Monday, December 23, 2013

No news is good news; so news today must equal...

It's not often that I sit down and blog.  As a matter of fact in the 2.5 years that we've been in this adoption process I'm not sure how many blogs are actually from me, Craig. The only times I recall being on here is when Rebecca needed help learning how to post photos. :)

Before anybody reads any further: Everything IS going to be fine. God has a perfect plan which includes perfect timing for bringing the boys home, we just can't see it yet... Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry."

This afternoon we received an e-mail from USCIS (US Immigration), an e-mail that we've been waiting for, for weeks. Judah was submitted to USCIS for his Visa on November 20th. Since then we've been anxiously optimistic about getting his "orphan status" from the US and looking forward to Elijah's birth certificate getting straightened out so that he too could be submitted to USCIS. The e-mail we received today was not what we were expecting two days before Christmas. The heading of the letter read "Notice of intent to deny." WHAT?!?!?

The letter goes on to explain that because of two inaccuracies in paperwork and interviews, the US plans to deny Judah from coming home as an orphan, unless the paperwork can be straightened out within 30 days. The first issue the letter raised is that the birth father stated in an interview with USCIS that the birth mother passed away in January of 2011. Thinking through this, that was 9 months before the twins were born. I can see where the USCIS investigator might question that. In reality she passed away in January of 2012, when the twins were 3 months old. The problem is that the embassy never received her death certificate like we were led to believe they had. Unfortunate. The second issue is that there is supposedly a signature of consent to give up rights for the boys from their birth father, and birth mother in February of 2012. Again, that's a problem since she passed away the month before. I can see why the letter from the US says that our request is invalid, and questionable, but it stings A LOT.

After reading the letter my immediate reaction was confusion (they're denying us?), then depression (this sucks!), then fury (I wanted to lay down in a grocery store isle and kick and scream and throw a tantrum) and finally a calm sigh. I had a Facebook post written up and ready to post that was basically "woe is me." Then as I drove home contemplating posting that, God calmed me and reset my reaction. Really?  What do I have to complain about? I have an amazing wife, amazing and healthy kids, awesome family and friends supporting us, a wonderful church family, a beautiful house, great jobs, etc, etc.  PLUS, this isn't about us and our emotions, the hardest part of this news is that our twins will be living in an orphanage, in a 4th world country without a family holding them for that much longer. How much longer?  I wish I knew.  James 1:2 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

So what's next? Again, I wish I knew. I forwarded the letter to our international agency, our local agency and to our national politicians. We'll see. Our agency quickly responded and said they would follow-up with our orphanage tomorrow and get back to us by Friday. As I stated above, we/they have 30 days to submit the correct/appropriate paperwork to fix this or Judah will be denied orphan status.

What we really want to do is hold our boys! We first met them in June of 2012 when they were 8 months old; then Rebecca and I returned in March of 2013 to see them when they were 18 months old. Since then we've been waiting to go back and visit them so that we could save that extra trip's money and vacation time for bringing them home and bonding as a family of 7. Now, depending on the delay this causes it might be time for an unexpected trip south! Which would make coming home without them again that much more difficult.

The most important thing we can ask for from each of you is to pray for the boys, pray for us and pray for all of this to get straightened out quickly. Pray for our developing patience and for Rebecca's anxiousness about all of this. At times this afternoon she was having a hard time breathing as we worked through the news, but she's good now. :)

I am completely, 100% confident that God "has this" and that His will is what will be best.

Thank you for your love and prayers!

Trying to wait patiently,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Keep on Praying....

I sat down tonight to clean up a few emails and went to delete all of the spam documents and happened to see our new adoption counselor's name in the list just before hitting delete! I quickly entered the message and about flipped out. I saw the letters USCIS and my eyes immediately filled with tears...

Unfortunately it is only fantastic news for one of our twins. Here is the message:


Hi Rebecca and Craig,

I wanted to let you know that Maison has informed me that Elysées (Judah's) file is being dropped off at USCIS today!  They had all of his documents, and they were being delivered as this morning.

As for Elie (Elijah), his birth certificate was never registered, so Maison is having to go through some additional steps to get that fixed.  This is not unusual in the case of twins with similar names, it is just very unfortunate.  However, Maison doesn't expect there to be a long delay, and the problem has been being worked on for some time now.  (9 weeks)

As soon as Elie's file is complete, Maison will take it to USCIS as well.  I will certainly keep you up-to-date as we learn more!


So, not exactly what we were hoping for, but at least the staff is aware of the situation and actively working on it and one of our precious sons is about 6-7 weeks away from his Visa! Today my heart felt so heavy...tears so close. Such frustration in the midst of hope. A truly strange feeling. Difficult but such a blessed feeling. I am certain we are right where God wants us right now.

I listened to a message on AM radio last week and the speaker said that right when you feel like you are about to give up or are on the edge of something beautiful! God is creating a beautiful story in our lives, and who am I to question the timing of each moment.? I trust the Lord to put the pieces together perfectly, and we are more than willing to be His servants. I can't wait to love these boys for Him.

I hope that none of the words that I share on this blog ever deter people questioning whether adoption is in their future from moving forward with the process. This situation is difficult, challenging, stretching, heartbreaking and beautiful beyond words. Let me say that again...beautiful beyond words. I can't even begin to grasp the way that this adoption and Haiti in general have touched our souls and the future of our family. May God use us to create something beautiful, much bigger than we are alone and more than I ever could have ever dreamed.

Please continue to pray. We are on the edge. I can just feel it! I can almost feel my babies in my arms...

Filled with hope,

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Join Us In Prayer...

It is with an optimistic heart that I write this blog tonight. It has been yet another week with no news for us. About two weeks ago now, we received an email informing us that there was another new international adoption counselor on the Haiti cases. This is our fourth counselor in the course of our adoption! Seems a bit excessive to me, but we are trying to be hopeful. The new lady's name is Sarah and apparently she speaks Creole and French and hopefully this will help to expedite our situation.

We received information on September 17th that we had received Judah's document, the adoption decree attestation which comes from the National Archives and essentially is a signature. This was wonderful news because this allows his paperwork to be submitted to USCIS for the Visa process to begin and usually this takes about 6-8 weeks. Unfortunately....Judah's paperwork came without Eli's and so we continue to wait, and wait, and wait... It has officially been almost 9 weeks more of waiting and still no attestation for Eli. (I am absolutely certain that people are praying for us because at this point, I am tempted to rip out my hair and scream...and yet somehow, I don't. Instead I sigh and buckle down for the ride.)

So...on the 8th of November, I decided to call Sarah and introduce myself since I hadn't heard from her yet. She picked up on the first call and was positive, appeared to be proactive and very sympathetic. My first impression of her has been a very good one. She was disappointed that we are waiting with one document left to be signed to complete the Haitian process. She said, "That is unacceptable." She then stated that she would get in touch with the orphanage and call me "next week" with an update. Well, I was going to be patient and then decided to be proactive. I called her on Thursday with no answer, left a message and then didn't hear anything on Friday either. Sigh.

So we continue to wait, and pray, and wait, and pray, and wait some more. This process has been a true test in patience. I feel like we are still doing well...despite the setbacks. This does not mean that there aren't moments where tears flow and frustrations rise, but we aren't letting those moments consume us. We are doing our best to work through them. We still remain hopeful that Sarah will be the one to move this adoption to the finish line.

Please pray for our continued patience, for our emotions to be processed in a healthy manner and for the boys to stay healthy. Please pray that the roadblocks would be removed and the paperwork and process would no longer be STUCK. Please pray that in God's timing we will be snuggling two sweet cherubs and covering them with kisses as we tuck them into bed in their new room. He is an amazing God and we are certain that He hears these prayers and will honor them!

In the meantime, we continue to spend treasured moments with Aftyn, Haley and Aiden. We have been breaking out the board games now that the temperature has begun to drop. We have been snuggling through movies and working as a team to ready the house for the twins' arrival. I broke out the toddler toys so they are within reach and this weekend decided to paint another wall in their room red because it accents their world map perfectly! I thought the nesting was done....but the longer they wait to come home...the more I do! I have a dresser and closet filled with 2T clothing and spent some time this weekend just peeking through the items and day-dreaming. I can just imagine them in their footy jammies scampering about. Maybe, God-willing, there will be a fantastic gift for us at Christmas...

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Daydreaming Through the Details...

There have been almost three years of daydreaming that has led up to this point. I am finally sitting down to the computer to share some of the thoughts that have been brewing in my brain. We have thought at length about the life that the twins currently experience on a day to day basis. They live their lives in a small room with fourteen kiddos and two nannies. They leave this room for some of their meals and then return to this room. They rarely, if ever leave the orphanage grounds which has been their life day in and day out since they were 3 months old.

The transition to our American culture will be quite a shock. When they come home to our family it will be an incredible adventure! They will experience their first flights on an airplane, a night in a hotel, riding in a car seat for the first time and many strange places. The smells, sounds, climate and language will all be different. And of course… they still won’t understand why they are with us. They will probably be wondering when they will be going back home to the orphanage.

After our arrival home, it will take them time to realize that they belong with us now, that this is their new home, and we are their new caregivers (parents). If we have many visitors (just like the orphanage), how will they know whom to trust? If we take them on a lot of outings (church, grocery store, school events), not only might they be overwhelmed, but how will they know exactly where home is? Of course, many of these things they will figure out eventually (and in the process most likely grieve the loss of all that is familiar), but our goal is to allow them to figure out these details quickly… so they can feel safe with us, grow and learn.

When Elijah and Judah first arrive home, we will stay home with them as much as possible (this is called cocooning in the adoption world). We want them to feel comfortable here as their new home, and with us as their new family. This bonding is crucial, and we want the twins to feel loved and connected to us. I will be taking 8 weeks off from work and Craig will be taking 4 weeks off to spend time bonding with the boys. We will then determine if more time is necessary for bonding.

During the first weeks after returning home with the boys, we are going to be watching the twins closely to see how they are handling all of the changes in their environment. Craig and I naturally are very social people and fully know that there is a good chance that we might need to sacrifice our social nature for building this crucial connection. We will need to watch these cues to determine when we feel it is appropriate for us to take the twins to church, grocery shopping, errands, or any other public place where they could be touched, prodded or become completely over-stimulated.

Adoption professionals recommend that a child be cocooned (or intense therapeutic parenting time) for 1 month for every year that child was not with you. That puts Judah and Elijah at about 8 weeks of “therapy” IF they come home this fall at 2 years old.

During our time at home together, we will cuddle...listen to music, cuddle some more. Play little games, learn to speak each other’s language…cuddle. Tickle, massage, read books and play in the hot tub. More cuddles. Eat, try to make lots of eye contact and cuddle some more.  Hopefully play in our back yard a lot, eventually go for walks or to the park. Get them used to our dog, and (hopefully) figure out how to help them sleep well. We will hold them, bathe them and give unending hugs and kisses. We will be the ones getting them food and drinks at all times. Craig, Aftyn, Haley, Aiden and I will be the ones providing all of their needs.

We will be cautious at first with visitors...we will need to begin with close family only and then we will gradually progress to a larger circle of friends when we feel the twins are ready for that. Believe me when I say that when we come home with the boys, I will want to show off their handsome faces to all of the people that have been praying us though...but we have a responsibility to do this right...and we only get one shot at this. Please, please do not be offended when we tell you that we can't let you hold the twins for the first few weeks when they get home.

The twins missed out on developmental stages that they would have naturally had if they would have been in our family from day one. We need to be the ones to hold them, change them, feed them and comfort them for a very long time. It is almost like reversing the clock so we can give them all of the nurturing and love that they missed. The twins are used to being independent and this might be a tough transition for them. They will be learning how to be a part of our family.

I have to say that it is fun to be daydreaming through the details of this transition. We are in the final stages of the process, and we want the transition home to be everything that God would like it to be. We continue to wait for one piece of paper...the adoption decree attestation for Elijah...then we will be submitted to get the boys' Visas. Please continue to pray for patience as we experience delays in the process and for God's perfect timing. We feel a peace about the adoption on most days, but as the timeline grows, there are definitely difficult moments in the midst of the peace.

Daydreaming and nesting,

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Official!!!!

Praise God Friday the thirteenth did not bring bad luck for this family!!! Not only did my knee begin to feel better, but we were gifted with a couple adorable pictures of the twins' passports! Nothing has moved further than in my last update, but there is something about seeing the actual scanned copies of the passports that makes it all seem so much more real! We couldn't be happier that we have finally finished this lengthy step in the process.

So...drum rolll, please.....

It is with a huge grin on our faces that we let you all know that we are in the home stretch now. We will pass it on when we receive the final document that allows us to be submitted to USCIS for the immigration and Visa portion of the adoption. Should be 6-8 weeks more at that time! 

In the meantime, we will be continuing to nest at the DeWit household. I've power-washed the play set and am prepared to have it all beautifully stained before the twins come to play on it!!! We have a few things to hang up in their room...and some specifics on the plan for after they arrive home to figure out...and then we are set! Craig finished filling out the last two adoption documents that we needed to passport information to complete and all we can do now is wait! We will be sure to keep you in the loop when we hear something.

Continue to pray for healing for my knee and Craig's wrist. We are both feeling better over the last week and are anxious to nestle into our home with two little ones added to the mix! Also pray for continued patience in the remaining portion of the process and for the transition once they arrive home. All five of us are about to burst at the seams!

We love you all!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We've Got Passports!!!

This wonderful news arrived on August 20, 2013!!! I have been a bit neglectful. I waited to write on my blog because I was waiting for the photos to arrive. Now it has been well over a week and still no I think that I should put an update together despite the lack of an adorable photo of each boy to accompany the news.

So....after 17 long weeks in the Passport phase of the process, I received a call from Kristy to notify us that a representative from the orphanage had picked up the passports last Tuesday and was on the way back to the orphanage. We have been requesting photos of the passports as we need to have some of the information from the passports to finish up some of our adoption paperwork. It just always feels a bit obscure when there isn't a photo to go with the information. 

It will be interesting to see how long it takes now to be submitted to the USCIS. This is the United States division at the Embassy that processes the Visas for the boys. We are still hopeful that the twins will make it home before their birthday (October 5)...but the longer it takes to get this information...the more I begin to doubt that we will make it in time.

The last few weeks have been a time of sorrow waiting for our paperwork to be UNSTUCK, a time of pure joy hearing that the passports have been issued and a time of excitement and preparation for the twins to come home. We are working on several small projects around the house...toddler proofing various areas and finding homes for items that haven't found a place since the move to the new house. I have prepared the twins' room, and we are ready for our family to grow larger. We have clothes in the closet, the beds are made and the walls are decorated!!! The nesting is complete.

I am also spending many late night hours reading through old blogs and transforming the messages into pages in the twins' Life Books. I have enjoyed piecing together their story and look forward to the day that I will be able to share their books with them.

We will be sure to attach photos of the boys from their passports as soon as we get them! We will also pass on any updates that we receive. We are still tired of the wait, but we feel the end is in sight and somehow the waiting is a bit more bearable.

Thank you for all of your prayers and words of encouragement...I have a feeling that the prayers are what's lifting us up!!!

Not much longer,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Longing Heart

It has been a tearful day and I wrote this letter to share with the boys someday and thought it might give some insight into where my heart is right now as I am becoming weary of this long wait. We continue to pray for the twins' passports to be issued. We know that God's timing is perfect and on some level, I have complete faith in that timing...yet on a purely emotional heart which hasn't been whole since I parted with the boys in Haiti is hurting more than I would like to admit. Today I was visiting with a stranger on the phone and completely broke down into sobs. I am quite certain that when she asked me a payroll question for work, she didn't expect to hear an emotionally unglued waiting adoptive mom on the other end of the phone! That was just one of the five times I found myself sobbing today. Hopefully this won't become a trend, but as raw as I am feeling might all want to brace yourselves for my response if you inquire about the adoption. Have your Kleenex ready.

We were told that the reason for the delay in this step was due to a question regarding Judah's birth certificate. We were not told about the specific reason. We were also told that we could expect to have the passports issued either last week or this week. Well, no news so far. Tomorrow is Friday...and I suppose that might have prompted the tears. The director of the orphanage is in the states right now and because of that, we are not likely going to be hearing anything this week. So we wait and continue to pray. Please pray for peace and comfort. Pray that the boys might make it home before their second birthday on October 5th! It might break my heart completely if we miss that milestone together! Thank you so much for your faithfulness in prayer. We love you all and treasure you more than you will ever know!


Elijah and Judah-                     
This has been a difficult day, and I suppose that is why it is a perfect day for writing a love letter to my precious twins. We are currently in the passport phase of the process and are waiting for the documents to be issued. It is supposed to take 2-4 weeks and we are on week 15 and continuing to wait! Oh my sweet boys. My heart completely aches for you today. I don’t understand sometimes why this process is taking so long, but I am thankful that in the end we will be together.

As we have moved through the adoption process, my emotions have been all over the place. I have been moved to tears of joy through excitement over seeing the pictures of your sweet faces at referral. I have had difficulty swallowing by the lump in my throat as I have pondered the difficult choice of your birth mom and dad to place you into the adoption process. I wept openly when I received news that your birth mother had died just fifteen days after parting with you. I have laughed out loud as I have seen your personalities shine through in the photos that we have received from your orphanage. I have wondered with excitement and slight apprehension what the future will bring and how much each of you will want to be involved with your birth family and your homeland. I have celebrated as our paperwork has moved forward in the process and struggled with concern over whether I will be able to juggle being a wife, raising five kids and holding down my job simultaneously. I have felt my heart swell so big I am certain it was spilling outside of me as we traveled as a family to the front steps of the orphanage and held you both for the first time. I peacefully breathed in each of your scents as I held you and cared for you in Haiti. I smiled in joy as I saw my family united for the first time and saw the beauty of a creation only God could have made. I felt my heart tear and break as a portion of it was left behind with the two of you in Haiti. Yes, my emotions have been tumultuous and rightfully so.

We have since traveled back to see you again and the moments we had together at the orphanage were beyond words. I will treasure those moments together forever. All of these emotions continue to cycle through me as the process continues. One day I am filled with joy and anticipation; the next weeping with longing for you. Logic says that we will be together soon and the sea will no longer separate us. We have no concept of when our family will be complete, but I am filled with a love for you that will not allow anything to stand in the way of this future.

I promise to love you with all of my heart, to tend to your needs and to kiss your scraped knees. Your hungry tummy will be filled with food made with love and there is a sweet room waiting just for you! I promise that I will pray with you at night and continue to pray for you and your future even after you are sleeping. I long to be with you and to help you learn how to love Jesus and be a strong man like your daddy. I will give you endless hugs and tender snuggles just when you need them. You have my heart and I love you, my precious boys!

A longing heart,


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Content in God's Timing

Elijah on the right, Judah in the center
We have been so blessed over the last thirty months as we have moved through this adoption process. We have been following the "planned" (expected/previous family's) timelines fairly close and able to move forward with other families going through the same process. There have been little hic-cups here and there, but nothing has been able to shake our confidence. We have been resting in God's timing and have been mostly content through the process of waiting.

I have to admit, however, for this waiting mama, it is getting considerably more difficult the closer we are getting to the end. A few months ago, we clarified the timelines with our agency and other families and it looked like there was a strong possibility that the twins would be coming home this summer! What a huge blessing. We thought that the warm temperatures would be perfect for their transition and that the time at home with our other three would be a fantastic opportunity for some serious bonding to take place.  We talked about the travels that we would make in the later summer...heading out to see family and friends and to share the two new additions to our family. We were filled with excitement and anticipation.

Then the mishaps began...I tore my ACL and lateral meniscus in my left knee while playing at a trampoline park with my kids and underwent surgical repair on May 14th. Healing and therapy began immediately. I found myself filled with patience as I knew there was no way that I would be able to keep up with two charming and energy-filled twin boys. My knee is now allowing me to get around more easily, I am back to work and things are returning to normal. Then in late June, Craig set off for the North Dakota Badlands for some rugged mountain biking with a group of guys and came home with a sprained left wrist. We make quite a pair with my hinged leg brace and his wrist splint. Then last night we were at a local pool enjoying the warm summer night and our 9-year-old daughter, Haley, whacked her head on the wall and two staples later is in one piece. Maybe we should wrap our family in bubble wrap and hole up in the house for a couple of weeks and then the boys will miraculously have their paperwork come together. I suppose that is doubtful.
We entered the passport process on Friday, April 26th. This portion of the process usually takes roughly 2 weeks. July has now begun and we continue to wait for our passports to be issued. That is a total of 10 weeks. We have spoken to our international adoption counselor and there is nothing missing in our paperwork and no reason that they haven't been issued. Yet we continue to wait, as we watch others that were in the same stage of the process move forward. It is a bittersweet portion of the process. 
Elijah rockin' the pink polk-a-dot onesie!

We are passionate about wanting all orphans to be a part of a forever family and it is emotionally moving to know that kids are coming home and united for forever, but it never fails to bring on the tears for me. There is simply an empty ache in my own heart because I know that life is just not yet complete. So I wipe my tears, swallow down the lump in my throat and smile because another lonely child is nestled in his/her family's loving arms.

Craig just said, "I wonder what God is trying to teach us here?" Part of me thinks that the longer we wait and the greater the longing in our hearts gets, the more passionate we will be about loving them with our whole hearts. It will make their homecoming just that much more spectacular. 

Once we get their passports, we will have a 4-6 week (if all goes perfectly) process of waiting for the USCIS-Department of Homeland Security to grant them their Visas. We have been in contact with Senator John Thune and Representative Kristi Noem so they can lobby to get this portion of the process finished up as soon as possible. They are very encouraging and are adoption supporters. The USCIS will also give us I-600 approval which allows us to bring an orphan into the country with an intent to adopt.

The medical approval is the next step, and this is where they will check the twins to see if they have any medical issues that will prevent them from entering the U.S. If they find something, they will be treated for it, but their transition will be delayed. Then the boys will receive their exit letter and we will be invited to bring the boys home!
Elijah on the right, Judah in the center

There is still a possibility that the boys will make it home in late August or September if the process begins to move again and stays on track. It is hard to wait, but every good thing is worth the wait.

So please join us as we continue to pray for the pieces of this puzzle to come together and the beautiful image of a family joined in Christ's love to be displayed. Pray for patience and contentment in God's timing and  for all of the families moving through this process to be given the strength to wait.

Praise God for stretching us through this experience even though it is sometimes painful! May your will be done!

Seeking His blessings,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adorable Pics of the Boys!!

The last two weeks have been quite difficult. Playing with my kiddos on March 30th, I tore my ACL and underwent reconstruction on May 14th. It has been a rough road with medication issues (allergies and missing prescriptions), nauseousness,low blood pressure, inability to eat and overall weakness. On one of the toughest days, we received several photos of the boys, and I was reminded of how faithful God is.

Ever since the picture of the boys arrived in our email account back in March of 2012, we have been longing for the boys to come home. It is natural for a mother and father to long for this. However, if the boys were home already, I wouldn't have a prayer of keeping up with them on this damaged, but now healing knee. It would be more difficult to rest and heal properly. I continue to long to be with them, but I see the wisdom in God's perfect timing. I am now working hard to regain my function in my knee. It is quite a painful process, but the desire to have our family of seven all together motivates me to work hard despite the pain.

Here are the pictures of the boys that I received on one of the most difficult days. Enjoy!!! The boys' paperwork continues to be in the passport phase of the process. We are anticipating that their passports will be issued sometime soon, however, the department has been shut down for some construction for the last several another delay. Praise God, the boys look happy and healthy in these photos. I just can't believe how quickly they are growing!

Please continue to pray for God's timing in this process and for the healing of my left knee. I have a feeling that they will come home when my knee is better. God is like that! Thank you for your love and support!


Monday, April 29, 2013

In the Home Stretch!

I am really happy to announce that we received a phone call this afternoon letting us know that the boys' information was submitted to the passport phase of the process. We are truly in the home stretch now! The remaining steps of the process involve working out the details of allowing them to leave Haiti and enter the US!!! 

This portion of the process varies in length, but lately it has been running roughly one month. Then our paperwork will be submitted to USCIS which is the US government department that processes the Visa and does the medical evaluation and Visa appointment just prior to the boys coming home. The Visa portion of the process takes any where between 10 days and 3-4 weeks.

This means that we will likely be traveling to get the boys at the soonest in late June or sometime shortly after that barring any unforeseen roadblocks. We are hoping for a summer transition for them so it won't be such a temperature shock. Plus it would be nice to spend part of the summer at home with all of the kids, adjusting to a family of seven all together! Maybe we could even squeeze in a Minnesota road trip with the whole family! That would be some pristine bonding time! 

Please continue to pray for us as we journey onward. I would be lying to say that there isn't any anxiousness surrounding this transition, but I must admit that it is no more or less than when we added each of the current DeWit kiddos into the family. It is a transition whenever the make-up of the family changes...and it will require some time to adjust. However, prayers will make that process much smoother, I have NO DOUBT!! 

Thank you so much for your faithfulness in following along on this adventure. We are all thrilled that the adoption is nearing its final stages!

Praise God for a smooth road so far!
Happy Dancing!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Conquered MOI!!

I am happy to announce that on April 17th, we officially moved out of the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) stage of the process and are prepared to move on the the next stage. The next stage is passports, and we are hoping that this next week sometime we will hear that our paperwork has entered. Basically at this stage in the process all we have left is passports and then getting everything lined up for their Visas. I know that there are several substeps...but it is nice to be able to lump the remaining portions of the process into just two main steps. I guess that we are almost there! I can't hardly believe it. I know that some days it feels like we have been at this forever, but other days, it feels like it will be over with before we know it! We can't wait for real life to begin.

Craig and I went on a get-away to Las Vegas about a week ago and had a nice time together. He had a work convention, and while he was busy with exploring the convention center, I took several hours gathering together the information and photos that I need to begin the twins' Life Books. A life book is basically a baby book for adopted children. It not only contains photos of the child but it also includes information about why the adoptive parents chose to adopt, why from that country, information about the birth family, pages about the orphanage and their life before the adoption and then the information about the transition for that child. I know that once the twins come home, I won't get a spare moment to work on their albums for quite some time, so I am trying to get a jump start on the process now. I opened the albums up tonight and placed the pages into each album. It is always hard to get started, but I am excited.

We received an update on the boys this week. They are doing well and got to do a special art project out on the front porch of the orphanage. They got to finger paint and I am going to include some of the photos from their fun! So cute!

So please join with us in praying that their paperwork enters the passport process this week. Rumor has it that in about a week the passport department is going to shut down for roughly a week for a construction project. The timing is a bit of a nuisance, but God can do amazing work. If we are meant to be patient as the construction process happens, then we will have to do that....please help us pray for patience! We know that timelines in Haiti aren't always clear and one week could become more, but we are hopeful still.

Thank you everyone for your prayers, love and support as we journey down this road. It has been such a blessing knowing that we are lifted up along the way. It has also been so fun over the last few weeks as the team we traveled to Haiti with has begun to share more with the congregation about our trip. We have begun to determine what the Lord would have our congregation do in the form of missions in Haiti. We are going to partner with Mission Haiti to sponsor an entire school! It is one of the schools that I did a medical clinic at when I was in Haiti on my first trip. Awesome! Nothing like witnessing the Hands and Feet of Christ firsthand! The Lord moves in such amazing ways!

I hope to be able to send another update later this week to tell you all about entering passports...but until then...let the praying begin!

Patiently waiting,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Sigh of Relief...

I have about five thousand things that I feel like I should be doing tonight, but I would be using my time poorly if I didn't start my night of many things to accomplish without blogging about the last few weeks first. Unfortunately this is not going to allow for a very thorough account of the trip that we just took to Haiti, but it will provide a quick once over and a much needed update.

Craig and I were blessed to be able to travel back to Haiti from February 27th to March 8th. We traveled with six people from our church and met up with several others on our way. Mike Plasier traveled with us to Haiti through Omaha. It was an amazing time of fellowship and bonding. We were so excited about how the Lord was going to move in our congregation through this mission trip. We were excited to see His leading in what this would mean for our home church.

We arrived in Haiti on February 28th and were able to stop by the orphanage prior to leaving for Petite Rivier. It brought tears to our eyes because that meant that we would be able to see our boys! We couldn't have been more excited. We weaved through the neighborhoods trying to find the orphanage and eventually happened upon it. We were only able to stay for about 15 minutes to drop off the supplies and introduce our team to the twin boys that the Lord is blessing us with. There was something very moving about sharing that moment with the team. The snuggles were certainly not enough for either of us...but we knew that we were going to be coming back later that week.

We headed to Petite Rivier and spent four days there enjoying fellowship with the youth, the team and the children at the orphanage. We helped throw a wedding reception for twelve Haitian couples, did home visits to many families in the region, provided therapy to a young man involved in a four-wheeler accident, spent time playing basketball with and reading to the orphanage children, and got to hike up the mountain to spend time with our sponsored family. It was a fantastic experience and it was so special watching Haiti become nestled in the hearts of those that had traveled with us.

On the way back to Port-au-Prince, I was having some anxiety about having the others head home. I have always been more anxious than Craig. He was very comfortable about having our plans loosely put together. I guess I like to have all of the questions to have answers before venturing out on our own in a fourth world country. I was nervous.  As the bus pulled out of the orphanage gate, I found myself in tears. My emotions were all over the place. My heart was so ready to spend time with the boys, but for some reason my heart was struggling with fear at the same time.

That fear was relieved when Craig and I walked into Maison and headed to the Baby 2 room. The boys were there and seemed to remember us. The nannies were very sweet. Told me I was beautiful and introduced us to the boys again. We spent the rest of the day with the boys at the orphanage. We held them much of the time and played with them on the grounds of the orphanage. It was much the same the next two days. We were able to spend the entire day at the orphanage loving on our boys and soaking up the environment.  We also were able to love on many of the other kids as well.

We brought many fun things from home to share with the kids. We brought bubbles that were left over from Ryan and Lindsey's wedding and were blessed by being able to blow bubbles with kids of all ages at the orphanage. They were all so cute and had such fun. We brought Match Box Cars for the older kids to play with and they had so much fun racing them and playing with them. We also had Salvation bracelets for the two oldest classes and gave the girls hair ties with colorful ribbons tied onto them. It was fun doing their hair and loving on these little dolls! We then broke out the jump ropes and soccer ball. Fun was had by everyone. I also got to read a book to one of the school classes. One of the most tender times was bringing stuffed animals to the kids in Baby Room 1 and 2. These are the little pals of our boys and they snuggled the stuffed animals and shared some of the best smiles.

We learned a lot about how the nannies operated. They do a very efficient work at Maison...and every moment is done in love. They spend time in prayer and Bible reading every day and they were patient with all portions of the care that they provided. The boys' schedule for the day consists of getting dressed, breakfast, bath, getting dressed into a new outfit, play time, nap, lunch, bath, getting dressed into the third outfit, play time, second nap, dinner, bath, pjs and bed. This then repeats the next day. Not only do the nannies do this for our boys...but they do it for the other 12 kids in that room as well. Unbelievable. It was amazing to watch them at work. I will never be able to feed my boys as efficiently and speedy as those amazing nannies!

We stayed at a different place during this visit. It was called the Shama House. It was a different setup than the hotel we had stayed at last time we visited the boys. This room had four sets of bunk beds. We of course only used two. There was an attached kitchen where a cook prepared two meals per day. It was all very good food and included in the room rate. We caught up on some rest but were wakened by the rooster crowing each morning in Haiti. It didn't matter if we were in the rural mountains or in the thick of the city...the roosters were everywhere.

It was difficult to leave the boys, but we were blessed to be able to say goodbye with the boys the morning we left for the airport. This was much better than having to say goodbye the night before. I really feel like we had wonderful bonding times with both of them. By the last day, Elie (Elijah) would not let either of us set him down. He was soaking up every chance for snuggles he could get! Elysee (Judah) was a bit more laid back and didn't mind much whether he was held or not, but when he was, he enjoyed the snuggles. I think we have one easy going little man and one that is a bit more particular about things. It will be interesting to see if these mannerisms are the same when they come home with us. Should be an interesting adventure any way we look at it! Lots of fun in store for us, I am sure!

It was a very LONG trip home. That trip is always so draining. Physically our bodies were hurting in so many ways by the time we arrived home. My right leg was cramping and my tummy was not too happy with me. Needless to say, it was nice when we finally touched down in Sioux Falls and reunited with our other three little ones! What a blessing to be greeted by such a wonderful family. It made the hurt of leaving the boys a bit more bearable.

So the adjustment back to life in the states is always a bit difficult. We had a few bumps in the road and discovered that getting back to doing our devotional was very helpful in processing the many emotions that were coursing through our bodies and souls. More than anything, we were impatient to see some movement in our paperwork.

We had been waiting to get into MOI for a month when we returned and it was beginning to get more difficult to wait. In the meantime, we received a notice that there had been a TB exposure at the orphanage. A baby girl had been admitted to the hospital with an active case of TB. There were questions as to whether the kids at the orphanage could possibly have contracted it and there was a lot of testing that had to take place. Our boys had been in the same room as this little girl when the TB was discovered. UGH. Not fun. We fretted in our subconscious but remained mostly calm. We really thought that the boys seemed healthy, and we were pretty confident that it would be negative. However, because an active case of TB is something than can stand in the way of being allowed to come to the States, we needed to know if they had been exposed.

I am happy to tell everyone that today I received an update on this and they are negative. None of the remaining kids at the orphanage have an active form of the disease. Praise God. The boys did not test positive for the skin test or the chest x-ray. First sigh of relief.

As the days flew by...the tension over waiting with entering MOI was becoming a bit more difficult. It didn't help that we knew that several of the other families waiting at the stage we were waiting at had just been able to enter. We heard nothing. The lack of information at this point was difficult for me to take. I decided that I just needed to touch base with my international agency. I guess I needed some moral support. I placed a call to them on 3.25.13 and didn't hear back for two days. That was torture. I kept telling myself that a busy international counselor is a good thing and that I want her to be working on cases...not just calling me...but it was getting harder.

Today at 3:30 pm I finally got the call I had been waiting for...AND I GOT THE NEWS THAT WE HAD BEEN WAITING FOR!!! Kristy couldn't remember if she had called us yet or not, but she was able to inform us that she had received information that our dossier had moved to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) on 3.19.13. YES!!! That was fantastic news. We also were able to talk about a few more logistical things. There is not much that we can do at this point but wait for the paperwork to continue its journey and try our best to be patient. So prayers to accomplish both of these things would be fantastic!

I think that as the date the boys will come home draws closer, the harder it is to not become discouraged about the wait. I think that we need prayers more now than ever before. My heart is quite tender these days and it is hard to see the date the boys will come home constantly move further into the future. It is looking like they could possibly still come home sometime this summer...but the longer the paperwork takes to move...the further out it will be.

I will do my best to keep all of you informed about the updates I receive. I treasure your thoughts and prayers more than you know, as does Craig. We love you all so much!

Blessings from a heart filled with relief,