In 2002 Mark and I set off on the adventure of adoption. We wanted desperately to adopt a 10 year old girl from Kazakhstan. We first discovered Annalise’s photo on an internet site with photos of children from around the world who needed forever families.
God’s hands were already on the process, even before it began, because I had specifically searched for a child who was closer to our own biological children’s ages. We were thinking of a child that would have been maybe three years old or younger. Annalise was 9 years old at the time, yet God had this “older child” come up in my search for 2-3 year olds. After going to bed that night that I saw her online, I could not get her out of my mind, so the next day I requested a video from her adoption agency.
The video was eye opening and heart-wrenching! The only things this little girl wanted were a bucket of raspberries for Christmas and a mother who would love her. Our hearts ached for her!
Mark and I married during Mark’s last semester of college. We found out we were pregnant with Kaitlyn when we had been married a little over a month. When Kaitlyn was 6 months old, we found out that we were expecting our son, Ethan. Mark had started a new career right out of college, which requires years to build up a client base, so we pinched many pennies. We had only been married for a little over 4 years, and had no savings, when God sent Annalise into our family’s picture. We were unsure as to how we could afford the price tag of $27,000 for a Kazakhstan adoption. After praying, we felt the Lord’s gentle guidance and decided that it was the Lord’s Will to take a leap of faith. So, we started our home study.
Upon making this gigantic decision, we humbly shared our plans, as well as our needs, with our friends, family and Sunday school. We shared our hearts and our financial need, without being specific. During this time, we prayed fervently and we asked others for prayer. Our specific prayer was for doors to be opened or shut according to God’s perfect Will. We sincerely desired God’s plans to come about for us and for that little girl who was thousands of miles away.
The Lord constantly proved His faithfulness by providing the money needed for each home study payment, agency payment, passport fee and INS fees. One day we desperately needed $200 for a home study payment, which was due that afternoon. When we opened the front door, there was a check for $200 from our neighbors! Again, when it was time to travel, we had no money for airline tickets to fly over to Kazakhstan, to meet and pick up our little girl who was waiting for us. My parents were provided by God with extra tithe and offering money to be able to pay for those plane tickets. God worked again and again like this! It was amazing to see God working through others during this time! It was surreal.
The Saturday before we left for Kazakhstan, our Sunday school class gathered at a member’s house for a get-together. After laying hands on us and praying for our journey, they handed us an envelope for our trip with a lot of extra cash. At that time, we did not really see a need for this money since everything was already provided for financially for the entire trip. However, the Lord can see much farther down the road than we can! We ended up with an unexpected stay in Kazakhstan of 36 days due to some problems with our newly adopted daughter’s visa. If it were not for this extra money that we received, we would have had no extra cash for food and lodging for us, our two biological children and our new addition. We would have been in a strange country, with no interpreter, knowing only a few words of Russian, in below zero weather with no lodging and no food. God saw the need even before we did and met it before we even left our comfort zone, setting out to venture out into the unknown! He provided for us and saw us through!
God provided us through each step of this adoption! The money was not there a day later than when we needed it throughout the process! And when we did need it sooner, He provided then, too! His perfect Will was carried out through willing vessels that trusted in God, prayed and waited for God’s timing! Now, we have four beautiful children, Annalise, Kaitlyn, Ethan and Julia, with more to come through adoption in the very near future!
Annalise, our adopted daughter from Kazakhstan, asked Jesus to be her personal Savior shortly after learning English! She, now, wants to go back to Kazakhstan someday as a missionary to the orphans. If we had not been willing vessels; if we had not asked for and obeyed God’s perfect Will and had not taken leaps of faith; if we had trusted in our own power, instead of His; if we had not waited on HIS timing; if we had not prayed and asked for prayer, our Annalise might not be the young woman of God that she is today! And the most exciting thing is that only God can see what our prayers, trust in God and obedience meant for the people that Annalise will touch down the road!
(Above) Ainua Annalise Metzger - The first photo we ever saw of her! Mommy could not get her out of her mind and heart!
Annalise answering questions on a video about how she "likes ice cream very much".
Lisa's father dubbed this the "$25,000 smile", as that was what it was to cost in order to bring her HOME!
Looking at photos of her new home and family with the orphanage director!
(Above) Another adoptive family (the ones who lived 2 hours from us) bought ice cream for the entire orphanage, as we too did when we were over there! This was Annalise's first time having ice cream!
(Above and below) Annalise made birthday gifts for Kaitlyn out of "trash" that she found around the orphanage! She was preparing to meet her little sister, who had just turned 3!
(Above) Annalise helped to prepare this "Kazakh tea" for us!
(Above) Mark bought flowers for Annalise and gave them to her on another meeting at the orphanage!
(Above) Mommy and her kiddos!
(Above) Daddy and Annalise - this was at a restaurant...the first time Annalise had pizza!
(Above) After the adoption was finalized! This was the courthouse!
(Above) Annalise with her favorite teacher at the orphange, Svitlana!
(Above) A farewell, traditional Kazakh dinner at our coordinator's home! We all sat on the floor and ate some wonderful Kazakh foods!
(Above and Below) After we left Pavlodar, we had to stay in the capital, Almaty, until we received a visa to travel to Moscow with her. Here we were at McBurger (a Kazakh-style McDonad's). They had a great play area for the kids!
(Below) Finally we made it to Moscow! It was 14 below 0 (a warm day) in the Red Square. We didn't stay out too long at all! Brrr!
(Above) Back in New York City! Home at last!
Below is a photo collage of her adoption from Kazahstan when she was 10 years old. Watch the video HERE!