Thursday, December 17, 2015

No news on why the wait.

Yesterday we received an e-mail about our USA visa application for F.  Because the process is taking so long and some families, including us, starting before adoptions in Haiti were under the Hauge convention, we will likely be 'grandfathered' in under the old process, giving us more time to finish.

So we needed to send them evidence that IBESR approved of our match with F.  Please be in prayer for the families who also started the visa process by filing a I-600a but continue to wait for their match. Time grows short before they would need to restart the process with an I-800 if they aren't matched by April 1, 2016. 

I’m reminded of the story of Moses. When he raised his hands overhead, the children of Israel would be winning during battle. [Exodus 17] When he could no longer hold his arms up and they dropped, the battle turned against them.. So Aaron and Hur held his hands up, one on each side while Moses sat on a stone.

I picture our special prayer team as doing this, holding up our hands before the Lord. Holding up F and our adoption chart. I’m so thankful to know that when my eyes grow weary and start to focus on this life’s problems and stresses that our partners pray for us to refocus on the Lord.

We asked our agency this week if there’s something specific holding up our case as we hear of other cases exiting IBESR in 3-4 months after their socialization visits and we now stand at 7 months post-visit. Nothing that the agency knows of is an issue at this time.  

Tuesday we received a very special Christmas card. For the last 3 Christmases we prayed for our 'littles' not knowing a name or face. Thankful this year we can pray specifically for F, and the hope that next year he will celebrate with us. 

We know that F does not deal well with a change in routine and the foster family left for Christmas in the USA on Tuesday. Not sure when they plan to return. Thank you for continuing to pray for F, us, and the adoption process.

Grateful for those times of peace when I can sit calmly at the feet of our Lord, that I’m accompanied by others on the team joining me in prayer and in faith, waiting to see how the Lord will answer. 

YOU are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. (Psalm 77:14)

Cory, Kris and family.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Praising the Lord of miracles.

This morning we headed out before sunrise to visit a church that starts early so that their pastor can rapidly leave after service because he covers two churches, about one hour apart.

 A poorer church, the people met under a tin roof but the worship touched me.

Pastor Mano preached on Psalm 114. He referred back to the spies going into the promise land; ten returned discouraged but two stood on the Lord's promise. Numbers 14: 9 "Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them"

I will continue to praise the Lord for this adoption journey.  I will refocus my hopes and thoughts on the Lord when my feelings overwhelm me, and I start to focus on the problems and obstacles in our path.

We serve a God of miracles. Psalm 114 reminds us that the Lord parted the Red Sea and the Jordan. He makes the mountains, and hills skip. I thought of the mountains of adoption paperwork sitting in the IBESR office in Port-au-Prince.

I picture those charts moving to the exit desk!

Pastor reminded us that the Father God we serve is Powerful and Faithful. He hears us. He will act.

I do not know if our chart will exit IBESR before Christmas. We earnestly pray that it will so that we can enter the adoption courts. Nevertheless, if it does not happen, still we will praise Him.  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Prayfull waiting.

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving on LaGonave with the rest of the Global Partner's team on Wednesday night and then spent seven hours on Thanksgiving day traveling home.  

On Saturday, we joined some of our missionary friends in the North to celebrate Thanksgiving again. After a great meal, we listened to a message that spoke to my heart. 

John spoke of the kidnapping stories of Joseph and Squanto and how they ended up saving groups of people because of where they ended up later in life. 
 
How when in difficult times when we don't understand we should not ask 'why' but ask 'what next' realizing that the Lord remains in control. Roman 8:28 "And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, how have been called according to His purpose

He reminded us that often that while in the middle of the story things may look bleak, and we can be very discouraged and maybe feel forgotten, but the end of the story is 'what's next'. We need to trust God that He's working out the good during the middle of the story. 
 
I feel that progress occurred last week due to our prayers for a Thanksgiving miracle. No news or proof yet but know God's working. 

Maybe our chart received the last signature. 
Maybe we exited but our agency was closed for Thanksgiving. 
Maybe the miracle looks like us waiting well and praising Him during the wait.
Maybe F adjusted a bit to the idea of us being his family or some healing of his emotions started.
Maybe.......maybe we will not know what our prayers accomplished last week.

But we will continue to pray and praise in anticipation of celebrating each step of this adoption process.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Praying for peace and progress.

Sunday we watched the dedication of two beautiful baby girls in church.

 The sermon scripture was Judges 13: 1- which talks about when Samson’s mother hear from the messenger of the Lord that she would be having a son. 

Needless to say, both of these events caused me to think again about F’s homecoming.

Thankful that despite many protests last week in Port-au-Prince we heard about a referral and an IBESR exit, indicating that the office did open.

Thankful for additional people letting us know that they are praying for a Thanksgiving miracle.


Requests:
  • Calmness in Port-au-Prince, so that staff can travel to work and to work on cases. Election protests tangle traffic, shut offices, and keep people from appointments/work.
  • For staff to focus on signing charts so that both referrals and exits can occur from IBESR, including our chart.
  • Heath and protection for the staff so that they attend to their jobs and get work done.
  • Resources for doing the needed work: people, supplies, time, energy.
  • Protection for our chart. Nothing lost, stained, damaged. No mistakes that will add on time.
  • Praying for wisdom and patience for the staff interacting and preparing F for this big change.
  • Praying that F will not get frustrated with waiting and will continue to have hope about coming home soon.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Growing Hope

Yesterday our message in church focused on persistent prayers.

In the midst of protests causing issues in many parts of the country, including the capital where our paperwork waits to be released, we hold on to hope.

As the staff continue to prepare F for his new family, his hope also grows.

I'll admit to being a bit concerned...OK stressed with our Nov. 11 deadline looming ahead that we would not hear about our extension. Possible travel strikes in Port had been called for today-Wednesday, which could have closed down the Embassy.

I even considered sending a second e-mail with a more dramatic subject despite knowing that they requested patience 'If you have a pending case and are asking for an extension of your deadline to submit the final adoption documents or need a status update on your case, please take note that we answer our e-mail on a first-come first-served basis.  There is no need to send duplicate e-mails. '

Praise the Lord. Early this morning, 9:45 a.m. to be exact, we received our extension. Hopefully the last we will need.

We received two e-mails this week from different members of a small supporting church sharing how they studied in Acts about praying continuously for Paul's release from prison and how the angel took him out of jail. They stopped at that point to pray that F can come home soon. Praying for the chains to fall off and freedom be realized. 

Praying for peace in Port. 
Praying for F and those interacting with him daily.
Praying for the Lord to prepare each of us for the transition to our new family.

Thank you!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Renewal


During the last couple of weeks, I misplaced our small monthly planner, but did not think too much about it.

Today I unexpectedly found it and turned to this week, only to notice that we needed to request our second three-month extension on our USA visa paperwork.

In a few minutes, I copied the last e-mail, changed the date, and sent it zipping off to the proper authorities to start the renewal process.

I prayed as I did it that it would be the final extension we need before exiting IBESR.

Know that my last post contained mixed emotions, that remains our reality.

We are specifically praying that the Lord will grant a Thanksgiving miracle.

The Lord renewed our hope.

Please let us know if you are joining us in intensely praying, if you have not already done so.

We are talking about what would need to happen to prepare for F's homecoming and asking our agency what the transition may look like for our family.

Praying we can exit IBESR soon and that the court steps go very fast so F can come home before long.

Trusting that the Lord will open the doors in His timing. Thank you Lord.

Today marks 3 years, 3 months, and 3 days [according to my widget counter]  since the Lord opened the door on our adoption journey.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sudden Intensity.

During the 15 1/2 months we waited for our match after entering IBESR, the intensity slowly built.

After we passed the one-year mark, the intensity built faster as the time grew short for Eli to be able to attend our socialization visit with us before college.

Those last days before the match were very hard and most of my waking hours, I brought our adoption before the Lord, as the remaining weeks turned into days.

My sporadic journaling shows just three days before our match, that my emotions were intense as I asked the Lord to help me, to let go of my plans and 'to be delivered from the "what ifs"' begging for His will not mine. I asked that He help me be thankful. That entry ends with 'I will provide, yes Lord.'

This time the intensity hit in a moment. We are very thankful for a few hours with F and the information we learned during our recent visit.  We are indebted to the folks pouring love into his life, caring for him physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Nevertheless, he's hurting. Change and transition are hard on all people even when we understand a bit of 'whys', but harder for a child I think.

I'm tired from the transitions in our lives this summer, but ready in mind/body/spirit to start to transition F to our family.

IBESR workers have been working on an issue with wording 'simple vs. plenary' All Blessings International in Haiti  explains if you want more information.

This did not directly involve our case other than using up work time from the IBESR staff.

We did get a chance to talk with the adoption worker from the crèche face-to-face. He told us we did get our approval after our socialization visit.

Now our records need to be looked at and signed by five people, the last being director Mme. Arielle Villedrouin.      

We do not know if any of the five have signed our file. We do know that Mme. Villedrouin took a vacation month in August.

So without August, our count to exit IBESR after our socialization visit is at four months [total time in IBESR at 21 months].

Thankful for staff checking regularly on our chart at IBESR.

Thankful for the knowledge that when we enter courts, it will be in the North, not PAP and should be a much faster step.

Thankful for all the people praying.

Please join us in intensely praying for the thousands of cases in IBESR.
That the Lord will intercede on each child's behalf, and protect them during the wait.
Please pray specifically for F as well.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"The Adoption System in Haiti is a Broken System"

"The Adoption System in Haiti is a Broken System" 

 God's Littlest Angels blog 

 [Blue wording comes from my heart. The black is the latest blog from God's Littlest Angels.]
There are people at IBESR in Haiti who I truly enjoy sitting down with them and talking about adoptions.  They work hard at their jobs and they want to see the system work.  But unfortunately, these few are outnumbered by those who don't care and who never get out of the office and actually see the children on the streets or in the orphanages.  They do not see the benefits to the child and so take their time matching the children and working on their files.  They lose files of the children every day because they don't have a proper filing system in place.
Praying for the staff at IBESR to learn to care, to see the faces of the waiting children, to take pride in work done well and in a timely fashion. May those who work hard and are trying to make the system work be blessed and teach the others.
I may get my hands slapped for giving my opinion here, but I have watched this system for 20 years and truly think the children being adopted are worse off then they were 20 years ago.  Yes, we have less trafficking of children and yes, biological families are more informed about what adoption means for their child, but the children placed for adoption used to stay in an orphanage for 3 months to a year at the longest and now they average 3 years in an orphanage setting and many of them stay longer! Thankful for the positives of less trafficking and more informed biological families but 3 years is to long. F will reach his 3 year mark at the orphanage in November. 
My fastest adoption was in 2001 and took 6 weeks!  Today, we feel blessed if we get a child to their adoptive family in 2 years.  That is just crazy!  It truly should not take that long to declare a child adoptable and then approve their match in IBESR, but unfortunately, it is. Praying for improved timelines, and fewer errors. 
Foreign OAA's or Adoption Agencies, as we call them in the USA, keep sending files of adoptive families to IBESR.  IBESR receives money for each of these dossiers.  Right now, they receive approximately $300 US for each dossier.  We are assuming that there are thousands of dossiers waiting in IBESR for matches.  Maybe, 2,000 to 3,000!  That is a lot of money that has come in to IBESR and very few matches have been made through the adoption office. Praying for those thousands of charts. Praying that ours does not get lost. 
There is not enough trained staff in IBESR to keep the files moving along in the system.  We get some proposals and then nothing for months because the staff is working on other things!  We take biological families for interviews and then they do not do interviews for weeks because the staff is working on something else!  They truly need to get this organized.  There is staff there but not enough are trained in adoptions and the process. Praying for the current staff to receive more training and motivation! Praying for additional well trained staff to join the IBESR. Praying for them to get organized!!!
If agencies would not send dossiers and funds to IBESR, it might be an incentive to get things organized and running smoother.  If creches and orphanages did not take in any children for adoption for a couple of months, then that might also be an incentive to get the children already in orphanages matched!  We have children who have been here since 2010. That is an awfully long time for a child to wait for an adoptive family! Praying for the Lord to provide the answers, how to motivate, how to provide the resources and staff needed. Praying for those who wait. 
This is all so difficult because the creches/orphanages and the agencies all need funds to run their programs.  We must feed the children.  But, the broken system must also be fixed and we have to step back and say fix the system before we send you more money!   Praying for the creches/orphanages and agencies who all need funding to support the waiting children, and to do it well not just get by. 
Help encourage the creches/orphanages to stand firm and not continue to feed into this broken system of adoption. Support all of the creches/orphanages financially so that adoptions are not the major part of what keeps them running and the children fed. Praying that the system can improve.
I do not know what the answer is for the adoption system to improve, but what we are doing now is not the answer.  We were made to believe that adopting the Hague Convention was going to make everything run smoother and be for the benefit of the children.  There were knowledgeable people telling us that this wasn't true and they have turned out to be right.  A child having to sit in an orphanage setting for 5 years or more while there is an adoptive family waiting for them is not okay.  I won't even get started on the US Consulate and USCIS (Immigration) problems that just make adoptions even more difficult.
Please pray for the children, the Haitian Social Service system, IBESR staff, and the orphanages' staff who care for the children.  And let us especially pray that the broken adoption system will be repaired! Lord intercede for these children. Lord, you CAN move mountains. You CAN do miracles. Touch each part of this broken system and redeem the good. Purify and let the truth be known. May the lost charts, paperwork, and people be found. Strengthen the weak. Bring Your children home. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Waiting and praying

 As my parents and Eli look into booking tickets to visit for Christmas, I cannot help but pray that F will be with our family by then.

Hearing the voices of children daily outside our home reminds me to continue to pray for all the Haitian children waiting for adoption paperwork to join their new families.

I am tired of not hearing anything about our adoption, week after week.

I find it hard to put into new words the same requests in an attempt to keep the hope fresh.

As the days of the year continue to add up, I find my hopes for Christmas dimming while I continue to
pray for the Lord to work miracles.

Sadly some families who thought they were nearing the end of their long adoption journeys learned that they may need to return several steps backward and redo some of the paperwork.

This concerns the wording on their adoptions and the USA visa situation so people who did 'simple' adoptions starting back before Nov. 2013, and paperwork does not read 'plenary'.

Any bump in the road that causes cases to have to be resubmitted can provoke delays for the rest of the cases waiting to be dealt with by the same staff.

Thankfully, a few cases continue to move forward, and we rejoice with each family home coming and each family moving up a step in the process.

We continue to pray to exit IBESR and enter the court system. We continue to dream of Christmas as a complete family, knowing the charts, process, timing and each one of us remain in the Lord's Hand.

We pray for the staff and system.

We praise the Lord for allowing us to start this journey, to have met F and his foster families and friends. Praise the Lord for His love and promise to be with us and keep us.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Types of adoption cases in Haiti. Prayer

Because of the changes in the adoption process in Haiti, currently, three different groups exist going through the processes.

Some folks marking their adoption journey by many years, started before the law changed on November 15, 2013.  Because of this, they fall under old law status.

Some families, like ours, started the process and entered IBESR after November, 15 but before Haiti joined the Hauge conference on April 1st, 2014. This second set of transition cases are 'new law, non-Hauge'.

All charts entering the system after April 1st, 2014 need to be Hauge compliant.

As you can imagine having many cases that fall under different laws and different requirements add many layers of complexity to an already complicated and long process.

The workers reportedly are 'perplexed' and not moving many transition cases out of IBESR.

Thankfully some of the adoption agencies working with transition cases are talking together and working to clarify and help move the cases forward.

Please join us in prayer:

  • for IBESR workers and the other steps to be able to keep the different requirements straight for the different types of cases and work in a timely, competent manner. 
  • for the old law cases to move ahead and finally get to bring their children home.
  • for the new law/non-Haugue to also move forward. Praying for F to be able to come home.
  • for the USA visa process and passports to also be working through cases without long delays
  • for the new families just starting the process waiting behind the transition cases.
  • for all the children needing loving families who continue to wait in orphanages. 
  • for the children who can't enter orphanages because there is no room.
  • for the added expense to the orphanages who continue to care for children for years due to the protracted length of the adoption process.
  • for the extra expenses for the adoption families who need to update paperwork expiring because of the long process. 
Thank you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A bit of hope

A bit of hope came our way last week with a request to send our original paperwork for the USA visa process.

We assume that this means that IBESR continues to work on our case and our file is not lost or misplaced.

Next week the director should return from her vacation and we pray that she will start signing charts for referrals as well as for families like ours to exit IBESR and enter the court system for the adoption.

Upon our request we received F's June update on August 12th, which was quickly followed by his August update August 19.

We should receive an update and pictures every two months.

F's first foster family wrote the June update and his new family the second one.

He continues to learn more English, even translating for the new family. F's been healthy and enjoying school.

His aunt visited recently and it was a good visit.

Praying for the paperwork and process.
May the Lord be glorified.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Answers and extension.

After hearing back from F's adoption coordinator, we contacted the USCIS staff in Haiti requesting our first I-600 application extension.

We are very thankful to receive the three-month extension just hours after sending our e-mail!

In addition to this information, we also learned today that F's mother did travel for her appointment at the Embassy.

A report from God's Littlest Angels [link to full report here] contained encouraging news.

As far as we know we remain in IBESR. After we exit we will be in the court system.

  • "IBESR seems to be getting more organized and hiring new people for the adoption unit so that they can keep up with the proposals, the interviews for biological families, and the interviews required with the socialization visit that adoptive parents must make at the beginning of each adoption.  We are so thankful that they finally hired people so that they can finally try and get caught up with all of the work that they have to do!"
  • "Other adoptions that are past IBESR and in the courts are finally moving again too.  We had children stuck in the adoption court where the final adoption decree is written.  They had to change the decree to match the new adoption law.  This took them more than 6 months to get it the way they wanted it but now these final decrees are being issued and adoptions are moving again through the system.  We hope to have several finished in the next month or two."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I-600 application questions

Last week, we received an E-mail from our agency asking if we'd heard anything about our I-600 visa application.

Today marks 12 weeks since of our appointment at the Embassy.

Now being very busy we'd not thought much about this as we assumed that we would not be hearing anything until all the needed documents [15 or so] were turned in as requested.

We also have not heard anything about F's mother going to the Embassy for her appointment.

We knew we needed to ask for an extension before August 25th if not all the documents are turned in by that date and since one of the documents is the adoption decree, we plan to ask for the extension.

But the questions about having obtained a receipt started us thinking and so we sent off an e-mail inquiry? [We received two papers listing the deadline and what documents needed to be turned in, which we turned over to the crèche worker]

The US department of Immigration services does not see any papers for us about an I-600 application.

So we're left wondering....maybe the Haiti office holds all the documentation until they have 100% of the paperwork and then sends them off to the USA?

No word yet about exiting IBESR and entering the courts for our adoption.

Praying and waiting for answers.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Waiting again..

Once again the wait stretches on and the pressure starts to build. No recent word about our paperwork or F.
Monday will mark three years since the Lord prompted us to pursue adoption.

Our time in IBESR now passed the 1 1/2 year mark and continues to grow.

Word on Facebook is that the director will be going on vacation for the month of August.

Please join us in praying that she can focus on signing charts the next 6 business days as her signature is needed on both referral charts and to exit IBESR and enter the court system for the adoption process.

Our wait to exit after our socialization visit will be at ten weeks on Monday.

Prayers:
  • Director Mme. Arielle Villedrouin
  • F's adjustment to the new foster family
  • F's mother going for embassy appointment 
  • IBESR exit
  • Stability during August elections [senate]

Friday, June 26, 2015

Visa appointment and more waiting.

Tuesday F's appointment at the USA Embassy for his visa should occur.

He will be flying to Port-au-Prince with a staff member from the crèche for the visit. Not sure if his mother or aunt will also attend.

No news yet about where our papers are concerning IBESR.

I think that after our visit the social worker needed to complete a report and that now we're waiting for 'Authorization to Adopt' [a document needing 4 signatures] and then we could exit IBESR and enter the lower courts.

 New law states this should occur 10 days after the socialization visit but...some families remain in IBESR more than one year after their socialization visit at this time.

Heard that IBESR hired 10 new people to work with the adoption paperwork. Praying that they learn their jobs well and fast.

 Last week F's foster family of two years returned to the USA and his new foster family moved into the house.
Many people are waiting to exit following their socialization visits as well as folks who continue to wait for a referral.

Also heard that the IBESR director plans to be away for the month of August.

Praying we can exit before but knowing that the Lord remains in control.

Please pray:
  • The transition to a new family in the house. 
  • The new family's adjustment to Haiti as well as to their foster children and the other staff.
  • The adjustment of his first family back to the USA.
  • F's visa appointment on June 30th and travel.
  • The charts [now ours and F's] to exit IBESR with our authorization to adopt.
  • New IBESR workers adjustment to the job.
  • Political stability with senate elections to be held in August.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day Visit

Today we headed out at 7 a.m. for a day trip, to see F and deliver some plants, trees and Konsey II books.

We arrived right at 8:30 a.m. and after greeting / meeting some folks and praying with the visitor staff, three of us headed to the house while Cory remained behind a bit to tell the cook about the chaya we'd brought for lunch.

F came running down the drive once he recognized who we were, immediately asking where Mr. Cory was and could he pull the wagon for a ride.

We spent a bit over an hour with 2-3 of the kids from the house: riding in the wagon, feeding the near by goats; picking guava fruit, swimming [with Eli being requested as he pushes HIGH].

F talks excitedly about getting to ride on a plane soon to Port au Prince with "Kevin" [new foster uncle]. One of the children recently went on the trip, so he's excited to go as well.

He also talked about going to the beach and how much he liked the trip.

I took part of the time to get some pictures and video. Then we walked F along with his foster mom to pre-school.

When I, Kris tried this during our longer visit, he became upset but today thankfully a new child joined the pre-school for the first time and during this distraction, we slipped way.

Anna and Eli reconnected with some of the other missionary kids; Cory planted moringa and chaya cuttings as well as some aloe. I chatted with the foster family about their plans and transition time.

Soon it was time for lunch. Not wanting to disrupt F's normal routine, we only saw him a bit after school and afterward his family left for lunch and nap time.

We visited with some of the staff, another adopting family who received their referral the same day we did, and some short term interns.

Now it was time to go. Following our good-byes we did a bit of shopping near Cap Haitian, stopped by a friend's place in Limbée and connected with another friend.

Home. Tired after a good day.

Prayers:

  • F's transition to a new foster family. Thankful that the other four Haitian children in the home will remain the same as will the nannies.
  • Exit from IBESR and moving on to the lower-court stage of the Haitian adoption.
  • F's visit to the Port au Prince Embassy on June 30th.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Embassy Visit

Yesterday morning we prayed as a family, before Cory and I headed to the truck at 4:30 a.m.

We arrived at the Embassy without any problems shortly after 6 a.m. and joined the line by 6:30 a.m. Far better to be early and not stressing than to arrive late in our opinions.

As we waited, we looked around now and then expecting a worker from the orphanage to come up and introduce himself, but this did not happen. I prayed for him not knowing where he was.

With our appointment letter, we smoothly entered through the security check points and did not wait more than 10 minutes before being called up to the widow to turn in our documents.

The lady who accepted the papers told us with a smile that she was from Port Margot! And she knew the Wesleyan campus and hospital. She helped us complete our I-600 form by answering the few questions we had about our situation.

Then we sat for a longer wait, before being called up again to a window for our interview. Smiles greeted us from this employee as well as she learned how long we'd lived in Haiti, and that we could converse in Creole. Soon we received our paperwork and were on our way.

As soon as we exited the Embassy, we noticed a young man waiting beyond the barrier. He had been told our appointment was at 10 a.m. not 7 a.m.

We talked a bit and noted a couple of things that needed to be looked into or changed. He plans to turn in some of his paperwork today at the Embassy.

On June 30th, F and his mom or aunt have an appointment at the Embassy for his visa. By August 25, if possible, 15 different documents need to be submitted on F's behalf. This includes the paperwork proving that we've adopted F in Haiti.

 If the adoption is not yet complete, then we will need to file an extension. Easy to do we're told, most often several extension periods are needed due to the slowness of the process, but we're praying that F can come home as soon as possible.

At the top of this page under the tab labeled 'Steps' you can find the process as we understand it. Now both phase two [Haitian adoption] and phase three [USA visa] are in progress.

How long?? Only the Lord knows. The very fastest we've heard from someone in the Facebook group is 3 months from socialization to visa...but most people continue to exit IBESR for many months before even starting the adoption process in Haitian courts, so it is possible that we may wait for another year or more.

Keep praying!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Praising the Lord!

On Thursday, May 7, we received an E-mail from our agency asking us to please make a 'quick call'.

Our hopes soared while we tried to hold them back not wanting to be disappointed if the call happened to be about paperwork and not a referral.

PRAISE the Lord! Our referral paperwork was signed on May 5th. While the translation of the letter would take another day, we could read the French, learning our son's name and age.

We do not feel at liberty to share details at this time over the computer, will refer to him as F for now.

We will share that the details came together rapidly and after a phone conversation Friday afternoon with the mission director, we excitedly packed and traveled for our required socialization trip on Saturday.

So in less than 48 hours we received our referral and met him in person!

Very exciting. We stayed on the same campus as the crèche and were able to spend some time in the mornings and afternoons with F and his foster family. 

Cory and I reviewed his paperwork on Monday and then traveled to a notary in Cap Haitian on Tuesday to sign our acceptance letters. The letters were scanned that same day and sent to the agencies. 

During our time, the staff person from Haiti's social services came twice. The first time he watched us interact on the playground with F and some of his friends and the second time he asked us a few questions.

See the normal family blog for other activities during our visit. 

We enjoyed getting to know F, seeing him in various parts of his day, interacting with his foster family and the people on the compound. We learned about his personality from stories and pictures, as well as spending time with him. 

F will not be directly told we're his new family until the adoption is near completion. Then his house parents will start sharing pictures close to when we return to pick him up.  However, he's very observant and smart, so he may have an idea.

Because of this, we tried to act as visitors and play with the other children in the home as well, but our attachment started and grew with every encounter. 

His eyes sparkle with intelligence and mischief many times during the day, so watch out world!

We ask for an Embassy visa appointment the day-after missionary retreat so we would not need to travel again down to Port. [The missionary retreat will be held about 1 hour from the Embassy and over four hours from our home.] 

So we plan to be in line at the USA Embassy by 6:30 a.m. on May 26th. This will be to start the process of obtaining F's visa to travel to the USA and for him to become a US citizen. 

At the same time, our paperwork now along with F's will need to negotiate the various and complicated steps of a Haitian adoption. Only the Lord knows how long this may take, but we heard of a recent case moving very fast from the bonding trip to visa in three months....on the other extreme, some people may still be waiting to exit IBESR and get into the courts for over a  year.

Lord knows. Still praying for His timing.

  • Translation French to English of F's paperwork this week for Embassy appointment
  • Timely Exit IBESR
  • Courts/ Haitian adoption
  • I-600 Visa appointment-next week
  • Translation of home study update and other steps.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Update

Sorry for not blogging.

Late last week we learned of a trip we needed to make and it fit best in our schedule to travel the next day.

So on Saturday we headed out. Anna played on two volleyball teams (15-16 year olds and 17-18 year olds, younger kids can play on the older kids teams, they won one and lost one) in Cap Haitian and then we continued on our trip.

Everyone is doing wonderful and making memories.

Some down time, some scheduled time as we interact with other missionaries as well as have a chance to help by teaching some Haitian staff and neighbors.

Internet is slow.

Becca, Global Partner's member care person for missionary children, will be joining us on Thursday.

On  Monday we plan to return home. Depending on an appointment we're trying to set up in Port-au-Prince we will either travel on Wed. or Thursday. [Wed. if we get a Thursday appointment]

The area retreat will be starting Thursday night as we join all the current Wesleyan missionaries living in Haiti as well as 4 new couples/families working on their support to come.

Thank you for your prayers. Will update when we can but may not be until next week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

God can.

As Watchman Nee put it in The Normal Christian Life:
“It is not a case of trying but of trusting; not of struggling but of resting in him.”

God knows. God cares. God can.

These words came today in a devotional e-mail from the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

I needed to hear them. I know I can't try to rest. I can't work at trusting....not really. I need to rest in Him.

Ask Him to help me trust more, rest more, increase my faith and peace.

As our time in Haiti winds down, I need to focus more and more on the Lord.

Surrounding myself with encouraging music helps to keep away the negative thoughts.

Never dreamed we would be in a race to fit in a bonding trip in the final days of this term...but maybe we are not.

Only the Lord knows if we will get the referral in time to fit in the trip.

Can He? YES, He can.

Will He?? Time will tell. We still want His plan, His timing, His way.

The last couple of weeks a few small issues came to light...with our paperwork, a missing staple delayed our home-study update paperwork, one number off by one means redoing a page, filling an empty spot on a template letter raised false hopes.

Nothing big.

Small frustrations.

Not road blocks, just detours.

Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ups and downs.

No call today....sigh but some adoption paperwork news, both bad and good.

Bad news first.

We asked the agency who did our home study and update to send it for the notary authentication in California before sending it on to my folks. [Then needs translation and then will be sent to the Haitian consulate in Chicago before going to our agency and to Haiti.


Well that was plan A. Today we received the notice that the letter made it to Michigan but when mom sent us the scanned papers one was a letter stating that the home-study could not be authenticated because it was not stapled together.  SIGH.

So many e-mails back to the agency and my folks resulted in Plan B...folks will send all the papers they received today back to the agency who will staple together the home-study and resend it for authentication and then back to Michigan, again.

Good news. We already have the 11 page updated home-study and now the 1 page update scanned so we contacted the lady who translated everything for us back in 2013. She still translates and can get it done in the next few weeks...then when the authentication paper for the notary comes she will do that so we can send both language copies to Chicago.

Will be asking the translator to also translate our 1-page acceptance letter [leaving blanks to be filled in once we know who, when, where....].

Good news. Due to no mail plane coming on Tuesday we received this week's mail today and it included our I-600a renewal from the U.S.CIS, department of homeland security.

Already scanned and send to our agency. Now have until mid-Nov. to get a referral and file for a I-600 before it expires.

I blogged today about the building referral anticipation on our 'normal' blog... here.

Today we entered the 'get creative and change up plans' zone for our bonding trip. While we can still fit in the two week visit to the orphanage we will need to fit some ministry plans into the picture.

Have not heard of any referrals this week but still holding hope out for tomorrow. Thanks for the prayers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daily IBESR visits...


First a bit of review:

  • Our USA agency did not receive renewal of their license to continue to work in Haiti
  • They did confirm that they could complete the cases that entered IBESR
  • Three cases, including ours wait for referral.
  • The agency representative started out visiting IBESR twice a month to check for progress, then twice a week.
Now the cases, within a couple signatures of completing the referral letter could be done any day. 

With the 14 day limit to have the acceptance letter [or refusal] back to IBESR the pressure and responsibility on the representative increased significantly.

Interestingly, IBESR does not call the representative or e-mail the agency to let anyone know about the completion of the referral letter. 

Only when the representative physically shows up to ask will they release the letters. 

So the visits will now be a daily occasion by the agency's representative, increasing the costs.

Some prayer requests:

Representative: Will be healthy. Safety in travel with no strikes or protests to block his path.  Motivation, resources to do the job well. Perfect timing of the visits.

IBESR: Sign papers. Everything done correctly. Work efficiently. Honesty and motivation. 

Paperwork: Done correctly. Not lost. Not damaged. Safe.

Agencies: Again timely and efficient work to get the referral to us. Phone call would come through.
     
Answers: Find answers, in a timely fashion, to questions specific to our unique case [due to living in Haiti]. 

Timing: Any travel needed would work well. Getting things set up and accomplished. Getting the letter back to IBESR in time.

Equipment: That the computers, phones and internet would continue to work well.

Our family: To use this time well, getting done what needs to be done without distractions.

Praying vigilantly, fervently and with gratitude for His plan, His power, His timing. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Still waiting...

Today marks our 15th month in IBESR waiting for a referral and four weeks since the 'keep your phones on' e-mail.

Two days ago marked the 'two months before we fly to the USA' date.

Trying to wait well with complete confidence in the Lord's plan and timing has me asking more and more people for prayer.

I'll confess I find myself frequently reminding the Lord that a referral this week before the bonding trip in the next four weeks would be great. No need to fly back to Haiti for the bonding trip and to postpone/ cancel church visits or appointments. Both Eli and Anna could easier go with us [if allowed by the orphanage]. No additional costs for changing our flights or tacking on an extra trip.

My head knows that the Lord sees the bigger picture, loves us, knows the plan and has the power to execute the plan as He sees fit. My heart longs to jump up and down with hope and joy more than sitting calmly at His feet praising Him while I wait calmly.

I like to pray as specifically as I can but after years of praying for our adoption process, I'm finding myself running out of ways to keep saying, asking, thanking the Lord for the same issues, needs, and wants.

I want to move to the next step. I want to bargain with the Lord to move things along. I want to know facts. However, more than all that I want HIS WILL.

A dear friend who's walked this walk wrote me this last week: "And for the adoption.  I know that your logistics are different from ours here.  But I think every adopting parent has hoops that look impossible and horrible and strike terror to the heart.  But I can't get away from the fact that he led you this far.  And he isn't the kind who takes you into the middle of the Red Sea that is piled up on both sides, walking on dry ground, only to pull a trick and let the water come crashing down.  No.  He will get you ALL THE WAY across.  You WILL hold your children.  He will finish what he started.  He will hold you up until it is done.  And then some more."

So pray for me.

Pray for us, to be content in the wait, knowing 100% that the Lord's way is best. He's actively interceding for our family and our child/children.

Pray that we can praise Him wholeheartedly, giving Him the honor and praise that only His deserves.

Pray we can keep our eyes on Him and not get distracted. That we can focus during our days on the opportunities before us to serve Him with love and joy filled hearts.

He cares for the flowers, animals and knows the hairs on each head. He loves each of us with an unconditional love. He cares for me, you and each life.

Thank you for joining us in prayer.

P.S. Someone on the Facebook group posted that IBESR may start up parent interviews again in May.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Close?

On Tuesday we received an exciting e-mail from our adoption agency that we should keep our phones on as a few families from the crèche we plan to work with in the North received referrals last week.

This step of the process should go something like this:

IBESR signs the last signature needed to our paperwork approving a referral.

At that point the clock starts to click down, as we will have 14 days to accept the referral.

Then IBESR needs to contact the crèche where our child/children live. This unfortunately can take several days. The crèche in turn contacts our agency.

The agency then needs to translate the child/children's information into English. Then the phone call should come.

Once we receive the referral we pray and decide if we will accept. A formal letter stating that we plan to accept the referral needs to be written and then signed in front of a notary.

The letter then scanned-back to the agency, translated and returned in some form to IBESR before the 14 days run out [not sure if that includes weekends or not.

So you can see things will need to move rapidly when we get our referral. For us the notary may mean a long 6 hours or so to the Embassy if we can get an Embassy appointment rapidly.

Encouraging news if it happens soon...as we just read that IBESR may be stopping processing any children's charts for up to 3 months while they work on the 1,200 parents charts waiting at their office.

Please pray!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thankful for a reminder!

After I posted yesterday's update I considered that often filling in paperwork feels better than waiting.

Doing something feels like progress, even when mourning the fact that due to the length of the adoption process, the papers need to be done over.

Checking off the home study meant back to praying for patience...but wait a minute. A small uncomfortable feeling started to surface. That brain itch that tells you that you missed something.

After shutting down the computers for the night and completing our family devotions it came to me.

While Lindsay would send her report to Nightlight, we also needed to send in some papers didn't we?

Back to the computer. Searching the old e-mails. Found it!

Yes, a list of paperwork we need to send in that came in an E-mail the end of January.

Arriving between my parents leaving and our trip to Babaco/LaGonave I neglected to add it to the to-do list. As soon as we returned home Anna became ill, and we prepared and hosted the Warsaw team. The day they left we cleaned for the home study visit the next day!

Thankfully, I remembered last night. This allows us to get the papers filled in, copied and signed for tomorrow's mail run. Tomorrow we will head to Cap Haitian joining a medical team until Sunday afternoon.

Saturday will make two months until our I-600A expires. So a couple of months remain before the deadline but we do not want to cut the deadline close at all.

Nightlight responded rapidly to our request for help. In addition to the papers they need, we will also send the papers that need to go to the USCIS, and they will attach the additional papers and mail it in for us.

We remain very grateful for all the people working on our and our child/children's behalf.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Social Worker visit

Thankful for all the prayers concerning our social worker visit.

Issues that came up while trying to set up  the visit included: no social workers in northern Haiti, finding someone willing to come [one possibility is stateside for the month of March], travel strikes, local protests closing roads, vehicle issues, flight costs, passport/visa issues/finding the time to come, finding a rider...

Despite all these obstacles the home visit occurred this weekend!

March 14, 14 months to the day after our chart entered IBESR.

Someone this week who entered 15 months ago received a referral!

Thanks to Lindsay for packing up son, dog and friend to drive 4 hours to visit us.

She will now write up the one page update needed by Rhonda, our original social worker based in California so that we can proceed with the paperwork to renew our I-600a paperwork.

Request for the I-600a extension will need to be submitted before it expires on May 21.

Monday, Cathy plans to bring our updated information to the post-office to send off to our US adoption agency.

So now, once again....we wait. Pray and wait.