Hope in the Darkness

Grace and Peace.

We realize 2014 has been pretty silent on the adoption website front. We apologize for the radio-silence. It has not been a result of apathy, but some tragic events that have transpired. So if we have seemed distant when you ask us about the adoption please be patient with us, we are hurting. We appreciate the fact you care, but there is an inside hurt to unbearable to speak.

Our journey has turned, shifted, and all but been pulled out from under us. To be honest it breaks my heart to even replay the events of the past 6 months. I don’t think I have enough tears left to rehash it again, so I won’t.

If you want to know the details of what happened, who Mckenzie is, and how our journey has turned, check out my podcast here . In that I discuss all the difficult details and how we are feeling.

As far as moving forward we are at a stand still. Our agency has suspended adoptions from Uganda and we must make a decision to transition to another country soon. There are a lot of different variables in the mix and we still don’t really know which one to pick, if any.

For me (JC) the lyrics of Mumford and Sons have echoed in my ears for the past few months:

Give me hope in the darkness when I can’t see the light,
because oh it gave me such a fright,
but I will hold on as long as you like,
just promise me we’ll be alright.

So thanks for your prayers, thanks for understanding, and thanks for taking this journey with us.

In Him,
JC and Leslie

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Adoption is amazing…until it’s not

Don’t get me wrong – I’m so glad we have chosen this path, but if I’m being honest, right now it sucks. Yep, I said it. Adoption can be really hard and incredibly frustrating. Please know that I’m not looking for sympathy or condolences, I’m simple sharing my heart and right now it’s a little raw. 

Over a year and a half ago we decided we were ready to start a family.  We prayed, and felt called to start our family with adoption. That’s when we filled out our adoption paperwork and began moving forward with international adoption. Since we first began we have seen multiple friends get pregnant, we have attended baby showers and seen many families grow. We couldn’t be happier for our friends and everything about this is beautiful, but it can also be hard at times. We feel called to adoption and know this is the direction we need to move, but when you feel like you are ready to start a family and yet have little control about the next step it often feels debilitating.

As many of you know there are still no updates with Uganda. None. We knew when we started down this path it could take a long time, but we didn’t know how long. As we posted before there has been a lot of turmoil with international adoption and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. Our agency continues to work to push paperwork through and train an in country social worker, but they are still unable to adopt children out of the country. Our paperwork will soon expire and much of it will need to be done again – very frustrating and time consuming.

Due to the lack of movement with Uganda it was suggested by our social worker that we pursue simultaneous adoptions. This means pursue two adoptions at once. We would keep our Uganda adoption open and pursue another adoption. This is a huge decision and one that we have not taken lightly, we have sought council on this and covered the decision heavily in prayer. Originally we hoped to do fost-adoption, but our county will not allow simultaneous adoptions out of foster care. Pursuing a fost-adoption would require us to cease our adoption with Uganda, and we just don’t feel ready to do that. Maybe there will be a time when we need to close that door, or are forced to move in a different direction, but right now we don’t feel 100% ready to let it go.

This has led us to domestic adoption! Domestic Adoption has already been a whirlwind and a change for us. We are incredibly excited about this new step in the journey and  as we head down this new and unknown path we ask for prayer, we need prayer. We have been so blessed by your support, encouragement and prayers in the past and again, we thank you.

With love,

Leslie and JC

Exciting side note: We officially have a domestic adoption profile! I’ll post it on the blog soon!

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A long overdue update…

Hello faithful blog followers! 

Again an apology is in order for our lack of updates – but I promise it is not because we have been keeping you out of the loop, it is literally because there have been like no updates and the updates we do have can hardly be called updates because of how vague they have been.

To update you on what we do know…

Recently we had a conversation with All God’s Children International (our adoption agency). After returning from an in-country visit to Uganda they approached us with difficult news. Lately, there has been a significant amount of corruption and anxiety associated with adoptions from Uganda and many other countries. All God’s Children International (AGCI) is committed to ethical adoptions, and so are we. Therefore pursuing this adoption will require more steps by AGCI to ensure this. Basically, they informed us that the time-frame is even more unknown than it was before and that they are going to pursue this in a different and even more meticulous method than they already do. This new process is complex, and still in wet cement,  but it boils down to even more unknowns for us than before. We are so grateful to be able to have honest and open conversations with our agency and are even more grateful for their commitment to ethical adoptions.

The reason we are adopting is to alleviate the orphan crisis; to be an agents of the Kingdom of God on earth. We believe children deserve a home, and loving parents. Although our ship feels like it is rocking, and unknowns can be difficult (let’s be real…SUPER DIFFICULT), we are committed to adoption and will not waver in the call God has set before us. We also recognize that we do not go through this process alone, but have an amazing support system as many of you have prayed, gave, and supported us so faithfully for the past year. So thank you again. We truly love you all and will keep you posted with any additional information we receive.

With faith, hope and so much love,

Leslie and JC Elliott

***International adoption is a tricky business, and there are some organizations out there doing it unethically. There are children being adopted to Americans who have parents that are loving, but just can’t afford to take care of them. Realistically, we believe these parents need to be supported, not have their children adopted out. Therefore our organization, All God’s Children International is committed to ethical adoptions. This is of paramount importance to us. If you are considering adoption be diligent in choosing an organization to go through. We support AGCI’s ethics in our adoption process.

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Adoption hiatus, officially over…

Panorama

Please, please accept our apology. After some serious adoption fundraising/planning we basically went on an adoption hiatus. That’s right, after all the work and planning that went into our adoption fundraiser we flat out needed a break. But now we are back, and writing a long overdue post.

Adoption DinnerIf you haven’t already heard the good news – our international adoption is FULLY FUNDED! Yep, you heard right, FULLY FUNDED! Between the ticket/table sales, raffle sales, silent auction and generous donations of so many we don’t need another dime. Oh, I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing this feels. Knowing that as soon as we are matched with our child/ren we are able to leave and get them, immediately, no burden of finances, no need to raise more money before moving forward and finalizing the adoption. This feels so great. We praise God. We are truly beside ourselves with praise and gratitude.

Our hearts were touched by the outpour of love and support shown by so many the night of our fundraiser. Looking around the room we saw faces of people who love us, love our child and support adoption. Everything about it was beautiful.

As I think about my child, thinking how they may even now be experiencing moments of desperate loneliness, feelings of being unwanted or unloved –  I just can’t wait to show them the picture of the fundraiser. A night fueled by love and full of people who love them and worked together to bring them home. Talk about a beautiful story of redemption! I can’t wait to add the pictures of that night to their baby book – showing them just how loved they were from the start.

Thank you all. Your generosity is humbling and has touched us beyond words. Thank you for being a part of something so beautiful. Thank you for helping create one less orphan. Thank you for helping us reach our child. We love you and we thank you.

P.S.
I don’t know how I didn’t cry throughout the event – but it all came out about an hour after everyone left. Breakdown mode. I’m talking convulsing, bugger filled, sloppy tears of joy. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable I made the sweet high school student (who had volunteered at the event) feel as I cried on his shoulder. Haha, oh well, it was bound to happen.

In Him,
Leslie and JC

Real 5

Real 4

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SOLD OUT FUNDRAISER! Thank you all!!

So next Saturday we are having a fundraising dinner. This means that the next two weeks are full of planning and prepping everything for this awesome event!

If you still haven’t purchased your tickets yet, we are so sorry. We have officially SOLD OUT! Unfortunately, no tickets will be sold at the door. (If you still want tickets, leave a comment or email us and we will see what we can do) To all of those that have bought tickets in advance, thank you. To all of you that have donated but couldn’t attend thank you too!

At the dinner there will be a raffle and a silent auction. We are still storing out what some of the items will be but one we wanted to let you know ahead of time.

We had a very generous donation to a week (June 14-21) at Tonopolo Private Residence club. This is on the north shore (Literally on the shore!!!) of Lake Tahoe (Kings Beach). It sleeps 8. I have been here and it is incredible. There are free paddle boards, small sail boats and kayaks. The condo’s have full kitchens and 3 bedrooms, and 3.5 baths. There are just too many amenities to name, so I’ll just stop. But trust me you will want to bid on this, clear your calendar and get ready for Tahoe fun!

Here are some pics…

The Residence Club available at our silent auction

So that is pretty much it.If you have your ticket already we will see you there!

Always, God Bless!

In Him,

JC and Leslie

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Get Your Tickets! Elliott Adoption Fundraiser – April 13th

Elliott Adoption Fundraiser
Save the date, and get your tickets now!

On April 13th, we will be hosting an Adoption Fundraiser in order to raise the funds needed for our International Adoption. Will you attend and help us reach our chil/children?

Elliott Adoption Fundraiser
Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 6:00pm
Cost: $25 per ticket OR $350 for a table of 8
Location: First Baptist Church Stockton, CA
Informal Attire. Dinner will be served.
TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE.
Childcare provided – $5.00 for one or $10 for the entire family!

If you have any questions about the event or would like to buy tickets send us a comment or email us directly at leslieanneharding@gmail.com. Even if you can’t attend the event, but would like to sponsor a table or buy a ticket for someone else we would be grateful!

Also, if you are interested in donating a gift card or a basket for the raffle please let us know! Hope to see you there!

REMINDER!! Get your tickets for the Elliott Adoption Fundraiser. Call us, or buy online!

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Immigration Approval

Hooray! We are officially approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services to adopt up to 2 children, male/female, ages 0-3. I can’t even tell you how exciting this is!

Immigration Approval

Immigration Approval

Funny Side Story – On the day of our Immigration Appointment JC was turned away from his fingerprinting. The guard took one look at JC’s hands, stamped his paperwork and said, “We will see you in two weeks.” JC was shocked. The straight faced, no emotion guard then explained that if you have cuts on your fingers you can’t get your prints taken. He explained to us that the prints will comeback as unacceptable and the process will be delayed.  Please note – JC had not just one, but two cuts on two different fingers from doing repairs on my car the week before.

JC was so bummed. He started picking at the cuts, trying to remove the dead skin around them. I started to get upset – thinking he was going to make it worse and delay the process further. JC even went out to the car and put lotion on his hands, hoping that it would help diminish the appearance of the cuts. After several minutes of picking and moisturizing JC went back to the guard and showed him his hands again. The guard wouldn’t even look at them. He sternly asked why JC was trying so hard to fix the cuts (ummm, because we don’t want to drive back here), and told him once again that he would see him in two weeks.

Needless to say, JC went back – his fingers healed and he had his prints taken! So we are officially approved by Immigration to adopt! :)

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