“We, (Jayme and Tony) have been married for almost 17 years. In 2018, God laid it on our hearts to pursue adoption while we were serving on a mission trip in Belize. We travel 1-2 times per year with Jayme’s nursing students serving in mountain/jungle regions of Belize. On this particular trip, our team stayed on the grounds of a girls’ home. All the girls in the home were removed from their families for various reasons. We spent our time connecting and building relationships with the girls while we stayed there. Each child we met held a special place in our hearts and as we were excited as we returned in subsequent years to continue to interact with the same group of girls.
On a specific trip in April of 2019, Jayme had a deep emotional conversation with one young woman in particular. The children’s home was closing per government regulations and the girls had all been told that their immediate future was unknown. It was at that moment when God confirmed in our hearts that adoption was a path he wanted us to take. We jumped in with both feet and were so excited at the potential of adding another sweet girl into our lives (one who we already knew and loved!).
Not many adoption agencies work with Belize so we found an attorney in Georgia who had facilitated multiple Belizean adoptions in the past. We started our adoption process on this child’s 15th birthday, knowing we were in a time crunch to have the pieces in place that we needed prior to her 16th birthday.
God was so faithful, taught us to trust Him deeply and showed us we could lean into Him more closely than we had ever experienced. Throughout the process, we heard Him speak in many very intimate ways, which confirmed that we were stepping forward in faith on a path he had laid. However, we know that His ways are not our ways and His path for us doesn’t always lead where we expect it to, but we are comforted in the fact that He is in control!
When we learned our adoption journey was halted, we were heartbroken. We were told from our attorney in Belize that the child was being pursued for adoption through a domestic Belizean adoption, therefore the door for us to adopt her had closed. Through our grief, we knew that God opened up that space in our hearts because He intended to fill it!
In September of 2019 we had asked a question in an adoption group that came to mind as we wrestled with our grief. Through that Facebook group, we met a wonderful friend who shared with us about her orphan hosting journey with Project 143. As we researched this organization and the idea of orphan hosting, we knew that this is the next step in God’s plan for us.
Project 143 provides an avenue that orphans can come to the US for 5 weeks and experience the love of a family and have the opportunity to be “seen”. After hosting, these children have a higher probability of being adopted- most of these children are between the ages of 9-15. This age group of children are generally less likely to be adopted and that broke our hearts, knowing the desire we had to give an older child a family.
We had the amazing opportunity to host our new daughter in the Spring of 2021. Hosting was originally supposed to happen in Summer of 2020 but due to COVID, our hosting was cancelled twice. The time came and we were so thankful to have her here for 3 weeks in March/April 2021. “M” acclimated well into our family, interacting well with each of our children. “M” enjoyed riding bikes, playing in the yard, dancing, going to the zoo and aquarium, swimming in a hotel pool, bowling, cooking, sharing family meals, meeting extended family, sitting in the hot tub, going to a trampoline park, playing games at an arcade, going to church,
and watching movies.
In conversations with our children after hosting, each child indicated that they are excited to add “M” to our family and will accept her as a sister. Our girls are elated to learn more about her and get to know her more when she joins our family. We have shared our adoption plans with extended family and they are fully supportive of her joining our family. While “M” was in our home for hosting, she was able to meet both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Tony’s sister has adopted multiple times from Bulgaria, including a child with significant special needs so adoption is not foreign to our family. Over the years that have followed the heartbreak from our first adoption attempt, God has
shown us that He had a purpose for our experience. He softened our hearts to adoption for a child that we already loved and gave us many signs and experiences to deepen our trust in Him. He laid the foundation of that deep trust to use as a building block throughout our current adoption process and we are so thankful for His sovereignty.
We hope and pray that God will work miracles throughout our adoption process, making it smooth, fast and in alignment with His plan for our family.”
To donate visit the GoFundMe link here: Dee Family Adoption GoFundMe