Itinerary and Prayer Requests

It’s finally happening! Tomorrow is the big day! We started this adoption journey in June of 2015, and now, nearly 2 years later, we are about to board a plane to meet our daughters. Wow. God is good, and adoption is one crazy roller coaster.

Thankfully, since my previous post, we have received our passports back with the Burundi visas AND also gotten our updated fingerprints from Citizenship and Immigration! Praise the Lord! Thank you so much for praying! For a minute there, the possibility of not leaving on the 15th seemed very real as we needed those passports, and everything came just in the nick of time.

We would so appreciate it if you would pray for us during our trip. While we’d like to envision a perfect, smooth, happy, smiling, Norman Rockwell type week with our girls, we are not kidding ourselves. We know this week will be HARD, exhausting, stretching, uncomfortable, and probably scary. Truly, that’s the case for every couple who enters parenthood. But adoption, though beautiful, is also full of pain and loss. We are bearing that in mind as we set our expectations for this week, and as we bring those fears and pains before a God who hears us and loves us. Here are some specific prayer requests for each day of our trip, and we’d be honored if you’d lift us up to the Lord!

Monday, May 15th: We fly to Washington DC (leave BHM at 4:52 pm and land in DC at 11:45 pm)

Pray for safe travels, timely flights, and for all baggage to arrive

Tuesday, May 16th – Wednesday the 17th: We fly to Burundi (leave DC at 11:00 am, go through Ethiopia, and land at 1:00 pm on Wednesday in Bujumbura. We will be 7 hours ahead of Central Time)

Pray for safe travels, timely flights, and for all baggage to arrive

Pray that we will be able to sleep that night and get good rest before the big day! No jetlag!

Thursday, May 18th: GOTCHA DAY! We’ll spend the day at the orphanage, meet our girls, their caregivers, and learn more about what their life and routine in the orphanage has been like. We also plan to throw a little going away party for the girls to say goodbye!

Pray that God would prepare Mercy and Noella’s hearts for this day; that they would know and understand that we are their mom and dad, we love them, and they are safe with us.

Pray for the 4 of us to begin bonding and attaching immediately; that they would receive our affection and rely on us to meet their needs.

Pray for Blake and I who will be experiencing some pretty BIG emotions that day too! Pray for wisdom in knowing how to guide the girls through this transition.

Friday, May 19th: Meet with the Central Authority in Burundi. We will just have an informal meeting with the government officials responsible for matching adoptive families. Then spend the rest of the day in the hotel.

Pray for our first full day as a family of 4, that we will be learning to communicate with each other well and quickly begin to understand their needs.

Pray for a sweet time of meeting with those in the Central Authority responsible for bringing our family together!

Saturday, May 20th: Free Day. If the girls are feeling up to it, we might do an activity like a river safari. If not, we might just hang out at the hotel.

Pray for this day to be one of intense bonding! We will have all day to get to know one another through play.

Sunday, May 21st: Fly to Nairobi, Kenya. (leave at 9:55 am and land at 12:35 pm. While in Kenya, we will be 8 hours ahead of Central Time)

Pray for the girls’ first experience in an airport and on a plane; that they would not be terrified and maybe even enjoy it!

Pray that we will have no trouble in the airport/flight with 2 toddlers and all our baggage in tow.

Pray for safe travels, timely flights, and for all baggage to arrive.

Monday, May 22nd: Medical Visit Day #1. We will go to the International Organization for Migration Health Assessment Center for the girls to get a TB Test. Other adoptive families have told us that this day is very stressful. Only 1 parent is allowed, and no translators. It is apparently very unclear what you’re to do or where to go. And of course once your child gets stuck with a needle, they’ll be pretty upset too. We have to be there at 6:30 am, and the visit could take 3-5 hours.

Pray that we will be able to convince them to let us BOTH go in, instead of just 1 parent, since we have 2 kids.

Pray that the day will not be as stressful and traumatic as it seems

Pray that we can keep the girls occupied and calm during the hours of waiting.

Pray for Mercy and Noella to be brave, and that this experience will not undo any of the attachment we’ve built with them.

Tuesday, May 23rd: Free Day. Hopefully we can gain back some trust with them after the doctor visit and spend the day relaxing in the hotel. Again, if the girls are feeling up to it, we might do an activity like a park or zoo.

Pray for this day to be one of intense bonding! We will have all day to get to know one another through play.

Wednesday, May 24th: Medical Visit Day #2: We will go back to the IOM (at 6:30 am again) for the girls to get the results of their TB skin test and also get a physical exam. According to the other families, this day is a lot like Monday. More of the same confusing, chaotic atmosphere of the clinic, and pretty traumatizing for the kids, especially being poked and prodded in the exam. This visit is also supposed to take 3-5 hours.

Pray that again we will BOTH be allowed into the clinic, instead of just 1 parent.

Pray for a negative TB test for both girls.

Pray for a quick and painless exam with a report of good health!

Pray that we can keep the girls occupied and calm during the hours of waiting.

Pray for Mercy and Noella to be brave, and that this experience will not undo any of the attachment we’ve built with them.

Thursday, May 25th: Visa Appointment at the US Embassy. We will be interviewed in order to apply for the girls to get a visa to come the United States.

Pray that we don’t have to wait too long. Other families waited 3 hours and there’s no electronics or food allowed, so entertaining little ones is more challenging.

Pray that the interview process goes smoothly and there are no issues with approving their visas

Friday, May 26th-Saturday the 27th: Pick Up Visas AND Fly Home. We will go back to the embassy to get the visas we applied for the day before, and then fly out of Nairobi that evening. We leave at 7:15 pm, then go to Ethiopia, then Dublin, then Charlotte, then DC, and then HOME at 6:12 pm in Birmingham.

Pray that the girls’ visas are ready EARLY in the day so we are not stressed about getting them in hand before we have to be at the airport at 4:15.

We only have a 1 hour and 40 minute layover in Ethiopia before our long flight over the ocean. We are nervous about making that connection. Please pray that our flight out of Kenya is on time, and that we’re able get all 4 of us and all our stuff to our gate in time. Otherwise we’ll be stuck in Ethiopia until the next flight which is the following day. (Quick testimony: We originally only had a 1 hour and 10 minute layover, and I’ve been praying this past week about making that connection. Well, there was apparently a schedule change and the flight leaving Ethiopia got pushed back 30 minutes, giving us extra time! So God has already shown grace in giving us 30 minutes more than we originally had!)

Pray for our sanity in 31 hours of travel with 2 2-year olds. Pray that they’re able to sleep on the flight, that they stay entertained, and not fussy. Pray that we get some sleep too!

Pray for a sweet time of homecoming at the airport, that God would be glorified in the beauty of our family being unified.

We hope to be able to post updates while in country. We’ve heard that the internet is very unreliable in Bujumbura, but Nairobi’s is supposed to be better. So we’ll do our best to post when we can and let you know of any other prayer requests that come up! Again, thank you for praying for our family and for supporting us in this transition!

Read our adoption story and why we felt God calling us to adopt.

Check out other blog posts about Lindsay’s ministry and our adoption.

Read Lindsay’s testimony and learn about her work with World Orphans.

We were able to adopt debt free thanks to the help of this resource.