*All donations to the Garber Family adoption are tax deductible.
“Why Haiti?” We’ve been asked this question a lot since we stepped out in faith in this adoption journey.
Haiti is not a country to which Josh or I have any connection. When we thought of the possibility of international adoption, we assumed it would most likely be a country in Africa because we both have connections in different countries there.
I had been asking God to have an adoption agency contact us and within 24 hours of my latest prayer, I received an email from an agency we had contacted a couple years ago when we lived in Pennsylvania. They needed families for some of their international programs. I began emailing back and forth, trying to figure out the eligible programs for us. It came down to Haiti or India.
So, I began praying over these 2 countries asking God which one… it didn’t seem like either one could be a wrong choice.
As I was praying and waiting for an answer, God began to remind me of some of the ways He had answered our questions about where and when to adopt.
When we lived in Pennsylvania, I had asked God who we should adopt and He said, “The least of these.” I asked Him what that meant. Who were the least of these in the context of my prayer?
As we talked with the international adoption agency, the case manager told us that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The phrase “the least of these” came back to my mind. Then one day while I was driving the song “Kings and Queens” by Audio Adrenaline came on the radio. When I got home I looked up the song and watched the music video. It is filmed in Haiti and the focus is precious Haitian children. The words “When we love, when we love the least of these” reaffirmed what God was telling me.
I knew what God was asking and I thought it was too hard. Adopting from Haiti is very expensive. Josh is a pastor and I am primarily a stay at home mom with some side gigs. Haiti is a 2-trip country, and I do not like that. The wait to adopt a child from Haiti is long, and I do not like waiting. I wanted to bring another child into our family years ago. But God had a different plan.
I went to talk to Josh about adopting from Haiti after our kids had gone to bed one night. I thought Josh would see things like I did and see it was too hard. But do you know what he said? He said, “If this is what God wants us to do, we’ll do it.” And so I cried…a lot. I went over all my reasons with Josh as to why this was impossible. Josh was being so chill. He said, “If God wants us to do this, He will provide.” I was reminded how the previous summer at the end of one of our pastor’s sermons he had said, “Ask God to do something you think is impossible in your life.” I had asked God to make an impossible adoption possible.
I was so afraid to take the first step, and so I asked God for one more sign that we should start the path to adopt from Haiti (I know I was being like Gideon here). I did not know how long we would wait for His answer. But I had asked for Haiti to be seen or heard in a big way. Within 48 hours, it was all over the news… an alleged comment had been made about Haiti by someone pretty high up in the U.S. government. I heard and saw HAITI in a big way.
The next day we submitted our application and the first of many payments. We are now a little over a year into the process since submitting the application. Every time a payment has been due, God has provided through family, friends, church family, or friends of friends. He has given me a friend also adopting from Haiti! She has been a tremendous emotional support during this season.
Now we wait…some days patiently, some days not so patiently, praying for God to make the impossible possible!
What brought you together?
We met at a birthday party for a mutual friend during our junior year of college. When we first met, we didn’t really like each other! But I felt a draw to Jodie that I hadn’t experienced before. I just wanted to be around her more and more. We kept finding ourselves together in different places and I took every opportunity I could to get to know her. The more time we spent around each other, the more we began to like each other and eventually started dating.
Josh and I both spent time in Kenya during the summer of 2005 doing missions work, but in different parts of the country. We didn’t see each other at all that summer and communication was difficult where we were. We found ourselves returning to college for our senior year pretty disconnected from each other.
And that’s when we broke up. After what we had experienced over the summer, it appeared our lives were headed in different directions. Over the next few weeks, we both had time to reflect on the decisions we had made. About three weeks into the break up, we decided to go for a walk and talk. We ended up at a gazebo across the street from The Drake Hotel in Chicago. We talked until the early mornings hours. At the end of our conversation, Josh simply said, “I’m so going to marry you.” I, Jodie, did not know how I felt about that at the time, but I didn’t run away!
We got engaged in February 2006 at the same gazebo across from The Drake Hotel.
We had the choice of having a long distance relationship after we graduated college, or we could get married. We decided we wanted to do life together sooner rather than later and were married in September 2006.
I had asked God who we should adopt and He said, “The least of these.”
I was born in Denver, Colorado. My family was in ministry when I was growing up and as result we ended up moving around a lot. When people ask where I’m from, I claim the Chicago area between the number of cumulative and formative years I spent there. Josh and I started our family there and I still have family there. I have one brother, and he and his wife, along with my parents, and last living grandparents reside in Michigan. My brother says I have developed an accent that is a culmination of the states I have lived in during my adult life. Family is very important to me. With not being able to live close to my family, I am intentional about the time we do spend together.
I was finishing up the thesis for my M.A. in Intercultural Leadership studies when I was put on bed rest during my first high risk pregnancy. I received the degree, but have only used it in volunteer settings as God led us to a different state, and I have been primarily a stay at home mom since having our two biological children. I do part-time childcare in my home and keep my eyes open for opportunities that give me the freedom to be with my kids when they are not in school.
I enjoy reading, coffee, spending time with my family and friends, kayaking, baseball season (Go CUBS! and whatever team my son is playing on), hiking, traveling, and learning new things.
I was born in Warren, Ohio. I grew up as a pastor’s kid and spent a lot of time in the church. When your dad is a pastor, people tend to look at you differently, as if you are supposed to be “better” than other kids. That wasn’t always the easiest standard to meet. That pressure led me to look good on the outside while hiding who I was on the inside. But as I became more comfortable in my own skin (that God gave me!), I began to live out a genuine, authentic faith in Jesus. That faith led me to become a pastor myself!
I graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2006 with a B.A. in Youth Ministry and served as a youth pastor for around ten years before transitioning to the pastor of Connections & Care back at my home church a few years ago. I love what I do, which is primarily focused on helping new people feel welcome and get connected.
I’ve always had a love for people. I’ve been blessed to spend significant amounts of time outside the U.S. serving with various ministries. I love my family and have benefited greatly from having them so close throughout my life. I love movies, reading, soccer, playing baseball with my son, learning languages, different cultures, and drinking a good cup of tea.
Hurry Hurry Hurry and Wait
Most of the time in our adoption process from Haiti other than the initial paperwork leading up to the first home study has been spent waiting. We were told up front that from start to finish (the application to adopt from Haiti with our international agency to the day we bring our child home) adopting from Haiti would be a 3-4 year process. We’ll be honest, our initial thought was sure that’s the average but maybe for us that will be quicker… Two years into the process we are more realistic. The average we were given was based on Haiti being a developing country and all that it includes.
Approximately a year ago, Haiti began struggling with internal issues that affected every walk of life there. We were told it would most likely slow our adoption timeline. Then a worldwide pandemic this year happened which again will most likely have an effect on our timeline.
Unless you’ve adopted from a third world country, the “settling in and wait” phase we’re currently in may be hard to understand. There isn’t a day we forget we are adopting from Haiti, but instead of checking e-mail multiple times a day, we don’t wake up daily thinking there will be something new to read about our adoption anymore.
We get monthly country updates from our agency and eagerly wait for those at the beginning of each month. We’ve accepted the initial timeline as more probable and pray/hope that a worldwide pandemic will somehow not delay us being able to bring our child home.
In 2018 during our summer vacation, we brought all our home study paperwork with us. We did paperwork in the mornings/late evenings, I (Jodie) brought paperwork down to the pool with me. We were in a time crunch to have it done because our home study visit was soon after we got home.
This year we had a home study update including a home visit and had to hurry and finish paperwork and send off to different states to get clearances. But then a pandemic shut down everything here in the United States not to mention the rest of the world and none of those states could tell us what happened to those clearances. So we missed our deadline for the renewal of our I800A. So we had to re-file it from scratch.
Last week I (Jodie) was on the phone with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) several times trying to sort through the delay and what they would require us to do and what fees we would be paying. We hurried to have everything finished, made sure we had every document we needed attached, along with the payment so it could be mailed early Monday morning. After months of not a lot of movement with our adoption and then having a lot to accomplish in less than a week, we are now back to waiting. Waiting with hope and anticipation.
Right now we are asking for prayer that USCIS will process our I800A quickly. We need that so we can be matched and all that entails. Before the pandemic, this is around the time we were given an estimate of being matched. Our French translator, Deb, has been recovering at home from COVID, and still managed to have our home study translated in less than a week. Deb is a rockstar. Her attention to detail is amazing, she catches things no one else does. We are incredibly thankful for her. Please pray for continued healing for Deb.
We have not posted much about fundraising recently because of how Covid-19 has affected so many people and their livelihoods. However, we do need to continue to fundraise as we are still at just a little over to half of our goal amount.
Every time we had a fee due, the money has been there. God has provided through friends, family, church family, and people who want to support a child who needs a family and a family who so desperately wants that child home already. Thank you to those who have supported us with your prayers, your encouraging words, and/or your financial contributions. We are so thankful you are part of this adoption story.
Josh & Jodie
*The picture is of our most recent rescue pup, Bear, guarding all our documents before they were mailed. He knew there was some really important stuff in there.
Will you help us finish our puzzle fundraiser? We are over 1/2 way done with our 500+ piece puzzle!
How it works:
1 puzzle piece= $10
So for every 1 puzzle piece you sponsor, we write your name/family name on that piece
Once all the pieces have been sponsored we will reveal the picture.
We cannot wait to show you the finished puzzle and how it represents each of you who have come alongside us in our adoption journey!
Exciting News amidst Grief
We have had a rough personal month in April. Toward the beginning of the month we lost Jodie’s last surviving Grandfather and a couple days ago we lost one of Josh’s grandmothers. We are a tight knit family and these losses hit us hard.
As those who have experienced grief know, it can come in waves. So one minute we are coping well and the next we feel slammed down by the grief again.
However, we have had some good news concerned our adoption. Our dossier is in Haiti!!!! Our agency’s in country team is working on getting all the paperwork legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once it is finished there, it moves onto the IBESR (basically their branch of government that handles international adoptions). Once registered with the IBESR THAT MEANS we officially patiently/not patiently wait to be matched with a child. We still don’t know if it will be a girl or boy! So exciting!!!
In the pictures, Josh is being his goofy self with our dossier and the other is our dossier in all its beauty of nearly a year’s worth of work before we shipped it off to Holt Int’l. I wish I had taken a picture of the box I had shipped it in I used a leopard print duct tape. I hope they appreciated my (Jodie’s) sense of style. Ha!
Please keep our family in your prayers as we continue to grieve but are moving forward with hope for the future.