Sunday, March 26, 2017

Be still.

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm  46:10

I wonder how many times this verse has echoed in my mind, usually in response to my begging and pleading for some positive news, for forward movement in our paperwork, for a mountain of delays to be behind us.

"Be still" Trust...but I want to be doing! I want to call up an army or a speicialized team to go and and fight our way to being a family. Let's go and bring our boy HOME!

"Be still"...I'm tired of being still. I'm tired of writing updates about waiting. I'm tired of not knowing how to make future plans because of great unknowns. I'm tired of reading about families waiting for three years or more for a referral.

"Be still" sigh..... Three weeks and two days, fifteen working days but no word on if the medical reports are in the hands of the judge. We could have driven to Port-au-Prince multiple times, picked up the paperwork and dropped it off in Cap Haitian at the judge's office....'be still'.

Does the judge have the papers? Don't know.
How long will the judgement take? Don't know.
How long to then get the paperwork to Port? Will this be the last paperwork requested?
Do we still only need one final signature or did we slide back to needing five again?

So many questions without answers at this point!

We keep praying about what we should do, what can we do. We keep writing e-mails to our agency asking the same questions. Not doing is harder. At least when we had paperwork to fill out one felt like you were moving forward....doing something!

All we can do is pray and wait. Wait and pray. Trust in Him. Focus on Him. Praise Him. Honor Him.

He who is able to do exceedingly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Eph. 3:20.

Lord we need Your power, Your help to focus on You. Your patience. Your strength. Help to wait well and worship while we wait. Thank You for providing what we need. Thank You for covering us with Your Love. Thank You for being with us every moment and allowing us to come to You. Thank you for caring for the minute details of our lives and F's.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Doctors Reports

YEAH!!! All three doctors reports have been completed and the staff of our creche picked them up.

Now they will be delivered to the judge to compose a judgement.

If things go as expected the judgement will be completed soon and then turned into IBESR.

Then we will once again be waiting for our exit.

Hope continues to increase but with the shadow of remembering all the weeks and months that we waited last year for 'one last signature' only to learn of new requested/required paperwork.

Thank you for continuing to lift up our adoption process and F in your prayers.

We know that he had school off this past week but enjoyed working and playing with some visitors.

Keep praying!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Good Byes & Waiting..both hard

Good-byes to loved ones remain high on my 'do not like list' especially when I do not know when we will likely be seeing each other again.

This week, the last thing my mom whispered in my ear during our last hug for a while .... 'Bring our boy home.'

OH...I want to! I pray to! Lord make it so !!!!

Still being stuck in IBESR stage of our adoption feels like a never ending winter cold or a 3+ year drought. The paperwork we hoped and prayed would be completed when the courts opened in October remains uncompleted...and months of unrealized hopes and dreams turn to dust and blow away.

For years now every trip or plan carries the heavy weight of the unknowns in the adoption timeline.

Malay apples on campus started blooming as the last
 fruits ripened. Only a few months until another harvest.
Will we be able to travel as a family to celebrate our niece's wedding in August? Will we be able to visit supporting churches and friends? Will Anna be able to take phase one of Michigan's driver's education and the PSAT?

Each holiday and special family event comes with the cloud of F not being home to participate.

While we long for updates and any information we can gather about our son...each comes with the painful fact that if he were home we would not be needing others to supply this information.

How the hope jumps with each email from our social worker...dreaming of those words to inform us that significant progress moved us closer to F coming home...

Waiting does not get easier with practice.

The all-day meeting that happened three weeks ago...only one of three needed reports completed as of an email we received Tuesday from our social worker.

Faith does get one through. Every frustration and tear we can choose to hold on to or to bring it to the feet of our Lord.

Intentionally focusing on Him, His power, His love does bring comfort.  As does each message and note from friends and family reminding us of their support and prayers.

Thank you for walking this hard journey with us.  Looking forward to celebrating with each of you when F joins the family and we can introduce him to you in person.

Keep those prayers coming!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

One step forward!

African Desert Rose mid May '16
While we remain unclear about what happened or did not happen in family court in November we do know that F's mom and aunt traveled to Port-au-Prince this week to meet with some special doctors.

Apparently the doctors refused to come north.

This took a lot of coordination and prayers. Our social worker called it a miracle!  Several families needed to travel together with the adoption coordinator who had to locate all the families and make sure that they all could travel and make it to the appointment at the same time.

Thank you Lord!

So as we understand the next few steps:
February 3 '17

  • Doctors report: 'should be finishing up their reports this week' [Praying that they can focus, go to work, and not get distracted by the presidential inauguration on Feb. 7th]
  • Reports travel north to the judge
  • Judge finishes up the extra paperwork that IBESR requested back late spring
  • Paperwork goes to IBESR [praying it can make our file the first time it is submitted]
  • ?? Once again we wait for signature(s) to exit
  • Exit!!!!!!!!
Praying hard we can finally get out of IBESR and that they do not come up with something else that they need.

Day 1115 in IBESR.

Early in our adoption journey I blogged it was liking putting a small boat in the river not knowing if it would get stuck or enjoy smooth sailing.

It feels like our boat got caught in a deep freeze with no movement during the last year or so. Now new hope feels like hearing the ice cracking and popping after a long, hard winter. 

Will the spring thaw come releasing our small boat to continue on its journey or will another cold wind come and silence our hopes?

The Lord knows. He sustains us. He holds us. He guides us. He loves us!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 1096. Year Three in IBESR

3 years = 36 months = 1096 days = 26,304 hours.... and only the Lord knows how many prayers and tears.

Pillow reminder, finished yesterday. 
The receipt reads January 14, 2014 but we did not know that our file had entered IBESR for another couple weeks. We rejoiced. Hopes soard high with expectations of a referral and forward movement.

Plans were always followed with 'unless we need to travel for our socialization visit'. Our adoption journey was already 1.5 years long at that point. Our dossier arrived in Haiti a couple months prior, we were excited to be in position for a referral.

Then the wait continued. For the next 16 months the pressure intensified under the desires and wishes that Eli would meet our new family member [s] before heading off to college. After the tickets were purchased and the possible time shrank from months to days the stress became extreme until our referral came just in time for us to squeeze in a 10 day referral trip.

Again hope filled our days. Now we prayed specifically for F and dreamed of him coming home in the fall for the new school yard, for Christmas, for my parent's annual visit in the new year......

Now that hope remains but it endured scars, nicks, bruises, and lives in a heart with some calluses. 

No more tacking onto plans 'unless we get to travel to pick up F' because every one has heard it so long and so many times it is no longer necessary to voice it. 

No longer does my mind watch the clock and figure out how many business hours remain in the day or week that we could expect an e-mail containing positive news or any news about our paperwork.

The boxed cheese cake, our traditional family celebration dessert sits on the shelf expired...still waiting for the news that we've exited IBESR.

The ten months and six+ times of needing to submit the same paper changed even our social worker's hope...from 'any day now' to "We’re expecting any day though, unless they come up with another reason ".

Three months later the visa paperwork finally made it to our file but 'the another reason' resulted in needing the mother's family to sign off on a paper...we continue to wait today [6 months later-due to courts closing for summer break and historic flooding in Cap Haitian] for confirmation that this occurred in November. 

December 2,  we learned of yet another report requested this time by the judge, not IBESR, that requires a group of doctors to fill out.

Even when we hear of these papers being done my battered hope will only rise a little. I read about the excitement of others as they begin their adoption journey and picture new kites soaring up into the  clouds...while my battered and torn one rests caught in the sharp talons of a tall tree, weathered by years of storms and sun. 

For even when the reports and paperwork are signed they will still need to be accepted by IBESR and make it into our file. The reminder that one paper took 10 months in our case weighs down our expectations.

Then perhaps we will again return to 'any day now' or 'one more signature' with a bit of fresh hope. 

Intentionally now I picture giving each new day to the Lord as a wrapped gift. Lord, Your will. I WILL praise you and serve you while we wait....with Your help. Help my attitude. 

Words cannot express how grateful we are to each person who's prayed for our family and this process. Thankful for every encouraging word. 

Thankful for every person encouraging F while he waits. Thankful that he continues to have hope, asking whenever he sees a paper going into his house that he asks if it is the one we've been waiting for. Thankful that he knows that the Lord is praying for him...interceding. 

Thankful for praise music and music to wait by that helps to keep our eyes fixed on our Savior.   Thankful for the new hope that maybe we can visit and spend some time with him soon. 

Thankful we can trust in the Lord, His plan, His power, His timing, His love for F, His unchanging faithfulness to sustain us through days and years of waiting. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016.

I think back at the mixture of hope and disappointment that accompanied Christmas last year and could have never dreamed that it would once again be with us as we celebrate Christmas 2016.

Every year the weight of waiting grows. Seeing the pictures of F warm my heart but at the same time stirs up pain as we see him growing up without being home.

Every day minutes and hours slip by that could have been filled with family time and memories, that we will never get to experience with him.

I can picture him here as I look at the stocking with his name on it hung in the middle of the others.

As I look at each family gathering and the cousins all laughing and enjoying family, I can't help to think about F and wonder about what he is doing.

I look at the Christmas tree ornaments that Grandma carved for him and wonder when he will get to hang them on the tree.

I think about the ornament that holds the picture of the twins, baby boys who joined my family so many years ago on LaGonave...the dream to adopt that did not happen due to the legal process in Haiti.

I know the Lord had a plan for them even though they never legally joined the family and only lived in our home for 6 months. I know that the prayers over the years have been a positive impact in their lives.

We do not know what 2017 will hold but we trust the Lord. He is good. He loves F and our family and has a plan. He is in control even when we hurt and don't understand.

Lord surround each of us with Your love, peace, and patience. Please open the doors to bring F home soon. We thank You for starting us on this journey and making F part of our family even through we remain apart. We give you the glory and honor. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holiday waiting

Well the historic flooding of Cap Haitian canceled the November 8th court date for F's family.

So we continue to wait.

In a recent email told us that the judge has asked a group of doctors to produce a report about the health of F's bio mom . This step was not known up to this point as needing to be done for us to exit.  In this same email it is stated...this is a step we’re waiting on after the family court, which went fine.'

As we received no word on a new court date, we've asked for conformation that F's family did appear in court and signed.

F continues to enjoy and do well in school. Due to his starting later than the rest of the class he is receiving some one-on-one time during the day.

F's current foster family will be moving back to the USA around Christmas. For a while the house will be supervised by the Haitian nannies who have lived and worked with the children since they moved into the house. We are thankful for this constant influence in F's life.  A couple who lives in another foster house will also help with supervision checking with the nannies throughout the day.

We handed off his Christmas gifts to teachers at his school during the Thanksgiving celebration.

 While we look forward to celebrating the holidays with family, our hearts ache, as we know that one will be missing. He will not see the new stocking with his name on it, hanging in line with the rest of the family.

Last year I considered leaving up our decorations so we could celebrate a late Christmas with F. I'm thankful that I will not need to unpack those same decorations this year...still waiting for him to come home.

We continue to pray that the Lord would allow the new document to be signed in the courts if not already done; for the new report by the doctors to be done correctly and before the holidays; the paperwork to be accepted by IBESR; and to exit before Christmas. We know that He can make it happen, if it is in His will.

Praying for children around the world who need families and for the families who wait to be complete. Lord protect each one, comfort them, show them Your love during the holidays.