Kevin & Ines are now Griffins!!!

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We have waited for six years to finally write this post. As of today – we officially have two more Griffins! Meet Kevin and Ines. Six year old twins from Burundi who have captured our hearts. If you are new to our adoption journey, browse this blog. For the rest of you…we are putting the FAQ here for you along with plenty of pics!

Who are these twins?

We can’t tell you much of their history. However they are six and a half. They have been at an orphanage in Bujumbura since they were around two. There is no living family to take care of them but the workers in the shelter have been amazing and become a family to these two.

Liz got to meet Kevin and Ines this past fall and had so much fun with them. They are incredibly joyful, love to laugh and play, eat loads and have a very strong sibling bond. They have stayed together their whole lives – even sleeping next to each other in the orphanage. We are praying that their close relationship will make the adjustment easier for them.

They currently speak zero English! So it is going to be an adventure on so many fronts!

They are officially yours! What now?

Once their Burundian passports are issued and their new birth certificates are printed, we will travel to Burundi to go get them.

Will Sophie and Tait go?

No. They will stay back with a village of friends and family who are chipping in and helping.

How long will you be there?

Jady and I will be in Burundi for about a week getting their paperwork together. Next we will travel together with Kevin and Ines to Nairobi, Kenya. The U.S. Embassy in Burundi does not have all the services required to process an adoption. In Nairobi we will get their medical exams and other items needed for them to enter back to the States. Our time in Kenya will be about two weeks. Our total trip will be about three weeks.

What do you need?

Many of you have asked how you can help. Here are a few ways:

  1. Give. You can make a tax-deductible donation to our adoption here. We still need about $7,000.
  2. Pray. Becoming a family of six is a big transition!
    1. pray that the passports and birth certificates come in ASAP
    2. Burundi has been experiencing quite a bit of violence lately. Join us in praying for peace.
    3. An easy transition for the kids. Sophie, Tait, Kevin and Ines are about to have a major life shift. Please pray for our family as we go through the journey of becoming one.
  3. Donate. If you would like to donate airline miles or hotel points that we could use in Kenya, please let us know!

If you have any other questions shoot us an email!   thelizgriffin@gmail.com

We will leave you with a few more pics!

 

 

 

 

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Meet Our Twins!

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Earlier this month Liz flew to Burundi and met our kids!!!

They are six year old twins. One boy and one girl. We can’t show you their photos or names yet, but believe us…you will love them when you see them.

Jady’s mom and I (Liz) went to Burundi and spent almost a week there in the capitol city of Bujumbura. We flew in on Friday night and on Saturday morning went to meet them at their orphanage. They ran out with a crew of friends, down the orphanage steps and gave the biggest hugs.

It was pretty surreal. After almost six years, I finally got them in my arms!

The orphanage director said, “They don’t have school till Monday morning so take them for the weekend and bring them back Sunday night”. Umm…what?!?! A million thoughts ran through my head. We only have one bed so where will we all sleep? How will we communicate? What will we do wit them all weekend??? But mostly I was thrilled to be able to get so much time with them.

Honestly, it felt so natural. I could go on and on with stories from our week there. We visited them at their school, took them to the beach, to church and played with their friends at the orphanage.

One of my favorite moments was watching them eat spaghetti for the first time. They looked at it. Grabbed some bananas, watermelon and limes then squished them all together. I almost gaged but they thought it tasted great!

The boy reminds me so much of our son Tait and the girl reminds me of our daughter Sophie. I can’t wait for them to all play together. After seeing them all week there is no doubt that these are the kids we are meant to have.

So what happens now?

That is a fantastic question. We are at the tail end of the process. We are currently waiting for a court date to have our adoption case heard. After a judgement is written then there is a 30 day waiting period followed by a few weeks to get final details together before we travel.

We are praying this all happens at the beginning of the new year!

The process is going to cost us about $15,000 more than expected do to a change in the process. We have to spend two weeks in Nairobi, Kenya after we leave Burundi with the twins. The US Embassy in Burundi is not able to process adoptions. So we will go to Kenya with the twins and get visas and other documents together there. Kenya is quite expensive and travel costs have gone up significantly since we originally budgeted.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to our adoption, —> you can click here. 

We will keep you all posted as news comes in. After six years we are ALMOST THERE!!!

Love,

The Six Griffins

UPDATE: Big Adoption Milestone

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Hey everyone! This blog hasn’t really been updated since August because – to be honest – there wasn’t really anything to report. We are still waiting to receive a match for children, but there has been some movement which is exciting. Several families we know have been matched with children over the past few weeks.

In adoption, movement is encouraging! Even if it is for someone else. We continue to be confident in Burundi’s adoption process and encouraged by their committment to ethical adoptions.

But, we do have some good news to share! 

As of today, we are fully funded for the costs of our actual adoption – just over $30,000!!!! Yes, that’s right.  Our adoption fees are fully covered!

So, what is paid for?

  • all agency related fees
  • all in-country fees for Burundi
  • all US gov’t fees
  • cost of new paperwork (visas, passports, birth certificates…)
  • translation costs
  • lawyer fees
  • medical exams
  • court fees and orphanage fees

This is a huge milestone. Adoption is NOT cheap and the generosity of both strangers and friends has been a moving thing to see. Next month marks five years since we started our adoption journey and to hit this mark is massive for us. As soon as a match is made, we have all the money we need to run full-speed ahead!

What costs still remain? 

While the adoption itself has been fully funded, we will still need to raise money for the travel to bring the kids home.

  • Airfare to and from Burundi
  • hotel costs in Burundi
  • Flight/hotel to Kenya (Burundi does not have an embassy, so we have to take the kids to Kenya for their US paperwork to travel back)

Why didn’t we budget this into one lump sum?

Great question. The adoption fees themselves are set and we could easily put a specific number to it. All-in-all our adoption fees will end up being around $30,000. The travel costs are a different matter. Those are more like a moving target.

Depending on the age of the kids we are matched with, we won’t know if they will require their own seats. Also, airfare fluctuates significantly so there is no way to guess how much ticket prices will be until we get closer to travel. Once a match has been made and a court date set, we will be able to tell you our travel costs.

Until then, we are not raising money for our travel costs. When we know specific costs then we will raise the money for the remaining amount. If you want to keep contributing to our adoption account you still can. That money will be set aside for travel.

How can you pray?

  1. Pray for us to get a match soon.
  2. Pray for the courts in Burundi to have everything they need to process cases in a timely and efficient manner. They do an amazing job with the resources they have, but the courts are working off only a few computers for the entire country.
  3. Pray for our kids – whoever they are – that they would be kept safe and healthy.

Hitting this financial milestone truly is a miracle and we cannot say thank you enough! We will continue to keep you in the loop with any new developments.

Love,

   The Griffins

 

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Burundi Adoption Update & Family News

WHOA! We are only about $1500 away from our Go Fund Me fundraising goal. That’s pretty amazing people. We COULD NOT do this without you! More on adoption in a bit, but first an update on our summer…

This summer was crazy full for our family. We had lots of little trips at the beginning, but in July we spent nearly three weeks in South Africa. Our dear friends live there and we went with a team of college students to serve the church they pastor there.

It was a blast to say the least. We wish we could have jumped on a plane to Burundi for a visit, but it just wouldn’t have worked out. Jady & I have both been to Africa numerous times, but it was fun to let our kids experience it. Especially since they will have siblings from Africa. Here are a couple pics from our trip and then some adoption news…

A stop in London on the way to Cape Town. Hello Buckingham Palace.

A stop in London on the way to Cape Town. Hello Buckingham Palace.

Our family on top of Table Mountain.

Our family on top of Table Mountain.

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Who knew they had penguins in Africa?

Spending some time in the townships.

Spending some time in the townships.

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Our kids with the Kennedy’s kids. Loved getting to play with our friends across the ocean!

And now for our adoption update…

We have been potentially matched with a sibling pair! I don’t have any detailed information, but we are hoping to have an “official” match soon and then begin the court process. No, we don’t have their photos or information. We won’t be given their photos or records until an official match has been made. 

December will mark 5 years in our adoption journey and it feels surreal to be at this point. Thank you everyone who has prayed and invested financially in this journey.

So, what now?

We keep on waiting. One thing that we respect so much about Burundi is their commitment to ethical adoptions. The Central Authority in Burundi does a thorough investigation into these children to make sure they meet all the requirements for a child to be adopted. Burundi holds very high standards of best practice and due diligence when it comes to adoption.

We don’t know how long this phase will take as it varies depending on the case. It could be months, but as I said, we gladly wait knowing that work is being done to confirm these children have no other option but international adoption. 

If you want a full description of the process in Burundi you can find it here —> Burundi Adoption.

How can you pray?

1. Pray that this process moves quickly but responsibly. 

2. Pray for these kids that God would keep them safe and healthy.

3. Pray for our hearts as we continue to wait.

4. Due to some serious generosity our fundraising has gone quite well. There is a good chance that these kids might be a bit older than we originally expected, so some additional things might need to be purchased due to their age. Pray for continued financial provision. 

Thanks for walking with us, believing with us and celebrating with us. Looking forward to officially being six Griffins soon!

Burundi – the happiest place on earth

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Hey everyone!

I wish we had some big update to post. Sorry it’s been a bit quiet here. There isn’t much to post at this point, we are still waiting for a referral. This phase can take months…

Why? Well, it takes quite a bit for children to be eligible for adoption. Our agency must locate children that would be a good potential match for us. Once that happens the shelter must put together all the paperwork on that child and then send it off to the Central Authority (gov’t agency overseeing adoption). If they approve the potential match then the case goes to the court for them to issue a Declaration of Abandonment. Once that document has been obtained the children are legally available for adoption and can be officially matched with us.

How do we feel about that? We are often asked how we feel in the midst of all this waiting. Especially a process that is more complicated than adoptions in other countries. While waiting is hard and we pray to receive an official match soon, we really do trust the process. Having an ethical adoption is very important to us and the process Burundi has in place helps ensure that. So, we wait and invite you to pray with us that this goes quickly!

What do we do in the meantime? Sadly, we have gotten very good at waiting in this adoption journey. Don’t get us wrong, we have really hard days. But we still have plenty of work to do fundraising and preparing to welcome children who have been living in an orphanage into our home. There are a lot more dynamics to read up on than you may initially think!

How can you pray for us?

  • pray that that the process to get a referral would go quickly and smoothly
  • pray for the remaining money we need to come in
  • pray that we would have grace in the waiting

We are also attaching a great video we found on YouTube. It gives you a little glance at Burundi and is guaranteed to make you smile!

 

 

 

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Back Home!

I got back home from Burundi this past Thursday and I miss it already. Thank you so much for everyone who asked about my trip and prayed for me while I was there. It was an amazing time.

I won’t go into tons of details, but it was a very productive trip. The main goal of the whole thing was to become familiar with the country that my children will come from. And let me just say this, Burundi is amazing!

The trip started out rough due to my getting food poisoning on the flight from Chicago to Brussels. Being sick on a plane just isn’t my favorite thing, but thankfully it didn’t last more than a few hours.

I expected to like Burundi, but I actually LOVE it. This nation is absolutely stunning, the people are warm and gracious. So many spectacular things are happening there and I am full of confidence in the places this nation will go. If you have the chance to visit, don’t pass it up! This place belongs on your bucket list.

People have a sense of responsibility for their country that I haven’t seen too many places I have been. They work hard at what they do and they care about their nation. I had the chance to visit several shelters when I was there and this is a country that genuinely cares about their children.

When I got home, we ordered Rosetta Stone because everyone speaks French there and I realized we better learn it. So, we will see how that goes!

I took my dossier with me and the next step is for us to wait for a referral. So, we are waiting.

I will make a photo album on Facebook, but thought I’d give you guys a few photos on here too. Enjoy!

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with some kids from the village

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hippos!

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With some of Burundi’s amazing drummers

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watching drummers on the mountainside – breathtaking

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Burundi for vacation would be a great idea.

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happy to go swimming in Lake Tanganyika

 

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women in the countryside

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Also, they have amazing food.

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teenage fishermen napping on the lake

 

Thanks again for all the support and prayers during this trip. We will keep you posted as we learn of any new developments. In the meantime, book your trip to Burundi now!

Fingerprints and plane tickets

All our paperwork ready to mail to immigration.

All our paperwork ready to mail to immigration.

The month of December was spent-knee deep in paperwork. The goal was to send off our I-800A to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by early January. If you haven’t adopted before, let me bring you into the process. Your I-800A is what you send to the US government to be approved to adopt and bring a child back to the U.S. It involves tracking down numerous signatures, filing out tons of forms, staying up late at night drinking copious amounts of coffee, proving every detail of your life since conception and getting a leprechaun to lick the envelope shut.

Okay, maybe thats a bit extreme. But it is a lot.

Against all odds everything came together and we were able to mail our I-800A to USCIS in early January.

Last week we got our appointment to go and have our fingerprints taken – part of the USCIS approval.

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our fingerprint appointment notice!

While USCIS is working on our application we are hard at work getting our dossier (adoption paperwork for Burundi) ready. We had to do a psychiatric evaluation, get references, and legal documents all sorted out and ready to go. We are happy to report that once our I-800A is approved we can send our dossier off to Burundi.

Once it is there it will be translated into French and presented to the government agency that handles adoption.

So, what is the plan?

The plan is for me (Liz) to go to Burundi with our agency in mid-March or early April. I

 

What needs to happen next?

  • Our I-800A approval to be approved quickly so that it will be ready in time for me to go on the trip in March.
  • We need about $1800 to pay for the trip.

Thanks to your amazing generosity we only have about $1800 more to raise in order for me to be able to go on the trip next month. Umm, can we say thank you enough? Probably not- so THANK YOU again to all who have given towards our adoption.

Please pray for our approval to come in the next few weeks.

Also, pray for the remainder of the $1800 for the trip to come in.

If you would like to contribute to our adoption, you can donate online by clicking here —> GoFundMe.

Thanks everyone for the ways you support and encourage us in this journey. We couldn’t do it without you!

On behalf of the six Griffins,

Liz

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Phase I is underway!

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We just got back in town from Thanksgiving! I hope you all had as fantastic a holiday as we did. It is a tradition to share one thing we are thankful for as we are eating our Thanksgiving meal. Without hesitation I said I was thankful that after FOUR years our adoption was starting to move!

Last week I sent in our completed application and got all of the items for our new homestudy finalized. If you aren’t familiar with adoption, then that basically means I spent days doing paperwork. 🙂

So, what happens next?

We are calling our next step Phase I. This includes our agency fees, our foreign fees and getting our dossier prepared. Phase I costs approx $10,000. (please know that our agency charges minimal fees)

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Once all of this is in and our paperwork has been gathered & translated I will be traveling to Burundi in either Feb. or March to deliver it and meet with officials there.

In order for everything to be completed in time for me to make that trip we must hit the $10,000 mark soon. It sounds overwhelming, I know. However, I keep thinking about the fact that they could be here for Thanksgiving next year and I am filled with faith to pray for God to provide penny.

What can you do?

1. Prayer makes the impossible become possible. We value your prayers for our two Burundi kids and over this whole process. Please pray that we hit our $10,000 mark by the end of 2013. Its a big ask, but I believe we serve a big God.

2. Consider giving. If you would like to make a donation online to our adoption, please visit our online fundraising page. 

Thanks so much for all of your support in our adoption efforts. Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend!

Hello Burundi

You would think that it wouldn’t take me four years to decide to start an adoption blog, but it did. Probably because I didn’t realize that I would still be in the process of adoption after four years. But I am.

This journey has been a very winding one, but we are happy to announce we are adopting from Burundi! An agency has been found and our paperwork is underway. We will most likely take a trip to Burundi in March.

Once our dossier is delivered hopefully soon we will get a referral ( thats adoption for being matched with a child ). The paperwork has to be verified and their documents collected. Depending on what circumstances brought them to the orphanage in the first place, this could take around 6 months to complete.

Jady & I will then board a plane to go to Burundi and have our court appointment with a judge for the adoption. After our adoption is done in Burundi, we will have to travel to Kenya for their American paperwork at the embassy there.

Our prayer is that by next fall we will have our two kids home with us. Will you join us in praying every step of the way?

You can subscribe in the sidebar to receive updates as our adoption goes along.

Perhaps you would consider making a donation to help bring our kids home? Check our our funding page!

Thanks for following us in this journey!

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