Sunday, June 18, 2017

Court Clerk Strike

We received an update from our social worker on Friday.

Monday will be 2 months since F’s family returned to court for the additional paperwork.  

While the judge continues to work, all the law clerks are on strike and they need to sign every court document.

 Our agency’s lawyer appealed to one of the IBESR staff on Friday, explaining the difficulties and delays in our’s and a second case requesting special consideration to release our case. 

The case will be reviewed with the current paperwork, the doctor’s reports and certificates, and if both the staff member and the IBESR psychologist concurs our file will be released. 

F continues to do well and has adjusted smoothly to summer vacation from school. 

Prayer Requests:
  • All the paperwork gets turned in next week to IBESR without delay or errors. 
  • That the psychologist concurs with the results.
  • That the review of the case results in the release of our file.
  • That the clerks return to work and are paid or treated fairly. 
  • That the lawyer can make sure things happen in a timely fashion.
  • That the 30 day waiting period can also be waved in our case so we can enter courts soon.
  • Cory’s finger prints to be refreshed
  • That they confirm that Kris’s fingerprints have been found under her legal name and are being refreshed. 

Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, June 5, 2017

'Miracles in motion..'

Still waiting for word about the final judgement and letter for IBESR. The count now at six weeks.

Yesterday while visiting friends we watched a sermon from the Radiant Church... on the 5th chapter of Mark, the Essential Gospel: Part 5 Miracle in Motion
'
After a bit I just had to jot down a few notes...

  • Many miracles do not happen all at once...
  • Delays = Divine Direction
    • invatations to trust
    • greatest oppotunies can come from interruptions
  • 'It is possible' is always accompanied with 'why bother' 
    • truth does not always equal fact
    • ignore the doubters
    • Truth..with God..All things are possible
  • 'Do not fear, only believe'
  • Hard = just a chapter in your story...not the whole story
  • No way....Yaweh! Believe it.
  • Its NOT the end
  • King has one more move...chess game is not over.
Very encouraging for us.

We did recieve good news that our expiring I-600 visa fingerprints can be 'refreshed' or updated without our having to travel for an appointment. Cory's are in process and Kris' will be soon [they couldn't find her under Thede..due to the hyphenated last name!]

Just received our 2 month update on F. He is doing well in the new foster home. Finshed up the school year and transitioning to a summer schedule. Continues to pray about the paperwork and being able to come home.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Another period of waiting...more than a month.

How I long for waits measured by only days...not weeks, months, or years.

We continue to wait for news that the judgement papers are finished and on their way to the IBESR office in Port-au-Prince, now more than a month since the family appeared for their court date.

We wait to hear what we need to do before our I-600 fingerprints expire the end of June.

Thankfully when I was reviewing our emails today I noticed that our prints expire on June 29, not the 21st like I thought and wrote in recent blogs/updates. So a bit more time for things to get worked out.

Our prayers is that either we are told that the fingerprints can just be refreshed without our needing to do anything or that we will be given an appointment at the Embassy to have the prints done again.

Today was F's last day of school for the year. Please pray for him and the other children as they transition to a different routine for the summer.

Saw today on Facebook someone's exciting post about having 'one more signature' before they get their referral. I pray that their wait is short. I doubt that our family will ever again get excited about 'any day now' or 'soon'  in relationship to our adoption...only when we have the facts!

Romans 8:25-28  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Facts from these verses for me:
 1. We do hope for what we do not yet have...F home with us.
 2. We pray to wait patiently as we cannot do it on our own strength so we need the Lord's strength and patience.
 3. The Spirit helps us in our weakness!
 4. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself interceds for us through wordless groans. He Himself cares more than words can express for us and F. Wow..hard to understand but encouraging.
 5. The Spririt inerceds for God's people [us] in accordance with the will of God.
 As much as we want F home and a physcial part of our daily lives we want God's will even more.
6. We do know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.
    We love Him. F loves Him.
    We don't understand how this wait can be the Lord's will and maybe it is not His will but a spiritual battle.
     But we DO know that the Bible is His word and true.
    We know that God keeps His word, in His timing, and it will be for our good.

We will continue to stand on His promises while we wait. We will be grateful for His intercession on our family's behalf. We will pray for His will to be done. We will give Him glory and honor in this journey.

[Flower pictures: Pondering how different the same thing can look in different light. I want to see things through His eyes...in His light!]

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One small step but more prayers needed.

Due to the determination and tenuousness of staff and lawyer, court did happen yesterday but not as expected.

The required family members and staff made it to court, only to find out that the judge did not come due to illness. So they, along with a lawyer, drove to the judge's house....in the end a different judge heard the case so the family members will not need to return.

Next steps as we know them:
  • Judge who heard the case writes up the document
  • Document goes to first judge for final verdict. He writes a letter for IBESR
  • Paperwork goes to Port-au-Prince, IBESR
  • Sign off chart.
  • Exit
  • Wait 30 days!?! This one we do not like! In the past it only took a week. IBESR thinks things go 'too fast' in the north. They go fast because there is only one place doing adoptions vs. many in Port; and they have a good relationship with the northern IBESR staff and everything moves smoothly. 
  • Parquet [lower courts] and adoption decree. These need to be 30 days after IBESR exit.
Time line.. likely 2-3 weeks before paperwork in PAP. Exit ?? 30 day wait. Then a week or so. 

This would put us the end of June, at the very fastest. Looking back at our emails from last year when the new paperwork was asked for....we learned about it on June 29 'IBESR just asked for a new document.' This is the same document that should be 2-3 weeks from being returned to them, 10.5 months later.

One of the reasons was that courts shut down for  three months during the summer.

So some specific prayers:
  • First judge gets the report to the second judge rapidly.
  • Second judge recovers from illness and finishes paperwork.
  • Paperwork to travel safely and without delay to Port au Prince
  • Signature and Exit!!!! 
  • That the Lord would move IBESR to show mercy and pity in our case which will be over 2 years from our socialization visit by the time we exit. A miracle to have them decide not to require the 30 day waiting period..... I think we've more than waited enough in the last 2 years.
  • Have the adoption decree before summer.
  • Cory and my visa fingerprints will expire on June 21st. That renewal will not require travel to Port au Prince or the USA 
F is doing well in school.

P.S. Adding....received a FB comment from another family who's case was in courts last summer in the north and their decree and judgements were signed in July and August. So maybe we would not have to face a 2-3 month wait! Thank you again for the prayers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Third court date try....Monday

Next attempt, third, at court date will be Monday, April 24th. Thank you for the continued prayers. 

Please include prayers for us to be able to wait well, to serve the Lord and worship Him while we wait with growing faith and steady hope. Some days I wonder... I start to think about ‘what ifs’:
  • our fingerprints expiring for the visa in June; 
  • the courts again closing for summer recess without our adoption being done in Haiti which would mean another 3-4 month wait;
  • about moving to Délice [many months down the road, but when a step that should have taken 6 weeks more or less is closing in on the two YEAR mark one gets a bit paranoid!] and needing to update the home-study and all the money and work that would entail.
And I return again to the Lord in prayer, because our hope is in Him. We need His strength, hope, peace, and joy.

Report cards and teacher conferences just happened and were ‘very positive’. And he loves doing puzzles! As does Eli so a fun family activity in our future. He's also transitioning to new living arrangement. Thankful he’s healthy physically.

I, Kris, just started a new book and the first Bible story it talks about is when Jesus asked Peter to put down the nets again after a night of futile fishing. Luke 5:5 “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” I stopped reading, as the phrase echoes in my mind, bringing to mind the old testament story of the fiery furnace..WE know God can deliver us...but if  not, we will still be faithful. 

Lord, help us to be faithful in this journey. Help our wobbly faith to grow strong. Give us the strength to wait well and praise you while we wait. Thank you for encouragement provided by friends, books, and emails.

Yesterday, I went to the email box to read a daily email from [in]courage..that just happened to be about waiting!  The picture at the top was overlaid with this phrase “We can wait with a Promise in our hearts that He is with us and for us!” Amen. “Things are happening in the waiting” Thank you Lord!

Also noticed someone posted a timeline in a Haiti adption group yesterday. I generally try to ignore them as the step we're currenly in generally takes a few months or less and we're nearing the two year mark. But I did look because we would LOVE to attend a family wedding in Michigan in late August as a family of FIVE. Well if you take the longest of time ranges listed for the next steps we could just make it if our case would clear courts on Monday and make it out of IBESR by the end of the month.

Know that the Lord is in control. Know that if He wants us to have a visa by mid-August it will happen! He's our Lord, Savior, and good Father. 


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Friend's encouraging dream..

 A friend wrote today about a dream she had last night from the Lord.

"Happy Sunday. I had the COOLEST dream last night. I was in a theater... like a movie theater, and it was FULL. EVERYONE was praying out loud and ALL the prayers were for F!  It was such a blessing.    Praying for tomorrow! "

My response: "Thank you...making me tear up. Praying here too. For all of us waiting for courts. We could likely fill a theater with all the folks praying for him around the world!"

"I believe that's what I saw in my dream!  It was a BIG theater. Such a blessing. Every now and then Jesus gives me dreams that I KNOW are from him. That was one of them. I'm sure you were there.... probably on stage with Jesus!"

So blessed by all our praying friends. How wonderful to imagine all of us in one place: people who know us, who know F, or who know about our story celebrating the Lord's power that brought us together as a family.

I've been thinking recently about the Biblical widow who Elijah asked to make a small cake with her remaining flour and oil. Did trusting the Lord for provisions get easier after that first time? I'm sure she had prayed and prayed for provisions for herself and family. I'm also sure she did not have a clue how the Lord planned to answer those prayers.

Did she have days she didn't think twice about using the oil and flour or did some days the fear creep back into her mind as she wondered if it would finally be the last?

One way the Lord has already answered prayers during our long adoption journey is for faithfully supplying us with hope and supportive friends for each day. Yes, some days and weeks are easier than  others. But at the end of the day-He's faithful. He's there. He is Love.

The trouble with a drought is that one must survive to the end. It does no good to make it a day, a week or a few years if one does not last until then next harvest time or is able to leave the area.

Each day is a choice. We pray that tomorrow the court case happens and the needed paper is obtained.    If not we will continue to trust in the Lord and praise His name. Prayer is more about reminding ourselves who God is because He doesn't need a reminder about courts. He knows. He cares.

I think as well that praying is in a way prophesying. We are thanking the Lord for future acts on our behalf. For the day that He opens the door for our paperwork to advance. For the day that F can come home! For the day we can travel with F and introduce many of you in person to our youngest son.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Between a rock and a hard place...God is there

African tulip tree at the school
Life is just so complicated, I can't help but sigh and focus on the Lord once again.

He knows so much more than tiny, limited us, and He feels for us who struggle with emotions and confusion.

I once read a blog about someone with extreme health issues who noted that pain is pain. Basically, while some pain is so great that it consumes life, that does not and should not negate the pain of a small paper cut. Both hurt.

It hurts that non-criminal court cases were delayed for a second week. Knowing that children waiting to join families will continue to wait...hurts. Our son lives in a good place, surrounded by people and friends who love him...but it still hurts.

However, knowing that some prisoners live under inhuman conditions, slowly dying of starvation and lack of hope for months to years without a day in court is horrible!

We know that some of these people's only crime is to have angered someone with more power who took revenge by having them put in jail.

I can easily picture a family or church members praying, begging, crying out to the Lord for a day in court to free their loved one... day after day.... week after week.... month to month...and tragically sometimes years.

I think that the children of these prisoners are in a way orphans as well, growing up in a very difficult situation without the missing parent present to love and to help them.

Thankfully the Lord loves us all. He knows how we feel. He is always with us. He has a plan. He is our good Father.

Lord, we pray that you will help the judges and court staff to work effectively and fairly. May justice be served. May the Light of your Truth be seen and strip away the devil's lies and deception. Provide for and protect Your little ones who need You. Turn our eyes to you!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Be still.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So many questions without answers at this point!

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

Doctors Reports

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

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

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

Then we will once again be waiting for our exit.

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

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

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

Keep praying!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Good Byes & Waiting..both hard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waiting does not get easier with practice.

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

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

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

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

Keep those prayers coming!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

One step forward!

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

Apparently the doctors refused to come north.

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

Thank you Lord!

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


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

Day 1115 in IBESR.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 1096. Year Three in IBESR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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