Our Announcement Letter
Friends and Family –
The Peat clan has some exciting news to share with you (finally…it is hard to keep secrets this long)! No, we are not pregnant. But, we are expecting - we are adopting! And, no, this is not a joke. We believed our family to be complete after Adelyn and Kailyn were born; but, earlier this year adoption was laid on our hearts. We make plans, and once again we are reminded that we should be seeking His plan for us instead. After months of prayerful consideration, research and reading, we know this is the right decision for our family and the right time to move forward.
Both of us agreed from the beginning that we would be adopting internationally. We did countless hours of reading and research before stumbling upon the country our children would come from - the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As we learned more about what the people have gone through and what the likely outcome for children in this country was, we knew without a doubt that this was the right place. The statistics alone will break your heart:
· The country is emerging from decades of fighting.
· The war which officially ended in 2003 resulted in the death of roughly 5.5 million people and an extremely volatile government and atmosphere.
· Half of those deaths were children.
· An additional 45,000 people are still dying every month as a result of the ongoing fighting.
· Many deaths, especially among children, occur because of easily preventable or treatable ailments like malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition or diarrhea.
· It is a major accomplishment to reach your first birthday and an even bigger one to reach your fifth – at least 20% of all children will die before the age of 5.
· The capital city of Kinshasa is estimated to be have at least 1 million orphaned children living on the streets.
· Life in an orphanage is usually not much better – there is a lack of sanitation, beds, and food (it is not uncommon to only receive 1 meal a day).
We officially began the process to become an adoptive family in August. Since then, we’ve completed several months of work with a local social worker who has approved us to be an adoptive family. We met with her several times, took psychological tests, had medical exams and she visited our home and with our children. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our official approval from the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). We have contracted with an independent adoption facilitator and attorney who are both very experienced and knowledgeable about adoption from the DRC.
The process to adopt from the DRC is much quicker than many other countries. If all goes smoothly, we are hoping to be home with the newest Peats as early as next summer. Once we receive our official USCIS approval letter, we will be ready to receive our referrals which could take anywhere from a week to a few months. After we are matched with our children, our attorney will work with the Congolese courts to make them legally ours – this process will likely take a few months. When that is completed they will be issued new birth certificates, passports and finally visas which will take a couple more months. After that, we travel to bring them HOME!
Now let’s get down to business. We are writing to ask for your prayers and support along this journey. For those of you who have not adopted before, I want to try and give you an analogous situation so that you can understand this request more fully. Try to imagine that you’re pregnant and going to bring a child into your family. However, instead of having your child safely in the womb, where the environment is friendly and controlled, think about your baby being in a place where the food is scarce and the environment unpredictable. Instead of having regular doctor’s visits and being able to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see them on a screen, imagine the medical care scant or non-existent. Instead of being in a secure and thriving country, imagine you are in a country ravished by war, where your baby has a 20% chance of dying before their 1st birthday. I am not trying to belittle the roller-coaster of pregnancy (as we know it far too well), but trying to give you a frame of reference for the ups and downs we will potentially face through the process. Many prayers are needed that this would go smoothly, that our new children (yes, you read that right) would remain healthy until we can get them, and that the governments of both our country and theirs work expeditiously.
We are also writing to ask for your assistance. We need your prayers and moral support, but we have to humbly ask for your practical help in bringing home our kids in as short a time frame as possible. There are over 5 million orphans in this country alone that need a home, a family, and someone to show them love and meet their most basic daily needs. Adoption is not a cheap endeavor and the cost is prohibitive for us to do alone. But, God kept nudging us. We have made sacrifices in our personal budget and we have committed as many of our resources as we can at this point but we still need help. We are planning to bring home two children and the cost to complete all the paperwork, government fees, attorney fees, medicals and travel will be roughly $40,000. As of right now we have a quarter of that covered. We are hoping you can help us bridge the gap between where we are and what we need. The adoption process in the DRC can happen very quickly. Many of the people working with the same facilitator and attorney as we are have completed this process in well under a year, which puts even more pressure on our fundraising efforts. The longer it takes to raise the money we need, the longer our kids have to wait. And, the longer they wait, the more chances for them to get ill and not have the proper or adequate medical care.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the next year. We will hopefully be sending updates about our journey and additional fundraising efforts we would be grateful for you to participate in. If you would be willing to donate to help us get the children home, please contact us or send your gift through the mail (there is contact information below).
Trusting His plan,
Michael and Erin Peat
903 Heather Dr., Peosta, IA 52068