Thursday, December 12, 2013

I-171H

Today we returned home from a week long visit to LaGonave to find  our I-171H letter in the mail.

The I-171H, the official name for our I-600a approval, will allow our children to enter the USA once the adoptions are completed in Haiti.

This indicates that the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration after an investigation of Cory and I [home study review, fingerprint check by FBI and the application] approve us to adopt internationally.

They then contact the Embassy who will eventually process our children's exit visas.

As we also picked up our renewed Haitian visas from Irvine's home during this trip we scanned them along with our approval letter and sent the information off to our agency social worker and the gal working with the creche in Haiti.

So now we pray and wait. Wait and pray.

Today IBESR held a meeting with some of the creche leaders in Haiti to talk about the new procedures.

No word yet on how the meeting went but we continue to pray for the process, changes, and workers involved.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Being First…..

Do you like to be first? First seat on a roller coster? First for something good? What about first for something bad-do you like to just get it over with? Enjoy the unexpected? Adventuresome? What about first in line for the unknown?

Generally in life I do not push to be first. I did not even do so as a school child but would hang back a bit. Middle of the line was OK. Let me see how the other's accomplished a task.

In medical school often my evaluations read 'not aggressive enough'. True enough. I prefer to learn from other's mistakes than be the first to mess up, especially in front of a group.

With all the changes in the adoption process in Haiti we find ourselves one of the first families in line with our agency to go through the new process. In addition everyone else we know living in Haiti going through the adoption process already have their children living in their homes.

Our dossier arrived in Haiti the end of October and may be the very first one our agency submits to IBESR. Being first means no one can share their experience, time frames or give us an idea on what to expect.

Having lived in Haiti for 15 years I suspect that we will be called upon to use the flexibility and patience that we have developed living here as we move through the new process and the unknowns.

We will depend on our support team to partner with us in prayer during this journey especially when waiting for our referral, waiting to learn which children the Lord has chosen to join our family and afterward as we wait for the process to bring them home.

We 'hear' that the new law passed but as of yet still not printed in the paper.

Through a Facebook group we know that some people continue to wait for a referral more than 10 months after their dossier submission to IBESR under the new system.

So far have not heard of any new process families matched who did NOT already have a 'soft match' meaning that their agency already located a child.

Know that hundreds of charts, cases, representing families and children exist in the system each needing attention, time and action to move forward. PLEASE PRAY.

Faith can move mountains. God is in charge. His way. His timing. No delays outside of His will.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I-600a Approval

Cory called the number give and spoke to a nice man who let us know that we needed to wait 45 days to check on our I-600a.

Counting the days we noted that would be only 2 days from the deadline given on the letter about needing to pay the fee that we did not think we needed to pay. So we sent a second E-mail to the agent who helped us the first time.

He wrote from 'training' giving us an E-mail to write our question to and in less than 1 business day we learned:
 1.we were correct that we do not need to pay the fee,
 2. that our fingerprints arrived and we should hear 'in the next couple days' the final decision on our I-600a.
 3. a new phone number / e-mail and agent if we need help.

Today we received an E-mail requesting additional information if we were OK with sending it by E-mail. Cory came in and in about 1 hour sent the information off to Ashely. Just over 1 hour later we received the E-mail letting us know that the "I have processed the approval and we will send that to your mailing address listed on your home study " [This would be our Florida MFI mailing address]

Monday after receiving the E-mail about our I-600a we wrote our agency to make sure they received the E-mail letting them know that we do have residency visas in Haiti. The processing of our dossier continues and 'we'll see what happens'.

A blog from an agency in Port who talked with the IBESR last week indicated that the newly changed adoption law was sent to be printed on Friday, November 15th. Therefore, theoretically, it should be printed in the paper this week.

Monday, November 11, 2013

New confusion and a non-update on the I-600a

No word yet on our I-600a but I did find out from a Facebook group about adopting in Haiti that you cannot get status updates on line for this specific form.

This caused the message we received about no such file existing. Either we missed this on the web site or it is not stated.

The nice officer who e-mailed us before did not yet respond to our E-mail questions.

So we continue to wait and if we do not hear an update Cory will try to call the number listed after the team leaves for the USA.

Today we received an E-mail from our agency questioning our paperwork as we listed our Haiti address as our residence [know this was true on the I-600a and maybe one other location].

No other family that they have worked with in the past listed a foreign address for residency.

But after 15 years we do not have a true residency in the USA.

As we plan to live here with our family, we do have Haiti residency [since 2000] and completed our home study in Haiti it made sense to us to list our Haiti address.

The question that arose was did we have our residential visa? Yes, we do!

So responded to the E-mail and offered to send a copy of our visas or the Michigan address where we stay during our two months.

Keep praying!!

Prayer in church for the lawyers in Port-au-Prince going on strike this week. This will likely slow down all government including adoptions.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

I-600a Update / Prayer

November 1st we attempted to check the status of our I-600a application on line only to discover that no such case number exists in the system.

We tried again by creating an account with the USCIS so that they can contact us by E-mail with updates on our status but again...no such case exists.

So we send off an E-mail to the nice officer who first contacted us by E-mail asking about how often we received mail from Florida to ask about our case. Waiting to hear back.....

A few weeks ago we received our first piece of mail ever through the Haitian postal system which was a notice from the USCIS about our application because we did not pay the biometrics fee. 

We did not send in that fee because we understood we did not need to as we live overseas and would need to visit the Embassy for our fingerprints.

We mailed in our prints on Oct. 9th but did not directly respond to the letter about the additional payment so maybe that is the holdup?

Praying that we find out next week about our application. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

IBESR procedure update

As you know we currently wait to hear that the US approved our I-600a form. Then we will scan the form and send it to our agency and our dossier will be sent to Haiti.

Haiti's social services, IBESR now takes the responsibility to match us with adoptable children. This procedure remains very new with many people wondering how it will work. Right now on a Facebook group for people adopting from Haiti I've only heard of folks who were already matched being rematched by IBESR.

IBESR Procedure Explained is a blog written by the folks at a creche near Port-au-Prince.

The big changes come from wanting only children who meet the criteria for adoption to be matched with new families. The Haitian families will meet more than once with the authorities along with a psychologist to make sure they understand and agree to place their children for adoption.  New changes for children who's family abandon them, mothers disappear or are mentally handicapped.

What I think this would mean for our family [keeping in mind that things can change rapidly and that ultimately the Lord remains in charge]:

  • We will need to receive dispensation [Once the new law is published in the Moniteur Journal then dispensation will no longer be required.] before matching with our children. As noted in the blog hundreds if not thousands of charts remain to be signed by the president for dispensation-some have been waiting for over a year at this stage. 
    • While this may increase our waiting time prior to receiving a refurral it should shorten up the time between matching and our children coming home. From what I understand from adoptive parents the wait becomes much harder once you have a name and face so this will be better. 

  • Our children may come from other locations from Haiti not just the creche that our agency works with in Northern Haiti. They did say that if we do not have a family who is a match for the children we bring to IBESR, then IBESR will notify other agencies to ask if they have families who are matches for the children.

  • Good matches being a priority not how long a dossier has been waiting: this may speed up our process. They asked us to please bring all handicapped children, children with medical needs, older children, sibling groups, and abandoned children.  They want to try to place these children first. 

  • Once we agree to referral we will need to spend a couple weeks at the creche getting to know our children including a few hours being observed by a social worker. They are working to try to connect this visit with the first civil court visit. 


Encouraged with these comments about the IBESR staff "They seem to have a handle on how to implement the new procedure."  "very organized and I was very impressed."  " I was very happy that they are willing to approve matches already made by the agencies and the crèches.  They said since this is the transition period, they are being more lenient." "Over all, we came away feeling, like after a year of trying to find out how the new procedure will work, we now have some idea of the actual procedure and how we can work with IBESR to make the matches go quicker and smoother. "

Specific Prayers

  • Dispensations to be signed or the new law published. [If the new law is signed and means that all the old cases no longer need the president to sign a huge load of dossiers will become active cases all at once!]
  • IBESR staff. Not only implementing the new procedure but also working on all of the cases already in the system. 
  • Legal staff as they decide new procedures for abandoned children. IBESR has changed some requirements for children whose mothers have disappeared or are mentally handicapped and they can not sign for the child to be adopted.  The adoption lawyers and the IBESR lawyers are arguing over the correct procedures and the interpretation of the law.
  • Additional staff responsibilities with home visits, education of parents, observing families/children during the 2 week visits.....
  • Communication with the creches. Making the 'good' matches with new families. 
  • Those still stuck in the system or adjusting to failed adoptions.
  • For our children and their family as they meet with the social workers, sign away their rights and work through these hard, life changing discussions. For the creche and staff who will provide the initial care for our children. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I-600a fingerprints in the mail

Yesterday our fingerprint forms headed to the USA along with the requested copies of photo ID's.

Yesterday the hardcopy, sent in the mail request for fingerprints made it to our house.

Today the envelope should start the journey through the USA postal system heading to the Department of Homeland Security in Missouri.

We pray it does not get lost or delayed on its trip north.

Will respond to the nice man who sent the E-mail asking how often we receive mail and let him know to watch the mail. [And maybe nicely ask him to let us know when it arrives.]

Now we wait. Could take 2-3 months to hear back [not sure if the count started when we first sent in the form or when they receive the fingerprints].

Once we receive notice of our I-600a approval we will be able to scan it and send it to our agency.

Then we will wait again. Our first real hard wait - for a referral.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

I-600a Praise

As we noted in the last blog we needed to wait to hear about our I-600a application or after 1 month start trying to contact someone.

While on LaGonave we were able to check E-mails only a couple times. Sunday evening, after most of the visitors left we checked our e-mails and found one from an Immigration services officer of the orphans adoption unit of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security.

He was checking on how often we received our mail as our fingerprints needed to be received in 45 days or our application would be denied. His E-mail included an attachment of what we needed and stated that we could have this done at the embassy.

Monday morning Cory headed to Port-au-Prince with his first stop being the USA Embassy. One needs to have your USA passport to enter and we also needed it to renew our Haitian residential visas at the Haitian Immigration office.

The security woman at the entrance told him we needed to be in line on Tuesday morning before 7 a.m. We were in line by 6: 40 a.m. having left the Ortlip Center shortly after 5 a.m. By 7:30 we moved passed the first check point with our letter.

Then you hand in any cell phones outside the Embassy and receive a small plasic card with the number of the cubby your phone will wait in. Then you pass though security much like an airport-placing your personal items and belts in a tub while you walk through a metal detector.

After a short walk though a yard you enter a building with a brightly painted orange and light purple waiting room with many windows like at some banks on one side.

At first we went to the US citizen room but as we did not have an appointment [Cory tried several times to call on Monday but could not get the right person] we went back to the main room. After a bit of a wait our names were called and a nice lady took the letter and asked us to wait.

Then we were called to one of two homeland security windows to answer when we would be returning to the USA. Well we do not have any travel plans at this time so she went to talk to her supervisor while we waited again.

Good news-someone will come to take our prints. Just have a seat and wait. While this wait took a bit longer we did not mind knowing that had we traveled all the way home a return trip to the Embassy would mean 12 + hours of road travel and an overnight or two.

A young lady came and took our prints twice. A bit of panic when she noted she would not take our prints if we did not know the complete address of our employer but thankfully in Cory's wallet he had a card with the address.

One last wait after washing the ink off our fingers and we walked out of the Embassy with our forms 4 1/2 hours later.

Tuesday we will send off this last piece of documentation.

Prayers:

  • I-600a approval
  • Approval of new law
  • Continued progress for families waiting or stuck
  • New system of matching in Haiti

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Problem with I-600 a

You may remember that we filed our I-600a the end of August. The check was cashed the first week of  September.

Well considering next week we plan to drive down to go to the LaGonave Wesleyan hospital dedication we thought we would contact the US Embassy to ask about an appointment for our biometrics, fingerprints.

Our address on the forms is our residential address here in Haiti. We did add a note with our Florida mail service address as there was no place on the form for a second address.

We understand that generally then you get a receipt notice and appointment to the nearest USCIS location for biometrics and assumed then that our location would be the US Embassy here.

The return E-mail from the Embassy tells us that because we filed in the USA our appointment will be in the USA.

So we have an E-mail in to our agency and social worker to see how we can get this straightened out.

Our paperwork clearly states we live in Haiti so we are praying that the paperwork can be sent to Haiti from Texas and we can work with the Embassy here.

Please pray that someone can find the answers.

============
Looks like at this point we wait until 1 month passes to see if we receive any notification from the USCIS about our application. Will try to call to see if we can have them notify us electronically or if someone can talk to us about this issue.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I-600a Appointment Needed

September 10th Cory mailed our official dossier and 4 copies to the agency.

So blessed to complete this part of the process before returning to Haiti so that we did not need to impose on family to finish up for us!

The dossier arrived and only a couple minor issues were identified on review. We confused the instructions about the pictures and therefore did not send as many as we should but the agency can make copies for us.

Also we included the same financial copies we sent in the spring and did not update. But this can be rectified by e-mail so no big deal.

Today if we do not hear from the US government in the mail about our I-600a appointment we will contact the Embassy in Haiti to see if it is at all possible to set the appointment before or after our trip to LaGonave as it would save us over 12 hours of travel not to have to make a separate trip.

We still feel that the Lord would have us adopt two Haitian children.

Taking into account the time that adoptions take in Haiti along with our ages it would be difficult to complete two separate adoptions so we continue to pray for siblings.

As of last week the creche did not have any sibling sets waiting for adoption and it could be a long time before they do. We know the Lord can open doors in His timing. We want to do His will. We do not want to rush before Him or drag our feet.

Prayers

  • I-600a fingerprint approval at Embassy
  • I-600a approval
  • Siblings get to the creche to match with us or 
    • that the Lord change our hearts by clearly showing us His will.
  • Creche staff-need a new nurse
  • Haitian adoption law to be published-if it will improve things, His will.
  • Haitian adoption process improvements 
  • Families and children stuck in the process to move forward. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yes, Dossier Done

Thank you to everyone who prayed we could complete our dossier during our time in the USA.

Just after 4 p.m. today our dossier returned from the Chicago Haitian Consulate with all the documents stamped with the legalization stamp.

Cory then copied those pages to add to the 4 sets of copied dossier papers.

Tuesday one original set and 4 complete sets of copied pages head off to our agency.

Wednesday we head back to Haiti.

So we started with the first full day in the USA and finished everything up on the last full day in the USA.

Thank you Lord for Your timing. Sorry for stressing a bit and not trusting.

Heard from our agency this week as we start to dialog about a referral matching with our child / children. At this time the creche does not have siblings waiting for a family. We continue to pray for the Lord's leading and timing. Choices

Next step will be getting an appointment at the embassy for our fingerprints for the I-600a.

Then we pray and wait.

Prayers:
  • Thankful the dossier is done!
  • Local police letters do not need additional processing.
  • I-600a appointment and approval. 
  • For our referral children.
  • For Haiti's new law / improving the adoption process. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Authentications Done! Translations-prayer request.

Praising the Lord that our last document arrived with its pretty gold authentication seal yesterday!

One more step done.

As soon as the letter arrived in the mail Cory quickly scanned the document and sent it on to the French translator. All the translated documents...but one arrived via E-mail at 11 p.m. last night !

So we just sent the one missing page to be translated and are praying that she checks her E-mail during the day today and can send it back right away.

We'd hoped to send off the dossier to the Haitian Consult in Chicago today for legalization...but need to wait for that last page.

We made the needed copies this week of the English documents. Will copy the French ones today.

Questions pop up during the process but thankfully our agency helped this afternoon with rapid responses.

Living overseas makes some of the questions a bit trickier for us so we also placed a call to the Haitian Consult in Chicago as we hope to send off the dossier documents today for legalization. Need to call again to find out the answer.

Many people and a few agencies reporting on line that the new adoption law has passed in Haiti and 'just' needs to be printed in the Le Monitour to become official. If it would not get printed its basically like an informal veto.

The new law lowers the age requirement as well as marriage length and removes the need for families with biological children to have the President sign a dispensation.

For us it would remove the need for a presidential signature and speed up the process. This stage in the past took from 3 months to over a year.

The new law also includes Article 11 "Priority is given to married heterosexual couples or cohabiting couples habitually residing in Haiti." but what it would look like remains to be seen. 

Still trying to get as much paperwork done and organized as we can before returning home next week.

Prayers:

  • Praising the Lord for finishing up w steps this week!
  • That we can find the answer to our question today about our local police letters.
  • That the last page gets translated and sent back to us before the post office closes today.
  • That the dossier does not get delayed or lost in the mail system. 
  • That the Haitian Consulate rapidly legalized each of the documents for our dossier so we can send off the completed dossier and the 4 needed copies before we return to Haiti on Sept. 11
  • That the law would be published and go into affect. 
  • For our children and their family to be drawn to or drawn closer to the Lord during this time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Last 2 Documents sent for Authentication.

Adoption paperwork feels like riding a teeter-totter some days.

Lunch yesterday found us rejoicing because we received the re-notarized letter in the mail and learned by E-mail that our home study was finalized last week and sent on to the Secretary of State.

We'd received the corrected background-check letter earlier.

We worked to collect the needed documents and make copies needed to send in our I-600a form to the  US government.

This form, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, " is used by a U.S. citizen who plans to adopt a foreign-born child and enables USCIS to adjudicate the application that relates to the qualifications of the applicant(s) as prospective adoptive parent(s)."

Even though we do not know who our children will be this is the first step in the process of getting them US citizenship and immigration paperwork. For this part of the process we will need appointments for fingerprint checks again-likely once we return to Haiti at the Embassy.

The depressing/panic minutes came when preparing the redone letter to send off again for authentication at the Secretary of State office. Noticed for the first time [did not notice before we sent it the first time or when we asked the letter to be re-done] that it listed my name in it's short form, Kris Thede.

Every other document lists my legal name so we seriously thought that we may need to have the letter printed and notarized for a third time but thankfully a call to our agency reassured us that should not be a problem.

After the trip to the post office Cory spent hours scanning documents so that they could be sent electronically to a college professor who will be translating them into French.  We only lack the one that just went for authorization so she should be able to work on most this weekend.

Next week we will start the process of making copies of the 'dossier'. Not sure that the whole dossier will be translated and then legalized before our return to Haiti but doing our best. Thank you for the prayers.

Prayer Requests:

  • Authentication of last letter in IN.
  • Authentication of home study in CA.
  • Correct and timely translation of all needed documents.
  • Processing of I-600a. Good dates for fingerprint appointment.
  • Keeping the copies [4 each] and documents organized. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Authentications and translation.

We now have the missing documents and they already sport their pretty gold seals of authentication. 

We received the re-done letter back from Michigan State's Office of the Great Seal, correcting my mistake on August 8th.

We received our background check results in the mail last week. However my letter listed Cory's birthday as mine. A follow up e-mail assured us that the the correction will be rapidly made and mailed to us.

One of the authentications returned to us with a list of items that the notary neglected to put on the letter. We are working to get this letter re-notarized and then will need to send it back to the Secretary of State for the needed authentication.

Waiting on one more reference letter to return from authentication. 

Additional copies of our home study need to be authenticated in CA before translation/legalization.

E-mail inquiries and correspondence last week helped us to locate a translator for our documents that will make up our dossier that will go to Haiti. We sent the documents that we already have so that the translation can start in hopes that we will have everything translated by the first part of September. 

Prayer Requests: 
  • Re-Notarization and authentication of one letter.
  • That we receive Kris's background-check letter and the last reference letter.
  • Finalization and authentication of our home study in CA.
  • Timely translation of all needed documents.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fingerprints and the OFFICE OF THE GREAT SEAL

First full day in Michigan,  Cory and I traveled to Lansing today to complete our background checks and authenticate most of our Michigan notarized documents.


Found out that my ring finger contains a double whorl, rather hard to get a clear print but after 6 try's we had 2 that would work.

Two copies each of two new documents notarized...but noticed at the Office of the Great Seal that while we corrected one mistake we missed the second one...in my tired state I grabbed the older letters not the new corrected one.

So tomorrow we will sign the newer letter in front of the notary and sent it off by mail to be authenticated. Also plan to send off one letter to Pennsylvania for similar treatment.

 Now 14 pretty gold seals proudly shine on our pile of documents that were signed in Michigan.

We also called our agency today asking about one missing document. We need to work on getting the needed document rewritten, notarized and authenticated as soon as we can.

The fingerprints should be here in 7-10 working days [off the record maybe in 5]

Home study corrections being worked on while we wait for the background check results.

Next week we start to investigate people to translate the documents that will comprise the dossier that travels to Haiti into French.

Prayers:

  • No problems with running our background checks. That the fingerprints were done good enough. 
  • That the remaining needed documents can be processed in a rapid fashion and sent back to us.
    • Home study
    • The missing paperwork
    • The out of State authentication of the notaries and the last one for Michigan.
  • That we find someone to translate and maybe also get the documents legalized.
  • That nothing would get lost or delayed in the mail. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Start. One Year Ago.

A year ago I saw you for the first and perhaps last time in my life.

In the few minutes that you sat on our front steps you changed our lives forever.

You did not make a sound or say a word.

My heart dared not allow my body to step past the barrier of the screen door to look closely in your eyes, touch your soft skin or even feel your weight in my arms although I longed to.

You and her, the lady who held you remain in my prayers and thoughts. Where are you? How are you? What happened in the past year? I pray you are loved and thriving.

You opened our lives. Expanded our hopes and dreams.

Lord of the Ring fans will reconize this quote as refurring to when Merry and Pippin's interraction with the Ents comes to mind and applies to our family meeting you, "like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains. "

The small time spent seeing you and listening about your need started an avalanche: an avalanche of prayers, feelings, research, blogs, paperwork, hopes and dreams.

We will never be the same because of you. You changed our lives for the better.

Thankful for how the Lord used you.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Paperwork Progress

The home-study agency E-mails us with updates as the information and documents arrive to their office.

This week all our child abuse clearances arrived from the states we each lived in during our lives.

Our final medical papers, reports, and letters completed, notarized and in the mail today! 

All reference letters received by the agencies.

Information for fingerprinting, [who, when, where, how] researched and located for our first day in Michigan, hopefully Aug. 8th.

If all goes according to plan 'A' then in three weeks we will have completed everything we need to do in the application process and will be waiting for the finalization of our home study.

Finalized home study in hand will allow translation of Haiti dossier documents into French while at the same time completing the application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition, with the US Citizen and Immigration Services, I-600a.

July 27 will mark the 1 year anniversary of the door to adoption opening wide for our family.

Aloe barbadensis bloom

Friday, July 12, 2013

Choices..

The hardest parts of the application do not include writing down the facts but the choices.

Even some of the choices not too hard just a bit of discussion about references as who knows us the best, or who's seen both sides of our lives [Haiti & USA]. Then you send off an E-mail to ask them and fill in the contact information. Easy.

Hard: what type of child would you consider accepting into your family?

Now we did not have choices like these when the Lord sent us Eli and Anna as He did the choosing.

I remember when I started in High School praying regularly for my future husband and started a list. Yes, a real pen on paper list which consisted of two parts: the non-negotiables and the 'I think it would be nice'.

Non-negotiables included a man of strong love of God with a personal relationship with the Lord and a heart for missions. I knew that the Lord knew my tastes and desires and especially my needs even better than I did. My prayers recognized that I wanted His best choices for me and would trust Him.

Knowing that we would be needing to put on paper some ideas of the children we would be willing to be matched with those prayers for wisdom started at the same time the Lord opened the door to adoption.

We discussed the various options as a family and prayed, and prayed, and prayed..right up to the day that we finished filling in the first application.

We continue to pray  as we finish up with the paperwork part and move on toward the match that we need to remain open to the Lord's direction and learn as we go.

We 'think' we would like siblings, both a boy and a girl under the ages of 4. We remain open to children with special needs while realizing the limitation of our location. We do not believe it would be fair to accept a child who needs long term therapy or extensive medical care unavailable here.

Please join us in praying for 'our little ones' and for the whole process of matching our family with them. With the new procedures and Haitian social services matching families we have no idea how long following the arrival of our translated dossier to Haiti it will take before we match with our children.

[Tropical Dogwood, Mussaenda or Bankok Rose. The pink sepals are fuzzy]

Saturday, June 29, 2013

End of June.

At 6.5 weeks the last lab result came back from Port-au-Prince. So a bit early from the laboratory's estimation of 2-3 months! We rapidly sent off the results to the USA by scanning the results for E-mail.

Received word yesterday from the doctor that he will be working on the documents in the next few days.

The original headed to the USA on Tuesday along with the other paperwork for our file.

Think [hope] that the last referral letter was notarized and on it's way to the agency this week but not yet confirmed. So looks like we moved from mailing our first application letter to completing Applications 1 and 2 and [most] the home study requirements in 3.5 months!!

Also in the mail our Haitian bank letter and our certificates of good conduct from the Port Margot, justice of the peace.

 We scanned a cope of a needed guardianship from via computer to the social worker. A letter stating that Cory and I know first aid and CPR also headed to the agency this week.

The write up of our home study will start next week.

Our first full day in Michigan in August we plan to have the last two documents notarized and certified as well as get our fingerprints done.

Once our home study is finalized we will file our I-600A application with the American government as well as adding it to our dossier so it can be sent off for translation.

Will start to research and contact French translators in July so that when our dossier is complete we can move to the translation without delay.

It's our prayer that we can finish the dossier, translation and legalization during our trip to the USA, Lord willing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Home Study Happiness

After months of wondering and praying about how and where we would be able to complete the needed home study it feels great to cross it off the list!

We applied for the home study a mere 3 weeks before the study occurred.

Travel can be tricky to figure out and due to heavy rains in central Haiti we did need to change her travel plans to get to the second family but as far as we know everything worked out.

We enjoyed getting to know Rhonda and learning more about how to met the needs of our little ones when they join our family. Anna and Eli joined us for some of the classes.

Thankfully, Rhonda as an experienced overseas traveler and home study provider, recognized how different our lives here really are compared to most Americans and with flexibility adjusted the questions and training to better fit our situation and needs.

Tuesday Cory and I showed her a bit of Port Margot including the bakery and market. Several ladies commented on how I do not often go to market and once I was called Anna.

Wednesday we brought Rhonda back to the airport for the second home study in Haiti. We have a few pieces of paperwork to complete this week before Cory travels to LaGonave.

Praises:

  • Successful home study training and visit
  • Notarized bank letter obtained
  • On-line training completed
Prayers:
  • One last lab result to come
  • Trying to find the timing of the fingerprints- here vs. in the USA in Aug. 
  • Final paperwork to agencies for our dossier

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Paperwork Praises

Tired after this week but a good kind of tired.

Praising the Lord for:
  • Home study scheduled for June 17-19
    • Thanking the Lord that a second family in Haiti can also get their needed home study done on the social worker's trip. 
  • 5 envelopes in the mail for home study paperwork on Tuesday's flight:
    • 2 to doctors for medical paperwork
    • 1 to potential guardians-need to be prepared
    • 1 to Michigan DMV to request driving records
    • 1 to agency full of forms and documents
  • Obtained our letters of good conduct from the justice of the peace.
  • Eli and Anna's TB tests came back negative.
  • Know of at least 2 reference letters sent to the agency
  • Signed up for our 10 hours of on-line education
    • Both Cory and I started our classes
  • Both continue with our book / web site reading list and required write-ups
  • Cory spoke with the Embassy and resent an e-mail, trying to learn how to get our background checks completed. 
Praying for:
  • One last lab result to come.
  • Trying to find the timing of the fingerprints-soon here vs. in the USA in Aug. 
  • All paperwork to be done correctly and nothing lost in the mail.
  • Good heath, travel, weather for the home study visit. 
  • Cory to be able to get a notarized bank letter, here in Haiti.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Home Study Paperwork

This week we continued to talk to an agency in California about our home study and as of now a social worker is planning to come the week of June 17th to do the study and provide education classes.
Still smiling. 


She will be in Florida for a conference before coming down and we found a second couple roughly 60 miles south-east of us who will share in the travel costs and also have a home study done that same week.

Travel plans, finding the right flights and a seat on the plane continue to be researched but looks like she will fly in and out of Port-au-Prince. Pray she can get the needed tickets, as well as for good travel.

People flying into Cap Haitian this week experienced weather delays and early in the week the Port-au-Prince runway was closed due to a Brazilian plane running off the runway and needing to be investigated.

Homework Breakdown [home study and dossier]:

  • 3 new books and written paragraphs
  • 4 web sites to read and 2 sentence overview
  • Forms/lists/documents [over 20 total]
    • similar to first agency-5 reference letters, financial, medical, family picture, marriage and birth certificates
    • new-driving records, house floor plan, guardianship form, new questions for autobiography, safe home study questionnaire, personal profiles, credit check
  • Eli and Anna will need TB skin tests to complete their medical forms.
  • Cory found out how to do our local police letters so we plan to head to Port Margot next week to do this.
  • Cory will also need to head to the bank to ask about the bank letter soon
  • Need to continue to research the how and where for our background checks.
  • 10 hours each on-line classes about adoptions to be done before the home study 
  • Fingerprints for back ground checks. 


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dossier and Home Study Search Progress

Progress this week but not really many items checked off the to-do list.

We learned that copies of Eli and Anna's birth certificates needed to be ordered and sent to our agency. Done.

Serious searching on-line for experienced agencies who provide over-seas adoption home studies and we identified a couple of agencies we did not know about. 

Phone calls and E-mails later we are now working with a social worker from California to arrange travel and complete applications for a potential visit in mid-June. 

A couple other missionaries in the central Plateau are also communicating with her so if it works out we could split travel costs.

Although the plans are not confirmed we will start working on the 'homework' that needs to be completed before the study. Three additional books and 4 web sites round out the reading requirements and we will need to write short paragraphs. One of the three we are working through as a family.

Both of the others I've already read, one we borrowed from friends and the last one we own on Kindle so Cory has also started his reading. 

A call from Cap let us know that our laboratory work returned from Port-au-Prince. Hoping that all the tests returned so we can send them on to the doctors for our medical letters.

Then the last document we need to complete our paperwork is a local police letter. While we've not explored the how-to a lot we did get a example copy which we will translate into French before asking for advice from a Christian police officer we know in Port Margot. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Colored Glasses


I find it very interesting how a lady sitting on our top step with a baby in her arms changed my life.

A pivotal moment that changed my whole out look on life-much like putting on a pair of colored glasses would.

The world basically looks and acts the same but every moment contains a new layer of meaning.

Words of a familiar song now loaded with new meaning due to adoption.

Sermons, verses or well known books take on a whole new dimension.

One never knows when the brain will be suddenly triggered to think and wonder about 'our kids'.

As even getting to the point of knowing who our 'little ones' could be months to years in the future I do not even know if our kids' birthdays exists in the history of the world or remains in the future.

Assuming at least one breaths the same air as we at this time, many questions flood my mind: Where? In a loving home or already living at a crèche? With relatives or other people who really do not want a additional mouth (s) to feed? Basic needs supplied? Clean water, food, dry home, a bed, medical care? How about mental stimulation so important in the first 3 years of life? What circumstances will direct them to the crèche? What is the family like? Do they love the Lord? Will we meet? Did their mom celebrate her pregnancies or mourn? How long before we know them? How can we prepare now to be the family they need?

How can I pray? I pray for the family. I pray for strength and courage. I pray for a strong faith. I pray that the Lord provides for their needs.

Any time of day or night a question . . . two or ten can drift into my consciousness. Sometimes something will trigger new questions or thoughts like the books on adoption we read or on raising hurt kids.

Sometimes the thoughts just come "I wonder...."

My world holds a new color, a new perspective, a new consciousness, a new path with new challenges, new hopes, new dreams and new prayers.






Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Application II, part 2.

Praise the Lord as we finish up preparing a second set of documents to mail to the USA.

Yesterday we completed a couple big steps for dossier documents and our secondary application. Cory and I traveled to Cap Haitian to have medical testing and visit the notary office. Cap trip.


We prepared 3 non-notarized documents as well as filling in, signing and notarized 5 additional documents. I finished reading the second book of required reading and Cory completed one book and almost the second in the last couple of weeks. 

We located someone in Cap Haitian who can translate legal documents into French.

We continue to search for the best way to complete the home study and background checks needed for our dossier. 

Hoping this picture does NOT change. 
We rejoice that several of the reference letters including employer, physiology, bank, and some personal reference have been completed, notarized and mailed.

Once we receive our medical test results we will mail them to the doctors who only need these results to finish out medical paperwork. I had a false positive TB skin test last year and am praying that my body does not repeat the mistake.  A positive test would mean that I need a chest x-ray. 

The only thing that remains for us personally to work on at this stage is some required on-line study. As we hope to figure out soon which agency to work with for our home study we will hold off on this a bit realizing that the home study agency may have a preference to which on-line study we do.

Praising the Lord for the progress.
Praying for the final steps and timing to become clear.
Praying the lab results return within a month.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dossier Prayer Requests

So after the big dossier push early last week we slowed down a bit.

The letters arrived to our references so we know they will be going out soon. [Thank you!]

I organized the next to-do list and wrote E-mails looking for information. We continue to fill out some of the papers that will need to be notarized and read the required books.

Things to pray about for this next stage:
  1. We find a way to have our home study done soon. We located a social worker recently moved to Haiti who's willing to come up and do it but would require an agency to approve her and be OK with giving us a copy of their license. Or maybe a Haitian social worker or psychologist? Or the expensive way of flying in someone from the USA. Some one in Haiti would be nice because of the limited travel and then they could also do the post-adoption visits later. 
  2. Getting our medical labs done-looking for a spot in Cap Haitian so we can do them soon.
  3. Getting our background checks. Have an E-mail into the US embassy looking for information for an appointment. Think it would be nice if it could fit in with Cory's short planned trip to LaGonave late next week.
  4. That we find someone who knows if/how one gets a certificate of authenticity for a Haitian notary.
  5. That we find out how to do the local police letter in Haiti. 
Praises: How much we did get done last week and for the information that is starting to come back from my E-mail inquires. That our agency will do one step for us at cost, saving us extra weeks needed mailing letters back and forth from the USA as well as the increased risk of something getting lost. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Paper Work Sprint

After Friday's surprise arrival of our level II application and dossier paperwork I let the agency know by e-mail and then sat down and read through the papers.

On Saturday I divided the paper stack into 4 colored folders: blue-information, green-papers we could deal with now, yellow-deal with later, and red-need additional information.

Then I read closely each paper while constructing a large organizational chart to help us keep track of the paperwork, document tracking process.

Cory then read through the papers with the chart in hand to correct or add any information I missed.

Now the instructions acknowledge that the paperwork can be 'overwhelming' and advised breaking it into 'manageable' pieces. We read it, understood it, throughout about it and buckled down to get a big piece done in only two days.

Why the rush? Why the sprint? Well because Scott our visitor would be leaving on Wednesday [today] and he was willing to carry our documents to the USA, and send them registered mail on to the agency.

As the paperwork included financial records, birth certificates, copies of passports and driver's licenses we decided to work hard to complete as much as we could of the paperwork that did not require a notary. 

By the end of the day on Tuesday [yes, we did stay up past our normal bed time] we had prepared over two pounds of mail for Scott to bring to the USA.

Now we will slow down a bit and take things one step, one document, one page at a time while we wait to hear from the agency how to produce in a couple of areas. 

We will also read the two required books and set up a time to do our on-line studies.

Please continue to pray that we can find the answers we need to complete our dossier in a timely fashion. Pray that the mail does not get lost or delayed. [18 documents to our agency and 8 letters for references or information.]


Friday, April 19, 2013

Surprise!!

Today a large white envelope appeared at our front door containing our second level application and dossier paperwork.

Do not know when it arrived in Haiti as today is not a flight day and our mail normally comes to Haiti on Tuesdays or why really John Pierre decided to check for additional mail in Cap other than he knows I was waiting for this one but it arrived.

Anyone who's been through the adoption process knows it consists of lots of paperwork. We now need to gather together 25 different sets of documents covering: agreements, applications, health, family, finances, background checks, photos, homework...

Prayer Request:  That we can figure out starting next week with the help of our agency, the US embassy how to get the paperwork done correctly [the first time] and in a timely fashion. At this point not sure what can be done here vs. having to return to the USA.

This 'step' can take 4 weeks to 6 months+ for folks in the USA.

Most missionaries prior to the recent changes to the adoption process in Haiti adopted independently while their children lived with them. We pray that someone knows how the process will work now for Americans who are residents of Haiti. Someone needs to go first right?

On Monday we will start to try to figure out with the agency and the US embassy how we can complete the mountain of required paperwork.

Can we do the home study in Haiti? Who, when, where, how??
Fingerprints. Here or not?

Just one more example: "Local police clearance letter."  Well that could be interesting as the local police station burnt down last week during the protests.

Step 1-Make sure that this can be done in Haiti and not the USA.
2. Appointment.
3. Go
4. Assuming the letter from our local police wouldn't be in English. So translated.
5. Would likely have to travel with the police chief to Cap Haitian to have it signed in front of a notary.
6. All the paperwork needs to be notarized.
 7. Certification. Then a paper from the 'State' that says the notary is in good standing.  Then how do we get the certification that the notary is in good standing if we do this in Haiti?
8. After that the whole thing needs to be translated into French if the first copy was not in French.
9. Then needs to be legalized by the Haitian Consulate/Embassy.
10. Copies made- most 4 each.
11. Mailed.

Repeat 25 times. Likely we'll need notaries in at least 2 States and maybe in Haiti as well and the certification process can be different for each location.

The paperwork needs to be done in a 'timely' fashion as adoptions in Haiti can take years which means different parts of this paperwork can expire and need to be updated during the process.

YES we need your prayers. We know the Lord asked us to start this journey. Now we need the knowledge, help, hope, strength and patience to take this step one paper at a time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First Application

Once we agreed on an American agency the paperwork started.

While still in the USA we actually started collecting some of the needed documentation but cannot start our dossier until we connect officially with an agency.

We then read all about the agency on line and printed out the primary application along with the extra pages needed to adopt from Haiti.

We noted that the application needed to be notarized and started to inquire about where the nearest notary would be located.

Wait a minute! The very next week a team due to visit us contained a dear friend who we knew worked in a bank. Could she possibly be an notary?

One quick E-mail confirmed she would be delighted to bring along the needed items to notarize our application.

We continued to pray and discuss the various questions as a family.

So in our home after filling in the needed information, completing the notarization, we completed our first small step.

The team left for the USA on March 13, papers in the mail on the 14th and arrived on the 15th.

I e-mailed on the 20th confirming the arrival and it was being reviewed.

March 26th an E-mail came to confirm our mailing address for our Level II application.

We receive our mail from the USA on Tuesdays however the application did not arrive yesterday [as of early Monday afternoon not yet to MFI]. Will wait one more week and if we do not receive the application the agency will resend.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Research

In October after traveling to the USA and completing a big trip to Pennsylvanian and New York I started to research on-line and read library books.

At the airport leaving Haiti in mid September we learned of the possibility of a two year old boy being raised by missionaries who might be available for adoption. I'd met him at least once before.

We prayed, corresponded and then learned that he would not be available. My research then revealed that Haiti's adoption policies would be changing. No longer would independent adoptions be allowed.

The procedure would need to occur though an adoption agency. Pre-identified children would be harder to adopt.

We also learned that Haiti would be choosing and approving only certain agencies to handle Haitian adoptions. The list originally due out in November finally became public in mid-January.

Twenty agencies in the USA now handle the adoptions from Haiti.

While still in the USA I read about different crèches, orphanages, agencies. I learned some of the vocabulary. I called a few of the agencies, learning that at least one large agency no longer handled adoptions for Americans living overseas.

We narrowed the list to two. We corresponded with them by E-mails. We waited.

The end of January Haiti announced a quota for applications. Each agency can only submit one dossier a month at this time.

Middle of February we learned that one of the agencies we were corresponding with would not be accepting any new families in 2013 because of the number of their completed, waiting dossiers.

Prayed. Waited. End of February the choice became clear.

The Beginning

During my family's two years of living on LaGonave, for about 6 months, our family grew to number 6 as we took care of and loved twin Haitian boys who's mother died at birth.

Then the Haitian lawyer informed us that because my parents already had two biological children they did not qualify for adoption under the 1974 law.  Painfully the twins moved out of our home, into a cousin's who raised them.

After Anna joined our family we discussed being open to adding onto our family though adoption. We did not discuss it much or pray regularly having told the Lord that we were open to His leading. But waited for Him to put a child on our doorstep.

Part of not earnestly pursuing adoption was knowing that the law had not changed and with biological children in the home we would not qualify.

Following the quake we learned about the Presidential dispensation that allowed parents to still adopt. But we continued to wait while praying more often for the Lord to show us His will and His timing.

July 2012 for the first time in our 14 years in Haiti a lady appeared on our step with a child. We quickly asked Eli and Anna their thoughts and finding unanimous positive reactions felt the Lord open the door.

 Under the advice of our Haitian friends and neighbors we made arrangements for her to return in 3 days, giving us time to research what it would take for us to legally accept the care of this baby.

We talked to our families and field director. We emailed a few people for prayers. We waited. She never returned.

But the door remained open in our hearts....the journey begun

Introduction & Request.

Welcome to the story of our family's journey to graft a couple of Haitian treasures to our family tree.

I knew as soon as the Lord opened the door to this journey that I wanted to create a second blog.


I've been humbled by how many people faithfully follow our Thede Connection and support our family while we minister in Haiti.

This blog will chronicle our adoption journey and allow those who are interested to keep up-to date with the process and prayer requests.

The adoption process in Haiti remains very unpredictable. Full of twists and turns, ups and downs, uncertainty and tears.

Tears of frustration, pain and joy. I know each will play a role in this journey and we know that only the Lord can open the multitude of doors, orchestrate the many steps, direct all the people who will ultimately be involved, and ultimately unite our family.

We know too that a strong support team of faithful prayer partners will be our comfort and strength during this journey. We request that you join our team.


Walk this journey beside us hand and hand through the years.

Updates may not be frequent as many weeks may pass without any news as we wait through the various stages. Please feel free to ask us questions. Ask us how you can pray. Ask us how we're doing.

We will be relying on you our friends, our supporters to help us through this journey. While we know in the end it will be totally worth every bit I cannot say we look forward to the hard parts and the waiting.

But our God is faithful. He will walk this journey with us. Leading us forward. Teaching us the lessons we need to learn. Thank you, Lord.