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!