After many days of prayers and many, many conversations, Brian and I have decided that I should go back to Kinshasa to be with our four daughters, who are stuck there. As you would imagine, just like leaving the girls there almost a month ago was gut wrenching, making this decision has been brutal as well. There are no "good" answers in this situation. It, frankly, is an impossible place. Since March, we have legally been the parents of twelve children. We have been separated from our Congolese daughters for six of those months and the two months we were with the girls, we were apart from our kids here. The first few months of that waiting time were sad, but we hadn't yet met our little girls. Looking at sweet faces in a picture and knowing they are in a place that is less than ideal is one thing, but when you look into those sad eyes and kiss those sweet cheeks, it changed everything forever for both of us--not to mention them!
Our June trip was difficult because it was our first realization of how deprived of food and love our girls really were. They tore food out of each others hands at mealtimes, snack times, and anytime in between- like nothing I had ever seen before. GiGi threw up at our first dinner because she didn't even know what it felt like to be full. It was horrific. The most awful thing I had seen in my life. We stayed in Kinshasa with the girls for a little over a week and leaving them was much, much harder than I imagined. But we arrived in Kinshasa knowing we would have to leave them. We also knew that we would be back very soon to bring them home forever.
That's what we thought when we returned to Kinshasa on August 10--that we would be there for a few short weeks and we would bring our girls home forever. But, as you know, that's not how it went. We spent two bittersweet months with our girls, falling even more in love with them and them with us, every day.
Then, we were forced to make the torturous decision to leave four of our precious daughters behind and return home to our other eight kids. I cried myself to sleep every night for weeks, knowing the day was coming closer and closer. I would lay awake at night and plead with Jesus to give us a way out, a way to bring our girls home. I will never in my life forget saying goodbye to our four little girls. We had a conversation with them, William (our agency rep) helped translate what was about to happen so we knew the older two understood. Sweet Jada sat on the bed with a sad face as I was sobbing in the corner. Like a big girl, she wiped my tears and said, "It's okay Mommy." Liberty marched off to play like nothing had even happened, we already know she likes to put on a "tough face". It was clear the younger two had no idea what was going on, off they went to play as well.
Two days later, we said goodbye. I packed the girls up with their special blankets we had brought them, their picture books of us, a few toys, and clothes. I was holding GiGi walking to the car, telling her over and over how sorry I was. I handed her to Brian so I could kiss the other girls. Jada gave me a big and long hug, I looked into her eyes and told her how much I loved her and that we would be back. I literally had to chase Liberty to get her to even give me a hug, again I told her how much I loved her and that we would be back. I picked up sweet Karis and I hugged her tight, as I placed her in the car, it was in that moment that she finally understood. She immediately started crying and reached for me. Brian had put GiGi in the car and as the nanny got in, the doors shut and they quickly drove off. In all of my life, I will never forget the cries I heard. Both Karis and GiGi were crying and calling "Mommy, Mommy" I cried and cried for hours. Everything in me was longing to stay but I knew I needed to come home, and be with our kids at home, rest, and most of all, pray.
Reality is, when the girls did not know we existed, it was much easier to be here and leave them there. They were in a decent place- it was an improvement from where they were before. Experiencing a week of being with their Mommy and Daddy hadn't impacted them too greatly. However, after two months with us, they know what it is like to have a Mommy and Daddy again. They know what it is like to be loved and treated like they are the most important person in the world, not just another child in a room of twenty. We left the girls with people that we believe DO care about them, and like I said in a recent post, it is a nice orphanage in comparison to many. But that does not ease the fact that they're still in an orphanage. Our girls already lost one set of parents, the younger two girls, more than likely, do not even remember them.
So, Lord willing, I will return and start over...for those of you who have not parented children who have been deeply wounded, it will be starting over. They will need me to prove, once again, that they can trust me, that I love them unconditionally. I am planning to bring materials with me so that I can start teaching the girls some educational basics. They have never been to school so we'll be starting from scratch.
So, here are the details...The first step is getting a new visa to enter the country, $300. Then a plane ticket, between $1500 -$2000. Right now, the best option is still for me to stay at the same place I stayed before. It is safe, secure and familiar to the girls. I have sent messages to some other adoptive moms and there are other, less expensive places to stay but they're less than optimal. Not to mention, there will be at least one other adoptive mom at the place we stayed before. The security of knowing that I would have another adult to talk to and someone to help if I needed it is very comforting. Our room will cost $100/day. In addition to that we'll incur food and transportation costs. I can take as much food as possible, but there are some things I will have to buy in country.
All cards face up, we are in the hole, financially, after our last two month stay. We borrowed considerable sums because we thought, again and again, that we'd all be coming home soon, and that we just needed to wait a little bit longer. I realize that even considering going back and spending more money when we are already in the red seems ignorant. But truth be told, it's not about the money--it never has been. Honestly, if we would have known what this adoption adventure would cost in time, money, and sacrifice, I can almost guarantee you that neither Brian or I would have signed up.
Truthfully, none of this makes any sense to us. I will confess to asking "Why?" more times than I can count. Likely, my feeble mind could not even begin to understand the answer to that question. That is why in Isaiah 55:8, God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." We cannot understand all that God is, nor all that He does. I take great comfort in knowing that God didn't overwhelm us with having to make a decision knowing what we know today. He gave us the courage and strength to say "Yes" to those four sweet little faces. He knew how this story would go and He knows the ending. He is good and He can be trusted.
"I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please" (Isaiah 46:9-10).
Please continue to pray for our entire family. We don't know the exact timing of when I would return and of course we are praying that the document that needs to be signed, will be signed before any of this has to take place! Then we will just go--get on a plane and go (VERY QUICKLY) pick up our girls as long as we have the money we need for that trip--2 round-trip and 4 one-way tickets.
We are so weary of asking for financial help. However, here we are, in a place that we cannot do what we believe God has asked us to do, without the help of friends and family and people who feel lead by God to partner with us to bring our four little girls home. If God leads you to give, even a few dollars, we would be so grateful. There is a donation button on the side of this blog. If you click it, it will take you to Journey Church's "give" page. If you choose, you can give a tax deductible gift there, but please be sure to type "Hopkins Adoption" in the comment box. If e-giving is not your thing, you can also mail a check made payable to "Journey Church" to 1794 Baxter Lane East, Bozeman, MT 59718. Please leave the "memo" line blank, but do attach a sticky note to your check that says "Hopkins Adoption".
We are so, so grateful for your prayers and for your continued support and sharing of our story.