Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Paperwork Arrives in Haiti

We received a Fed Ex tracking number when our paperwork was sent off to Haiti. Craig checked on it yesterday and our paperwork was supposed to arrive in Haiti then. He found out that it actually arrived there on Saturday! Christmas Eve!!! Praise the Lord! How exciting to know that our paperwork has traveled the distance and is now being considered for a match.

We sat at the computer last night going through the links available at the For His Glory website. It was exciting to look at the beautiful children on the videos and pictures knowing that the children that will be chosen for us could very likely be those beautiful children on the website. We are so excited to be paired with the children that will be chosen for us.

It was exciting to read a bit more about the orphanage as well. They teach classes from 9am to 4:30 each day and it is taught in English...so the language transition might be a bit simpler than we anticipated. The web also talks about how important their Bible studies are and I am excited to know that our children will already have a spiritual foundation as well!

It was eleven o'clock before we were able to pry our eyes from the screen. We encourage you to look at the website to pray over these beautiful children along with us. As soon as we receive our referral or any other updates...we will be sure to pass the information along!

Blessings continue to come!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Paperwork Heads to Haiti!

Erin called today and the paperwork has been sent! I was able to talk with her and get a better understanding of what will happen from here on out.

The paperwork should arrive in Haiti at the orphanage or "Creche" (means crib in English) as she calls it in 4-5 days. When it gets there, a lady named Angie will begin to process the paperwork. She will begin looking for children that will match our dossier requirements. She is a missionary there that works full time with the director to evaluate the dossiers and to find matches for referral.

We probably won't get any updates until after the New Year because she will be coming back to the US for the holidays.

When they have found a match for us, we will receive the formal referral. It will be accompanied by a 6-8 page document with all of the information on it pertaining to the children and with several pictures. We will be given some time to consider the referral.

After we accept the referral, they will complete a child study report on the children to be certain that those specific children are prepared for adoption fully.

Once that process is completed, the paperwork will be presented to the IBESR, the area of the Haitian government that works with the adoption process. Typically when other families have gotten to this point, it has been taking about 10 more months to have the adopted children come to the US with their new families.

Once the referral has been accepted and the government has begun processing the paperwork, the orphanage will grant us a travel approval. That will allow us to travel to Haiti to meet the children and to begin the portion of the paperwork that needs to be completed during the initial phase there.

Then we will be allowed to travel up to one time per month to see the children down in Haiti...but we are required to travel there only one additional time to bring the children home. We would love to bring Aftyn, Haley and Aiden there to meet their siblings before they come home, but we are still unsure of how all of this will come together.

We are so excited that the process continues to move forward. It has been such a blessing to see how the Lord is working through this adoption journey in so many people's lives! What a Christmas gift!

Loving the Lord!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Paperwork Heads to Haiti...Steps 3, 4 and 5 are Complete!

Praise God!

We received an email earlier today that our paperwork had already been processed by the Haitian Consulate in Chicago and approval was received! The international agency received our paperwork back at their main office in Austin, Texas and Erin (our adoption counselor) put all of our paperwork back in order again and plans to have it off in the mail tomorrow. We will be getting a call to formally notify us that it is on its way to Haiti!

This is fantastic. This ends the portion of the paperwork process that happens in the states with the exception of the USCIS approval that we are currently waiting to receive. That should be arriving in the next 20 days or so because it takes up to 90 days to process and we sent it in mid-October. Once that is received, we will be fingerprinted one more time and will send our approval off to CAN, our international agency.

We continue to pray that the children that we are going to adopt are healthy, well-cared for and are receiving Christian and Academic schooling. Every day I look on the website to search through the available children. This has been a wonderful opportunity to pray for these children. I have already watched several of them grow in pictures as they have been on the list over the last year. I have also seen many children come off of the list. These kids are either a part of a sibling group, have medical issues or are considered an "older" child. Currently there are four children on this list. None of them meet our criteria. There are many other children that are not on the list, and we can't wait to be introduced to the ones chosen for us when we get our referral.

Last week there were two additional boys on the list and we had been praying for them since last year. They would have met our criteria (age, health, etc) but they are no longer on the list. We were shown that they were not meant to become a part of our family, but I thank the Lord for the privilege of praying for Mackenson and Emmanuel.

I will continue to check this list and to pray over the children on it. Join me in prayer for the remaining four children: Saraphina, Wilson, Naika and Ostin as they wait for their forever families.

We will continue to update as new information comes in. I need to call Erin to find out more information about the process as it moves forward. I am not really certain all of the steps that occur with the paperwork once it gets to the orphanage, Maison des Enfants, and how the process through the Haitian government works.

Once again, thank you for your prayers. I am SO humbled in this process.

Trusting in Him,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Translation is Completed!

We received the email today informing us that we are moving on to the next step in the adoption process. Our Dossier has been completely translated and has been received back at the offices of CAN (Children of All Nations). Erin says that she did all of the prep work that she needed to this afternoon and put the four documents that will go on to the Haitian Consulate in the mail. The Haitian Consulate is located in Chicago. It will be processed there and then the next step is the orphanage in Haiti!

We still haven't received our referral yet but are content with waiting knowing that we are still moving forward in the process. We will be sure to keep everyone informed of any news as soon as we know anything!

Filled with Joy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Running the Race

It is difficult to know where to begin with this post. As a whole, Craig and I continue to do well as we journey through this adoption. Our conviction that this is God's plan for us has not wavered and has only become stronger through the last year. This week has taught me a lot about perseverance and the importance of continuing to run the race that the Lord has put before us.

Our pastor had an incredible message two weeks ago at church about this very topic. His message was very moving and convicting. He encouraged the congregation to think of their faith walk as a race...and then to evaluate what their race looks like. Craig and I have been Christians for a long time now....Craig grew up in a Christian home and has claimed Christ as his own for as long as he can remember. I began to walk with the Lord in fifth grade.

I wish that I could say that from the time I was saved...I have been running the Christian race with every ounce of my energy...I am quite sure that Craig would admit that there have been times of jogging and even walking during his faith walk as well.

Earlier this week, we watched a video of a young woman who moved to Uganda when she was 18 years old, against the wishes of her family, because she was being called by God to do so. She chose to obey God. She is now 21 years old and the sole provider and mother for 13 orphans. Her testimony was incredible. It filled my heart with joy to see how she is using her whole life as a tool to share Christ's love with others...especially with the orphans. This is a young woman that learned early in life to run the race!

The last year has been a huge trust walk for both of us. We are CERTAIN of the calling that the Lord has for us, but it has stretched us in many ways. At times it has been challenging as we have moved through this process, but none of the obstacles or delays has even cast the smallest doubt in our minds. It has only made our determination stronger.

A few days ago, I received two calls in the same evening from well-intentioned family members full of questions about the adoption process. I have to admit that...while I am happy that they love our family enough to be cautious about the decision we have made...it was hard to have so many questions filled with apprehension this late in the process. I felt encouraged at the end of the conversations though when both people commented that they were reassured after our conversation.

We know that this journey is going to be challenging. We know that there could potentially be increased stress, heart-ache, medical issues, attachment issues, sensory issues, and God only knows what else. The education process that we are required to attend prior to moving forward with this process covered all of these areas.

I don't begin to think that I am completely prepared to handle all of these issues perfectly and without difficulty. I know that it will be hard and I am sure that I won't always be the perfect parent. Even though Craig is a wonderful father, I am sure that he will be less than perfect too. I think that it is important to be clear with this...we won't be perfect parents....but we will BE PARENTS. These children that we are opening our home, arms and ultimately our hearts to will be given more than they have ever known. They will be given a home, a family, parents, siblings, a church family, schooling, nourishment and whatever medical care they might need...but most importantly, they will be given LOVE.

I can't imagine living a life without these things. It is truly a privilege and a blessing to US to be called to love sacrificially. We are willing to move forward in this adoption process despite the possible issues that might arise. It is God's calling to care for the orphans. Some would say...why you? We say...why not us? We know that with God's help...this has the potential to be the most amazing experience our family has ever been through together.

We understand the worries that people are having. Nothing you might think of or worry about will be something that we haven't already considered. We ask that instead of using your energy worrying, that you would channel your energy into prayer and support! We love all of you so much and know that we are only able to be doing what we are doing by God's grace and through prayer.

We are still waiting to hear that our paperwork has been fully translated. We are also excitedly waiting for our referral. It is amazing to think that we could be sharing the Christmas season with a larger family even possibly next year! What a blessing! Until that time comes...we will continue to run the race!


Monday, November 28, 2011


I haven't written for a while now...because nothing new has really happened. We know that our Dossier has been received by the translator that will transform our Dossier into Haitian Creole. We have been waiting to hear that it had been completed. Unfortunately we found out late last week that the translator had some type of family emergency and hasn't been able to work on it for a few days. We understand that the translator is back at it, and we will be informed when it has moved on from this stage. We pray that this won't take much longer, but we continue to be patient throughout the process.

We can't help be be thankful as we think of how the Lord has blessed us during this time of Thanksgiving. Craig and I have certainly had times of trial in our lives...particularly through the deaths of our moms, but we are amazed as we look at the profound ways that the Lord has blessed us. We were watching a documentary piece last weekend talking about this young American woman that is 21 years old and living in Uganda as a mother to 13 orphans. Her parents did not understand the drive that she had to do mission work in this way, but she knew that it was the Lord that was moving on her heart. She trusted and followed His path for her life despite other's thoughts.

After watching the video...we reflected on the unique path the Lord has brought us on. It has been incredible watching Him move in our lives and feeling the profound way that it has blessed us in the process. We are excited about this adoption in ways that are impossible to put into words, in ways that it is impossible for those that are not led on this path to fully understand. He has placed a love in our hearts for the orphan that only an adoptive parent can fully understand...and He has done this to prepare our hearts and our family.

Last weekend we decided to do something concrete that would help us to visualize this bond that we share with the two children that the Lord will choose to bring into our family. Everyone in our family put on an ankle bracelet that we will continue to wear until the adoption is final and our Haitian children are brought home.  It will be a precious reminder to pray for these children that their needs will be met while we wait for them, that they would be taught about the Lord, that they would be healthy, safe and loved.

I encourage each of you that have chosen to be prayer warriors for our family and these precious children to do something similar and then to please share that with us as it means so much to our family! We know that this is the Lord's plan for our family, but we are certain that being lifted up in prayer as we continue on this journey can only be a blessing to the process.

Last weekend we also had to go to the store for a few items and decided to look at a bedspread for the second bed in the "Boys' Room".  It was so exciting to purchase a quilt that will be for the one or two little boys that will be added to our family. We now have the mattress pad, blanket and quilt...just need to do a little sheet shopping. I guess you could say that I am nesting. I can't help but smile as I think about this.

Thank you for your faithful following of our family's adventure, thank you for the prayers that are so lovingly lifted up to the Lord on our behalf, and thank you for the support and kind words as we move through the process. Thank the Lord for His willingness to hear all of our prayers, for the tenderness He has for the orphan and the widow, for the promises that He faithfully keeps and that He, through grace, provided a way for us to enter His kingdom into eternity! I pray that each of you truly has this precious relationship with the Father in Heaven. There is no god like our God! Amen and amen!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Steps 1 and 2 are Completed!

I just finally had a moment to sit down at the computer to catch up on the day's emails and was excited to see a letter in the inbox from Erin at CAN. 

She writes, "I wanted to let you guys know that your documents have all been returned from the Secretary of State!  I've just submitted the documents for scanning so that they can be sent to the translator.  Typically, translation takes about 2 weeks. I'll notify you when the documents have been returned by the translator.  When that has been completed, a few documents will go to the consulate for legalization and then your dossier will be shipped to Haiti!"
I am not even sure if Craig is aware of this yet...I am sure that he would have shared this with me. He is at the gym and I can't wait to tell him the good news. It is fantastic to feel the process moving along. That means that we are already through steps 1 and 2 from my last blog.
Over the last weekend, I spent several hours looking through the binder of information that we were given at the LSS Adoption training weekend. It is a lot of valuable information, and I still have much to learn, but I feel that with every day I am more prepared for this transition. 
It is simply fantastic watching God at work through all of this! He knows the plans that He has for us....and we can't wait to see how He allows us to prosper through this experience!
Resting in Jesus, Rebecca

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Waiting Begins...

Early last week we were able to send off our paperwork and now the waiting process has begun. I have a few more specifics to help us understand the process from here on. I spoke with Erin and she explained to me the steps to come.

The paperwork is currently at CAN being reviewed by Erin. So far nothing new has come up, but she is reviewing it just in case we missed something when we emailed scanned copies to her.

After she is done with this process, she will send the documents to the states where they were originated. Most of the documents will go to South Dakota but a couple of documents will head to Minnesota. They will be reviewed by the secretary of state in each of these states and will then be "authenticated". It is like a government notarization process. She anticipated that this will take approximately 10 days once the documents arrive there.

The documents will be sent back to CAN and will be put back together again and then sent off to be translated. Once the documents reach translation, the process of converting English to Haitian Creole or French will begin. This is estimated to take approximately 10 days. (I guess they got a new translator and it is going much faster recently.)

The documents will then be sent to the Haitian Consulate in Chicago. Four of the documents will be sent to them for review and approval. They will review the Application Letter, Psychological Study, Home Study and the Power of Attorney. This process is also going faster lately and will likely take 1-2 weeks.

5 Then the documents will head back to CAN again and be put again into the Dossier form to be sent to Haiti. I really am not sure of all of the steps once the documentation reaches Haiti but will update the process in our blog as I learn more.

I have to say that we are especially excited right now as we know that we could receive the referral at any time. Erin says that as soon as she receives the referral, she will contact us within 2 hours. We will then receive information on the children's description, medical information and a photo. We will then be given some time to pray and consider the referral. She said that sometimes people are able to accept the referral by the end of the same day!

We have already received the travel schedule to the orphanage for 2012. If anyone is ever interested in traveling to the orphanage to meet our children or to do a mission trip...please give us a call. We will see what we can arrange for you! It would be wonderful if more of our family/friends could experience the Haitian culture prior to the adoption but we will be sure to share it with the family even if they aren't able to travel there. We will be taking two trips to Haiti but are hoping for three so we can take Aftyn, Haley and Aiden to meet their siblings and to experience Haiti as well.

We will be sure to provide updates as the process moves forward.

Waiting in prayerful anticipation!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Awaiting Confirmation...

I am happy to say that tonight we finally have the last document in our hands and fully believe that everything is correct. It has truly been a scavenger hunt gathering up all of these documents. The last two have been the biggest struggle.

One of the documents is in its second draft...but was completed by a couple that rarely has time off of work together during business hours and the notarization had to take place at the same time. Life for them of course has been extra busy with visitors to their home and other issues that have arose to make it difficult for them to complete the document.

The other document is literally in its fifth draft and has had so many blunders it is to the point of being comical! On Friday I wrote in the blog that we received this document and that we were one step closer to being complete...only to find out that the notary signed the document as 10-11-2012....and it is only 2011!!! So it had to be redone. After completing the fifth draft and getting it notarized, the document was being transported in a car and LITERALLY BLEW OUT THE WINDOW!!!!  It is a bit crumpled...but intact...and I just can't believe how many obstacles have come up.

Tonight the last document arrived at our house and we double checked the notarization and all of the other dates and information only to find out that the notary dated everything perfectly...BUT FORGOT TO SIGN IT!!! (I think that the devil is trying every way to keep us from getting the paperwork completed because he knows that we will be sharing the Lord with these beautiful Haitian children.)

Thankfully we have been able to keep a sense of humor about it all. Craig grabbed the last document and hurried across Sioux Falls to reach the bank in time to have the notary sign the document. He has now scanned it in the computer and has sent a copy off to the international agency for approval. We gathered up the kiddos and took some pictures of the documents (photos below) and then held hands and prayed over the documents and for our future forever family. We are ready to place them into the mail as soon as confirmation arrives. Usually Erin is able to review the documents early in the day and we might even be able to get them in the mail tomorrow.

Once they are mailed...this process switches gears and we will begin to wait for our referrals. We are so excited for all of the pieces to fall into place.

Please continue to pray for us in this process. Pray for the Lord to guide the referral process and to prepare our hearts for the referrals that will come. Pray for patience for the remaining part of the adoption and for the trips to Haiti in the future. We are so excited!

We are thrilled to share this journey with all of you and can't wait to share our first photo and information about the kids when we are able!!!

Dancing with joy,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homesick for Haiti

This is Craig.

This morning I've been going through my Haiti photos from March 2010 to Photoshop them and format them for Rebecca to scrapbook.  In the process I've really made myself homesick for Haiti, the people and the kids!

This song also popped up on my iTunes (set to random) while I've been working on my photos:

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.

All my needs you have supplied.
When I was dead you gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done
'Cause Faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was she'd
So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

I give all myself.
I give all myself
I give all myself... to you.

And I give all myself.
Yes, I give all myself.
And I give all myself... to you.

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

While doing this I've also had a Facebook messaging conversation with a couple guys from Sioux Falls who have moved to Haiti and are with the kids at the orphanage in Ti-Rivier (not our adopting orphanage, but the one that Rebecca and I each went to). Hearing them talk about the kids and a couple of the guys in the village that I know and the landmarks that I know is really hard. It's been a year and a half since I was there (which is way too long) and I so want to go today to be in Ti-Rivier, but am saving all of the PTO I can so that once we get the call to go and meet our new kids in Port-au-Prince I'll not have to worry about having enough PTO. We'll get to go down twice for the adoption (first to meet our new kids and then back home to wait for our paperwork to bounce around within the Haitian government, then we get to go back to pick up the kids!) and we are praying about going a 3rd time in between the two official visits. The 3rd trip would be to see our kids in Port, but also to bring our three bio-kids to Haiti to meet their new siblings and to introduce them to the country. These visits and the desire to stay home for a little while once our new kids get home will take all of my PTO and then some and so I'm holding myself back from going down there soon.  Which stinks.  Anyway, that's my longing for today.  Below are the pictures I formatted to get as many photos into Rebecca's scrapbook from my trip as possible.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I-600A Document Completed!

Today I got a text message from Craig informing me that he had been able to contact our social worker at CAN and found out that it was perfect timing to send off our paperwork for the I-600A. This is a document that travels to the Department of Homeland Security to allow the United States government to get started on their portion of giving us approval to move forward with the adoption. It went out in FedEx's hands today to be over-nighted to them. It will likely take two months for us to get the approval from them...but could take up to three months. 

Simultaneously...our Dossier will move out of our hands (hopefully soon) and begin the process of receiving the Haitian government's blessing as well. After arriving home today, Aiden got the mail and we had received the employment letter from my company with the newly corrected notarization! So, we are officially only missing one document and when that arrives...the whole packet will be kissed, photographed, prayed over and placed in the mail!

It feels good to be so close to having the next stage of the adoption begin. This has been a long process...but honestly...it has not been stressful. I think that God has given us a spirit of contentedness. Each step in the process moves us one step closer and we truly believe that this will only occur in God's timing...so why not wait patiently. I pray that the patience will continue. I am sure that there will be anxious moments in the future after we have been paired up with our adoptive children and have to wait to bring them home...but I am already praying for patience for that portion of the adoption.

Please continue to pray for us and more importantly for our adopted children. Also pray for Aftyn, Haley and Aiden as they try to be patient with the process. Pray for wisdom that we will know when to bring our children with us to travel to Haiti to meet their brother(s) and/or sister. Pray that the paperwork processing would go smoothly and that there would be no further unrest in the government of Haiti that would delay its processing. Pray for the Lord to bless all those we come in contact with along the way!

Thank you for your faithfulness and constant prayer!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Almost There!

Erin at CAN was able to go through our Dossier items late last week. We heard back from her on Thursday and found out that everything looked good, but we still needed the final version of our psych assessment and two of our reference letters needed to be re-done because of errors that the notaries made. I  guess that we were happy that there were only three items to be reworked. We contacted the three different people to address these issues...and we are beginning to make some headway. Thankfully the psychiatrist was able to finish a new version of our reference letter on Thursday because he left on another mission trip on Friday! Today we received confirmation that the psych assessment letter was acceptable! Hooray! We are looking forward to receiving the last two reference letters so we can send the information in...but it is a blessing to know that we are so close!

It was actually a bit hard to ask for the other two reference letters to be re-done. We so treasure the people that we are asking to do this and know that their lives are incredibly busy. They are graciously working on this for us. 

We are so excited for the Dossier to be put into the envelope and mailed off!!! At the same time we send off the Dossier, we have to send in the US Federal paperwork (I-600A). Then we will be finished with all of the prep work. It has only taken us nine months for this portion of the process!!!

Then the waiting game will begin. We could receive a referral for particular children any time after that point. We continue to pray for our adoptive children multiple times daily. Aftyn, Haley and Aiden are so excited for their new siblings to become a part of our family and they continue to lift them up in prayer as well. It has been such a blessing watching the Lord work in their hearts as they prepare for the changes ahead!

We will be sure to put in an update when the packet is sealed and sent!!!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

So close!

Today I found a new computer desktop background that I wanted to share because I think it's so perfect.  What a great prayer/verse... Psalm 10:12
I also found another cool saying/look.

Tonight I scanned in all of our documents for our "2nd Mailer" or Dossier to e-mail to CAN, our international agency, so that they could check them over via e-mail before we physically put them in the mail to send to them in Texas.  This way if there are any changes that need to be made we're not snail mailing documents back and forth. There are 30 check marks we've made for this round of paperwork and pending the final letter from our Psychologist visit on Monday night we'll be done!!!!!!!!  Praise the Lord!

As soon as we hear back from Erin, our Int'l Social Worker, that everything is good to go, we'll have it all in the mail!

Included in the mailing we were required to include pictures that we've had printed of our family and house that will be sent to the orphanage for the kids to have... how cool!  They are below.  Have a great night!  Craig
Bio kids

"The boys' room"  (it now has a bunk bed, but that's OK)

Dining Room

Downstairs living area

"The girls' room"

Upstairs living area

Monday, September 26, 2011

Getting Even Closer!!!

Today was the scheduled day for our psychological assessment. Craig and I met with the psychologist one at a time tonight starting at 5:30pm. Thankfully he did not come up with any huge indicators that we would not be qualified to meet the needs of an adopted child...or children. So...we are just waiting to have him complete his letters of recommendation and get them notarized and to us! He has already begun his letter and has sent us a draft already!! I think that indicates that it will be completed in the near future.

Over the last few days, we have also received the final copy of the recommendation from our Pastor, my employer and from the Lutheran Social Service representative. That means that once this psych recommendation is received...all we need to do is print 4-6 photos and write out a check.


We are going to make copies of all of the paperwork and also scan it and send the scanned copies off to the CAN International Agency to make sure that we have everything perfect! Once that final look over is completed, we will be able to send it off in the mail! 

We are so excited. There is something special about reaching this stage. I know that the referral could come relatively soon....so there is an anticipation that is growing minute by minute, it seems. We have been praying frequently for the children that we will be adopting. That the Lord would protect them. That they would feel loved and as a part of the orphanage family. That they would be learning some English and more importantly about the love of the Lord. That they would be healthy and safe. Please join us in praying for them! As soon as we know more...we will be sure to update all of you! 

We are SO CLOSE now! We know the waiting will continue...but our paper chase will be completed!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just Six Items Left!!!

Last night, right before turning toward bed, Craig and I sat at the kitchen counter and figured out exactly where we stand on the adoption journey. We have been working so hard to put all of the paperwork in order...and we are finally seeing everything begin to come together. We officially have just six items left on the list! Praise God!!

Amazingly, the most difficult thing left on the list is scheduled to be completed next week on Monday. We will be going in to have a psychological evaluation. Hopefully we will pass with flying colors! I don't think that we are any more dysfunctional than any other married couple! Thankfully.

The rest of the items on the list are basically on their way...or very easy to complete. My employer has a referral letter in the mail and it should arrive any day now. Our Pastor has a referral letter completed and we are going to have a notary meet with him tomorrow to finish that! That is two more items to check off the list.

Another thing we need to do is decide on 4 to 6, 4x6 photos that are a good representation of our immediate family. Hmmm.....thank goodness Craig began the process of going through our thousands upon thousands of pictures to find some good ones. It shouldn't take long now to decide on 4-6 of them and get them printed.

We also had to request some additional copies of LSS's license to be notarized for the Dossier.  Today's email from them said that the notarized copies were in the mail. Woo-hoo!

The last item on the list is to have the final international agency payment (for the Dossier process) prepared and sent off along with the Dossier materials. I just called to clarify on that today and was a bit shocked by the amount. I don't know how I missed the fact that this payment was just around the corner...but life has a way of becoming busy. We know that the Lord will provide and it will come together beautifully.

We fully believe that if the psychologist prepares the documents about our appropriateness for adoption in a timely manner....we could be ready to send in our Dossier as early as the end of next week! I really hope that this will be the case. We have been working on this process since January and it will be wonderful to have our portion of the preparation completed!!!

Thank you again, all of you who have been praying. It has been an incredible journey. It will only become MORE incredible as we move closer to knowing who the Lord is going to add into our forever family. I know that He has the specific children already in mind. I know that they will bless our family in endless ways! Craig and I can't wait to share our hearts with them...and Aftyn, Haley and Aiden talk about how excited they are daily!

Let's hope that my next blog is a celebration that all of the pieces have fallen into place and we have moved onto the next phase of the adoption process... waiting. :)

By God's Grace!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Productive Day!!!

I am weary because it is already past my bedtime, but I know that I really should update the blog about the excitement of the day. We were able to arrange a meeting between our medical doctor and a notary today to get some of our paperwork signed. We got our medical reports signed by the MD and notary and also had the notary finish up several other items!

We finished the tax forms, four G-28 forms, power of attorney, release of information and the letter to the IBESR! I know that that means very little to most people...but to us, it means checking off several items on our Dossier "To Do List". We also stopped and got our 6 passport photos completed for the International Agency. They must use them on our documentation. We already have our regular passports.

I will look at the actual list in the next couple of days and update the number of items that we have remaining. The last large item to be completed is the psych exam that we are having completed next Tuesday. After that, the difficult things are all completed and we just have to tie up some loose ends!

I really can't believe that we have moved through this process so quickly. Some days it feels like forever, but for the most part, I am filled with a patience and understanding. I trust that the timing is perfect and that the Lord is providing for two little ones already that will before long be a beautiful part of our family. I can't wait to see/meet them!

Thank you for all of the prayers and support!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Information on the Dossier Process

This Thursday I had the opportunity to talk with Claire, our social worker with CAN (Children of All Nations) International Adoption Agency to discuss the Dossier (our 2nd packet of information that we're busily gathering) process a bit more. We had the general gist of the process but it was nice to get a few of the gaps filled in so we can tell where we are on the timeline a little bit better.

First off, I learned that Kiki was the individual from the orphanage that was the liaison with the IBESR (Haitian Government body for adoption). So the orphanage is quickly trying to restructure their team to fulfill these duties. Pray that Pierre Alexis, who is going to transition into this role, will make a smooth transition.

I also learned about the sequence of events that will take place with our Dossier once we have it complete. We will send the Dossier off to CAN and they will review the documents. They will then break apart the Dossier and send the pieces of the Dossier to the respective states for the Secretary of State of each state to authenticate the documents. We will have documents going to Minnesota and South Dakota. This can take from a week to a month to get the paperwork back to CAN.

Once this paperwork is sent off, we can get a referral at any time. The people at CAN will work with the orphanage to find two children that would match up with our specifications. This process could take a while if there are not children that are appropriate waiting for a family placement.

When CAN receives the paperwork back from Minnesota and South Dakota, the Dossier will be compiled again and then sent to "translation." It will then be translated into Haitian Creole. This process also is varying in time frame but could be a month or more.

The next step in the process occurs when the Dossier, now translated, is sent to the Haitian Consulate. This is an office in the United States. There are a few Haitian Consulates around the country. Claire says that they vary in the length of time that they take....could be weeks...or months.

The Dossier will be approved and then sent on to the orphanage in Haiti, For His Glory or Maison des Enfants. They will review the documents and then it will be brought to the IBESR or Haitian government for approval. This process has also varied in length of time. It has taken families every where from 4 months to 24 months! Thankfully the process has been on the shorter side recently. We hope this trend will continue now that the new government is in place in Haiti.

Once the Dossier is approved by the IBESR, we will be in the home stretch. We will be able to travel to Haiti two times to complete this process. I am still a bit unclear in the timing of these trips and I am aware that it varies because the time of referral is different for each adoptive family. We will be required to take two trips to Haiti but are allowed to take more if we would like. We will go on the first trip to fill out preliminary paperwork over there and to meet the children.

The final visit will be when we travel there to bring the children home with us. We will be united with the children and will have some bonding time before leaving the country and heading home with our forever family complete. We are so excited for this part of the process. It will be such an adventure.

There is an opportunity to travel to be with the kids between the first and last trip. It is also possible for other family members to come along so they can meet the other kids and to see the orphanage. This would be a wonderful opportunity to learn about the culture for the rest of the family as well.

I spoke with Claire about an overall timeline and she was hesitant to even give me a ball park because it varies so much...but after talking for a while, it sounds like once our paperwork makes it into the hands of the IBESR, it will likely still take about one year or so. I am estimating that the rest of the process will at least take 18 months from now.

We are still feeling very patient. We are just looking forward to finishing with our part of the process. When the paperwork is sitting at our house, it feels like we are the ones holding it up. It is still in our control. Once the Dossier leaves our home, we will be no longer the ones holding it up and we will just have to wait patiently as the Lord guides the process. We are excited to have everything come together, but we know that the Lord's timing is perfect and we are willing to be patient.

We are so thankful for all of the people that show support of our decision to move forward with the adoption. I think that this process and these children will be a blessing to all people that they come into contact with! I can't wait to see how many ways people will be blessed.

Well, that about wraps up the new information that I have received. We continue to work on the Dossier and are excited as the pieces are coming together. Blessings to all.


International Agency's Response to Kiki's Passing

This is the letter that our International Adoption Agency has sent out regarding Kiki's passing away. He truly was an amazing man. Please pray that everything will fall into place quickly for the restructuring process and that the children and staff will be comforted in this time of loss.

Dear Families,

We are very sad to inform you of a great loss for Haitian child advocacy and adoptions.  Jean Kuislen “Kiki” Alexis, who has dedicated his life to the orphan children in Haiti passed away late last week.  It is hard to see how his great shoes will be filled as we look back on and are so grateful for the dedication and support he gave to the children and staff of Maison des Enfants de Dieu

While they are understandably dealing with great grief and sadness over the loss of their friend, support staff, and leader, the staff at Maison and For His Glory are working to pick up where Kiki left off and continue to complete the same important work he has been a part of for many years.  We know the care and dedication to the children will not be compromised and they will continue to work towards their mission of providing support and love to the children in the orphanage as well as assisting in the forming of forever families for as many children as possible.

Many of our CAN families have expressed concern over how this will affect your adoption.  Please be patient and allow the Maison and For His Glory staff to begin the restructuring that must occur due to this unexpected loss.  Adoptions from Maison and Haiti will not be stopped due to Kiki’s passing.  We are certain that the staff will remain dedicated to the important causes that Kiki held so close to his heart. Children of All Nations is awaiting more information on any changes and we will certainly keep families informed as we find out more.

We appreciate every heartfelt and kind word we have received about Kiki and the amazing work being done at the Maison.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dossier Progress

I was sitting down tonight to look at the pile of paperwork that is beginning to form our Dossier. It is mind-boggling at times...but we are going through the list bit by bit. I spent a good 45 minutes just organizing the documents that we have already received and making notes on what we still have to accomplish. I feel so much better about the process when things are orderly. Big surprise, I know. So after I had organized everything, I was able to get a clearer picture of where we are in the process. I have to say that I had a pretty big flutter of excitement after I saw our progress! There are a total of 28 items that need to be collected. We have officially obtained 13 of the 28 and are close to obtaining or in the process of obtaining 10 more! That is a grand total of 23 of the 28 already being addressed! Hopefully the ones that we are working on right now will come through quickly so we can wrap up the remaining 5 items to complete our portion of the Dossier process! Please continue to pray for perseverance. Satan works in such sneaky ways. Even tonight as I sat down to work on a part of one document, the computer had something funny happen that caused the keys to work...but only in slow motion. I am serious. I don't know how to explain it more accurately...but somehow it reversed itself and here I am...one step closer to getting this process completed! Praise God!

Friday, August 26, 2011


I am in tears as I sit here and write tonight. Right before my church meeting this evening I was saddened by an e-mail that announced the news that a man I've only met once passed away last evening. The world has lost a great man, and Haiti has lost a great advocate for kids. http://forhisgloryoutreach.org/kiki 

Kiki dropping us off at the airport in Port au Prince as we left Haiti

I would say I'm devastated by the news and yet it's not a devastation in that I'm lost and beside myself and without hope, but devastation in that Kiki did so much for kids in Haiti that it's going to take multiple people to fill his shoes. At the same time, I'm also very excited by the news and rejoicing because I can only imagine the pile of crowns and jewels that Kiki has just received from Jesus in Heaven!

Rebecca and I both met Kiki in our travels to Haiti in 2010 with http://www.mission-haiti.org/. As Pam said in her e-mail tonight, Kiki was Mission-Haiti's "Haitian Director, best friend, translator, driver, hero to the kids in the orphanage, and everything in between." I only had the chance to meet Kiki at the end of my trip when he drove 5 hours from Port au Prince (where he lived) to Ti-Rivier (where the Mission-Haiti orphanage is), he spent the night at the orphanage with us and then the next day drove us back the 5 hours to Port. That night we stayed at Kiki's house before he took us to the airport early the following morning. It was during this time that I had conversation with Kiki about what my trip would mean for the rest of my life and it was then that I learned Kiki's "real job" (when he wasn't being "everything" to Mission-Haiti) was working for an orphanage in Port au Prince. http://forhisgloryoutreach.org/ Maybe you've seen that link in our blogs before? :)  After Bec returned from Haiti where she met Kiki, and after we prayed about what our trips meant to the rest of our lives, it was him who we contacted about where to start on this journey of adoption. (Here is our letter to Kiki from January 15, 2011 http://we2wits.blogspot.com/2011/07/letter-to-kiki-at-orphanage-in-haiti.html)  We wrote back and forth with him for a few weeks as we learned about the process and who we needed to get in touch with to adopt from For His Glory's orphanage. I thank God for Kiki's help in starting our journey and am saddened at the fact that when we go to pick up our little ones, he won't be there... (sorry, I just "lost it")

I can't explain the lump in my throat and the tears running down my face as I think about the kids at both orphanages that rarely have anything stable in their lives, but who had Kiki and now don't. I remember when I was at the Mission-Haiti orphanage and the kids knew Kiki was coming from Port, they heard the truck coming down the road and when he pulled into the gate they went sprinting for him. I am positive that the kids at For His Glory felt the same way and that they just lost one of their stable, Godly role models. I pray that our future kids are already alive and are at the orphanage, and that they are old enough to have known him and that he was able to impact them at their early ages! If that was the case, then I have high hopes of them becoming great people!

Here is Pam's e-mail from earlier tonight:
This is a really difficult email to write but many of you have heard or met
Kiki. He is our Haitian Director, best friend, translator, driver, hero to
the kids in the orphanage, and everything in between.  Last night he asked
for prayer because he was not feeling well.  This morning I received a call
that he had passed away in the night.

Mike and I are leaving for Haiti and will return on the 4th of September.

Please keep Kiki's parents in your prayers as well as all the children in
the orphanage.

Missing Kiki,

Kiki guided Rebecca's team the 5 hours through the mountains to and from Port on Mission-Haiti's bus. The same bus that broke down about 30 times in the middle of the night on the team's trip back to Port to catch their flight. After leaving the bus on the side of the road to come back and pick up later, Kiki found a Haitian driver with a van to make it to the airport in time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Home Study Completed...and On to the Dossier!!!

It is getting late and I know that I should really be heading off to bed...but I have been unable to update the blog for far too long! Tonight is the night. Craig and I have been working diligently over the last month gathering documents to piece together our Dossier. This process is something that we are learning about as we go, and I think that it is important to share what we are doing.

When we signed on with the International Agency, Children of All Nations (CAN), we were provided information that would help us to get all of the documents and education completed for the adoption. Craig scanned the two different lists that we have been working on so it is easier to explain (above). The first mailer was quite short. There were six documents/tasks to get accomplished before mailing it.

Once the first mailer was sent off, we began to focus on the necessary 24 hours of adoption education we needed to complete. We finished that up a couple of weeks ago. That was a wonderful moment because the completion of the education enabled our local adoption agency (LSS) to put the finishing touches onto our Home Study Report. It was then sent to us for approval and then on to the International Agency for approval. Official approval was received last week!

We then received the information on what needed to be obtained to create the second mailer, the Dossier. This Dossier is the official "portfolio" if you will that will be sent off to the International Agency for approval, then sent on to the State of South Dakota to authenticate all of the documents, then finally, it will be sent on to the government of Haiti. We will then wait to hear back from Haiti through our International Agency, Children of All Nations, for the approval. Once the approval is received, our understanding is that we will be able to receive referrals of children.

We are diligently piecing together the Dossier. There are 28 items to be prepared and we are working our way through them a couple at a time. It was a bit overwhelming at first. The list of 28 items was accompanied by a 56 page explanation guide. It has been very helpful, but it was a bit daunting at first! I had to make Craig stop reading it out loud to me and told him we would have to do one item at a time. Children of All Nations must know how I work because there are several spreadsheets and checklists. We have been whittling them down one at a time.

We had a funny moment this week as we went to the courthouse to have our criminal reports prepared. We had to have a notary along with us and Lisa Blankers (a family friend of Craig's) agreed to accompany us. As she was notarizing our documents, she was a bit concerned because my report was one page shorter than Craig's. I told her that was because my husband actually has a criminal report! Praise God that the numerous speeding tickets are not a deal breaker on the adoption front! It was comical when the kids started asking questions about the tickets...Craig didn't hesitate to blame me for one of the tickets he got back in 1995 driving me to a dance outside of Brookings, SD. Hmmm....seems to me that the cute teenage girl in the passenger seat of....oh yes....MY CAR....encouraged her over-eager boyfriend to slow down! There was discussion about the lights of the oncoming cars and how it was easy to see that they weren't cops. Oops...I guess teenage guys aren't invincible!

Okay, back on track. So we have completed 10 of the 28 items so far. We continue to be working on the remaining items...but nothing is as straight forward as it seems. This is a process and it will be a lengthy process. Craig and I have both had many questions from people wondering why the process takes so long and expressing frustration. We truly are not experiencing any of this frustration at this point. We realize that the adoption of a child...or children in our case...is a huge undertaking. It is necessary and important for the country of origin to have requirements to keep the children safe and to ensure that the placement will be successful.

Of course we are looking forward to our time with the children we will adopt, but in the meantime, we are balancing the adoption paperwork with memory making with our current family! We have been praying for the children that we will be adopting. It is exciting that they are likely already living at the orphanage, "For His Glory." We pray for their safety, their health and their comfort that a forever family is waiting just around the corner for them.

Our first preference is to adopt a sibling set. Currently there are only a handful of children that are in a sibling set. Most of those sibling sets have a much older sibling. Our plan continues to be to have the birth order in our current family maintained. We spoke with the social worker at CAN (Children of All Nations) and she said that there are several children that are not part of a sibling set that are available but not on their website. This was exciting news. Apparently CAN has 13 families waiting to adopt from Haiti! The social worker said that if we were not able to adopt a sibling set, it is likely that we would be able to adopt two children that share an extremely close relationship at the orphanage. We know that the Lord will lead us to the children that are meant to be a part of our family. Craig, myself and the kids are so excited to meet them and share our lives with them!

We covet your prayers as we continue on this journey. Please pray that the pieces of the Dossier continue to fall into place; that the approval of the Dossier will be timely; that the adoptive children will be safe and well-cared for in the meantime; that our family will continue to prepare for the transition to come and that the Lord would continue to use this remarkable journey to bring Him all of the Glory! We are relying on His strength and support every step of the way!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Letter to Kiki at the orphanage in Haiti

                                                                                                            January 15, 2011

Blessings to you Kiki!
Craig and I (Rebecca) met you while we traveled to Haiti with Pam Plasier’s Mission Haiti teams in March and early October of 2010. I was along on the trip when the bus broke down about 30 times on the way back to Port. The evening before we left for Port, I spoke with you about your orphanage and told you that Craig and I have been praying about adoption.
Since our return from these trips, we have continued to pray, and we have spoken with our three children at length about the potential adoption and their opinions. They are very excited as well. We are at the point where we would like to learn more about the steps to move in that direction. We would appreciate any information that would be available to help us finalize on our decision and to connect us with the people that help us make this a reality.
We are looking for a child or potentially two that are siblings that are under 5 years of age. Our youngest is currently 4.5 years old, and we would like an adoptive child or children to be younger than him. Our daughters are 6 and 8 years old.
We spoke with Pam Plasier, and she encouraged us to send you this message so you could help us to answer our questions and begin exploring the process.
We appreciate any advice that you can provide us with, and I am certain that we will have further questions; however, we are certain that the Lord is placing this on our hearts and we are determined to follow His plan for our family.
Thank you and may God continue to bless you for all that you do in His name!

Craig and Rebecca DeWit
4408 East Scranton Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57103

Update June 19, 2011

Craig started this Blog for me about one month ago and my intention has been to back log all of the events that have brought us to the point of adoption.  Now that we have been in the car for ten hours on the way to a family vacation in Colorado, I have finally been able to do just that. We only have to add the photos to the different entries and we will be able to be current in our correspondences.
It was wonderful to reminisce through Craig’s Haiti trip, my own trip and the events that have occurred since our return. We have continued to work locally with Lutheran Social Services in the adoption process. We have now been through two of the three home study visits and have attended a two day adoption seminar to begin working toward the required 24 hours of adoption education.
We met a man when we were in Haiti named Kiki who works at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince called For His Glory/Maison des Enfants and were so impressed by his love for Christ and his mission for children. We knew immediately that our adoption would involve his orphanage. We began to look for international agencies that adopted out from For His Glory/Maison des Enfants. We had the list narrowed down to three agencies. It was a difficult time because we were given different information from each agency.  One of them said that the waiting period was 18-24 months; another 36 months; and still another 42 months. One of the agencies said that they had never done the Presidential Dispensation and another said that they had been working on their first one. We prayed that we would choose the right agency for us.
After much consideration and prayer, we decided to use Children of All Nations (CAN) for our international agency and they have been wonderful. We filled out all of the preliminary paperwork and feel as though we have shared every possible bit of information about our past, present, and future plans. We think that we are about half way through the paperwork chase. Yesterday we sent the most recent mailer back to CAN and we will be instructed when to move forward with preparing our Dossier. The Dossier is the largest part of the paperwork chase. There are about 30 pieces of information that need to be gathered, notarized and verified by the government.  It will be a long and tedious process but it will be so wonderful to see the items being checked off the list. We know that each step will bring our Haitian children closer to their forever family.
Our next step will be to complete the final home study visit on June 27th. Then the local agency will prepare their report on whether they feel we are qualified. There hasn’t been any indication of problems with our paperwork or qualifications.
We will also be requesting certified birth certificates and a marriage certificate as the first portion of our Dossier. We are looking forward to this being complete.
We have some further adoption education that we need to complete. We have online computer education to complete in the next couple of months and this will complete that portion of the requirements to adopt from Haiti.
In the meantime, we have been frequently visiting the website for CAN. There is a list of available children and I have been frequently praying for these beautiful children that might come to be a part of our family…or at the very least are likely friends to the children that will become a part of our family.
Most people have heard that we are looking to adopt a sibling set with two children. I think that most people can’t believe that we are going to adopt two children at once. After much prayer, we knew that if we only adopted one child, we would likely be returning to Haiti to adopt another shortly after. We made the decision to do two at once in the hope that we will be able to keep a sibling group together. We are excited to see how this journey unfolds and are looking forward to the twists and turns along the way! It is amazing to watch God at work!