In March of 2017 a mischievous smile instantly captured our hearts. New Horizons for Children, an international hosting agency for orphans, posted a young man's profile who sounded like he could be one of our sons! At bedtime we prayed together as a family and asked God to make a way for him to spend time with us over the summer of 2017. Timmy (8 years old at the time and our youngest) then walked over to his dresser, took down his piggy bank, handed it to us and said, "Here, let's use all of it."
In the process of getting him here, we grew to love him before he ever made it to the states.
We loved him even more after he arrived! He fit perfectly into our family. We loved having one more to love, rough house, and adventure with. We loved watching him and our boys naturally bridge the language barrier and engage in the universal children's language of play. We loved rowdy bedtimes and having K read Dr. Suess books to us as he worked on his English.
We have tried to learn everything we can about K's background and environment. The harsh bottom line is that a 15 year old orphan in Eastern Europe is at serious risk. As we researched K's background and Eastern European orphanages, it became clear that without a family, "K" faces dangerous hardships. Soon he will age-out of the orphanage, and be released to make it on his own. The statistics for children aging out of the orphanages in Eastern European countries are shockingly bleak. It's one thing to know the stats, it's altogether different matter when a child you love is stuck in that environment.
A chaperone talked to K on the plane as they returned to the orphanage. He asked K if he would like to be adopted by us. He immediately lit up and gave an enthusiastic "YES!" We were so excited, relieved, and overwhelemed at the same time.
Since last summer, we were able to host K again for 4 weeks over Christmas. We had an amazing time that confirmed for him and us that adoption cannot happen soon enough. We will never forget one conversation in particular. We received permission to speak to K directly about adoption. Face-to-face and heart-to-heart we were able to express our love for him and desire to adopt him into our family. To see the joy on his face, without hesitation or reservation, gave us assurance.
But one thing has haunted us since that conversation in December. At one point he said adoption was "my only chance to become a real man." That was in response to the carnage of alcoholism, drug abuse, and gang violence that has swallowed up so many in K's life. What is it like for a 15 year old boy to carry that weight? To wonder what will happen after you age out?
We're not sure who was more impacted by our time with K - him or us. Putting him on a plane to return to the orphanage felt so wrong. Boy, did it hurt. We've had holes in our hearts ever since.
"Don't cry, Mom!"
We got K a phone so that we can keep in touch with him through Facebook Messenger and Facetime. We communicate every day. Yesterday K told Jami, in reference to adoption, "Mom, I think about it every day!" So do we.
We have given to others who have adopted in the past and have to agree with Jesus that, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
I wish money were no object and that our checking account was as big as our love for K, but it's not. Since this is a fundraising site, here's where we're at with finances. An international adoption of this nature runs approximately $40,000. We have spent $5,000 so far. In the near future there will be legal fees, and we are required to take 3 trips overseas to complete the process and bring "K" home for good.
In all of this, please pray with us! There is SO MUCH that needs to take place before this can become a reality! This is not at all a "done deal". Our paperwork is in process and we are still many months from hearing that we've done it all right. We are praying for the paperwork to miraculously flow smoothly.
If you would like more information or have specific questions please do not hesitate to contact us! We are eager to discuss any question you may have. Thank you for reading this!
That you would give to our family means the world to us. Every gift brings K one step closer to joining our family. Thank you!
Love, Jeff & Jami Bartz
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."
- Howard Johns
- Jerry and Carol Foster
- Krystal Cancel-Carlo