My mother has been bothering me for years to write a blog. Every year I have the same answer… “What would I have to say that people would want to read?” I tell her when I have an answer for that question, I will write a blog. I seriously don’t know how people have time to write them. I don’t even have time to take a shower. Literally. It’s a problem. I don’t know how all these women out there write blogs. Not only are they writing blogs, they are writing blogs about all the crafts and food they make. How are they finding time for that? And most of them have more than one child. I only have one, and I need a shower, badly.
Now, I have something to write about. It’s been a long time coming and I stay up at nights thinking about it. I have been waiting for the perfect time, and I realized, there is no perfect time. I have to stop wasting time and do it …now. Four years ago, I went to Africa. Four years ago I made promises to people there that I would not forget them, that I would tell their stories. Four years ago. What have I done in four years?
My mom thought of the title “Before and Africa” and I actually love it. There are a lot of things my mom and I agree on, but usually when she has an idea “for” me, I politely turn her down. But this title struck a chord in me. I thought about all the blogs out there about style and fashion and craftiness and I thought about how my blog would probably be the antithesis of that. Maybe I do always buy the same long sleeved shirts at the GAP every three years when the old ones get holes in them. Maybe I do still have the same tennis shoes I bought for 30 bucks 6 years ago. Maybe I do only get my hair cut once a year. Maybe I am in desperate need of a style makeover, but I think this blog is more of a before and after of my soul. My soul before and now my soul (after) Africa…
So thanks mom, for the title and for recognizing there has been a change in me and that even though I have a hard time finding the words, it’s time to start trying.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Come Home

What are the elements of a good Christmas card?  I wouldn't know because I have never sent one out.  A cute family picture?  Updates on each member of the family?  A cute tagline stating the reason for the season?  Well, I guess I could give you a few of those things ;) but what is most on my heart this Christmas, besides the birth of our Savior, is bringing our baby home.  Watching Max's eyes light up with each small gift and laughing at his reactions...my heart is so full...so full that it's heavy.  We still haven't gotten our referral and I am constantly checking the status of Congo adoptions (some are being held up by a temporary ban on exit visas).  I worry that we will know our baby soon but we won't be able to get them home as soon as we had hoped.  Tony keeps reminding me that we don't know what will happen and that it's in God's hands, not ours.  This is reassuring, but is it so wrong to just want to know? I want to know.
I want to know who our baby is.
I want to know how long we will have to wait.
I want to know...
I want to know...
I am resigned to wait...and I will have to be ok with that, because my heart is full.  
On another note, I never, ever thought we would be $600 away from our $10,000 goal with only 37 days to go on our site!  I didn't know.
But now I know.  
So maybe it's fun to not know some things, and then unwrap them like a gift.  Which brings me to my last point...the reason for the season :)
But really, to follow a God that is a complete mystery and that gives you a little bit more of a picture of himself with every breath...how beautiful is that?  
There are better things than knowing...I know that's right.
Merry Christmas,
                              The Schmids




Pure Charity

Monday, December 16, 2013

No news is good news.

I know. I have been away.  BUT no news is good news.  We got a call a few weeks ago that we are literally the NEXT on the list.  The lady at our agency told me we could maybe expect a call this month or next.   Meaning we will soon know who our baby is!  Up until this point, waiting hasn’t been too hard.  Besides a small aching in my gut to be a mother of two, I have been pretty patient and at peace with where we are in this process.  I will admit, at times it’s hard to see others holding their new babies and not feel that we are missing a huge part of our family, but I counter that with the absolute joy it is to be a mom to Max.  He makes it really easy to remember how blessed I am.  Not to mention he pretty much keeps me too busy to feel sad. 
Once we got this call, my impatience seemed to rise out of nowhere, and unfortunately, the waiting only gets harder from here.  Because once we know who this baby is…I can no longer sit on my hands and wait…at that point, part of our family will be across the world and we will want/need to be with him/her.  So we will covet your prayers as this starts to get REAL. 

Speaking of families…we were blessed to have raised $1500 with my family photoshoots.  Here’s a few snapshots of the families that have blessed us.  We have some truly amazing friends. 










 For those of you following our fundraising journey…we are only $1738 away from our $10,000 goal!  I seriously CANNOT believe that.  We only have 45 days to raise it, but I really have no doubt in my mind that we will.  Because so far….every single check, we have been able to write. Every single goal, we have been able to meet.  Because God is in control of putting this child in our family and he is using the people in our lives to make it happen.  So thank you...Thank.You. So. Much.

Pure Charity
                                               



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving

3,749. That’s how far we are from our $10,000 goal on our charity website. 

71.  That’s how many days we are away from our deadline.

41. That’s how many days until the end of the year (tax deductions!)

100.  That’s how many people have donated to our adoption.

4.  That’s how many years we have been waiting for this baby.

We. Are. So. Blessed.

I can’t think of a Thanksgiving where I have been more thankful. 

If you don’t know what to do with your leftover giving money before January 1…I have an idea for you ;) (After January, our site will be done and you can no longer receive receipts for your donations)

As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this year, I hope you will be reminded of the millions of children without homes or families, and your heart will be moved to bring one home…even if it’s not ours…in fact, watch this families video…they are truly love in action.


  If you feel led, help us (or someone else) reach our/their goal.

                                               Pure Charity

Happy Thanksgiving


Love, the Schmids




Sunday, November 3, 2013

Waiting

waiting
Now we just wait.

Just got the e-mail that our Dossier (a packet full of documents and forms that state we are who we say we are) is on it’s way to the Democratic Republic of Congo!

République démocratique du Congo 
The most populous nation to speak French as their official language.




 Smack dab in the middle of Africa.


It’s the largest country by area in Sub-Saharan Africa (the area of the continent that lies south of the Sahara Desert) and the 11th largest in the world.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly known as, in chronological order, Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Republic of the Congo, and Zaïre.

The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country and is sometimes referred to as the "African world war" because it involved nine African nations.  Despite the signing of peace treaties in 2003, fighting continued in the east of the country in 2007. There, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence has been described as the worst in the world. The war is the world's deadliest conflict since the Chinese Civil War, killing 5.4 million people since 1998. More than 90% were not killed in combat, dying instead from malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, aggravated by displaced populations living in unsanitary and over-crowded conditions that lacked access to shelter, water, food and medicine.
 47% of those deaths were children under five.
There’s your brief synopsis on the Democratic of Congo.  We didn’t originally think we would be adopting from Central Africa, but the more we prayed about it, the more God led us there.  Originally, we looked more at eastern Africa, knowing we would like to continue our work there, and be able to bring our kids back to where they are from, having already made friendships and connections there.  But God always has different plans than us.  We realized this when we were surprised by the miracle of Max after we started this adoption process the first time around.  With how Max entered our world, we knew that every child after him would enter our lives in a surprising way….because that’s how God works. 

Now I think about that as we wait.

 Because one day, in the near future, we will get a phone call, and the person on the other end of that phone call will tell us who our baby is, where they live (which orphanage in Kinshasa), and then send us all the information they have on him/her. 


So today we don’t know who our baby is, and tomorrow we could.  It’s so much different this time around…even though Max was a surprise,  we had 9 months to get to know him before he entered the world.  This time, the baby will already be born and will already be forming a personality.  Woah.  So cool. 

I wonder if they are already born…I wonder how long we will have to wait…I wonder what the Congo will be like. In all my research on the country,  I won’t KNOW the Congo until I smell her, shake the hands of her people, walk on her soil.  I won’t fully know my baby until I see his (assuming it’s a boy) country.  I am so excited that I will meet him and his country at the same time. 

We are beyond thrilled with the fundraising so far.  Tony’s race was a hit, the garage sale, and Give1Save1…and we are really excited about the fundraisers we have coming up.  (Stay tuned) In fact we just hit the $6,000 mark on our one time donations!  Thanks to the people who are keeping us in your prayers and supporting us all the time!  If you want to help us reach our goal of 10,000 one time donations….please visit our website:


Pure Charity


Get in your tax deductible donations before the end of the year! We would be so blessed and honored to be a part of your families yearly giving.


God Bless you all, Jen Tony and Max!



Sunday, October 27, 2013

7073


Well, “we’ve” had about a week to recover from our big weekend in Detroit.  Tony didn’t even need a week, he felt good after about one day.  He was sore the day after but that was about it.  Show off.  But seriously, I am so proud of him.  He ran his very first marathon in 4 hours and 25 minutes!




 We had a blast in Detroit. Some of our dearest friends hosted us and we felt right at home.  Josh and April are two of the most open hearted, fun loving, beautiful people and we are priveledged to call them friends.  They shared their beautiful home with us....not to mention the fact that they let me snuggle their sweet baby boy Luke. Bliss.  Our friend Danae was gracious enough to feed us while we were there and provided much of the laughter.  She is a definite fav in the Schmid house…we so badly miss living within walking distance of her, and it felt like old times sharing a meal together topped off, of course, with her famous raspberry bars for dessert.    And last but not least our pals Jay and Liz, what an inspiration these two are.  They spent their six year anniversary running for an amazing cause.  Check out this video from Kensington church , they raised an insane amount of money for clean water in Kenya.  It’s a tear jerker.  So proud to know many people who ran for this cause. 


click here if you want to be inspired>    http://vimeo.com/77810784





Also side note; Liz beat the boys with a time of 4 hours and 4 minutes (I think that was her official time) Nice work guys! So proud of them!  April and Josh’s house was right on the marathon route (mile 17) so we were able to see them all pass while we snapped pictures and cheered them on... right before it got really hard.  










Thanks for all of the support for Tony and for our baby…Tony says it was one of the hardest things he’s ever done and he couldn’t have done it without the support and prayers so THANK YOU!