Sunday, November 4, 2012

Exiting IBESR...Finally!!! Hello Parquet!

Craig indicated that we had some additional information...and I will try to share exactly what is going on now. I was out on a walk in the afternoon of November 1st with the dog and I got a call from CAN. Kristy informed us that she had received information that we had exited IBESR (part of the Haiti government's adoption agency)! Praise God! We are moving on to the next step in the process. There are still many steps left to go as I indicated in the last blog...but one more is done and that means so much to us! So now we will begin the Parquet portion of the process. (Pronounced Parkay :) Like the margarine!) Please continue to pray for us that the patience would be ongoing through this process.

Please also pray in earnest this week as we try to finalize plans for a combined mission trip along with a visit to see the boys in February or March for both Craig and I. Pray for God to move mountains so this will work. Two flights to Haiti is much less expensive than four if we can combine the two trips!!! If we cannot do this, we will likely have to divide up and head to Haiti separately. I will go to see the boys and Craig will go on the Mission trip. We would love to do BOTH TOGETHER.  I just can't imagine how bittersweet it would be to hold my boys without Craig there to do the same. My heart hurts just thinking about it. I would also be heartbroken not to get to see the kiddos at So...please pray. We will update when we know what we are able to arrange. God is so powerful...but I must believe that His timing and plan is always greater than my own.

Thank you for your continued prayers...we can definitely feel them!

Praising a God that manages the details!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Have Dispensation!!

We will write about our latest news soon (we were called today (11.1.12) by our agency letting us know that our paperwork is out of IBESR!), but first we need to post the below update written a few days ago.   :)

(Written 10.27.12)

We are pleased to announce to all of those following our adoption that we have had some great news in the last week! On October 23, 2012 we found out that our dispensation had been signed by the President of Haiti! Hallelujah! That is such fabulous news. This is the one glitch that stood in the way of our adoption.

For those of you wondering what a dispensation is....well in order to adopt from Haiti, there are several requirements. We met all of the requirements with the exception of one. We were supposed to have no more than two biological children. Turns out...the Lord has blessed us with three but we were still feeling called to adopt from Haiti. So, up to this point, we have been on a total trust walk. We are many emotions and several dollars into the adventure, and we were fully relying on Him to pull this off. There was a very real chance that the President of Haiti could have decided not to sign the dispensation. Praise God he did! Whew!

We are relieved to know that we are through this step, but unfortunately the road continues to be long. We are still technically in IBESR which is only one portion of the process. After IBESR we will move into Parquet Court, 1st Legalization by the Parquet Court, 2nd Legalization by Ministry of Justice, 3rd Legalization by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Attestation from the National Archives, several reviews, the adoption decree will be granted, the passports will be submitted for, a physical exam will be completed, the Visa will be issued and THEN THE BOYS WILL COME HOME. They will be citizens as soon as they get off the plane. Until that time...we wait....and wait...and continue to estimate that it will be another 6-12 months as we still don't have an end in sight.

Amazingly, the Lord has lifted our spirits and we are still doing well despite the waiting game. I feel like we have been given an extra dose of patience and pray that it will continue. We moved into our new home on the boys' first birthday, October 5, 2012 and have been busy getting settled in. We hope to have some sense of order by the time the boys arrive so we can adapt to twin toddlers as smoothly as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to nest in preparation.

We have also been excitedly preparing to potentially head back to Haiti to see the boys. We weren't sure when we would be able to travel back...but through some amazing generosity and the request for us to accompany a group from our church on a mission team going to work at, we will likely be traveling to Haiti at the end of February and beginning of March. We couldn't be more excited to accompany them on the trip and of course to see the boys!!! We are trying to put the pieces together and are still waiting for confirmation. Please pray for all of the decisions and for the Lord's will to be done in all of this.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I truly believe that it is by your prayers alone that we are doing as well as we are with this waiting process. We love you and hope that you enjoy the most recent photos and stats of the boys!

Elysee (Judah Elysee)
Weight: 9.30 kg (20.5 lbs)
Height: 67 cm (26.3 in)
Head Circumference: 46 cm (18.1 in)

Ellie (Elijah James)
Weight: 8.5 kg (18.7 lbs)
Height: 66 cm (25.9 in)
Head Circumference: 46 cm (18.1 in)

Judah Elysee (Elysee)
Elijah James (Ellie)

Blessings to each of you,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On the President's Desk!!!

We got a new update on the boys on August 20th, 2012. It had the most recent measurements for the boys. The results are as follows:
Elie (Elijah)
Weight (kg): 8.80
Height (cm): 66.50
Head Circumference (cm): 45
Chicken Pox: i think he had it while his parents were here

Elysee (Judah)
Weight (kg): 8.40
Height (cm): 66.0
Head Circumference (cm): 45
Chicken Pox: no, but had a few; not a full breakout

It is always so nice to get the monthly updates. It is nice to know that they are growing...but it would be more wonderful to be there holding them! Hmmm...and even more wonderful to be HERE holding them!!!! I can't believe how empty my arms feel sometimes...crazy, because they are usually filled with one of my other children!

Every year over Labor Day Weekend, we spend our time at the LifeLight Christian Music Festival as a family. This year was spent with three of our five children and several of our friends. It was a wonderful time of feeling close to the Lord and a blessed time of worship through music. This year, Craig and I often found ourselves near to tears because of the rawness that we are feeling about the adoption. This entire experience is so bittersweet. We are so excited about what the future will hold for our family...but this waiting is a greater challenge than I even expected.

When Leeland got up on stage and sang Follow You, we were unable to keep ourselves from tears. This was the song that came out shortly before my trip to Haiti and I listened to it every day while I was there on my Mission trip. Now that we have traveled to Haiti and spent time with the boys, the song makes me think of my boys and how much I long to be with them. The tears on Craig's face indicated that he felt the same way.

We shared with several of our friends that we were struggling that sometimes it feels like we are stuck in a stage of the process for so long...that we fear that things won't continue to move forward. It is especially difficult when we look at the entire process and see that there are so many steps left to go.

Just when we were beginning to feel overwhelmed with the process...we received an update! God is so good. We received an email on Tuesday, September 4th updating us on the stage we are in at IBESR (Haitian government adoption process). "I am so pleased to give you an IBESR update on  your file! It has been confirmed that your file is waiting for Dispensation in the President's Office. I am hoping to receive more details about the date it arrived to the President's Office soon."

This means that our paperwork is seriously sitting on the president of Haiti's desk waiting to be signed. A law for Haiti adoption states that you can't have more than 2 biological children when adopting from Haiti. The Dispensation is a document that gives us permission to adopt the twins despite the fact that we have three biological children.

We wrote to Kristy at CAN to clarify what part of the IBESR process the Dispensation gets signed to determine if we are close to the end of this stage and she wrote back, "Generally yes, Presidential Dispensation is the last step before IBESR issues approval. The Presidential Dispensations are printed in the Le Moniteur publication and then after publication IBSER is able to grant approval. I am not 100% certain this is for every single case but for most families they exit IBESR after receiving their Presidential Dispensation." This is encouraging! We are moving in the right direction! Now we just need to find the patience to continue moving through this slow process.

So....we are busy trying to distract ourselves. We have been in the process of building our home and have been watching as piece by piece the house is coming together. We are thrilled that we are getting so close to moving time...and amazed at God's perfect timing of having the closing on the house on the twins' birthday! It will be so special to move in and create the nest for these two little ones!

Please pray that everything goes smoothly with the process at IBESR, and that the adoption and house will move forward...and quickly if that is God's will! We have been so blessed with such amazing support on this journey and thank each of you for your love and prayers! We can feel them!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


It has already been several months since we last wrote. I think that if I wait much longer to try to piece my thoughts together...I will inevitably miss several key points. The last we shared with you, we had just returned from our incredible trip to Haiti as a family. Our return home was smooth and painful all at the same time. The regular day to day events continued as prior to our trip...but the heart-rending separation that we felt was very powerful. One of the most difficult parts of being home was not knowing when we would be able to return.

Shortly after returning home from Haiti, we discovered that the International Adoption Counselor, Erin, that had traveled with us to Haiti was no longer with CAN. We still don't know what happened, but this was the second counselor transition in less than a year. Needless-to-say...this created a hiccup in the communication process between the orphanage, the agency and us. We had a couple of emails, but we didn't hear anything directly from the agency for almost two months. We received a short update on the boys immediately upon our return with some adorable photos on it, but then nothing....transition is hard.

We spent most of the days following our trip praying that all would go well with the Birth Parent Interview that was scheduled on June 27th. This is where the birth dad tells the US Embassy that his intent is for his boys to be given up for adoption. That they are truly orphans. We also spent our time hoping that the documents that had been missing when we went to the US Embassy would be able to work their way into the hands that needed them. We also were learning more about the process now that our paperwork was into IBESR (Haiti Government Process) and the USCIS (US Embassy/Government Process) portion of our process had also begun. I have found some timelines that I hope to have Craig include onto the blog in the future. I am the emotion behind the blog and he is the brains... I need him to attach the information. Once we will give everyone a chance to look at all of the steps that are still coming. So often we get the question...."Why does it take so long..." I think that seeing the process listed down might give all of us a better picture of why the process is so lengthy. My hope is to then keep the list updated with the dates that those portions of the process have been completed! Our own timeline!

Scranton Street
 We found the month of July full of distractions...we were in the middle of trying to sell a home and build another one with more rooms to accommodate our growing family and give the kids more room to play outside. We were busily trying to keep our home on Scranton Street pristine so we could show it at the drop of a hat and at the same time making dozens of late night decisions for the home we were building on Paddington Trail. It was a busy time...which in many ways was good.

Paddington Trail
Even in the crazy paced process of building...we were stopped in our tracks and thoroughly disappointed when we found out that the boys birth dad did not make it to his US Embassy appointment. We still don't know why...but we received an email on July 18th rescheduling him for August 7. We forwarded the message on to the international agency but never heard anything back. To our knowledge, this was all that we had to do...wait.

Elijah and Judah
Each month there is a team of families that travel down to Haiti. I didn't think about this much beforehand but when the date arrived that the July team was leaving for their trip, I found myself tearful much of the day. My heart was broken and all that I could think of was my boys. Praise God that I have three beautiful children here in Sioux Falls that I could love on in the meantime. We are just really looking forward to the time when we will have our arms filled with five little ones! We were very blessed though because one of the other moms that was on the trip was generous enough to include a photo of each boy. We were surprised to see that they had had their first haircuts!!! Wish I could have been there for that! That is scrapbooking material!

In the midst of waiting...there were more questions that cropped up. We found out that Haiti is likely going to be changing its adoption laws. (Read the Hague Convention Update toward the bottom of our orphanage's news webpage if you'd like: Nothing is done yet, but we are waiting for the information to be clarified. Even the adoption agencies are not sure what to say regarding this...but it might mean changes to the ability to visit our children, have contact with the orphanage or with the staff at the orphanage. Please pray that things go smoothly with this transition if it does come to pass and that it won't be as limiting as everyone fears. Please also pray that the pace of the adoptions will pick up as it seems that some of the glitches in the system might be starting to be fixed (hopefully).

On August 13th, I was at work and received a call from a number that was strange looking and said DC next to it. I don't typically answer personal calls at work and at first thought...nope...better not. But then I thought...that is so weird...DC? So I answered and thank goodness I did. It was the US Embassy in Haiti calling to ask why we had never messaged them back after receiving their email and wondering why the boys' birth dad did not attend his appointments. She informed me that he had missed his August 7th appointment as well. I felt my heart fall and a lump begin to form. She was being very confrontational and I really didn't have any great answers for her..."I didn't know that we were supposed to message you back." "I am really sorry but I have not been informed of the reason that he did not attend the appointments." "I haven't heard anything from our international agency." It was very overwhelming.

I hate to say it...but I had some very frustrated and even angry thoughts about having been put in that position. We had sent emails to CAN and even had called them but never got a return call or message. So...I decided now was the time to call them. I put in a message to Kristi, the new adoption counselor and then called back to talk to the secretary to make sure that he would notify Kristi of the need to call back today. She called back within the hour. We talked for quite some time and she really did put my worries to rest. She apologized for not calling back sooner. She thought she had already returned the call. I decided that she must be having some difficulties transitioning with all of the families wrapped up in their must be a difficult job. I felt much better..

That night after returning home, we decided to look through the mail and were thoroughly blown away and continued to be blown away every day for about the next week. Someone (we still don't know who) somehow connected with people from our family, our church, and our past encouraging people to send us words of encouragement and love gifts to help with our return trip to Haiti. We received anywhere between 2 and 4 letters each day and the tender messages brought us to tears repeatedly. (especially me) I still tear up when I think about it. This has been a tough journey...a blessed one...but tough...and there is nothing like being lifted up by those that love you and those that you respect. We are so blessed with wonderful people in our lives.

The next day, August 14th, the whirlwind began! I am not sure how else to describe it...emotional...but all wonderful!!! I got a call from Craig in the late afternoon and he shared that we received an offer on the house! It took some negotiating, but we were able to come to an agreement and we sold our home to a young couple that have no contingency and are flexible with their closing date timeline, which allows us to move from one home directly to the other!!! Our God is so faithful! We had been praying for Him to make the transition smooth! He did just that!

Eli and Angie (the US Orphanage Director)
Then later that day, I got a phone call from the international agency, CAN. I was a little nervous at first...but realized it was a good call. Kristi called to tell me that Elijah had taken his first steps earlier that day!! Praise God for this little mover and shaker. He was climbing all over everything and standing up and taking steps along furniture when we were in Haiti in June...we were anticipating an early walker. On August 14th he was only 10 months and 9 days old! What a big boy! I am sure Judah is not far behind.

We also received an email informing us that the next attempt at the birth dad's visit to the US Embassy would be on October 1, 2012. So please, please pray that the agency and orphanage will be able to find him and get him to that appointment. This will help the US portion of the process go much smoother.

So...we are feeling very blessed about right now. Humbled beyond belief and crazy in love with this God that loves us so much that He works out even the tiniest details. We were filled with joy when the closing on the houses was scheduled for October 5th. OF COURSE it would be October 5th. Yes, God IS in the details! That is the twins' birthday. We can't spend the day with them, but we can spend the day preparing a home for them.

Thank you so much for all of the prayers that you all send up to the Lord on our behalf. We feel your prayers! We have been remarkably strong, patient, and trusting through this process. I know that this does not come from me. I am not wired to be strong, patient or trusting. This is all of the Lord's doing! I know that He is hearing our prayers, and your prayers, and He is faithful!

Please continue to pray. Pray for effective communication with the adoption agency, orphanage and governmental processes. Pray for the birth dad's appointment to go well. Pray for peace and contentment in this time of waiting. Pray that we can identify a time to travel to see the boys again. Pray for their health and our health. Pray for the country of Haiti as the poverty is overwhelming. Pray for the Lord's loving hand to come to their aide through the hands and feet of His people. Pray for continued encouragement along the way!

Blessings to all of you...time for rest.
Love, Rebecca
(Link to Photos from our June trip)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Haiti Journal — June 10-16, 2012

It is Wednesday, June 13th, 110 degrees with the heat index, and I am sitting down to journal the thoughts and experiences that we have had so far on our journey to meet the boys. (After day one…the rest of the journal entry was written on the flight home. Too many wonderful moments to soak up while we were in Haiti to make time to journal.) There is already so much to share, and I don’t know where to even start? The last few days have truly been a whirlwind. We left home at 6:15 am on Sunday June 10th for the airport. Jill Peterson drove us there, and we were filled with excitement. We had a 7:30 am flight. We spent much of the day in and out of the air. We had a short layover in Chicago and then landed in Miami, Florida about 2:30 pm eastern time. It took a while to gather our luggage and head out for the hotel. We were tired and decided to have a pizza night with a movie. We walked to Pizza Hut (an adventure in itself in Miami…the lady at the desk said it was three blocks away…turned out it was “three blocks” away…which really meant a mile!) and watched Spy Kid 3-D Game Over. It was then time for bed because the next morning was another early flight.

We left for the airport at 4:45 am on June 11 for a 6:50 am flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We were still very sleepy but totally excited. We had four large suitcases and two carry-on bags to juggle and the kids did a fantastic job helping out. Aiden was a champ manning the two small bags and the girls were in charge of their own large bag. We only got stuck in the elevators about three or four times! Not too bad considering. We would have been able to travel with one big bag and two carry-ons if we didn’t pack supplies for Elijah and Judah. We also had several donations to bring for the orphanage.

It was quite the process filling out the travel documents on the airplane to enter Haiti as our three kiddos handed Sprite and juice and electronics back and forth across the aisle to me. Thankfully the only mishaps were one spilled Sprite and one birthdate mistake on the entry paperwork. We were ready!

A month ago when we found out that we would be meeting the boys for the first time on June 11th, it struck me immediately that we were going to be meeting them on my mom’s birthday. This was so special to me. It felt as though she was watching over us through the entire day. What a blessing.

As we flew over Haiti, it was familiar to Craig and me, but it was an experience watching the kids as they began to see the degree of poverty the Haitian people are living in. Aftyn thought that the shape of the country was “cool”…but it didn’t take long for them to realize that the make-shift huts they were seeing from the air and later alongside the road were actual homes. They said it made them feel sad for the people.

We were met at the airport in Haiti by Angie, who runs the orphanage, and Erin, who is our adoption representative from our international adoption agency. It was wonderful to put faces with the names and voices that we had become so familiar with over the last year. There were ten families traveling to visit their children and six of them were from our agency. Many of them had children with them which was a blessing because we knew that our children would have fun together. We loaded all of the traveling people and luggage into two vans and one tap-tap and headed for the hotel.

When we got to the hotel, Angie informed us that they had had some changes at the orphanage medically in the last week and she needed to talk with us about it. She shared that there were several cases of chicken pox at the orphanage and that they actually had to create a separate room just to isolate these children. She also shared with us that one of the little girls in the infant room had been brought to the hospital the day before and after completing several tests was diagnosed with viral meningitis. I swear that my heart almost stopped. I have worked with people with that diagnosis and know how serious that can be. Knowing that she had been in the same room as the boys was enough to cause me some alarm. I prayed on the spot and knew that all I could do was trust. After the discussion, we had just enough time to check in, bring our luggage into the apartment and then head out to the tap-tap to go pick up the boys from the orphanage.

I will never get used to the driving in this country. It literally feels like an accident could happen at every turn….but it never happens. There are very few rules of the road and people pass at any time, even when cars are in the oncoming lane. I am not sure how, but there must be someway the drivers know who will stop and who won’t. Intuition, I guess. We arrived safely at the orphanage and the lump began to form in my throat almost immediately. All of the families gathered on the front porch waiting to be presented with their children. We were told that we needed to be patient with the process…but were so blessed because we did not need to be patient for long. Eli and Jude were the first children presented to their family! Angie came out with the boys together…one on each hip. Tears were immediately in Craig’s and my eyes. It was the same type of feeling I had when I was walking down the aisle to meet Craig and after the births of each of our biological children. It was surreal…almost like being in a fog of emotion. Many of the other families were snapping pictures of us and I can’t wait to see them. The emotion was so raw.

My initial thoughts were excitement over how small they still are. We knew of them when they were just three months old, and I was a bit saddened over how many months had gone by before we could meet them. I wanted to see them when they were tiny….well….they were still small and oh, so sweet! Craig says that he just immediately thought, “There are our boys!” Angie handed Elijah to Craig and Judah to me. We recognized them immediately. They were beautiful and snuggled into our shoulders right away. We took several pictures with the boys, and then Judah fell asleep in my arms shortly after.

We only stayed at the orphanage for about a half hour as each family was presented with their children and then walked around to tour. It was so much fun to see two of the families presented with children that had been on the waiting child list. I had accessed this list daily while we were waiting for referral and had been praying for each of the children. There was one girl and a set of boy triplets. What a blessing to see their forever families come together for the first time.

The orphanage was just like it looked on the videos online and in the documentary. When we walked into the infant room, there were two women bowed in prayer and two women feeding and holding babies. Several babies were sleeping in their cribs and a few in bouncy chairs. All of the children looked content and the love for the children was immediately evident. This was a huge blessing to me. I have been praying for their care to be wonderful. It will help the time between visits knowing that they are well cared for.

We gathered up everyone and headed back to the hotel with all of our little ones. We went to our apartment and spent some time getting acquainted. Honestly, it was a bit of a rough evening because we were all tired from traveling and doing our best to adjust. Haley and Aiden had some trouble with the Haitian food choices for dinner and this caused a little drama….but eventually everyone had something in their tummy, and we were ready for an early evening to bed.

It was easy getting Aftyn, Haley and Aiden all tucked in and they fell asleep almost immediately. Aiden requested to sleep with one of the little boys while he fell asleep. Judah and Aiden were so sweet wrapped together in sleep’s embrace. Craig and I transferred him to our bed so we could go to sleep. We don’t have any cribs or pack-n-plays, so we decided to sleep together in the queen size bed with the two boys between us.  This was not the wisest decision. Each time someone moved or snored (Judah was a bit stuffy) all of us woke up.

We were also able to experience what it is like when parenting twins and having them on opposite schedules. I am not sure that we were able to sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time. I guess you could say that we made the most of our time on the first day with the boys. Craig and I alternated each night which boy we were caring for so we could have some special one-on-one time with each of them.

We woke on the 12th heavy-lidded and filled with excitement and anxiety over the day’s activities. My stomach was immediately upset, and I decided to start my antibiotic medication. I am not sure if it was the water, the anxiety or just the extreme fatigue but I knew that I would never survive our US Embassy appointment without some sort of medication. We left for the orphanage at 7:00 am to bring Elijah and Judah there so we could head to the Embassy. The nannies were busy praying in the infant room when we arrived. It was touching to see that they start their day there in the Word of God.

We had an appointment at 8:00 am, and we were the only family going to the Embassy that day. We were able to have Erin accompany us which was a blessing as she helped explain each step of the process. There was a line when we arrived there, and we had four different security checks to go through. We had to leave all electronic devices and liquids at the door. The method of keeping track of our items (expensive camera, water bottles, jump drive, baby bottles, etc.) was a little more than primitive. It was a very warm day and by the time that we were sitting down waiting for our names to be called, we were exhausted. We were able to find chairs eventually and spent close to three hours waiting. We were able to present our documents to the U.S. Embassy and had a little more anxiety when we discovered that a few things were missing from our required list. We were supposed to have a photo of each of the boys provided by the orphanage, the G-28 form which gives power of attorney to Pierre Alexis (director of the orphanage) and the twins’ birth mom’s death certificate which still has not been received. There was a pit in my stomach when this was happening, but we were quickly reassured that the forms could be turned in at a later date. Hopefully this will not delay things at all.

I have to say that I have never been more proud of my children than I was during this lengthy waiting time. The kids were so patient and stayed quiet and polite during the wait. We were all thankful when the wait was over, and we were able to go re-claim our items at security and load back into the van with Jackson (our driver) and Vanessa (our security officer).

On the way back to the orphanage, we asked to stop to pick up some bread and peanut butter. The peanut butter we had brought along had to be thrown away at the first security check in Miami’s airport on the way to Haiti. Craig went into the Haitian grocery store and asked for peanut butter and was led to  Tobasco sauce instead. The manager had to come help translate for him and brought him to the butter. Finally Craig found the peanut butter and 9 American dollars later, we had Skippy Super Chunk peanut butter and a loaf of white bread.

We headed back to the orphanage to get the boys. The nannies had taken care of the boys beautifully. Their clothes were changed, they were fed, and they were busy being snuggled by the nannies. It was fun talking to the nannies in our broken Creole/English. The love that they feel for the boys was clear in their eyes. This was exactly what I had been praying to see, and it was such a blessing to my heart.

When we arrived back at the hotel, I was completely exhausted, lightheaded and queasy. I think that Craig could tell that I had used up the last reserves of energy. Eli had fallen asleep on the way home and Craig suggested that I lay down with him. I burst into tears and couldn’t control the emotions that were coursing through me. The extreme heat and humidity made it difficult to sleep, but I was able to rest and this was such a blessing. When I woke up, the apartment was quiet. I peeked into the kids’ room and all three kids were napping on their beds. I went downstairs and Craig was holding a sleeping Judah. He is quiet obviously a rock-star!!! What an amazing husband. I felt refreshed. I sent Craig up to take a nap with Judah, but Judah decided it was time to wake up. I spent the next hour entertaining the twins while the rest of the family slept. It was so much fun to play with them and enjoy snuggles with each of them. It was evident that the boys were already getting attached to us. Every time I stepped out of Eli’s view, he would cry out and come crawling at top speed. When he would get to me, he would pull up on my legs to a standing position and start to try to crawl up my legs. What a sweet boy.

I got the boys changed, sun screened and into their swimming trunks. Then as each of the other kids woke, I did the same for them. Shortly after, Craig came down (with a splitting headache) ready to swim. A lengthy nap, two Tylenol and some refreshing pool water later and the exhaustion began to subside. We played in the pool for quite some time, went back to the room to freshen up and went to the restaurant for dinner. We had rice and beans again for dinner because it was so wonderful the first night. The kids tried the pizza and liked it much more than the spaghetti they tried the first night. Later that night, we noticed that while taking his bottle, Judah was scratching in his hair line quite a bit. We began to suspect that he might be developing the dreaded chicken pox! It didn’t change his sweet snuggles or beautiful temperament though.

The next morning we were able to start the day with breakfast at the hotel. We tried the pancakes and they were wonderful. We had been looking forward to this day because it was the first day that we just got to enjoy being a family. We spent time swimming and playing with the kids all day. It was so much fun being able to watch the twins in all of their moods and providing their every need. The kids were such wonderful helpers. It was fantastic seeing Aftyn, Haley and Aiden bond with the boys and help out with them when we needed it. The twins barely had a chance to cry!!

We met a group later in the day while we were sitting at the pool, and they had an infectious disease doctor with them. He was able to take a quick look at the boys and diagnosed Judah with chicken pox and Elijah with a boil on his forehead. He provided us with Zithromax for Elijah and told us that we didn’t really have anything to worry about…but that Eli would likely end up with the chicken pox as well. Craig and I had both had it already and the kids had each been vaccinated already…so we didn’t have to worry. The mosquitos came out early that evening and we ate quickly and headed back to our apartment to keep from getting bit and possibly getting malaria. It was another sweet evening with the five little ones. Our new, larger family was beginning to feel normal after spending a full day together without the stress of an Embassy appointment. We headed to bed early because we had another appointment the next morning.

We woke up early on the morning of the 14th so we could eat breakfast before going to the orphanage to drop the twins off. One of the first things we noticed was that Eli had a bump on his forehead and we were pretty certain that he was just starting a case of the chicken pox. We didn’t have time to fret over this though because we had an early court appointment along with two other couples and had to leave. One of the other families had offered to watch Aftyn, Haley and Aiden for us and allow them to play with their kids at the hotel while we had our court appointment. The kids really wanted to stay and play, and we knew that this appointment would be relatively short so decided that was fine.

It was a long bumpy drive to the “court house.” Before we arrived, the other families and Pierre Alexis (orphanage director) explained to us that the court house was not like one that we would find in America. It was good that this had been explained because it was strange to push through the crowd of people outside the door as a prisoner in cuffs was forced through the doors as well. We barely entered the building door and there was a person sitting with a spiral bound notebook. She flipped through the pages until she found one that had our boys’ names on the top. Craig and I each signed our names on the lined paper…and that was it! This was the proof that we had traveled to the country to see the boys. Not very official…no dates, proof of identification, or anything. It was shocking. Also shocking was watching the prisoner that had been pushed through the court doors hauling around rebar as part of his punishment. The men in the van took several photos of this.

We then stopped by the orphanage to pick up all of the kiddos. We headed back to the hotel to spend the evening together as a family. We ate lunch together by the pool and played in the water a bit more. I really don’t know what we would have done without the pool.

We also took a moment to sneak outside of the hotel gate to look through some of the souvenirs for sale outside of the hotel walls. We were able to find a beautiful wooden globe and a handmade drum. We also picked up bracelets with a Haitian bead on them for the boys. Later that night, the girls and I were able to go out by the pool to look through the Rubble Wear, and we each found a necklace. They are beautiful and were made from pieces of rubble from after the earthquake. Each one is unique and a piece of art in itself…but even more importantly, they are made by the nannies at the orphanage and the money earned from it helps to restore the homes and lives of these Haitian people.

That night was bittersweet. We knew that we were preparing for the last night with the boys and our hearts were already beginning to break. We snuck in extra kisses and snuggles whenever possible and soaked up every moment.

We tucked in all of the kids and were about to head to bed when I decided to go get some lotion.  Craig was standing in the doorway of the bathroom looking like he had a secret. When I asked him what he was doing, he didn’t answer me. I was a bit nervous and afraid that something was wrong….soon after I learned that he had gone into the bathroom to get ready for bed when he noticed a LARGE cockroach on my toiletry bag. We developed a plan and my hero used his sandal to bat at the cockroach flipping it into the tub where he proceeded to pummel it to death. I would say “poor cockroach” but I am really not sorry. Especially after the next morning when I headed to the bathroom and the cockroach was still in the toilet! It took three flushes to get him to go down he was so big!!! (We promptly made a plan not to bring our bags inside the house when we arrived home until they were thoroughly searched and all of the clothing washed!!)

Amazingly we slept well…fully enjoying the night time feedings with our precious sons.

The morning of the 15th came far too early…with the roosters calling and dogs barking. Eli and I woke up and decided to let the others sleep. We got up and wished the other families goodbye as most of them were heading to the airport at 7:00am. Lots of hugs and shared email addresses and the van pulled away with the other adoptive families inside. I snuggled into Eli and began to cry. I couldn’t believe that the time was already coming to an end. I couldn’t even imagine going back to normal life after this journey.

When I returned to the apartment, Craig and the others had woken up. We decided to head to breakfast and planned to have a lazy day by the pool. It was wonderful watching the kids play in the water together. Our family truly felt complete. There were only three families left at this point, and we were all families that had traveled to meet our children for the first time. It was wonderful talking to each other and encouraging each other.

The day went by much too quickly. I went through all of the supplies in the room to determine what we were going to give to the orphanage and what we were going to donate to one of the other families. They decided to have the wife stay in Port-au-Prince for an additional month to teach at the orphanage and spend time with their sons.

We brought the boys back to the orphanage at 3:30pm and it was truly one of the most painful experiences that I have had. Other than the loss of my mom, I don’t think that I have experienced this type of pain before. It was made even more heartbreaking because I had to watch Craig, Aftyn, Haley and Aiden all experience this same pain as well. We were all unusually quiet on the drive to the orphanage. I held Judah and the girls held Eli on the drive. Getting out of the vehicle, I took both boys in my arms. Heavy hearted and with a golf ball-sized lump in my throat, I stepped up onto the porch of the orphanage.

One of the nannies asked me if she could help me with one of the boys. Through the lump in my throat, I could barely squeak out “Not yet.” Tears began to flow quickly down my cheeks and despite the attempts to slow them or to stop the sobs that shook me, I could not. She nodded and the look in her eyes showed me that she understood. Craig and the other kids gathered around and Craig took Judah from me. Eli had fallen asleep and was all snuggled into my chest. We walked back to the baby room and the nannies watched sweetly as we said our goodbyes. Aftyn, Haley and Aiden were watching us closely as they wrestled with their own emotions but none of them had cried yet. Craig and I had tears streaming down our cheeks as we kissed both of the boys. I tucked Eli into his crib and kissed him one last time. I stole a kiss from Judah and Craig placed him in his crib…but a nanny picked him back up. Somehow this eased the pain a little. We then began the tearful walk to the van to head back to the hotel.

The ride home was painful. It is so hard to fall so madly in love in such a brief time frame and then to have to set those powerful feelings aside as we wait for the paperwork and process to catch up with the emotions. It is impossible to set the feelings aside. I am quite aware that these emotions are going to sneak up often in daily life and remind us of the love that exists for two beautiful boys in a sweet baby room in a modest orphanage in Port-au-Prince. We only pray that the time will go quickly between now and our next visit…and then the time that we are able to bring them home to their forever family.

We got back to our apartment and we all fell apart. Aftyn raced upstairs upset and Craig followed her. They shared their tears and worked though their pain. I sat on the couch with Aiden and Haley. They were both tearful and frustrated that we couldn’t bring the boys home with us. My heart was heavy with the same pain. We cried our way through several squares of toilet paper and then decided that we should channel ourselves into a game of UNO to help transition out of the pain.

We played a couple games of UNO (Aiden very sweetly wanted me to win—my eyes must have been the reddest—and I did win the first game!) We then put on our swimming suits to rest at the pool. I floated on the mattress and the kids did stunts at Craig’s request. They loved it! We also had the opportunity to visit with several people that we had met at the hotel including a woman that volunteered at Maison, the orphanage, early that evening. She said that the boys were doing well, but that she could tell that they had been held for a few days. I am sure that it is a process getting them back into their routine as well.

We ate dinner down by the pool and had our last helping of red beans and rice. It was wonderful and the kids enjoyed their chicken strips and fries as well. We were emotionally drained and decided to tuck in the kids pretty early. We got them settled in and began an evening of packing. It was hard to crawl into bed without a little boy beside me to tend to in the night. I snuggled up next to Craig instead.

We woke up at 6:00 am so we could finish the last minute packing and grab some breakfast before heading off to the airport. It was a beautiful morning and while we were enjoying our freshly squeezed orange juice, French toast and pancakes, Angie snuck up to the restaurant to visit a little and then say goodbye. The van arrived and we headed off for our 9:00 am flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

Everything went smoothly and we were surprised to find that we were loaded into first class seating for the trip to Ft. Lauderdale and then from Ft. Lauderdale to Dallas. After experiencing the poverty of Haiti and struggling with eating due to upset tummies, this was quite a transition back to the American lifestyle. It was nice to be pampered, but we were only able to eat a tiny bit of the food. Thankfully, I was able to store some of it away in my purse to snack on later. You know me, I hate wasting!

When we were in the Ft. Lauderdale airport, I did some catching up on Facebook and posted a status that said, “Broken hearted, but so hopeful. Can’t wait until the checkbook says that we can travel back to Haiti to hold our beautiful boys.” Literally about an hour later, we were waiting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport and they offered a $300 deal to take a bump on Aftyn and my flights. God is so amazing! It is awesome to watch the blessings come when we are in His will. Now we have $600 to help with the next flights to see the boys! We were able to make our connecting flight in Dallas with Craig, Haley and Aiden to Sioux Falls, and it was nice to have the bonding time with Aftyn on the flight to Dallas.

When we landed in Sioux Falls, reality began to hit pretty hard that “real life” was still moving forward even though we had left a piece of our hearts in Haiti with the twins. Jaron, Heather and their girls met us at the airport with a welcome home sign and my heart broke immediately. It is hard to feel home when the heart is divided between two countries. The transition to life as we knew it went pretty smoothly. We attended church the next morning and spent a little time with family for Father’s Day. We were also able to sneak in a refreshing nap before beginning an evening of laundry.

We are still behind in our rest as I write this portion of the journal four days after arriving home. Our hearts are still broken, missing our boys in Haiti. We returned to work and have been trying to catch up on the laundry and household things. We continue to prepare to sell our home and the ground has been broken on the new home we are building. I am thankful that we have many decisions to make and responsibilities as we face this lengthy wait to be reunited with our boys. I only pray that it will make the time go faster.

“Dear God in heaven, please be with our family as we journey down this path of adoption. I thank you for the blessed time that we shared with the twins in Haiti last week. I thank you for the reassurance that you provided that they are receiving incredible care there. I pray that you keep them safe from the diseases and illness that are so prevalent in a third world country. I pray that you would place your healing hand on our hearts as we wait to be reunited. I pray that if it be your will, that you would speed up the process so all of the families worthy of adoption will be united forever with their children. I thank you for giving Craig, me and our biological children the strength and bravery to face the difficulty of leaving the boys at the orphanage. I pray that you come along side of us through this entire process and to go ahead of us to smooth the process in ways that only You can. We love you with our whole hearts and put our faith in You fully. Amen.”

Broken-hearted but filled with joy,


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 2012 trip to Haiti to meet the twins photos!

We will be typing up our journal of our trip to meet the boys shortly, but in the mean time I wanted to share a link to our photos from our trip.  You do not need to have a Facebook account or be FB friends with us to view the pictures.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Over the Moon in June!!!

I am happy to share that late last week we made the decision to take our entire family with us when we travel to Haiti to meet the boys for the first time. We prayed about it and it didn't take long for us to realize that this was the most logical and obvious choice. We really want our Aftyn, Haley and Aiden to deepen their hearts for Haiti and there is really no better way than to travel there and see what it is all about. It will be amazing to see what impacts them the most and how it affects them after we return home to the States.

We will be flying to Miami on June 10th and then will fly on to Port-au-Prince early the morning of June 11th (my mom's birthday) and we will be able to meet the boys that day! We will actually be packing clothes and supplies from home and taking them with us for the boys as well. It will be as if we are their only caregivers while we are there. I think that this will allow for some wonderful bonding time. I am sure that when we are back we will have many stories to share!

The kids found out last Thursday that we are going to take them along and their excitement was priceless! I think that we made the right decision. We have had many decisions to make recently...we have all of the decisions surrounding the adoption and then on top of that, we decided to build a new home on a one acre lot to give the little ones a little more room to explore...not to mention more than a closet for me to do laundry for a family of seven!! It will be interesting to see how it all comes together. I just can't wait for the day that we can bring the twins home to stay!

I am already heartbroken thinking about spending those precious days with them in June only to walk away from them and fly what feels like an eternity from them. I pray that the days will go quickly and that the sorrow won't be too deep. I pray that the care that they are receiving will be wonderful and perfectly evident to us while we are there so we have no worries over their care when we return home to Sioux Falls. Please join me in prayer over these items. Also, continue to pray for the health of the boys. We haven't received any new updates, but know that it is always best to be bathed in prayer!


I have been reading a wonderful book called "Kisses From Katie." I highly recommend it. It is beautifully written and touches the heart a little bit more with each page. It is an auto-biography about a girl named Katie from Tennessee that decided to do a mission trip to Uganda her senior year of high school. She then decided to go for a year and ended up adopting fourteen little girls over the next several years in Uganda. It is an amazing account of a girl being called by the Lord to do His work and her challenges and many blessings through the process. I am only about halfway through the book but was very moved by a passage she wrote about adoption. I would like to share it here:

"I knew that one of God's purposes in placing me here was to grow in me, through my children, this heart for adoption. In an effort to be real, I will tell you: It was hard. Being a mother of six at age nineteen was just plain exhausting sometimes. But God continued to show me that adoption is His heart, and it was becoming mine.

Adoption is wonderful and beautiful and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced. Adoption is also difficult and painful. Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the Gospel in my living room. And sometimes, it's just hard.

As a parent, it's hard not to know when your daughter took her first steps or what her first word was or what she looked like in kindergarten. It's hard not to know where she slept and whose shoulder she cried on and what the scar on her eyebrow is from. It's hard to know that for ten years yours was not the shoulder she cried on and you were not the mommy she hugged.

As a child, it's hard to remember your biological parent's death, no matter how much you love your new mom. It's hard to have your mom be a different color than you because inevitably people are going to ask why. It's hard that your mom wasn't there for all the times you had no dinner and all the times you were sick and all the times you needed help with your homework. It's hard when you have to make up your birthday. It's hard when you can't understand the concept of being a family forever yet, because your first family wasn't forever.

Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world. And every single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God's heart. His Word says, 'In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will' (Ephesians 1:5). He sets the lonely in families. The first word that appears when I look up adoption in the dictionary is 'acceptance.' God accepts me even, just as I am. And He wan'ts me to accept those without families into my own. Adoption is the reason I can come before God's throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--to the praise of His glorious grace.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to 'help out these poor kids.' I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded and because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it.

God was showing me His heart and His Word in new ways right there in the life I was living though the children I was serving. Armed with this new sense of who He is and who I was as His servant, I continued to try to give myself away in every circumstance. I wanted to do God's work, let Him display Himself through my life, and change my world as much as possible every single day. Most days, that didn't include anything other people would find impressive. It simply meant being faithful to the people and the responsibilities God had given me."


There was another section of the book that broke my heart for the orphans throughout the world that continue to wait for a family to love and be loved by. As we have moved through this process, several people have mentioned to Craig and I that they had thought about adopting a child at one time or another, but there was always a reason that stopped them from moving forward. A reason why they had not followed that leading. Some said it was too expensive, they were getting too old, they already had 2, 3 or 4 children, or that they would be overwhelmed or too anxious. Well...I have to say that all of these reasons came into our minds at one time or another during the process of considering adoption. I really believe that those thoughts were the devil trying to convince us to pass up this opportunity. Pass on doing the will of the Lord. I know that adoption is not for everyone. I don't believe for one minute that the Lord is calling every Christian to adopt a child or children. What I do believe is that He calls some of us and that even though we are all ill-equipped to step into this role, He will equip us with the finances, energy, love, space and patience during the process. I fully believe that I do not have these qualities in abundant supply on all days. In fact, I believe that I might be one of the least likely to fit the mold for a model mother...but I know that our Lord uses the least of these to accomplish amazing things. If He could do it with a shepherd, a virgin, a tax collector, and a small boy, I know that He can do it through anxious, weary, stressed out and broken me. I can't wait to watch as His glory shines through our family as we venture into this new territory! May He receive ALL OF THE GLORY!!

Another heart-wrenching excerpt from the "Kisses From Katie" book:

"The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children. And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians.

The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.

This is the Truth. I have the freedom to believe it. The freedom, the opportunity to do something about it. The truth is that He loves these children just as much as He loves me and now that I know, I am responsible."

Today we received some additional wonderful news in regards to our adoption. We knew that the government in Haiti had put a temporary freeze on new dossiers coming into the government from April 30th until June 1st. They wanted to process the ones that are currently in their possession. We did not know whether our dossier had already been in the hands of the government in Haiti or not. We knew it was overseas, but not where it was located exactly. We found out today that our dossier was submitted to the Haiti government on Friday, April 27th.  The last day before the temporary freeze! Hooray! We know that this won't really speed the process up, but it should keep it from slowing down! Praise God!

We will continue to keep you all informed as we receive updates! The boys are now seven months and we should be getting some new photos and updates soon! Thank you for continuing to pray! We can tell that we have some prayer warriors on our side and we are so thankful for you!

Bursting with excitement!

Monday, April 30, 2012

We Have Been Invited to Visit!!!

We are happy to announce that we received a phone call last week to let us know that we are invited to come spend our first moments with our twin boys! We are invited to be in Haiti from June 11-15th. It is a relatively short trip, but we are looking forward to soaking up every moment.

We will be flying out of Sioux Falls some time on the 10th and heading to either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. We will then jump on a plane and head to Port-au-Prince early the morning of the 11th. We are busily trying to make sure that we have all of the immunizations that we need and are beginning to discuss whether to bring Aftyn, Haley and Aiden along on this first trip. I spoke with Erin today and found out that we could bring them along this time if we could work that out. Most of the time will be spent at the hotel with the twins and it would be wonderful bonding time all together. It would also give the kids a chance to see why it is that we are making this choice and for them to have a taste of the twins' culture.

We hope that we will have confirmed our plans in the next day or two so we can get the rest of the pieces lined up. Please pray for clarity in this decision and for wisdom in our planning.

The most recent update that we received on the twins shared the following:

The boys are well.  Boy A was sick last week into this week, but seems to be doing better right now.  Boy 1 is MOVING everywhere!  They are both eating well, and growing.  I don't think there are any teeth yet...but I should check.

We can't wait until we can check on these things on our own. I have a feeling that we will take 5,000 pictures just to capture as many moments as we can. I am really looking forward to spending time as a family!

Thank you for your prayers,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 2012 Update

We are going to be receiving monthly updates on the boys to give us an idea of how they are doing and to get the updates on their growth and development! (Not to mention the adorable photos that accompany the updates!) Before I go into the updates, though, I think it is important to mention how precious it has been to be able to share our boys with our families and friends! We are so thankful for them and the future that we will have together, and it is such a joy to share that with everyone!

The message we received yesterday was brief but sweet. It said (and I apologize for not being able to share their names at this point):

Little Boy #1-Spent some time recovering from diarrhea, but that didn't stop his sweet smile. He didn't gain weight this month, but he's become more active.

Little Boy #A(Craig won't let me label him #2 because he needs to be at the top of his list too)- Continues to move all over the room using his sweet commando crawl. He's working to push himself up on all 4's to continue the movement. He grew a lot this last month, and you can see it in his cheeks.

There were 6 photos included of the boys and 4 of them were of the two boys side by side in their high chairs. It is amazing how quickly they change! They are obviously fraternal twin,s and we are also amazed by how each is his own little man! I can't wait to learn their personalities.

It looks as though Craig and I might be included on the June trip to the orphanage. The May trip is almost full, and we haven't received an invite yet. The June trip is a bit shorter which is a bummer...but the blessing is that it is only two weeks after the May trip so we won't have to wait too much longer! Please pray that we will receive our invite so we can begin our planning.

The excitement is almost unbearable!!! I can't wait to snuggle my two littlest boys!!!!! Until that time, I am soaking up the snuggles with my three biggest angels!! It will be hard to be away from them when the time comes...but I am sure that they won't even miss us because they will be slumber partying at their cousins' house!!!

We will continue to bring you updates as we receive them. The process is sort of at a stand still and much of our "adoption time" is spent figuring out the remaining finances and figuring out our family's plan as we are going to be filling up our house before we know it!!! God has blessed us beyond belief with this beautiful family of SEVEN!!!!  :) What an amazing dilemma!

Abounding with Blessings,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's a YES!

After very little deliberation, but bathed in prayer, Rebecca and I accepted the referral of "our twin boys" today!

I sent the e-mail to Erin at CAN this morning and it still makes me teary-eyed to think of them... all day. We're both SO excited to get the invitation from the orphanage to travel and meet them in Haiti for the first time. We're hopeful that we'll be invited to travel in May or June to see their precious faces in person. Our referral acceptance today, and that first trip down there, will set the Haiti Government's paperwork in motion for the long home stretch. As mentioned in our last update the average wait time from today until we bring them home is 10-12 months. This sounds like a long time and many people get frustrated with that answer and ask, "but why?" My answer is always, if the US were adopting kids out to other countries and going through the legal rig-a-ma-roll it would take us 10-12 years to adopt kids out. So for a 3rd world country that still deals with a lot of paper, instead of computer files and e-mails, that's not so bad. Plus we knew the time frame going into this whole process and we're right on track so we're ok with it.  If God wants us to bring them home sooner, He'll make it happen. Which I pray he does... :)

So, that's it!  We're still learning from our agency and from the orphanage how much we can share about the boys; names, photos, etc so as soon as we're cleared to do so, we'll share; trust me!

Thanks for all of your prayers!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Woo-Hoo!!!  IT IS TIME!!! We received our referral for the beautiful twin boys at 2:45 this afternoon! Erin from the adoption agency tried to call me, but I missed her call and tried to call her back. When I couldn't reach her, I left a message and immediately called Craig to let him know that she had tried to call. I was hoping that it might mean that the referral was coming.Craig answered, and I could hear him talking to Erin in the background on his land line at work!! I listened to their call and quickly realized that the time we had been praying so diligently about had finally come! The referral was happening!

We received the email with all of the medical and social history on the boys shortly after the call, and we have been able to print it out and look through the information...but unfortunately most of the information is in French and my primitive French abilities are not panning out fully. We have sent this paperwork off to be translated and then we will be able to figure out some more of the details. We also plan to have our paperwork looked over by a medical professional to be sure that everything is clear about the decision we are making. So far the specifics that I can figure out by looking at the paperwork look like both of the little boys are healthy! Praise God!

We were also able to gather some of the information about the birth parents and the situation surrounding the adoption. The boys were born on October 5, 2011. On January 10th, 2012, the boys were brought into the orphanage by their birth mom and dad. They stated that the reason that they were giving up their rights for the child was due to their birth mom being sick. We were saddened to find out that 15 days after she dropped her twin boys off at the orphanage, she passed away. What a remarkable birth mom. She was providing a future for her boys even in spite of her failing health.

Craig and I were thinking about this and discovered that we were notified of the twins about 8 days prior to her passing. During that time, I was praying frequently for her because of the painful decision she had made. I never dreamed that she would be going through so much during that time. I will be forever grateful for her thoughtful decision to make sure the boys were safe and provided for.

We are very excited about the steps to come in the adoption...and aren't positive about the length of time that the rest of the adoption will require, but Erin says that on average, the current adoptions out of Haiti have been taking about 12 months from the time of referral acceptance. So we are still bracing ourselves for the rest of the journey...but we are excited to meet the twins and keep that time moving along. We are going to be making our decision whether to accept the referral in the next two weeks and will be sure to notify everyone when that acceptance takes place.

I have to share that over the last week I have struggled a bit more with patience during all of the waiting! There were two days where I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with the slow pace of the process. I was reading a book called "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver and was really touched by the section of the book where it discusses never putting a period where God puts a comma or a comma where God puts a period. I felt that I could really apply that to where I was emotionally with the adoption. I was able to remind myself that God had placed a comma in the process. What was supposed to take 2 weeks, had taken close to 10 weeks...and God never places a comma when it isn't the best thing for His plan! I needed to accept the comma and embrace God's timing...I needed to trust His schedule as much as I trust His character.

"Faith is about how you live your life in the meantime, how you make decisions when you don't know for sure what is next. What you do with yourself between the last time you heard from God and the next time you hear from God is the ongoing challenge of a life of faith."                                                     --CeCe Winans

It was amazing. I felt the peace that only comes from the Lord rest on me....and now....when I was able to believe and obey...He released His plan!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we move further in the adoption process. It has been a pleasure to share this information! We are so excited!

Rejoicing in His plan!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Finally More Information!!!

It was January 19th when we initially received information on the possibility of adopting twin boys from Haiti! We were told that it would probably take a couple of weeks to get their paperwork together so we would be able to receive a formal referral and more information. We knew we had to be patient...but it is amazing how much the anticipation of wanting to know more information...can fill a person with excitement!

We have been waiting patiently now for almost two months! On March 9th, we finally received a bit more information. Unfortunately we are not able to share any of the photos on this site until we have an official referral for the twins...but I can at least share some information...

We received eight photos of the boys and they are PRECIOUS!! So sweet! They appear to be fraternal twins and one of them has an incredible head of hair already! He also has a beautiful smile. The other has a sweet little face and a peaceful expression in each of the photos. We also were told their names and it was startling because one of the boy's names is what we were planning to name one of the boys! The other boy's name is the same name as a young man that we both met when we were on our Mission trips in Haiti. He is an incredible young man of God!

It feels like God has chosen these beautiful boys for us, and we are anxious to be formally referred so we can fully share them with the whole world! We were able to get some additional information today as well. We were provided information on their birthday...which is October 5th, 2011, so they are just over 5 months now. We were told that they are 13 and 14 pounds. The additional information on the twin with all of the hair is as follows: "He continues to get bigger it seems, daily. Has the sweetest disposition, and loves to take everything in." The additional information on the other twin is as follows: "He moves so much! When he's awake, he's moving. He can make it from one side of the room to the other doing an interesting crawl/scoot/pull himself along. Smiles all the time."

Can't help but smile when I think of these little guys! Our kids are so ready for the little additions to come home and Craig and I both feel the same way.

We had additional good news when we returned from Florida because we had a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, announcing that we have been given our final permission from the US to move forward with this adoption. Now we just wait for the referral to come and things will continue to fall into place. We feel so blessed at this time! It is amazing to watch the Lord work in our family! I am so thankful that there is a Divine Creator bringing all of this together!

We will be sure to pass on the good news of the referral when it comes. Things could still potentially change, and we could actually end up with a different referral...but for feels like everything is pointing in this direction! At this point, we will receive monthly updates on the twins and we will share as much of that information as we can! Thank you so much for your continued prayers! We are so blessed!

Resting in Him,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Practicing Patience!

Unfortunately I still do not have any updates to share with all of you. We still haven't had any movement in the adoption. We did get an email earlier this week and were told that the paperwork on the two sets of twins is still coming together. We continue to wait patiently for this information. We were told that it usually takes about two weeks...and it has been just over four since our first getting information on the twins. It is tough at times, but overall we have been able to be patient through the process.

This week we have been getting all of the documentation together in order to get the kids' passports processed. We have taken their photos already and will be filling out the paperwork. I look forward to the day that we will be on our adventure to Haiti together. It will be amazing to have our whole family all together in one place!

The kids are excited about traveling together. I think that their biggest concern is eating rice and beans for the length of their stay. I kindly reminded them that it is way better than the worms and crickets that people eat in some cultures! I think they agreed that rice and beans would be preferred!

Craig is at an adoption support group tonight learning about a family that adopted three children from Haiti to add to their two biological children. We have heard them speak once before when we were in our adoption education process with LSS. It will be nice hearing more about the adjustment process and the blending of biological and adoptive children into one family. We have much to learn, and I am sure the process will be amazing.

We will be sure to update this blog as soon as we get more information. We hope to hear something soon, and I am sure that when we do we will be bursting with energy to share the news with all of you!

Blessing to all of you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

No news is... good news?

Wish I had some fun, exciting news to share with all-ya'll, but I don't. I just wanted to tell you that as I know so many people are praying for us and curious what we've heard.

It was 2 weeks ago today that we were called with the news of 2 sets of twins and the question of whether we'd be interested in twins or not. We've had two conversations with Erin (our coordinator in Texas at our int'l agency), but the only news we've learned is that both sets of twins are healthy, but anemic. Not a huge concern.  The orphanage is working on their paperwork to get both sets officially available and then we'll get more info and possibly an official referral. One of the 4 kids (we don't know if it's one of the boys or girls) had an issue with their birth certificate so it might be taking a little longer for their Haiti paperwork because of that.  That's it; that's all we know. We just keep waiting on God's timing, which will be perfect!

On a different note:  if you have even the slightest inkling/tugging/questioning about adoption, then I'd encourage you to check out former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy's adoption video available for free download! (below) (also, anytime, please ask us ANY questions you might have about our process, we'd love to share and spread the word about adoption!)
Until we know more,

For anyone interested in watching something other than Madonna during the Superbowl half-time show on Sunday, there is a free downloadable 3 minute video about adoption awareness hosted by Tony Dungy. You can also download a free conversation guide for party hosts. Right on!

Super Bowl Winning Coach Tony Dungy Featured In Free Halftime Video Kit for Game Watching Parties -.
This year’s football fans gathering at various watch parties will have access to one Super Bowl coach’s personal thoughts during halftime. A free downloadable video kit is available to local game watching party organizers which features Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Morning phone call...

It's been a while since we've written because things on the adoption front have been quiet since Christmas Eve when our home study arrived at the orphanage. The rest of life not so quiet, but the adoption hasn't had any progress that we've been aware of... until today!

Rebecca received a call from Erin at our International Agency, CAN, at 9:10 this morning. There isn't a ton of information, but here's what she said. In the past week the orphanage has taken in two sets of twins. (TWINS?!?!) Erin was calling to talk to us about the possibility of twins. Our home study said that we are interested in two kids under the age of 5, but we had never discussed the possibility of twins with CAN and she was curious if we'd be up for that. Rebecca told Erin that she thought that would be fine, but had me call Erin back to give her my affirmation as well. I said, "you bet, our whole marriage we've always talked about how cool it would be to have twins." Well, we'll see what God has planned, but this could be it. The two sets of twins are... 6 month old girls OR 3 month old boys!  Little ones! We had asked for kids under 5, but didn't imagine any kids would become available this young.  We'd love to have little ones again, and I think it would help so many transitional issues, but we'll see.  There are so many details to learn and work out yet.

Since both sets are so new to the orphanage they haven't even been through the medical tests yet.  Blood work, physicals, DNA testing, fetal alcohol or fetal drug syndromes, etc, etc. On the phone I had so many questions for Erin that don't have answers yet. It will take a couple of weeks for the kids' paperwork to go through the Haiti government for them to officially be internationally adoptable. At that point if we chose one of the sets and their paperwork was done, we would then get an official referral letter which would make them ours!

Of course that doesn't mean they're ours to bring home.  The road home will still be long... could be 10 months, a year, year and a half, only God knows. IF things were to fall together with one of the sets of twins, we could be traveling down to Haiti to meet them in the next month or two. CAN has travel dates for new families as soon as Jan. 23-27 (doubt we'd be ready for that), Feb. 20-24, April 23-30, May 21-28 and once a month from there out. Once we travel down there and meet them, we would also begin the Haiti's government paperwork while we are there. We would then have to come home without the kids until the paperwork is done processing in Haiti. (which would be tough) Average processing time right now for that processing is around 10 months. We think we'd probably try to get down there at least once with Aftyn, Haley and Aiden while we wait to bring the new kids home.

Speaking of Aftyn, Haley and Aiden; we told them tonight about the news and they freaked out!  They were all SO excited!

Erin told me on the phone that the US missionary at the orphanage has been busy working on matching kids to our family. So no matter what happens with these kids, we're excited to know that progress is being made. Our request for all of you is for your prayers! We're a long way from anything final, but today has been so fun! God may not send either one of these sets of twins to us, we know that, but just seeing some movement in the adoption process is encouraging.

Until we know more...