Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I will not leave you as orphans...

My husband, John, is running the Louisville Marathon and is raising support for our adoption.  Please read his letter below and consider supporting him and help us bring our children home.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  John 14:18

“I want to adopt.”  That’s what Karen said to me over 10 years ago after our first miscarriage.  However, I was completely closed to the idea; it just wasn’t for me.
Adoption wasn’t a bad thing, in fact, I thought it was great that others were willing to adopt children who needed a home, but I had a list of reasons why it just wasn’t something that I was comfortable with.  The reasons were logical, and they were real to me, but in the end they were a front for the attitude of my heart that just wasn’t open to raising kids that weren’t really mine.
One more miscarriage, and then God blessed us with Olivia!  Praise God, the miscarriages were over. . . or so we thought.  But even after two more miscarriages (total of four) I still was no more open to adopting than the first time that Karen mentioned it several years before.  Thankfully, Karen and I had agreed that we would not adopt unless we were both in agreement, after all it was a big decision.  So I was off the hook . . . as long as I said, “No,” then it wasn’t going to happen.
I’m sure I’ll never really understand how hard this was for Karen!  But she knew that she couldn’t change my mind and so we didn’t really talk about it.  If marriage is about one thing, it is unity . . .  two becoming one!  Karen’s desire for unity was so strong that she even prayed that God would take away her desire for more children, so that we would be unified.  Karen prayed this prayer for years . . . many years!  But God never took her desire away.
Then one year I heard about a new book that Russell Moore had written called Adopted for Life.  I had heard Dr. Moore speak before and really liked him, so I mentioned his book to Karen when she asked me for things I might like for my birthday (2009).  Karen bought it for me, and I read it in about 24 hours . . . I just couldn’t put it down.  By the end of the second chapter it was over . . . I wanted to adopt . . . NOW!  God had grabbed my heart and opened my eyes to what it meant to be adopted and that He had adopted me into His family!  How could I not share that love with others in return?
            The last 18 months have been a journey . . . we were open to anything . . .  almost able to adopt a newborn from Kentucky . . . we also looked into other domestic opportunities and just about anything overseas.  We looked at Europe and Asia.  The need is great in so many places.  Then one day Karen’s friend passed on another friend’s blog about adopting from Africa.  Nothing had been certain up until this point, but now in the span of a couple of minutes we had complete unity that Africa is where God was sending us to find the rest of the children that He is giving to us.
God orchestrated multiple circumstances to move our hearts to adopt two children from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The DRC, formerly Zaire, is the most war-torn country in the world since the end of World War II.  And the fighting still rages on today.  Of the 147 million orphans in the world today, 5 million of them are in this one country alone!  Orphans make up 15% of the country’s under-18 year-old population!  Ten percent of the children born in the DRC will not see their first birthday.  Children die four times faster in the DRC than in the rest of Africa as a whole.  If things do not change, then over 515 out of every 1000 children will die before the age of five.  That’s more than HALF who will never turn five!
The need is GREAT . . .  and the price is high.  But how do you value a life?  How do you value two lives???  We believe that bringing two orphans into our home, to be our children, to raise them with a love equal in every respect to the love that we have for our two biological children, is worth every penny!  And now I see clearly that these children we adopt will be ours, REALLY  OURS!  They won’t just be someone else’s kids who happen to live in my house and who I happen to be caring for.  Their African heritage will be honored in our household, but it will not in any way reduce the fact that they will be full-fledged, 100% members of the Piwetz family.  Both heritages will be fully theirs, and neither will diminish the other.
On April 30th I will be running the Derby Marathon in Louisville, KY to help raise the money necessary to bring home two precious children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  I have run two marathons before in order to raise money to help support other families that are adopting . . . one family that we knew and one that we did not know.  This time, however, I’m running 26.2 miles for two children who will be our own!  Never has the goal of any race I have run been so great for me personally, and Karen and I would be honored if you would be willing to partner with us through your prayers and financial support.
One day soon we will board a plane . . . we will go much farther than 26.2 miles . . . for much more than a medal to put around my neck . . . we will gather two orphans into our arms and bring them into a place they have never known . . . their own HOME!
And while our adoption journey will have ended, another even greater journey will have just begun, the journey of a lifetime  . . .

            Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
                        John & Karen

“Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you . . . Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you . . . bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
       - Isaiah 43:4-7

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shots, fingerprints, and good news!

We had our first round of shots last Wednesday at the U of L Travel Clinic.  If anyone is in the Louisville area I highly recommend it.  The staff is very informative and helpful.  We went in to our appointment knowing we would have to get a yellow fever vaccine, but came out with 5 shots and pills to take!  Ouch!  Fortunately we have had no side effects, which we were very surprised.  About 30% of people have some reaction to the yellow fever vaccine.  Our arms are a little sore, and I am sporting a few bruises, but otherwise no problems.

We also had our biometric (fingerprinting) appointment with Immigration on Wednesday.  John was scheduled on Wed. at 3pm and I was scheduled on Thurs. at 8am.  We were frustrated because we had to travel an hour each way to get to Louisville and did not want to make two trips.  We asked our Bible study group and friends to pray that John and I could have our fingerprinting done at the same time with me as a walk-in.  We knew that we could reschedule, but we did not know how long of a delay this would cause.  When we showed up for the appointment about 20 minutes early, there were no other people there.  The staff said it would be no problem to fingerprint me right then.  He was so friendly and helpful!  It is one of the best government experiences I have ever had.  We walked out at 3:05pm! Praise God!  We were able to run more errands and still be on time for church.  Oh, and here is a little tip for you,  if you have a Meijer in you area, they will fill a Cipro prescription at no cost!  Every little savings helps!

We also are celebrating with friends that just accepted a referral of their daughter!  Little Bella is 7 and is from India.  Her parents have waited long and prayed diligently for their little girl.  She should be home in the next 3-5 months.  I was able to attend a fundraiser to help Brittnie and Jeff this weekend.  We learned how to paint a picture.  It was a lot of fun!   Whenever I look at my painting I will always be reminded of Bella's sweet face!

Also, other friends of ours Ken and Sarah have traveled to the Ukraine, met their son, and been approved by the judge!  Luke will be coming home with them in the next couple of weeks.  He is 4 years old and has a contagious smile.

It has been a wonderful week full of good news and God's blessings.  Many prayers have been answered and many more continue to be lifted up.