Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Update from our family who visited their children in Congo:

Two weeks ago my husband, Eric, and I had the opportunity to travel to DRC to meet our children.  We have been home now for less than 48 hours and are trying to process through everything that happened on our trip.  I don’t think I have ever been as nervous as I was when we got to the airport in Atlanta to head to DRC.  My head was spinning with “what ifs”.  What if our kids don’t like us?  What if they fit the worst-case scenarios that we read about in all of the books?  What do I do when I see them for the first time?  Do I hug them? If I cry will it freak them out?  The list goes on and on. 

Two days later on Friday, March 13, 2015 (I will remember that date forever.) as I looked into their big brown eyes, all of my anxiety melted away. All of a sudden all of the pictures that we had seen of them over the past year came to life.  They were amazing!  Our little boy had never smiled in a picture that we had received from EAC.  We were worried about him.  Within 5 minutes of being with him we saw his big bright smile.  He was shy and sweet and hated having his picture taken.  Our little girl was exactly the firecracker that we had imagined, either really really happy or really really mad. 

At first the days were long and we were exhausted.  We were so thankful for the books we’ve read and the people who have walked ahead of us and shared their stories.  We knew that the mood swings and fits were the result of their anxiety and completely normal.  At some point during the week we hit our groove.  (They loved swimming and selfies!) It was as if they’d been our children forever.  Even though there were some exhausting tough times we just fit together.  It all made sense.  The process worked.  Somehow we were matched with the perfect kids for us. 

We had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with Samuel from EAC.  We loved him!  He’s one of those people that you know right away that he’s a good guy.  This was extremely important to us.  Later in the week he toured me around the Sunshine House, which was great too.  The nannies, gardener, and cook were so kind.  I got all teary and emotional when I thanked them for taking care of my kids.  The children were all napping while I was there.  I did get to peek my head into all the rooms and I was greeted with a lot of smiles, especially from the older girls’ room.

Eric got the opportunity to sit down and talk with Laurent, our attorney in DRC.  They totally hit it off!  (My husband is a lawyer too.)  Laurent is an honest ethical person who really knows the law in DRC and the US.  Eric was impressed with him in every way.  We are thrilled that he is the one representing us.  It’s a relationship that I’m sure will continue beyond our adoption. 

I can honestly say that I am so thankful for EAC and that we chose them to handle our adoption.  (And, no, Debra is not paying me to say this.)  As we met people throughout the week we heard over and over again how well our children looked compared to other kids that come stay at Sunny Day.  As a mama, this made my heart happy.

Now we are home trying to make sense of the past two weeks.  Our hearts ache for those kids like they never had before.  We miss them every minute.  We cling to the fact that God has taken care of them this far, and there’s no reason to think that He will stop now.   We are full of gratitude for the wonderful people who are in our children’s lives, we are full of humility because God has chosen us to be on this journey, and we are full of hope for what the future will bring.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Recently Home from Uganda

EAC is working in cooperation with the Department of Youth & Child Affairs to complete adoption process from Uganda. Uganda Program continue to go smoothly. As EAC has been assisting families in bringing their children home under an Order of Legal Guardianship over the last year, the number of referrals is poised to rise!

I am so happy to report that we have families in Uganda now and families that are traveling the first week of April. The work that all of EAC has put into this program is overwhelming, the countless hours of paperwork,staff dedication and travel to the country multiple times have been rewarded with the smiling faces of the children and the families that return home.
We will be traveling to Uganda in June to work with all in country staff, looking at the need of the centers we work with, to plan for humanitarian aid and mission trips.. 
EAC is dedicated to helping the children that cannot be adopted. We will be posting our findings so that all families can help the children of Uganda.

Stay tuned!!  

         12 children home in 2014!




Friday, August 15, 2014

Update from the DRC

Beautiful Moments

As most of you know, Robin is flying solo on this trip to the DRC.  Batman (aka - Debra) stayed behind to tend to her husbands needs as he battles for a lung transfer.  Debra's family is, obviously, the most important thing to her, but her heart breaks at not being in the DRC with the children and the families who are visiting.  We continue to pray for Debra and her family during this tough time.

Robin has been doing a wonderful job in the DRC.  Between loving on the children and hanging out with the families, she has managed to squeeze in quite a bit of work too.  She has been visiting orphanages and working with the attorney's in a continued effort to keep EAC as the premier Congo adoption agency!

This trip has been especially exciting due to the fact that 16 families have traveled to the DRC to spend some time with their children.  That is an EAC delegation of nearly 50 moms, dads and their kids!  What an awesome display of love!  Many had visited before and for some this is their first visit.  Whether it is a first visit or not, the sheer joy when parents get to see their kiddos is priceless!

We so appreciate the generosity of everyone, including those families who were unable to travel, who donated supplies to the foster care facility and orphanages.  The families who traveled brought with them nearly 200 containers of baby formula along with medical supplies!  Amazing that so many children will benefit from your kindness!

In other exciting news for the orphans of the DRC, EAC along with Father Bob Stec launched a Child Sponsorship program called PROJECT CHOSEN.  The launch took place at The FEST, which is a huge one day Christian festival near Cleveland, OH.  Project Chosen was the marquee program at this awesome event and EAC had 12 volunteers attend the event to promote this program!  We were just told we are up to 25 sponsorships!!!!!  Please share this program with you friends, families, and churches.  The more we spread the word, the more children can get their basic needs met!

We continue to wait and pray for the DGM to lift the ban.  WE NEED TO GET YOUR KIDDOS HOME!
Please continue to advocate for the children of the DRC and help us find more families who wish to elp these children.

We feel so blessed to be a small part of this amazing journey with all of you!  Enjoy the pictures!
Batman Debra and Robin!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Another rewarding trip...

Congo… It’s becoming our Home away from Home

As difficult as it is to leave our own families and friends when we head to Congo, we feel the beautiful children of Congo are becoming our own.  The children are now calling us Mama Debra and Mama Robin!  We have spent 8 weeks in the Congo over the last 4 months.  It has provided us an opportunity to implement some amazing programs for your children.  It is so rewarding to see how the children have flourished in our care.  Children who seemingly walked around in despair now display personalities that rip at your heart strings!  Don’t take our word for it… just look at the photos!

Think they are adapting well?
 We arrived in Congo this time with renewed excitement... we can see and feel the light at the end of the tunnel.  Although we were disappointed to hear the Congolese delegations had canceled their trip to the U.S., we respect their reasons to stay and work on the issues.  The Notice issued by the Department of State is concerning regarding the U.S. based families (none of which were EAC families) who took inappropriate actions to bring their children home.  We know it is frustrating but we ask that you avoid the temptation to do something similar.  That being said, we remain optimistic the situation regarding exit letters will be resolved and your children will be home soon.    

As we said, over the last 4 months we have been extremely busy providing first class care for the children.  Our new foster care facility is incredible – full of love and support for the kiddos.  Again on this trip, we were blessed to have a number of families travel with us, meet with their children and witness firsthand the care all the children are receiving.  Just so you know, the children are not aware of the suspension of exit letters, they only know they are in a good place being well cared for.  They dance, love, laugh, eat and pray.  They are doing all the things children should be doing.  They are being children.  

On this trip we were also blessed to have Father Bob Stec, a priest from a church near our main office in Strongsville OH, travel with us, along with his Mission Director, Jake Bihari.  Father Bob and Jake share the same passion for helping children in need.  We had explained to them the situations the orphaned children of Congo face on a daily basis and they were called to visit Congo and see what if anything their congregation could do to assist.  Needless to say, what they saw was heartbreaking.  What they saw were children in need of faith, hope, love, and food.

We are excited to announce we will be working in partnership with Father Bob and his congregation to sponsor as many children as possible through a program called “Project Chosen”.  As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking to insure the money gets to where it is most needed.  Please spread the word to your churches, schools, civic groups, etc who may be interested in sponsoring children of Congo.  We will keep you posted on details of the program, but we are anticipating sponsorship of a child to be about $40/month for nutrition and schooling.  Stay tuned, this is amazingly exciting! 

 ***As a side note, Father Bob heads a wonderful annual event, in Cleveland OH, each summer called “The Fest” – a day of worship, fellowship, and fun. Oh, and there’s music! (scheduled to perform: Third Day, Mandisa, Colton Dixon, For King and Country)  EAC is proud to be a sponsor of this incredible FREE event.  If you are in the area check it out, with 35,000+ of your closest friends, you won’t be disappointed!  And you can bet "Project Chosen" will be promoted BIG TIME, so much so that the theme for this year's festival is "Chosen"!

Nearly 37,000 enjoyed last year's Festival!
In addition to Father Bob and his efforts, we have 2 additional churches who have committed to sponsoring nearly 60 children!  Thank you to our EAC families who have been coordinating with their contacts in providing for these children.

As you can see, EAC is making every effort to provide the children with opportunity.  Opportunity to thrive, Opportunity to grow, Opportunity to be children.  As a by-product, we are showing the Congolese officials we are committed to the children of Congo.

EAC has positioned itself, not just as an adoption agency, but as an organization who truly cares for the children of Congo.  Of course, our goal is to assist children in finding their forever families – we are positioned to do just that – better than any other organization!

Thanks for being a part of this amazing journey!  Enjoy the wonderful photos provided by Curtis and Ashley Pepe!

Debra and Robin


 God bless you all - we'll see you soon!!!