When we first began to think about planning our home assignment the task seemed insurmountable. We knew from the moment we first considered adopting our sibling group of five (plus eventually one more 🙂 ) that a great challenge would be traveling to the USA. As time passed we began to seriously consider all we would need both in the area of paperwork documentation as well as necessities such as plane tickets, a vehicle, housing, furnishings, and finances to compensate for the increase in living expenses.
Finally, after a seven year term, we prepared to leave Brazil. It was amazing to witness all the adoption process paperwork slowly come together step-by-step just in time for us to leave after Karina’s graduation. We completed Landon’s adoption process, filled out applications for US citizenship, and took a trip to Rio de Janeiro to request tourist visas for the kids.
We left Manaus just before midnight on June 3rd, and arrived in Miami the next morning. The immigration officer was stamping in the kids’ visas when we noticed he had a serious look on his face. Our nervousness started to increase a bit until he looked up and grinned as he handed the stack of passports back and said, “Be sure to let me know if you become a reality TV show.” 🙂
We arrived in Seattle to a warm welcome by Jessica and some of our dear friends. We were all exhausted yet excited to finally be in the USA. When we arrived at the house we were absolutely amazed at God’s provision—-above anything we could have ever asked for. We knew ahead of time that we would be provided with a house and some basic necessities but never imagined all that would be waiting for us—a totally furnished beautifully decorated home complete with furniture, kitchenware, toys, clothes, a fully stocked fridge, pantry, and freezer, and a custom built table big enough for our entire family. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from generous people who want to help in any way they can. Several people have assured us they want to help feed our big family, and to please let them know if we need anything. We’ve received grocery gift cards, and help from our wonderful neighbors preparing a garden to be planted. I’ve been pampered and my hair, which hadn’t been trimmed in over a year, received some major help and I am so grateful. And to be able to wear clothes that don’t smell moldy and put on a bit of make-up without it melting off my face has been an added bonus. One of my kids innocently said something that made me laugh: “Mom, you look prettier here in the States than you do in Brazil.” 🙂
It was SO fun to witness all the kids’ reactions to life here: drinking out of a drinking fountain for the first time, visiting the library, feeling cold air, and experiencing cracked lips and dry peeling skin. Trying new foods has been a highlight, and, for me, a highlight is definitely being able to prepare food without spending all day long in the kitchen. We are loving meeting new friends and reconnecting with old. I am so excited about the opportunities for our kids to get involved in the community through Sunday School, VBS, sports, etc… We are thankful to God for all the opportunities He is providing to broaden their world view. My little “jungle children” are seeing the wide world—many of them for the first time or the first time in a long time—and loving it! God has provided summer employment for our oldest kids as well. Jessica is enjoying her job at a daycare. Karina and Logan are harvesting strawberries and, in a few weeks, raspberries. We are so thankful for these jobs which will help pay college bills.
We arrived exhausted from our seven year term on the field. The past few months in Brazil were draining in many ways, but especially the robberies took their toll on our family. We are experiencing rest and an opportunity to renew our strength. A highlight of our time so far has been spending time with family in Montana the first week of July. We are grateful for all God has provided! Thank you to everyone who has and is having a part in supporting us!