Meet Craig and Jen VanderStoep!
You just have to meet this awesome couple. They are in the process of adopting from Uganda...and we get the chance to encourage and support them!
One of the ways that they are raising funds for their adoption is through Just Love Coffee. Who doesn't love coffee???? Read on and find out more!
Tell us a little about yourselves...
You could say it was love at first site! We met on Whidbey Island, Washington, where Craig was born and raised and were married about a year later on September 5, 2004. We had planned to head to Chicago shortly after our wedding for Craig to finish up school and start seminary. God quickly revealed to us that those were not His plans, as He so often does, through the birth of our son, Noah James on August 30, 2005. Yup, 12 months later…it was quick! We made northern California home and were so thankful to be close to Jen’s family and church, where Craig was quickly embraced. Maela Janice was born on January 5, 2009 and Noah finally has his long-awaited playmate. Our kids are so precious to us and bring an abundance of laughter and joy to our home.
AND… we are thrilled to announce that we are also expecting! God has intervened once again through His infinite wisdom and orchestrated this for His purpose. Our new little one is scheduled to arrive on December 28!
How did you come to the decision to adopt ?
God planted a burden for the fatherless in each of our hearts before we had even met, so it was a given that someday adoption would be a part of our story. However, we had not anticipated that chapter to be written quite so soon, or be quite so long! Our journey to bring home our child started in Vietnam in 2007, where our paperwork still sits on the Consulates desk, as one of the next cases to be assigned a referral, we are told. Due to the corrupt system and child trafficking taking place, the US Embassy has ceased processing adoptions in Vietnam. It is a very sad and desperate situation, endangering and trapping thousands of children, orphans and not. We waited for nearly 3 years, hoping and praying for change, but it has not yet come and a part of our hearts remains in Vietnam with a child, our “Shadow Baby” (the name Noah gave his little brother or sister when he was only 1). We still hope that some day by the grace of God we may still meet that little one from Vietnam.
In January of 2010, our hearts were stirred in a new direction and we began the dreaded paperwork process all over again…yes you heard right, started from scratch. We are pursuing two children in Ugandan, Africa! It is incredibly exciting and things moving along smoothly so far. We don’t have a definite timeline, but we could be traveling anytime between July and December. Our family will spend 4-6 weeks in Uganda, getting to know our newest additions, attending court dates, soaking in the beautiful country and culture of our children, and hopefully serving alongside our friends, Matt and Crystal Kehn, in whatever way we can while we are there.
The adoption process is somewhat different in Uganda than some countries. We have the opportunity to be intimately involved in determining the children we adopt. In addition to our friends who serve in Uganda as foster parents, we have had the opportunity to speak on the phone with the directors of 2 baby homes and have contact with the lawyer who will be handling our case in the Ugandan courts. This is an intimidating and incredible opportunity and has brought us to our knees in prayer more than once. (We covet your prayers too that we have discernment according to God’s will, not our own.) We will be granted Legal Guardianship in Uganda over our children. This is in lieu of the three year residency requirement to adopt in Uganda. We will then officially adopt our kids once we are back in the United States.
We just finished our homestudy and the dossier is pretty much complete! YEAH!!!! Just waiting to hear if the precious little boy we would like to adopt is approved for us! And then we get to move on!
Could you tell us a little more about the orphan crisis in Uganda?
Uganda is a developing country about the size of Oregon that was subject to Civil War and the AIDS epidemic for many decades. Since the late 70’s a new president has taken power and the country is on the road to recovery, however the long period of violence and death has left over 2.5 million orphans without homes or family. There is a residency clause currently in place in Uganda that requires a parent wishing to adopt in Uganda live there for a minimum of 3 years, but a loophole has been found! Currently there is one judge who will grant legal guardianship to parents in Uganda, which with the proper working, will then receive a Visa to bring the child/children home to official adopt them in the United States. Currently there are some discrepancies on wording and intent through these court proceedings, which is causing some delays and uncertainties . . . a major call to prayer for those of seeking to adopt from Uganda.
What has the Lord been teaching you during this time?
My verse of meditation these last few days since we found out travel by July does not look likely outside of a strong act from the hand of God: "You will keep in PERFECT PEACE him who whose mind is STEADFAST because he TRUSTS in You." Isa 26:3. I had a lady from our church call me the other day to say she had been thinking about me and praying for us all week and wanted to thank us for being a young couple who has "remained STEADFAST" yup she used that word...I just broke down in tears (again) and share with her about our current situation - she committed to praying still. WOW! It is such an awesome place to be, in His perfect peace, when the circumstances are just not what you really want. To see and experience His faithfulness to His promises and find security and rest in that eventhough things do not look or feel the way you want them too. To desire to push, control, and pull things to try and make them work out "my way", the "best way" and still find a calm place of solace where there is assurance and peace that all things will be His way, the Better way....wow, it's just amazing! Such a supernatural growing experience
What are ways that we can be praying for you guys?
· The circumstances in Uganda, the courts and judges who grant legal guardianship to adopting parents, the Vice Consulate and US Embassy who issue the Visas for children to travel home
· Due to Jen’s pregnancy and our work situations, we are asking the Lord to send us to Uganda in July, but we must be home by early October. Our entire family will travel to Uganda for 4-8 weeks.
· Physical, emotional, and spiritual health for our child, for us as we prepare, and all of us as we travel.
· Our fundraising efforts – we KNOW the God of the fatherless will ransom home His chosen ones. We are still in need of around $16,000.
What do you look forward to most about getting your little one home?
It has been a long three years, waiting to bring our child home! We are so ready to be under one roof, heart and body all together. We have loved this child for a long time, without knowing his race or gender and our arms ache to hold and love him. Noah has been eagerly waiting for his little brother to come and share his room, toys and clothes. We are READY!!!
Tell us about Just Love Coffee
Just Love Coffee is an awesome nonprofit company that is set up by a family with a heart for Africa and adoption who just happen to LOVE coffee. They purchase fair trade coffee beans from growers around the world, including Uganda, and roast every bag to order. They host personal stores online for adopting families to fundraise. Each bag of coffee purchased supplies fair prices to the farmers, a contribution to sponsor older children in African attending school, and a $5 contribution to the family’s adoption efforts. There are other products available including burlap sacks, key chains, and clothing. It is all around an awesome program! And the coffee is fantastic!
Check out the varieties at our site:
(Please be sure you stay within our site as you order…it should always say “Baby Brew” at the top and at checkout it should read “Beneficiary – VanderStoeps. It’s easy to start wandering and end up in someone else’s store.)
SO HERE'S THE DEAL:
On Monday May 17th I will be giving away a pound of coffee (your choice) and an AeroPress 1-4 cup Espresso maker!!!!
To get entries to this give away you can:
* Visit the Craig & Jen's website Click here and leave them a note of encouragement via the 'Contact us' page. Just come back here and let me know (1 entry)
* Visit Just Love Coffee Click Here, read about the company, come back here and tell me what you like about it. (1 entry).
* Tell me which coffee sounds best to you! (1 entry)
* Write about this give away on your blog, facebook, Twitter (let me know) etc (1 entry).
* Become a follower of this blog (or let me know if you already are! (1 entry)
Make sure to leave me a way to contact you if you win!!!!!!!!
Phew....now I need some coffee after writing this! Happy clicking for such a great cause!