Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's In a Name????

We are happy to announce that the twins officially have a new last name tonight!!! The adoption decree was finalized on 1/25/13 and we were notified today that they were formally given our last name. In the country of Haiti, our adoption is officially final! Unfortunately that does not mean that the journey home is over...it just means that there are a few steps to get them approval to come home! We are still in the legalization phase of the Immigration Process and will be notified when we enter the next phase of the process. Currently we are in a phase unofficially called "limbo." The next phase is called MOI (Ministry of the Interior). We won't be notified with each legal step...but hopefully this will move quickly. We have been told that MOI is currently taking about 2 weeks...then it is passports and visas!!!

I seriously cannot wipe the smile off of my face tonight. I feel all worked up about this, I am so excited! I chatted on Facebook with some of the other families that are adopting and in the same phase as us...and I asked them how much longer they think this process will take. They said 4-6 months!!!!! WHAT!!!??? I have been telling people about a year still! I need to change my response!! I hope this is right...but it is still speculation. Another family said that they are telling people it will likely be in MAY!!! WHAT???  Crazy excited! Please let it be so!!!

That got me thinking and I could possibly be at home for the summer with my beautiful children all bonding together!!!!! Oh my!! What an adventure! Something to definitely pray for. We were hoping for this all to be wrapped up by next Christmas...but now I have my hopes up for the summer!!!  Hands outstretched and HUGE prayers raised to the Lord!

So the boys are officially Elie DeWit and Elysee DeWit tonight as they are snuggled in their little cribs in baby room 1 at Maison. Unbelievable. I think that there is much in a name. These boys are already adopted into our hearts, but now they are adopted into our name and soon they will be inseparable from our family. Praise the Lord!!!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and petitions on the time frame for our family's benefit! We are so blessed with prayer warriors! God is moving and this is happening!!!

Heart filled with praise,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Photo Collage

Accreditation Issues

 We received our January Update last week (January 16th) and were given some sweet pictures of the boys. I hope you enjoy the adorable photos I put onto this update...!!! We were also given the updates on their growth. It was fantastic to hear that the boys are well and that they are continuing to grow!

Judah Elysee
birth date:   5-Oct-2011
weight:    10.50 kg--23.1 pounds
height:     75.0 cm--29.5 inches
head circumference:    46.5 cm--18.3 inches

Elijah James
birth date:    5-Oct-2011
weight:   10.40 kg--22.9 pounds
height:    74.0 cm--29.1 inches
head circumference:    46.5 cm--18.3 inches

We also received a bit of information about the progress on our adoption. We are still in Parquet but our judgement has been granted! We have now moved on to second legalization! We are so pleased that we keep on progressing!

There was also an update on the transition to the Hague Convention. Haiti is transitioning its adoptions to follow the Hague Convention. This means that they will begin following a whole new set of rules...and one of the first changes involves identifying which adoption agencies they are willing to work with. They identified that they were going to find 4 or 5 agencies. Then all adoptions from Haiti will have to go through those agencies. When we received our update...our agency still did not know if they were going to be considered accredited.
We went to an adoption support group on the next evening and felt like all was right in the world...and so encouraged by the other international adoption stories that people were sharing at the meeting. It was made very clear to us, however, that most of the couples had several ups and downs along the way. I began to wonder when our next down would be, and I prayed for God's strength for when that would happen. I never dreamed that it would happen the next day.

In the afternoon on January 18th, I received an email from Children of All Nations that indicated that they had not been selected to be accredited under the Hague Convention. They were unsure of why they were not selected and wrote that they plan to appeal. They are trying to find out exactly what this change means for all of their families that are in process with an adoption from Haiti. This information hit me really hard. There were many tears initially, and I am so thankful for a fabulously positive husband and a sweet thoughtful friend that were there for me just when I needed them. I gathered myself...and realized once again how invested this mama's heart is. I suppose those tears are something to be thankful for because they speak to the love that I have for these handsome boys.

We are still waiting for the update on where this change will lead us. For now...it has led to the CEO and another staff member from our adoption agency to travel to Haiti to lobby for accreditation. We will be sure to update this blog with the latest as soon as we hear it. We appreciate your prayers for peace as we wait for clarity. We would love to finish our adoption with Children of All Nations...please pray that this would be possible. We have had a great experience with them. If for some reason this is not possible...please pray that we are able to maintain our referral and will be able to transition to another agency in a smooth and seamless manner. Thank you so much for your love and support! We are so richly blessed!

Waiting for word,

Friday, January 11, 2013

Remaining Steps of the Process

We are still in the Parquet Court...but of course we are looking ahead to what is to come. Sometimes that is truly overwhelming. Here is a list of what is currently going on in our adoption process. THIS is why the process takes so long. There are SO many steps...we just need to keep our focus on the fact that the Lord is in control of our progress and each step forward is a step closer to being all together again!

Parquet Court
The 'step' we refer to as Parquet court is actually a very complex series of steps and processes involving
multiple offices and repeated trips between them.

1. Attorney addresses a Request for Judgment to the Chief Justice of Parquet Court
2. Birth parents are interviewed in Parquet Court
3. Parquet Court signs off on "approval judgement for adoption"
4. Facilitator takes approval to DGI for stamp of authorization
5. Back to Parquet for enforcement of the approval judgement
6. Authorization and redaction from the Civil Registrar Officer for legal Adoption Decree
7. Verification in Parquet of the adoption documents by the Civil Registrar before signing the
adoption decree
8. First Legalization of the Adoption Decree, in Parquet Court
9. Second Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Justice
10. Third Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
11. Obtain attestation of Adoption Decree from the National Archives

Ministry of the Interior (MOI)
All international adoption cases are reviewed by the Ministry of Interior. In order to obtain authorization
to request a passport, the following documents must be submitted for each child:

1. Four passport sized pictures
2. Birth Certificate
3. Attestation for the Birth Certificate
4. Extract from the National Archives for the Birth Certificate
5. Relinquishment
6. Process Verbal of adoption
7. Adoption approval judgement
8. Adoption Decree
9. Attestation of the Adoption Decree
10. Power of Attorney for creche director and/or attorney
11. Stamp from DGI
12. Notary letter for the passport
13. Identification card of facilitator and/or attorney on the case
14. Biological parents' identification cards
15. Adoptive parents' MOI form, identification, and passport phot

The Ministry of Interior will grant authorization to submit the dossier to Haitian Immigrations for a

Haitian Immigrations
The facilitator will submit authorization to apply for a passport to Haitian Immigrations. This is generally
a quick process - one to two weeks, if all equipment is working properly.

US Immigrations
US Immigrations performs the most rigorous investigation of international adoptions. Parts of the US Immigrations process can occur concurrently with the Haitian process, however USCIS
cannot sign off on the case until they have verified the final Adoption Decree and the child's passport.
DNA may be requested at any time. American families are advised to work closely with their agencies to ensure a smooth and efficient US Immigrations process for their child.

Approximately three to four weeks following completion of all USCIS investigations and adjudication of
the I600 for the child, the case will be forwarded to the Department of State for issuance of a Visa. The
Department of State also has the right to request DNA testing for birth parent and child. Adoptive
parents need not be present for the Visa appointment.

Parents who can prove that they visited their child prior to the issuance of the Adoption Decree by
Parquet Court will be issued an IR-3 Visa. Their children will be automatically granted full US Citizenship
upon arrival in the US.



Enter Parquet Court
Parquet Approval
1st legalization of the Adoption Decree by Parquet Court
2nd Legalization of the Adoption Decree by Ministry of Justice
3rd Legalization of the Adoption Decree by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Attestation from the National Archives
Adoption Decree Granted
Adoption Decree is reviewed by the Ministry of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior submits request for Passport
Passport issued by Haitian Immigrations
Boys get their physical exam
Visa issued by US Immigrations
Bring Elijah and Judah home
Elijah and Judah become US Citizens as soon as they get off the plane!

All legitimate adoptions must follow each one of these steps, and must do so under extremely difficult conditions. It is a shame that the process takes so long, and yet, when we look at the immensely complicated process, we must realize what a miracle it is when each child comes home. We have seen four families bring their children home in the last two months and about 10 additional families are piecing together the last few steps and will bring about 25 children home in the next 4-6 months. We are in the wave of families directly following them. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to have many hurdles to make it over!

Praying for patience,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Birth Parent Interview

I am happy to share a much belated message to let you all know that on December 3rd, 2012 Eli and Judah's birth dad was able to attend his USCIS appointment!! This appointment basically is the formal visit with the US Embassy in Haiti where the birth dad gives over his rights to the boys. From what we were told, there were no additional pieces of information that the birth dad needs to share with them at this time. We are hoping that there will be no further testing or hiccups with this portion of the process.

Since then, we have received an update that we are still in Parquet which is the Civil Court portion of the Haitian process. We are learning more and more all of the time about the process and the various stages that we are moving through. We still have several stages left yet but are hopeful that those stages will continue to move along steadily. I have to admit that we are hoping that the twins would be home with us this Christmas...but now I am realizing the unrealistic nature of that hope. Obviously God's plans were different. We settled into our new home in October of this year and now are busily preparing our home so when the twins do arrive, our home will be completely settled. That will enable us to focus on them entirely. I have to admit that I had some tough spots over the Christmas week because I was so hoping they would be home...but now the more realistic me is still calculating that it could take another 6-12 months more. For the most part, we have found peace in our waiting...it must be all of the prayers of those that love us. We can surely feel your prayers! (However, if the twins are not home by NEXT Christmas, I might need some counseling.)

We received our December updates on the boys and the message says that Judah is busy with walking, running and climbing! Not bad for 14 months old! She says this about Eli, "Wow! So active, likes to use his screeching voice while climbing!" I think that he will get along well with Aiden! The other information we received has to do with their measurements and I am compiling a list for weights and heights and head circumferences at these various stages. It is a little comical because the numbers fluctuate somewhat. They have different people measuring them each time...so the results are not always consistent...but overall...we see growth. I will convert them into pounds and inches to help me have a better picture of their size as well. This will be fun to look back on!

Here are the stats in kg and cm:

JUDAH            Weight (#-kg)                           Height (in-cm)                      Head Circumference (in-cm)
January                14.1-6.4                                  24.4-62                                      16.1-41
April                    14.1-6.4                                  24.6-62.5                                   16.3-41.5
May                     14.8-6.7                                 ---------                                      ---------
June                     18.7-8.5                                  24.8-63                                      16.9-43
July                      ---------                                  ---------                                      ---------
August                 18.5-8.4                                  26-66                                          17.7-45
Sept                     19.6-8.9                                  27-68.5                                       17.5-44.5
Oct                      20.5-9.3                                  26.4-67                                       18.1-46
Nov                     20.3-9.2                                  26.2-66.5                                    18.1-46
Dec                      21.8-9.9                                  29.5-75                                      19.1-48.5

ELIJAH            Weight (#-kg)                           Height (in-cm)                       Head Circumference (in-cm)
January              13.2-6                                      23.4-59.5                                      16.3-41.5
April                  14.3-6.5                                   23.2-59                                         16.3-41.5
May                   16.1-7.3                                  ---------                                         ---------
June                   17.6-8.                                    24.6-62.5                                       16.9-43
July                     ---------                                   ---------                                       ----------
August                19.4-8.8                                 26.2-66.5                                       17.7-45
Sept                    19.4-8.8                                 27.2-69                                          17.5-44.5
Oct                     18.7-8.5                                  26-66                                            18.1-46
Nov                    20.3-9.2                                  26.4-67                                         18.3-46.5
Dec                     22.0-10                                   29.1-74                                         18.9-48

We learned a bit about the Haitian Christmas traditions in our last newsletter from the orphanage. It is a tradition in Haiti to share Christmas cards with friends and family...many of which are hand made. They also use pine branches to serve as Christmas trees. They decorate them with lights and bright ornaments. They usually have a large nativity placed at the base of the tree. An endearing tradition of Christmas in Haiti is that on Christmas Eve, the children place their cleaned up shoes filled with straw on the porch or under the Christmas tree for Papa Noel (Santa Claus) to fill with presents. People often go to midnight mass and sing Christmas carols.

I do think that it helped us to move through the Christmas season knowing that we have a Haiti trip in the near future. A few months ago, we were approached by our pastor, and he was arranging for a mission trip for our church to take and he requested that we join the group. We struggled for a short while trying to figure out the funding and if we should have Craig go along with the church and I separately travel down to see the boys on my own or with a friend. I just didn't have peace about this and after much prayer, we have been able to arrange for both of us to travel down to Haiti with our church group from Abiding. We will be with Mission Haiti for one week and then will travel back to Port-au-Prince where we will stay a short distance from the orphanage and be able to go spend the day with the boys for three consecutive days.

We won't be able to take the boys home with us to the hotel as we did last time because the timing of our trip does not coincide with a bonding trip, but we are excited to be able to spend more time at the orphanage and to see them in their normal environment. It will be special to get to know some of the nannies more and to see the boys interact with the other little ones in their baby room. I think that it will give us the opportunity to chronicle their early lives a bit better than the short snippets we saw at the orphanage the first time we traveled to see them.

By the time we get down there to see the boys, it will have been 8 months since the last visit. I can't believe how much time has passed and how much my heart longs to cuddle with my sweet boys. Please pray that we would have an incredible time bonding with the boys despite being unable to take them home with us to the hotel each evening. Please pray for patience as we continue to move forward with the Civil Court portion of the adoption. Please pray for health for the twins, the other kids at the orphanage, the staff at the orphanage and for us as we travel to and from Haiti. We have heard more reports of Dengue Fever and Cholera and know that they are very real and affecting many in this area. Please also pray for protection spiritually as we prepare to travel for missions. It is amazing how those who travel to do the work of the Lord find themselves under attack spiritually.

I cannot begin to tell you all how much we are relying on your prayers and words of encouragement. We are so thankful for our supportive friends and family.

Humbly in His service,