Our adoption journey began with a simple act of obedience as both my husband, Matt, and I felt the Lord indicating that this was His "Plan A" for building our family. We jumped right into the mountains of paperwork, not knowing it would be 6 1/2 long years before our son and daughter would finally come home from Haiti. Within months, we learned their orphanage was actually a human trafficking ring and that corrupt officials within Haitian Social Services were being paid to look the other way. While reason told us to walk away, our hearts were committed as soon as we signed our first homestudy document. These were our kids and there was nothing we would not do, no amount of money we would not spend, or time we would not wait to bring them into our family. We drained our savings on multiple occasions to hire 5 different attorneys and 3 sequential adoption agencies to work on our behalf. Between the 2 of us, we made a total of 66 trips to Haiti and ignored death threats while my husband spend extended time in Haiti searching for our children after they were kidnapped by the traffickers. In early 2012, our joy in finding the kids was short-lived as Haitian officials halted all international adoptions while they passed laws to reduce future trafficking situations. The irony was that these new regulations made it legally impossible for us to adopt our kids since the government now needed to match prospective adoptive parents with children they had never met and that contact was not allowed at any point with the children's biological families. With inter-country adoption seemingly off the table, we applied not once but twice to bring our kids home through humanitarian parole. The costs were high, and despite the US government marking our case 'Expedited', we waited months, then years before we got a response...and their final decision was to deny our parole request.
Well-meaning friends and family urged us to give up, or at least to consider adopting through other channels, but the Lord was at work. His plan was not just to rescue our children but to radically transform our own lives as well. During the long wait, God revealed His deep desire for every child to grow up in a family who loves them and that our life purpose would reflect this aspect of His character. My husband had worked in both the fitness and finance industries, yet he set aside well-paying jobs and followed the Lord's call into ministry. He left the business world to spend the next 7 years leading mission teams, starting a micro-finance foundation in Haiti and taking on a role as the Missions & Outreach Director at our church. Together we launched and ran a successful Orphan Care ministry, helping equip others in our congregation to mentor, foster or adopt. About 5 years into this journey, the Lord called me to take another leap of faith, quit my full time job as a physical therapist and to invest my time building unity and awareness for the needs of at-risk kids through Defending the Cause Regional Alliance. I now have the privilege of being on the front lines, fighting for local children who also desperately need the safety and stability of a forever family.
Our children, James and Laurie, finally made it home from Haiti on July 26, 2017. Although their adoption process was filled with so many complications and delays (even in the final weeks), giving up was never an option. As I look back now, over 8 years later, I can see how accurate authors like CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were when depicting the Christian walk. Just like characters in 'The Chronicles of Narnia' or 'The Lord of the Rings', we set out full of hope and ready for adventure, yet totally unaware that our lives would never be the same. In addition to the immense blessing of parenting 2 incredible kids, we also have a deeper understanding of God's heart for all His children who are lost or separated from Him. We watched God do the impossible and the lessons of faith we've learned along the way are truly irreplaceable.
Tiffany Loeffler is the Executive Director of Defending the Cause Regional Alliance. Her passion is mobilizing others to walk in their identity as adopted sons and daughters of God and then make a difference for kids and families around them. If you have any questions about adoption or would like to invite Tiffany to speak at your church or event, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org