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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The final update.

I have been delaying writing this post.  It just feels like it will be final when we tell everyone.  I don’t want it to be over.  But we feel like it’s time to close the door on this adoption.  We made our last effort to make it happen and sent Tony back to the DRC.  His trip was unfruitful and we realized that the family is not going to let him go.  All this time we thought they agreed to this adoption.  They have given him up several times…but now we are left with so many questions.  They had told us if they could meet us then they would be satisfied.  But they didn’t even show up. 

We are frustrated, heartbroken, devastated and confused.  I am mad at myself for always believing this would end another way.  I always held onto to the hope that he would end up in our family.  I always thought this journey would one day lead to that much anticipated airport welcome with all the people that have spent hours praying and sacrificed their time and finances to this adoption.  I get sick when I think about people giving to this adoption that has failed.  I am so angry Tony flew all the way there just to sit in a hotel room for eight days by himself and never even get to see Moses.  He gave away all the clothes/toys we had brought for him and packed up the suitcase that held so many hopes and dreams for us.  He said he felt so sad packing that suitcase.  He came home.  We talked and prayed about how to tell everyone…how to tell max.  

I honestly don’t know how to let go.  When you hang on to something so tight for so long…letting go feels like a betrayal…it feels like we are forgetting him. But now there are times I wish I didn’t even know him.  (not a lot of times, but there are times)  Like when I first felt the finality and I wanted to smash the pictures on the walls and burn that stupid bunk bed in Max’s room.  Or when I unpacked that suitcase and I felt the sting of never seeing him again.  But deep down I know that I don’t want to forget him, and although my prayers for him will change, they will never cease.  Every night since we knew Moses’ name we have prayed with Max “Keep him safe and bring him home” .  Although the words will be the same, the meaning will change “Dear God keep him safe and bring him HOME."  And HOME is where we will see him again someday.  I know the prayers for this little boy will not go unanswered.  I trust that although we may never bring him home to our family, we will see him in our heavenly home someday. 

I am so sorry for everyone that was excited to meet him.  I am so sorry you gave and never got to see the fruit of your giving.  I am so sorry things ended this way.  I am so grateful that you supported us, even though we failed to bring him home.  This journey is over but we are anxious to see what God has in store for this family. 
Please keep Moses and his family in your prayers. We wish we had a happier ending to share.  God bless you for prayers as we grieve.  Thank you for the meals, texts, calls, rides from the airport, giving us a place to stay or a shoulder to cry on.  You are the best people. 

It felt like the floor was suddenly gone from beneath my feet and the foundation we had built was dissolving.  How could it be he would not be in our lives? How could we tell our son that he no longer has a brother? It feels like death..but I know he is living and breathing and I breathe in deep and thank God for that. ..if that’s all I can feel thankful for in this moment.  I think “I am blessed…You blessed me with two beautiful children…how can I not be grateful for what You have given?  You give and You take away and I trust you in this, although right now I feel hollow and broken and empty and sad and angry and all these things wrapped into a huge blanket of deep sadness that I fear I will never shake.  It will always hurt when I think of him.  It will always feel like my child was taken from me.  It will always feel like we had a family that never got to be a family.  And people will move on and their lives will go on the same and I’m stuck on this island…alone…without him, the one I prayed for for so many years.  And what was the lesson in this?  Because everything is foggy and sad and I can’t hear You.  I can’t see Your face in this.  I know who You are.  You are good. You are sovereign. You are still You.  But who am I? I was his mother and now who am I?  I had three children and now who am I?  I’ve lost part of who I am.  I don’t want to be here without him.  My heart is bleeding and I cry everyday and I feel nothing and everything.  But You are good and You are God and I breathe deep and I cling to that.  If there is nothing else to cling to, I cling to that.  You asked me once “would You be enough if everything else was taken away?”  Now I face the answer and I know You are. In time I wonder if I will see the ways in which Your hand was in this.  Will I be grateful for this? Will it not burn in the back of my eyes and spill out in tears? Will I feel peace? Will I feel content?  Will I ever move on?  People say “at least you can grieve and move on now.” At least….at least.  There is no “at least” because it’s not a consolation to move on…it’s not a gift.  How can I see it as one?  The only true gift in this was the way I felt You near in the despair and the way he called me “mama” even if I will never hear it again. 


  1. Jennifer. I have no words at all to bring comfort. I know the character of God - He is only good, He is faithful and He hears our prayers. I trust in who He is even when suffering and grieving is abundant and prayers remain unanswered. So, I'm trusting Him in this and praying He surround you with His peace as you walk through deep grief and loss. I am thankful for the promise we can hold onto - an eternity with no more pain and where all wrongs will be made right. I'll also pray for your son in Congo - may God protect and guide his life there.

  2. So very sad and sorru for your loss Jennifer. My loss was different...altho there's a common thread that runs deep; somehow time gives a lighter, and tolerable comfort, where there once was only anguish. Jesus is definately our main comfort.