice.) I have been thinking a lot about you guys in the last month and was thankful to hear the update. We will keep praying for your speedy return. Enjoy your 1-1 time with your 4 sweethearts. I'm sure someday you will look back on it as priceless.

    Jacey and Mitch Messer

  3. Wow! What a long journey. You are an inspiration. I hope things go smoothly for you and that you have a safe journey home with your new girls. You family is beautiful! - Jenny (taylor joelle designs)

  4. Hi Danna! I'm friends with Cynthia Cloar and have been following your story and praying for your family. I can't imagine how hard it has been to be gone for so long and my heart just breaks for you. Our church has been praying for you weekly. I'd love to be in on the "secret" FB page and see some pics. I'm from a family of 4 girls, and the fact that your newest four could be adopted TOGETHER just warms my heart. Thank you for blessing them and countless others through this journey.
    Jani Van Gorp (