The Most Elaborate Foster Plan Ever Orchestrated…

Truth sets you free.

Over the past 10 months we have done our best to teach Caroline and Jonathan to LOVE truth.  

A few weeks ago Jonathan approached Chris and said, “Caroline, I think we should tell dad the truth…”

This began what was every adoptive families’ worst nightmare and best dream.



Through a 3rd investigation it was discovered that our adoptive children (who we believed were double-orphans) in fact had LIVING parents.  

This was a snapshot of their reunions:

 

These 4 pictures fill me with emotion that I don’t have all the words for yet…but they bring deep healing for my soul.  I can see the joy on Caroline and Jonathan’s face and I especially LOVE how Jonathan is “holding” his mom’s arm in the affectionate way he used to hold mine…it brings me GREAT hope for their future together!  

The LONG story long goes like this…

A few weeks ago Jonathan asked Caroline if they should tell dad “the truth”…
The day before I flew from NC back to UG, Jonathan and Caroline pulled Chris aside and said that they felt it might be a good time to tell dad, “the truth.”  This started a LONG conversation but the most horrifying truth was that days before they met us they were pulled in to a room by the orphanage director’s wife, Caroline’s dad, and Jonathan’s aunt and told: “pretend your parents are dead.”  
 
Chris told me the news…
When Chris called and told me–I was flying out so I asked him to immediately contact our agency.  They said that a month earlier when I had called them about some concerns/corruption I had heard related with our orphanage they had decided to conduct another private investigation specific to Caroline and Jonathan’s families.   I was pleased to hear they were taking this initiative and that they were as sick as we were to discover there was in fact child trafficking that occurred.
 
The Investigation Report…
Found that there were indeed living parents.  For both kiddos.  We requested DNA for proof of this fact–mainly because everything we have lived has been based on lies for the past 9 months–meaning we were told and had documents showing that both children were double orphans.  So we hoped to have ONE piece of evidence that was TRUE.   Caroline’s mother complied with the DNA and shared her desire to care for Caroline.  (None of the other family members complied with our request.)   Jonathan’s mother also complied while all other family members summoned denied our request.  Apparently Jonathan was taken from his birth mother at 9 months old by the father. (A man’s legal right when a couple divorces.) Therefore Jonathan did not recognize his mother upon their first meeting.  But she has a deep desire to raise her son and we are believing she had likely given up hope for the opportunity to do so because he was being raised by an aunt on the biological father’s side.  Both mothers are desiring a relationship with their children and we believe they were not fully privy to the trafficking that was allegedly signed off by their biological fathers. 
Our Agencies’ Response…
We have been very pleased with our agencies’ action on our behalf and on the behalf of our children.  The Embassy has been alerted but we cannot discuss more of the legal action at this point due to the fact that our case will go back to trial in an attempt to right the wrongs committed. 
 
What is next for Caroline and Jonathan?
Friday, July 18th Caroline was reunified with her biological mother and was super excited to be back in her home.  Jonathan was reunited with his biological mother on July 22nd.   We are thrilled that they are back in the homes of their biological moms and are not having to carry around any more of the burden of withholding truth from our family.    
 
How are Caroline and Jonathan doing?
Caroline is doing VERY well.  She had a good solid interaction with her mom while taking the DNA test–and then was upbeat and enthusiastic as she prepared to be reunified with her mom.  Jonathan has been a bit more hesitant about going back to his family but mainly because he has no memory of his biological mother and actually thought he would be placed in the home of his aunt and Caroline’s dad–the ones who trafficked him.  Now he understands it is his biological mom who loves and wants him–therefore we are very hopeful for a smooth transition.  He is a sweet kid and hard not to love.  He is happy go lucky and doesn’t know a stranger so we believe he will do just fine!   
How are Caleb, Kylee and Joshua doing?
We sat down with the family to discuss it all as Caroline was very excited to show pictures of her mom to the family.  The bigs immediately understood what was happening and Kylee was VERY grieved.  Caleb teared up with joy at the thought of what had been what appeared to be “their parents resurrected from the dead”…but then grew sad when he realized this meant they would not be living in our family.  Joshua was pretty clueless. 
 
Now there is a general acceptance of the situation and everyone is doing very well coping.  Though it has only been a few weeks that we have had to process–it feels more like years as we have lived it.  
 
I am sure ALL the children will grieve over the loss of their siblings over time and in their own ways.  
 
How are Jenni and Chris doing??? 
We are very grieved of course.    
We are also VERY peaceful because it is the right thing.  I believe that God has allowed us to parent and foster these 2 precious children for 9 months and it has been an HONOR and privilege.  It may have been the MOST elaborate foster plan God ever orchestrated…but we don’t regret a day spent with those kiddos–nor the sacrifices we made to do so.   Romans 8 speaks of God working all things for GOOD for those who love him.  In my life I can honestly say and believe that sometimes when tough sh*t happens in this lifetime you actually may NEVER be able to see the GOOD this side of heaven.  But NOT SO in this circumstance!  
  • First and foremost, Caroline and Jonathan in December BOTH accepted Christ in to their little lives at Watoto Children’s service.  
  • They have been valued and taught to make friends.  
  • They have learned excellent English.   
  • We were told by the headmaster at Restoration Gateway that Caroline and Jonathan are kind, well-disciplined children.  
  • They have had their needs met physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually for the past 9 months. 
  • Not to mention they are OUT of the Ugandan homes that trafficked them! 
And the Cockerham 5 will NEVER be the same.  EVER.  
  • We have learned to adapt to a different culture.  
  • To not hold tightly to the things of this world–even the people that He gives us.   
  • And incredibly–even though Restoration Gateway was not on our radar…it is the final destination of our journey here in Africa.  
 
No matter what, we must let Caroline and Jonathan go.  They are not ours.  They are the Lords.  And importantly, they are NOT orphans.  They have biological mothers who want them.  God’s clear call for our family was to adopt double orphans– 2 children without living parents (or relatives) to care for them.  
 
When are you moving back to the US?
We do not feel “done” with what He is up to in our lives and our families’ service in Uganda.  It actually is just feeling like the beginning.  We also have not closed the Ugandan adoption door…although I say that with a lump in my throat…as we will need much time for healing before we will consider this option.  
Tell Me More about Restoration Gateway (restorationgateway.org)
Chris is SUPER excited about a role on the spiritual formation team here.  Right now he is teaching math to fill a hole that they have for the next few weeks.  But a great fit for him here will be some sort of shepherding/teaching pastor as well as a mentor to the staff and volunteer leaders. His heart to empower leaders and build teams should really shine in this place.    
 
We receive daily letters and visitors from the orphans here–some coming to play with Kylee and Caleb–some coming to sit and chat at our kitchen table.  Some just coming to color or drop off a note.  It is absolutely amazing.
 
Kylee just joined the dance team and though the dance looks VERY different than ballet, she is embracing this new type of dance and is very excited to perform at church on Sundays!     
 
We are called to this place and to the orphans that live at Restoration Gateway.  We are called to Karuma and the surrounding community here.  Though truth has been a bit hard to come by for the past few weeks– THIS we KNOW to be TRUE:  God has us at RG for a purpose only He fully understands.  
 
WE ARE GRIEVED BUT HOPEFUL AND HEALING…
The RG staff has been INCREDIBLE, praying faithfully, and loving us well.  They also have full schedules and have been giving us plenty of space which is appreciated. 
 
We REALLY are okay.  This is gut-wrenching but God is NEAR.  We have talked a lot about Joseph and his life.  And we believe that though somehow there were things in this process that took place that were meant for evil–we believe God has and will continue to use the past 9 months for GOOD…and we believe He will continue to use this time for good in our lives and in the lives of Caroline and Jonathan.  (Genesis 50:20.)  
 
We took one last adventure as a family to an amazing place located on the Nile.  Here are a few photos…

The last photo is taken from some rocks and as you can see, we were VERY close to the hippos in the water. We also saw a crock swimming just 30 feet away from this school of hippos.  I could not help but picture Moses’ mom…and the FEAR she must have had placing her son in the bullrushes.  I can only imagine how fearful she felt, but somehow prayerful and hopeful that Moses might live despite her lack of control and the dangerous conditions of the Nile.  I realized we were also being asked to take similar steps of faith believing that God loves Caroline and Jonathan more than we do–and that He will protect and care for them…and we believe He will raise them where they were intended to be raised, by their living breathing biological mothers!  Just as God had great plans for Moses future–we believe the same for Caroline and Jonathan. 
 
How do I Pray???
 
Pray for Caroline and Jonathan as they transition to their new lives.  
 
Pray for our family as we grieve.
 
Pray for our future here at Restoration Gateway–for the roles that we will play and for the ways God will use this place to change us, as well as use us to bring love and change to this place. 
 
Please pray for the continued raising of financial support we need to stay at RG. 
 
Truth sets you free.  We share our story in detail for more reasons than we even care to go in to in this blog–but we believe truth is crucial in stories like this one.  I admire Caroline and Jonathan’s courage to tell the truth–and I am drawing on their courage today to tell our story.  I pray that this information will only be used for good and not exploited, taken out of context or used for any other purpose than to encourage, educate, as well as bring hope and healing for those who have so faithfully followed and supported our journey
 
Thank you so much for who you are and the love you have shared with and for our family.  We cannot thank you enough and know that we will never be the same having walked this journey–and we could not have walked it without your love and support.  Grateful for each person who has prayed, supported financially, and stood behind us no matter what! 
Love, 
 
All 7 C’s Spread Across Uganda  
 
Here’s to God’s next Epic Adventure…
 
 
 

 

18 thoughts on “The Most Elaborate Foster Plan Ever Orchestrated…

  1. Oh, Jenni, my heart just aches for you! I know how much you love them and how absolutely hard this must be. I am keeping you all in my prayers! Since we've become foster parents, I've seen how God doesn't waste anything. It isn't the same situation, but if you ever need to talk, please let me know! It took me days before I felt like I could breathe again after giving back a baby so I know how much pain you must be in. You guys are all so inspirational with how you've said yes to God. Miss you!
    -Sara Payne

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  2. If u can share any suggestions on things to look for that could be red flags I'd love to know! We're adopting from Uganda and it's always in the back of my mind that our lil guy is truly an orphan even though an investigation has been done. Thanks for sharing your journey and heart. It's appreciated.

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  3. Sometime God puts challenges to us that we don't understand, but everything happens according to His plan. You were sent there to have a positive impact on a child's life, and they learned about love from a great family. We've been blessed to have you as a part of our lives, and you'll continue to be God's messenger on this journey. Take care, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

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  4. Jenni and Chris ~ you guys are amazing and I love you both. I am praying for you guys and personally I have a good feeling about this which goes something like this…. these two children will grow up and do GREAT things with their lives ! and they will never ever forget you and always think of you as family! = ) I will continue to pray.

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  5. Chris and Jenni, thank you for a great example of how God moves when we (you) step (stepped) out in faith. Chris, as you left Raleigh the last time, I was certain you were not coming back any time soon. I was elated that you were truly stepping out in faith and I was excited for you. We sing “how great is our God.” You are truly experiencing the answer to that question and through you, the two of you, we are able to grasp a small understanding as well. Blessings to the Cockerhams!

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  6. Praying for all of you and offering thanksgiving for how you so lovingly gave – although unknown to you – foster care to those two precious children. You taught them trust and truth -telling, you allowed them to learn valuable, life-long skills in connection and attachment, and because of your family they met Jesus! Your willing obedience to God's call in your lives has caused just a tiny portion of what He has planned for all of you to come into clearer focus! Rob and I are waiting expectantly and praying with you ! Love and blessings!

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  7. Nicola – have you hired a NEUTRAL 3rd party to do a PI? They shouldn't be associated with anyone in your process. Are you on the Truth for UG group on Facebook? Some great resources on there.

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  8. There is no doubt that God put the perfect family in Jonathan and Caroline's path. I admire you all so much and thank you for sharing your hearts with us. The Livolsi family will be praying for you all!

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  9. This story is so heart breaking and wonderful…how can that be? These precious children were “used” by those who were given the privilege of caring for them without any regard for the impact it would have on them and on others. The most beautiful part of the story is that these children desire God's truth and they have already learned that God's way is truth. How beautiful that these little ones wanted to tell the truth and felt loved enough to tell the truth. What brave children! God can sort this all out, so we can praise Him for his goodness in every situation. May you and your family find peace in knowing that you have taught these precious little ones one of life's greatest lessons…honesty is God's best way to live!

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  10. Hello, I really enjoyed all that you have shared. I will be arriving to serve at RG on Sept 1-Nov 1st and I look forward to meeting your family. To God be the Glory, praying for your family to heal and rest Gods hands. Desiree'

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