Help us bring our Daughter Home!

Friday, May 4, 2012

So clearly, we've been a wee bit busy around our house! Our blog has been a little neglected - but we just had to come out of hiding for this! :)

We knew that our journey to Zefina in Africa would impact our family ~ but we didn't anticipate the dramatic life change and world view of our 7th grader. SO PROUD barely begins to express our feelings of our little girl! Jr.High is rough - it's time spent navigating who you are, who are your friends and where you fall on the popularity poll. Our Haley has charged into her 7th grade year with her head held high and already a strong sense of who she is.

We love you Haley and are so proud of the young lady you are becoming!
Love Mom & Dad

Dear Francesco D’ ADAMO,
    The book IQBAL has inspired me to help kids around the world.  Just recently I was able to experience and help bring smiles back to the faces of street kids, orphans, abused and poverty stricken kids in the heart of Zambia, Africa.
    It was hard to read IQBAL and understand how kids and adults were living in mud huts and in such horrible environments.  I thought the book was fictional, but when my fifth grade teacher told me it was a true story, it affected me, big time.  It made me want to do something about it.  I knew from the tugging at my heart that I needed to go to a place that needed help.  As it would turn out, the place I began helping kids is the very place my sister is from.  She was in an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia where my family and I spent 7 weeks visiting this past summer.  She’s full of giggles and is so much fun.  It reminds me how so many kids go without parents each day.  I love how IQBAL was always showing the kids that were working for Hussain to always be brave, and taught them how to fight for what they believe in!  When I was in Africa, I experienced people living in shacks and cardboard boxes on the side of the street.  I’m glad that reading this book has shown me what I want to do in my life, helping kids of course!

    When I was at the orphanage in Zambia, there was a little girl named Natasha.  Natasha was brought to the orphanage because her mom was crazy and couldn’t even take care of her own self.  Her mom hadn’t fed her in several days, baby Natasha would have died if it weren’t for the good neighbors that called the police, telling them she wasn’t being properly cared for.  When Eshan Khan takes the kids that were just freed from child labor to “The Big Pink House”, it reminds me about the group homes and orphanages with ark loads of kids waiting so eagerly to be adopted into forever families.

            Another way my life has been changed and my view of the world, was when Fatima had to face the fact that she might not ever find her family or even her village ever again, but she never gave up.  It reminds me that even if at times it feels like there are just so many orphans out there, what can I, as a kid, do about it?  That all it takes is determination and courage.  Like with my sister, one family at a time – we can change kids lives.

            The book IQBAL has given me compassion for kids that have gone and are going through hard times, and has given me the courage to help them.  The book has helped me become a better person by understanding what kids around the world are going through each and every day.  It has given me the strength to be able to handle everything all at once, and the courage and bravery to never give up!  IQBAL inspired me greatly and forever will, by helping to show me what my purpose is to do in the world.  Making it clear that I want to help kids everywhere!  Help every orphan find a forever family and a child labor and abuse free world!

              Haley Avery

Thursday, September 15, 2011

new {normal}

Zambia, Africa
September 4th 2011
We're HOME!!!
After 7 weeks in Africa..we're home and with our new DAUGHTER!!

At times, it seemed like we would never be able to leave.. Painstakingly at the mercy of a very slow country.. Extreme emotional highs colliding with extreme lows.. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.. Every bit of it - I would go through it all..

It's been 1 week since we arrived in Seattle, and it still seems surreal..
I longed for the day that when I looked into my rearview mirror, I'd see my little girl sitting in her carseat.. It's a good thing I was still parked in my driveway as I sat there bawling with my baby in the back seat for the first time!
Happy tears..
She now looks at me, with a question in her voice "happy tears?"
Yes baby, these are happy tears.

So many tell us - she is so lucky.  I actually think we are the lucky ones!  Blessed beyond belief!  I can hardly describe the absolute pure joy it has been for us to witness this amazing transformation of our daughter as she learns how to be a child!  How to giggle and dance.  How to be a sister and a daughter.  How to hug and be held.  How to hold her head high and speak clearly.  How to be silly and cry when she is hurt.. And we're just two months into this forever relationship!
How we are SO blessed!

We have marveled at the amazing beauty that God doesn't make mistakes.. He created her especially for us.  She is a true Avery - in every way!

Zefina means God has hidden.
We believe wholeheartedly that He had her safely hidden, waiting for that day when she joined our family forever and became an Avery.  What a sweet day indeed!

We could not be more thrilled with how amazing Zefina is transitioning into our family and into her new home.  But I have found re-entry a bit overwhelming.  My mind feels exhausted.  A reel seems to be constantly running through my head - the sights, sounds, smells.. the feeling of people as they press around you.  The daily plead of total strangers that we please adopt their children too.. their nieces and nephews of their deceased siblings.. Or that we take them - so we can have a nanny.. Our own lawyer, as he sat in our cottage with his beautiful little 3 year old - asked us to adopt her as well..
Trying to process 7 weeks of this and so many more emotions.. and trying to process it through with our kids.. its a lot.  And sometimes I just want to turn off the reel, turn off the processing for just a few minutes.. To relish in this moment we are in with our new family, right now.  To bathe in this new little life God has given us.
We know that everyone is SO excited for us and is anxious to meet our precious little Z, we can't wait for you to get to know her and her fun little personality.  We want to express our deep gratitude for every single prayer, all your love and amazing support - we still do covet your prayers and support!  Your support got us to Zambia, and helped us through during our time there.  We are forever grateful! 
And now that we have entered into the beginning our new "normal" we've realized we need to hunker down and slowly (as much as that's possible with 4 kids!) ease into this different pace of life.  Please know that if you don't hear from us or see us, its not you - its us :)  We just need some time is all.  We do love you all!

Before I close this post, I want to bring your attention to Wait No More a Wa. State Adoption Conference held at Overlake Christian Church on September 24th from 1-5.
In Wa. there are over 1,000 kids sitting in foster care right now, waiting to be adopted..
Focus on the Family is sponsoring this event to advocate for these legally free kids in the Foster Care system, waiting to be adopted.  Come learn and meet with agencies who will be there to support you in information etc....
Will you go?  Will you learn about the awesome ways adoption can grow and complete your family?! You don't even have to go all the way to Africa! :) just Redmond!
We thought we had an idea of how blessed we would be when we adopted Zefina..but WOW!  We have completely been blown away!!
Please, sign up here and go, and let a child change YOUR life.. Adoption Rocks! :)    {trust us!!}

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

So close..!

Today was an incredible day..! We have Zefina's birth certificate (that we got yesterday), Her passport (that we weren't suppose to get until this evening), Had her consult with the Visa Dr. AND the actual Dr. appointment (we we're going to have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to see the Dr!) And we were able to move up our Visa interview to tomorrow morning at 9:45! (had apt for thurs @ 2)  Woooo Hoooo!!!
This is CRAZY huge!! This means there is a huge possibility that we will be getting on a flight to come home on Monday morning!! Monday! That's in less than a week!!

I have to say this all now feels very bitter-sweet..all of a sudden I have an urgency to visit the places we've been wanting to see - villages, people, homes..It makes me crazy excited to begin our new normal at home, but SO so sad to leave our new friend Sophie and her new baby girl Natasha - that is also from Z's home. I am without a doubt certain that God has kept us here so we can be apart of each others lives. And this, I am more than ok with! :) Sophie is a single, young missionary from Michigan who is in the process of adopting little 2 year old Natasha from the Bryant home.. What an incredibly beautiful display of Gods love she is! We we're originally suppose to leave for home last Thursday - God had different plans! Instead, that afternoon we got the wonderful honor to be her 'family' and be with her as she welcomed Natasha home for the first time. What a beautiful blessing this new relationship has been to all of us! It puts a lump in my throat thinking about leaving Natasha and Auntie Sophie {as the kids call her!} we rely and depend on each other for support and encouragement - but it brings SUCH joy knowing that Zefina and Natasha will be raised knowing, seeing and being a part of each others lives forever. I pray there will be more kids to join this 'family', but for now take comfort in having Sophie and Natasha as apart of ours..

Friday, August 26, 2011


We are PROUD to announce the newest member of the Avery family!
Zefina Yuyu Avery!!

Gotcha Day August 26th, 2011
God is SO good - our adoption decree has been SIGNED!! Never has the pounding of a stamp sounded so sweet! 
We are the PROUD new parents of 4 kids!!

The race is now on..! We just received word that Zefina's birth certificate would be available today!! (we were told Monday at the earliest) So Chris just left to go downtown to get the birth cert then will race over to the passport office to submit her application before they close at 5pm. We were told 2-5 days with the passport - who are we kidding - we're praying for 1 day :) We have an apt. with the US Embassy on Thursday at 2 (providing we have the birth cert and her passport). She (embassy lady) has warned us that adoption investigations can sometimes take more than a day, and they are open 1/2 days on fridays.. {you still following??} We have tickets on hold for us for the next Monday morning (Sept. 5th) Lord willing the 6 of us will be on that flight ALL together!
We were suppose to be heading home today..God's plan is much bigger than ours - this is so clear!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Progress from Zambia

First Family Photo!!
Our 2 African Princesses!!

We need prayer for these things - 
1. The effective date granted (soon)
2. Court papers filed
3. Case to be heard quickly
(realistically the first 2 can be done by the end of the week, 3rd can be done by early next week)
4. Adoption decree granted (done at court hearing)
5. Birth Cert. (should take 1-2 days after adoption decree)
6. Passport rushed (2-3 days)
7. Visa (1 day)
8. 6 Avery's board a plane on the 24th of Aug..!! :)
Our return flights are currently scheduled for Aug 24th to come home to Seattle, we can change them if things aren't finished here but its pricey (it was much cheaper still to book round trip than one-way's)

You may be wondering why things seem to be in "limbo" so much - like why we waited 13 days for a police report (before anything else could proceed) - we knew this was the way it was going to be, this is a part of the process.  Zambia doesn't allow a single paper to be written for an adoption until you set foot in Zambia (which means all the waiting we did in the US was ON the US). We knew the process was going to take a long time - and we knew we'd be doing it all on our own without the help of an agency. BUT we also know God has completely gone before us and has paved the way for us - it has been so very clear to us over and over! We know he's not going to leave us now and won't abandon us here in Africa - penniless and without our daughter! We've chosen to embrace this time here as a family - to get to know our new daughter, to love on her and her country. To learn about ourselves - and to open our hearts to the life lessons and knowledge that we will take away from this incredible journey. (And the small fact that we can't control the speed in which things are done in :)

We really REALLY do covet each of your prayers!
So far 'home life' is going really well and Zefina seems to be settling in and relaxing as a new Avery - she's silly and dances and plays around - clearly is getting more and more comfortable with us and is trusting us more and more each day. She's eating great, kicks Haley in her sleep sometimes - but other than that is sleeping fairly well, not crying out or having nightmares.
We TRULY believe all the prayers are being answered and know that God has not left us - but has continued to go before us and prepare the way for us. We feel so very blessed to have so much support!!

Today was Zefina's 4th Birthday - so we celebrated with a trip to the Zoo (which is more like a zoo/animal rehabilitation place). It was a LITTLE bit different from the zoo's we grew up going to!! I personally think there should be more between you and a lion than just a chain-link fence...but that's just my opinion! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Filters... (from Chris)

Yesterday we got out of our comfort zone as a family…..WAY OUT of our comfort zone.  Carlee and I decided to take the kids to city of Lusaka (we’re staying about 15minutes outside of the city) to see the outdoor markets.  Individually we have both experienced the outdoor markets of Thailand.  We learned the African market is similar but even tighter in terms of space to walk and breathe and the Zambians crowd around you while you look at different stalls.

When I experienced the Thai markets, I was responsible for myself.  Yesterday I was responsible for my wife and kids and their safety…. this was weighty.  My filters were on overdrive, trying to process everything I was seeing, feeling, thinking, smelling –all the while processing safety concerns, watching people crowd around Carlee and the kids.  I did constant headcounts, prayed over their safety and more importantly their experience and thought process.  Oh and my hand was in my pocket on my knife, ready to go….. don’t think I’ve ever felt so vulnerable and not in control as I did yesterday.  The first place we walked through had stalls on both sides of the walkway – the walkway was maybe 2 feet wide with people going in both directions.  People looking at the stalls, people carrying car parts, steel bars 20ft long, people staring at my wife and whistling and the roofs of the stalls made it dark so we couldn’t see the sky.  Our driver guided us through the stalls and into a larger opening where it felt like I took my first breath and did another headcount…yep all 6 were here.  We kept going and stopped at a few stalls. 

We left and drove to another part of the market where we got out and visited open -air markets, more space but more eyes on our family.  We bought a few things and the kids each bought sun glasses and negotiated a price with the seller.   The smells at this market were the strongest –dried fish, urine, garbage….  Tires were being sold and loaded into a truck which created quite the crowd, tires are hugely expensive in Zambia and thieves will grab tires and drive off if possible so the tire vendor had hired police to escort the loading and delivery…. a few hundred people gathered around to wait and see if any thieves would try to steal some tires.   

The third market we went to was a few minutes down the road and before we could get out of the car, we had a swarm of “runners” men who would offer to go get you anything you wanted from any of the stalls or “help” you negotiate, who would then take a cut of the sale from the vendor.  This was a trip.  We were looking for baby bags – the wraps that women use around their back, side or front to carry their babies and toddlers.  We were taken to a stall that had the fabric for the bags and I felt the crowd press in a bit on us.  In an instant I realized that I needed to get Carlee and the kids in a specific space to kind of form a wall around them as Carlee was picking out the bags….that’s when without thinking, I placed my hand on a man and pulled him out of our “zone”, he looked at me and I think the look on my face helped him realize that I needed him to move, nicely.  He was one of the “runners” and he was ok with it, thankfully.  Carlee picked out the fabric for the bags and we headed back to the car.  As we were leaving we both heard multiple conversations about our family.  The one that stuck out was a conversation about Madonna…I kept hearing Madonna…. a few different emotions and thoughts when through my head.  I immediately was thinking the men were being negative about our family and adoption but was quickly proven wrong as the conversation of Madonna then went to Adoption..adoption…adoption and then I head Good, Good, Good…that’s when one of the men approached me and asked where in Zambia are we from, I told him from the States.  He then asked us if we Adopted Zefina, I said yes, we are in the process and he replied with “this is very very good, very good”.  He shook my hand and said “Gob bless you, this is good, this is Gods heart”.  Out of chaos and what I assumed was judgement (which was really my judgement) came affirmation of the journey God has our family on.

Funny part is this is exactly what we wanted our kids to experience and I believe it’s exactly what God wanted me to experience from a father’s perspective. 

 I watched each of the kids respond differently yesterday to their experience and feelings.  Zefina was wide-eyed and had a tight grip around her momma’s neck and she resumed that position for the 2 hours in the market which was great attachment time.  Carter was holding my hand (the one not holding onto my knife) and he never let go while we were in the markets and I had to tell him a few times that he had to let go of my hand to get back in the car.  Tanner kept doing check ins and when he would get uncomfortable or didn’t feel safe I would feel him lean into me to feel safety.  And Haley took strides in independence when it was convenient for her but she checked in as well and would grab onto my arm or Carlee’s arm when she felt vulnerable. 

Carlee and I had a great conversation  with the kids during dinner last night about our experience.  The kids had tons of questions and did a great job expressing what they experienced.  Carlee and I were able to have a great conversation as well.  I think it’s safe to say our “filters” were adjusted yesterday.  This is good.