Saturday, May 31, 2014

Praying Us Through

Sometimes it is difficult to know where to even start. Sadly, I feel like I am saying the same things week after week after week for the nine months now! I really look forward to the day that I am able to tell all of you that the end is truly in sight and a date has been given to us, but unfortunately this is not that time.

Instead I am here to tell you that your prayers are powerful, and we are really feeling them. With as many delays as we have been having at the end of this process, I have to admit that there have been many moments of frustration, defeat and sometimes even anger. I think that having these emotions in the face of something so central to the makeup of our family is to be expected. However, I really believe that we have survived these negative feelings because of prayer. Dozens consistently and likely hundreds periodically have been lifting our family up before the Lord pleading for patience, health for the twins and for this process to move forward. I am certain that the spiritual realm is bristling with energy with all of the prayers that are surrounding our family. I firmly believe that your prayers have protected us from the lowest of lows. Without our faith, and without our family and friends praying us through, there is no way that we would have been able to venture into the adoption world.

The end of last week, we made some decisions that required much prayer and wisdom. We spoke with a local lawyer and received some information from an international lawyer as well to make our decision. I don't feel that this is the place to elaborate, but I feel that for the first time in a year we have some leverage. I am not sure if it will truly make any difference in the grand scheme of things, but it has given us a sense of peace that we haven't had for a long time.

Last week two other families that had been submitted to USCIS found out that they had errors that needed to be fixed as well. Our international adoption counselor informed us that there might be these issues with our paperwork as well. My anger flared when she said this. I really felt a bit hopeless at that point but was able to express to her that they needed to examine our paperwork immediately to determine if we would have these issues as well. It was incompetent to NOT be looking for these errors in our paperwork when we should have been submitted NINE months ago! Let's just say that my assertive communication was working at its best in those moments. Point taken....she discovered early this week that we did not have those same errors. Supposedly.

It is now Saturday, May 31st, and I am reflecting back on a week that I thought might be OUR week. Our week for re-submission. I rallied for prayer support this week, hopeful for everything to finally be complete.

We were told that this week our director would be checking on our adoption decree attestations which are the last documents that we need for our file to be ready for re-submission to the US visa process. Sadly it took until Friday for our director to go check on them and they were not ready. I do not know how long it normally takes to do this portion of the process, but next week I will be clarifying when our documents were dropped off for attestation and how long that usually takes. I want to know if there is an issue causing the delay with wrapping up this step. None of this seems to make sense to me. All of these delays are maddening...but your prayers kept me from hopeless anger.
We had been sending many messages this week checking in with the new Haitian lawyer that we are going to have review our case prior to resubmitting to USCIS. He was ill at mid-week but thought that he would be able to pick up our dossier to review it sometime on Friday. Well, late Friday I contacted him to see if he was able to get it, and he was at Parquet court all day Friday so wasn't able to pick it up. Sigh. What a strange feeling to always be hopeful and guarded at the same time. It has to be your prayers that kept me from freaking out at that moment. 

Surprisingly, in the face of all of these disappointments, the emotion that I feel the most today is hope, HOPE! Crazy. After nine months of broken promises, dealing with a broken system, with a broken heart...I feel hope. The only explanation for this irrational feeling at this time is your prayers!

I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate all of you! Those praying that we see regularly or talk to often and those praying that we have never even met!!! I received a couple of messages this week from strangers that have stumbled across our blog and lift us up in prayer regularly. That gives me a lump in my throat and swells my heart with what I can only describe as HOPE.

This world is so broken. Broken like my heart, but with people like you praying consistently, we are given something irrational in our situation...HOPE.

Craig and I took another step this week that we have been praying about for many months. We have been trying to figure out when or if we should schedule a trip to see the boys. This waiting is torture. It has been one year and three months since we saw them last. They have changed so much in that time. I really try to keep myself from thinking about all of the firsts that we are missing with the boys. That is survival. If I dwell on the bruises and battle wounds I see in their pictures or think about the parasites and other organisms that are likely affecting their health and growth, it eats me up inside. This is what pushes us forward, but it also makes us want to jump the next plane and just go hold them. 

In the meantime, we have also been asked by our pastor to join a team from our church to go on a mission trip with Mission Haiti in July. Our church is traveling to Haiti several times a year to the area that we have done all of our mission work. Every time a team heads to Haiti without us, I have to admit....both of us are filled with jealousy. I guess it is a good form of jealousy. It means that we are completely in love with the people of Haiti and love and support what our church and Mission Haiti are doing there. So....we have loosely committed to join a team from July 15th-22nd and would stay after the team heads home to spend time with the boys.

As much as I am excited to head back to Haiti to do missions again, I am hoping that we won't be able to go. If the boys come home before the travel dates, we won't be going along. Our pastor and Mission Haiti is aware of this and are very supportive. They have been praying for us in our adoption since the earliest days of this journey.

So, it is with a spirit filled with hope that I plead for you to continue to pray for our family. 

* that the adoption decree attestation would be completed.
* that the new lawyer would obtain our dossiers and find them error free
* that we would be submitted to USCIS for visas and it would take less than the normal 6 weeks
* that we finish our 4th home study update paperwork
* that the boys continue to have good health
* that we would have the patience we need

Thank you for praying us though,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Frayed but Clinging to God

A beautiful couple we met when we were in Haiti on our first bonding trip to meet the boys experienced the homecoming of their lifetime tonight! With huge grins on their faces and two adorable Haitian boys in their arms, they greeted the people from their community that have been praying them through on their journey. With tears of great gratitude and thankfulness to God, I am so happy that they were able to move through their adoption without any delays. These boys will begin a new chapter in their with bedtime kisses, huge high fives and a mommy and daddy to love them through all of life's moments! I am so happy for them.

I hate the huge lump in my throat in the midst of my tears of joy. I hate the questions that surface in my mind. I chase them away only to have them resurface. Why, Lord? Why. Why so many delays...and right at the end? This has been the longest nine months of my life. I don't think that I have ever been more raw emotionally.

I am not one bit angry at the Lord. I know that He wins in the end. I know that the delays are not orchestrated by Him. I know that He will use this to create something beautiful. I just don't feel at this moment that I am feeling very beautiful in the midst of my pain.

I move through my days trying to keep my focus on the present. I have such a beautiful family of five home with me. I have the incredible privilege of loving and being there for them each and every day. My loving husband and my adorable children are my everything...almost. You see...that is it. I find joy with them in all of the little things. Watching Aftyn and Haley hug last night...the best of friends sharing the first days of their summer together, cheering on Aiden as he nailed the baseball at tonight's game, giving snuggles and soft kisses as we said our prayers and I tucked the kids in to bed tonight. Precious. I soak up every moment.

But tonight, Craig is away on business. Once the lights were out and the sweet dreams begun for the kids, this Mama's heart began to ache. It is just me now. Me and my broken heart. You see, I want for my boys to be home with every fiber of my being. It is a breath-stopping, chest-aching, throat-clenching, head-pounding sort of pain. After tucking in Aiden, I walk past the twins' bedroom. I glance in and see their names on the wall, the stuffed animals in the bin, and the Haitian Bible on their dresser. By myself tonight, I let myself cry.

I hate to even write that, and I am tempted to erase this post, but it is true. I want people to see the beauty in adoption because it is truly beautiful. However, the reality is that our world has caused parts of adoption to be truly painful.

We wait...and wait...and wait. We give the same responses...over and over and OVER again! Oh, how I long to be able to tell the first person that our file has been approved for Visas, and we are planning our homecoming. There are days when it feels like that day is never going to come...but I know in my lonely mama's heart that it is.

We were told last Monday that our paperwork was going to be picked up and would be turned in to USCIS by last Friday. Hmmm....well, that never happened. Thursday came and surprise!!!  I guess our adoption decree attestation was not ready yet. I guess they must have overlooked that on Monday when they told us that it was ready. Arrrgh....such disappointment!

I don't like how that news broke my heart and filled me so full of anger in that moment. I have been wrestling with doubt, anger and pain ever since that moment. I can hear the Holy Spirit giving me words of encouragement. Reminding me that God is in control and He has this! Then the pain rises up and my heart wrenches all over again. I have asked for my ladies' bible study to pray for me, pray for our family, pray for the twins, pray that this insanity will stop and the boys will come home.

This week we have not received any updates of progress. We did get a few sweet pictures of the boys from our agency and from the family that just came home today...but no news of progress.

We have notified our international adoption counselor that we absolutely need this to be our LAST submission to USCIS. Our documents NEED to be correct. Our hearts simply can't keep going on like this. Will we give up?  NEVER, but are we pressing hard for accuracy and finality? YES.

We are having another lawyer look at our paperwork prior to being submitted this time. Please pray that the director of our orphanage will turn our paperwork over to him. Please pray that there will be no errors, but that if there are, that he will find them and they will be fixed quickly.

Please also pray for patience in our long-suffering. I need your prayers every day! I truly don't know where I would be without them. I can feel my heart struggling with the spiritual nature of this battle. I need all of my prayer warriors in FULL force right now. I have seen Craig struggling a bit more

 too. He is amazingly strong...and I know that he somehow manages much better than I do, but the edges of his emotions are beginning to fray as well. As for me, I am just strings held together by your prayers.

If you get a chance and can send me prayers, call me to pray with me, or drop by and pray over me or our would mean so much to me. If you know of another family going through adoption, domestic or international...pray with them. This is a battle, and you all can help us to win the fight. I think it is more about the spiritual battle than the paperwork battle.

Frayed but Clinging to God,