Saturday, January 25, 2014

One Step Closer...

I am happy to share that I received an email today letting us know that Judah's paperwork has been officially resubmitted to USCIS. That means that the orphanage staff must have gotten the remaining document ready for him. We are grinning from ear to ear happy about this!

Unfortunately, we did not receive an update on the progress towards getting Eli's birth certificate and extract. We are happy though that the progress for Judah means that we will find out if the errors are truly fixed. If they are, then when the birth certificate is received for Eli, there should be nothing standing in the way of issuing those Visas!

I am tired tonight and ready to place my head firmly on the pillow knowing that we are one step closer to the twins being under our roof where they belong!!! Continue to pray! The Lord is hearing every plea and mountains are being moved...I have no doubt!

Resting peacefully,


Friday, January 17, 2014

Dancing Around the Room!!!

Oh my!!! Where to start? I suppose I should say that we don't have a date to go to Haiti yet...but that it is drawing closer. The last post I put out highlighted what exactly needed to be redone and that it would likely be a long wait. Because of all of the past mistakes and delays, we were unsure what kind of a response the new lawyer and director of the orphanage would have. So...I mentally prepared for the long haul and took more of those long, slow breaths and spoke more quiet prayers which seem to make this process bearable.

About a week ago, I decided to begin to put together a much belated Christmas letter. We had planned to wait to send one so we could include photos of the homecoming and first few days with the boys in our letter. However, with the delays that were surfacing, we knew that it could potentially still be many months, and I didn't want to wait that long. So early this week we began to write and print our letter and developed photos of the boys and a photo of the rest of the family. (They are sitting on the desk beside me as I type just waiting for envelopes and stamps.) We figured with photos of the boys in our friends' and family's hands, we were bound to have our prayer warriors in full force!!!

I called our international agency on Monday and left a message asking for an update. There was no response for three days and then the updates began to arrive!  I feel giddy just writing this. Yesterday we got an email with ten attachments!!! The attachments are scanned copies of several of the documents that needed to be redone...and YES, they are REDONE; for both boys!!!

Sarah said that the people at the orphanage are working diligently to compile the documentation for our case. She thinks that the documents she received fulfill the first two of the items on the list below that need to be redone.

1. Minutes of Consent
2. Minutes of Adoption predating the Final Order
3. Certificate of Adoption
4. Biological Mother's Death Certificate

She also informed us that there is good news regarding Elijah's birth certificate. The orphanage was able to clarify what the issue was with the document. Apparently the government was unable to find his information in the book that the certificate stated it had been registered in. Turns out that they were able to locate his information in a different book. Now the orphanage will be able to have a new birth certificate issued with the correct registry information and then the staff will have to apply for the extract from National Archives. It sounds like the director of the orphanage, Pierre, was already working on getting the birth certificate made on Wednesday!!!

Then, yesterday, we received another message that clarified that Elijah's documents are being corrected at the same time as Judah's. This is a huge blessing as we won't have to wait for the corrections a second time.

So here's where we stand (although we think the boys need medicals in here somewhere too):
1. Minutes of Consent
2. Minutes of Adoption predating the Final Order
3. Certificate of Adoption
4. Biological Mother's Death Certificate
5. Elijah's Birth Certificate
6. Both boys submitted to USCIS (US Visa Process)
7. Visa's issued
8. Exit letter issued
9. Bring the boys home!

I was feeling like I was on top of the world last night just knowing that some progress was being made. We tucked all three of our kiddos into bed and said prayers for their brothers to come home soon. We kissed goodnight the three that are here with us, and I walked into the twins' room and just sat on their bed and prayed. I couldn't help but think of how different it will be when the twins are here and we give kisses and snuggles in their room each night too.

I figured that we wouldn't have another update until next week sometime since we had received such good news just you can imagine my surprise when my phone dinged and I saw that there was another message from Sarah at CAN. I dropped everything and read the email. Before I knew it, I was dancing around the room. I don't think that I have danced like that since before my ACL repair! It was a fabulous feeling!!! This message stated the we have received a copy of the boys' birth mom's death certificate today!!! I think I reread that line five times! Unbelievable!!! This is truly prayer and God at work. The death certificate is the document that we had heard had taken other families upwards of six months to obtain! Praise the Lord!!!!!!

Sarah said in her email that it is her understanding that we only need to get item #3, the Certificate of Adoption, and Elijah's birth certificate and extract; and then we will have two complete dossiers to turn into the US Embassy!!!! She said that the staff are already working to obtain all of these documents. I am bubbling over with anticipation. The joy I feel is unbelievable. I have longed for it for so long now!!! I truly feel like the Visas will be issued in the near future. I really hope that I am not being unrealistic...but all signs are pointing towards this possibility at this time!

Please continue to pray for patience, forward progress and huge PRAISES to GOD for the progress so far! Your prayers are what has brought us to this point, I have no doubt!

We love you all and can't wait to share the next update!!!!

Dancing around the room,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Baby" Steps...

Okay, so I contacted our international agency today to see if there was an update. The most recent information is that Maison's United States lawyer is involved in our case and is working with the adoption lawyer at the orphanage in order to figure out what needs to be repaired on our case. It is rare that he gets involved in cases, so obviously something is really wrong and it is imperative that this gets fixed in a timely fashion. It sounds like they are going to be working to fix four different things at once. We will likely have to request an extension to our U.S. visa process. I really don't have any idea how long this will take in the end. It sounds like obtaining the death certificate is going to be the lengthiest part of the process. A family we're familiar with who is also adopting from Haiti was delayed 6+ months waiting for their birth-mom's death certificate, so we'll see. Please continue to pray for miracles.

Recently we were informed of another family adopting from our orphanage and agency that has also had issues with paperwork and they actually have to start their Haitian paperwork completely over. So, I am trying to continue to be thankful that we at least don't have to start over from the beginning with the process; as far as we know. Please pray for this family and the many others that are finding out about random paperwork issues.

Sarah (our agency social worker in Texas) will continue to followup with the director of the orphanage and will make sure that progress is being seen. We will continue to followup with her. She is going to ask about a more clear timeline as this would help us to know if we should be praying about another trip to visit the boys, or not before everything is finalized and we can go down there to bring them home. If we are led to go for a visit, then we'll start the process of carving out the funds and figuring out the Sioux Falls childcare if that is the direction we move. We are also faced with Craig having surgery on a wrist injury on January it will have to be down the road a little bit, but with vacation time and details...some planning time would be necessary anyway.

I have felt much less stress over the last week and am sure that the reprieve from stress and anxiety has been strictly due to the prayers coming from all of you! Thank you so much for lifting up our family in prayer!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year and Continuing Hope

I suppose that it is time for me to collect my thoughts and try to put some words to the way that we have been feeling. I have to admit that the last two weeks have been heart-wrenching. Getting that last notice from USCIS that they intend to deny Judah orphan status was a pretty low blow and knocked the wind right out of my sails. For some reason, I really felt that the US portion of the process would sail smoothly. I was naive. I guess I forgot that for it to move would require all of the paperwork to be flawless. Um, yes. Naive.

The document from USCIS had some information about the errors, and we were quickly flustered about what to do. Getting this information on December 23rd complicated things...especially since we knew that our international adoption counselor, Sarah, was going to be out for the entire Christmas week. At first we were thinking that we were going to have to wait to talk to her for an entire week (which would have felt like a year under these circumstances). Then it dawned on me that she has a supervisor. It was high time to get to know her supervisor more fully.

I called Emily, who is the director of CAN, and she was available immediately, PRAISE GOD. She listened to my update carefully and was thoughtful and caring when my tears and fears surfaced. She was action oriented and solution based. She immediately sent our notice on to the orphanage so they would have the update and know that there were issues. She was puzzled along with us that these errors could have been overlooked or missed at all. (This is something that we will never understand.)

We plugged into our adoption network and began to gather information about others that have had similar situations when adopting from Haiti and quickly received information about a gentleman in the USCIS office in Port-au-Prince that would be potentially able to clarify what exactly needs to be corrected in Judah's dossier. We received a bit of education on how to call directly to Haiti, downloaded the Rebtel app for our phones and were placing a call all within the hour. Of course he was on vacation as well, however, his assistant was able to provide some clarity.

I know that this is going to mean absolutely nothing to most of you but for my records, here are the items that need to be fixed-

1. We need a new Minutes of Consent
2. The Minutes of Adoption should predate the Final Order
3. We need a new Certificate of Adoption
4. We need the biological mother's Death Certificate

This week we passed this information on to Sarah, our International Counselor and she passed it on to Maison, the orphanage. In the meantime, we were receiving information that we needed to message the Embassy to allow Judah's Dossier to be released to the staff at Maison so they could pick it up. A few more emails ensued and we still have not received confirmation that it has been picked up. We assume (which is dangerous) that it has been and were told that the new lawyer for Maison was going to look at Judah and Eli's Dossiers to see what needed to be done.

We have asked for a rough timeline on how long they feel these documents will take to re-do. We have also asked to ensure that while this process is occurring, the Birth Certificate issue for Eli (which we still don't really know what is wrong) will be in process of being fixed as well. When we are updated on the timeline...we will have to make a tough decision. If the paperwork won't take long, we are planning to wait to travel until we can go to finalize their adoption and bring them home with us. If the paperwork is going to take several months, we need to decide if it is wise to see the boys one more time before the adoption is final. This is a trip that we were not planning on, but we feel that we need to consider going because in March it will have been a full year since we have seen them. Our hearts are lonely for our boys.

These delays put a bit of a damper on my Christmas spirit at first. It took a few days to work through the emotions of this, and I know that after Craig's last blog many of you were praying. Thank you so much. I really felt like I was having a panic attack after we first found out. Nothing like a panic attack to change the mood of Christmas. Since then, I have had a couple of people call to pray with me, to speak scripture to me and one friend even woke in the middle of the night and felt that the Holy Spirit placed our family on her heart and gave her some thoughts to share with us. She texted me and said, "Truth is on your side. The issues that need to be resolved are all things for which the truth will prevail and resolve. Once the truth of these inconsistencies is revealed, the process will go forward. God lives in the truth!" So true...and then she said my favorite part..."God must have huge plans for these guys if the process is going this way. I'm excited to see how He uses these guys!!!"

My heart soared when I read her words. It's true. Satan focuses his scheming attention in places where God will prevail the greatest! My boys are going to be AMAZING. I know this! I, too, can't wait to see how He will use them. We will not give up on this battle. I will not panic. I will not feel defeated...even for an instant. I am disappointed that I cannot be with them, hold them, love on them right now. I am disappointed that I can't kiss their foreheads as I rock them at night, but for now, I need to trust that Jesus is walking with them and loving on them through His hands and feet...the nannies in the orphanage. Breathe in, breathe out. This too shall pass, and soon I will press warm kisses on them night after night.

We are thankful for a wonderful Christmas and New Year spent with so many family members and friends to help take our minds off of this complicated and heart-wrenching process. Please, please continue to pray for us. We are close, and that is when Satan will try to defeat us the hardest. We need your prayers. Pray specifically for these glitches to be ironed out, for a clear timeline if that is possible and for clarity about whether to travel to Haiti for a visit if the paperwork is going to take a while. Pray for the boys to stay healthy and for their nannies to love on them completely.

Humbled and Hopeful,