Naomi and Ruth

Naomi and Ruth

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No contractions, yet

We are still pregnant!!! I said, STILL, not'on, who thought it?!
Sorry, in a week like this, I needed some corney humor.  If you are still reading, hang in there and I'll explain.

It's been 18 months now, since we announced we were beginning our paper pregnancy. 18 long months of growth that have made us stronger and wiser, yet more dumbfounded and grey, than we ever imagined.

As we've been describing for over 7 months, we have been waiting for our Presidential Dispensation from the president of Haiti. We've been believing we were getting close- after all, we had to be, right?! I was secretly planning my facebook post of the day we received "that" news: contractions have started!

Well, that was my dream. Last week, Jason and I spent an awesome week with our daughters. We dream of the day they will come home to meet all 4 of their brothers, together. To see the room we have for them, and to play in green grass, and swing on a swing set. I hate to overlook the great week of bonding we spent together, but one week ago today, we were travelling through airports with heavy hearts. It is always so hard to say goodbye. So hard. But more was unfolding as we left Haiti, than I'm comfortable sharing here.

Figuratively speaking, we were bleeding (was that too descriptive?) We were fearing miscarriage. We were in shock and unable to process all that was happening. It was dramatic and emotional. I literally felt like my heart was being ripped out. Since then- I have to remind myself it's only been 7 days- a mess has unravelled.

Each day, we have learned more, little by little, and there is still more we are learning. The harsh reality is hard for me to say, especially to type. We have been a victim of adoption fraud. Our attorney has been found out to be a crook and vindictive. All this has led to our coordinator (whom we've developed a relationship with over this journey) and her husband have been placed in a Haitian jail.  Our concern for her grows with each day they are spending in that environment, apart from their 8 month old son. My heart breaks for them to think of their reality now.

We were also broken over what to do about our journey to bring Ruth and Naomi home. We are confident God has led us to them, and has planned for them to be a forever part of our family. We have been reminded that our Heavenly Father is also their Father. He loved them way before we even knew about their lives. He continues to love them passionately, and He has a plan for their future. We have been commanded to care for orphans; and in our family, that means to provide a home and a future with our daughters and sisters. My boys have been very aware of this hiccup this week. We have reminded them repeatedly that we would fight for each one of them, the same way we will fight for Ruth and Naomi. We are their parents, and that's what parents do!

I have spent countless hours on the phone this week, researching options for a new attorney as well as a new place for our girls to live. The answers aren't all put together, yet. But we trust they will be soon.  I am so thankful that God has given us a peace with just the right people at just the right time. And how people come back into my path from times before, without me knowing the reason, until it's time. We are still confident that God is good! We do not know the road that is ahead, but we know the waiting continues. But we are thrilled to STILL be pregnant.

I don't know how long this time of growing and waiting will last...I can't guarentee I won't burst, but I know my God is in control and He loves my girls even more than I do. We will continue to give God the glory, in the midst of the crisis. And we are confident, He was not surprised by this, neither is it too big for Him to handle.

And we will let you know when the contractions start (aka- Dispensation is signed)

Then the pushing..... (Passports and Visas)

And of course the delivery!! (airplane day)

Please, please pray for all of the families involved. We are each learning different shattering news. My heart is breaking for the realizations that my peers have had dropped on their laps.  Evil is alive and stronger than ever. The enemy does not want hope, and a future for children.  Pray for unity, for wisdom as we all pick up the pieces and move forward, and discernement as we seek what is next. And pray for the little children who are the true victims of this corruption.

Pray for righteousness.
Psalm: 34:15- 19  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not yet....lesson in the waiting

Monday morning, I eagerly spent sorting through girls clothes! This weekend, my sister in law returned some clothes that Allie wore. I totally had forgotten that I'd given these to her.  I was excited to look through them again. As I walked down memory lane, I found myself dreaming of the two little girls princesses that will wear those clothes, again. These, along with many more clothes we've been blessed with by great, generous friends, needed organizing.  Ruth and Naomi have a full closet of dresses and  shoes, as well as a dresser full of an assortment of clothes. I took some time trying to organize clothes for now, (that they can wear in a tropical climate) some for later, (I'm holding fast to the fact that they will be home by winter- a cold, PA winter). Then some for down the road a bit.  Between dreaming and trying to guess what sizes the girls will wear this winter and next summer, I made quite a mess! As the boys jumped on the girls' beds, I found myself lost in thought, as I imagine of all six of our children growing up together. I am feeling so ready, SO READY for that time to begin.

It's been common knowledge lately, that we are stuck waiting for President Martelly (the president of Haiti) to sign our dispensation. That afternoon, it didn't seem out of the ordinary when I got a message to call my friend Shannon. She and her husband, along with two other couples were the families I had the privilege to get to know better on my trip to Haiti in February. As fellow adoptive families, I have dearly appreciated their friendships, advice sharing, and headache racking through this long journey. Shannon and I have had many lengthy conversations and I value her friendship.  I knew her husband and the two other dads were in Haiti this week, visiting their children.

It wasn't long into our conversation when she had explained to me that they had met a man who did work in Haiti and had a contact with President Martelly. Perfect. That's exactly the word we've needed to hear! As her details unfolded, she explained how the men had gone to the Presidential Palace that morning with our coordinator and their contact. Well it doesn't end there- President Martelly, himself, ended up joining them and talking with them!!! He agreed to sign the papers!
Yay! Heart jumping! Pee your pants a little, screaming for joy! But......

The catch is- that since the man who introduced them to the President's aide has not had the chance to meet us, along with two other families who are adopting from the same home, he was not able to give a recommendation for us. My heart sank. gut punch. sick stomach. tight chest. I tried to soak in all she was telling me. I know I had her repeat many of the details, I felt so shocked. I was crushed. We have walked so much of this road together, and stood together as we fight insanity at times. I am so thankful for friends that understand the pain of waiting, unlike anyone else can.   Shannon reassured me, that ours would still be signed, and of course, it would be soon. But no one really knows. No one really knows.

But God.
God knows. I've been reminded by another dear friend this week, that God has already written each of our adoption stories. This is not a surprise to God. He is even patient with me while I slowly suck in the news. He would know the tears I shed in the last few days. He would know the Psalms He led me to in the dark hours of the night. He knows the trust He wants to teach me. I am so thankful for His patience with me. Again.

I don't know all the details. I am surrendering to the fact that I don't need to know all the details. God knows all the details. God knows this is a critical step in this process for Ruth and Naomi to come home. God has reminded us over and over again how He has planned for Ruth and Naomi to come home to wear the clothes in their closet. God is preparing me for the day all 6 of my children jump on the beds together.

I wanted to's signed! He signed! We are moving forward......But I can't. He has not signed, YET. I am trusting my God is faithful, and this work He will complete. I believe He has a lesson for me to learn in the waiting. Another lesson, and another. I feel willing, and I want it to be soon, but that's half of the lesson. Waiting.

I am reminded of the patience of my Lord as He waits for us to come to Him. His heart breaks as He watches us wander, alone, without a Father. Making poor choices along the way. But He waits. as long as it takes. And, then, He's ready with open arms. Time is redeemed!! The lost are redeemed! Found. Home.

I pray daily for this lost time with Ruth and Naomi. The days we are losing make me sick, the memories we are missing break my heart. But, I trust. I trust my God knows. And I'm thankful He does!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I600 Appointment

When we were in Haiti in June, we scheduled our I 600 Appointment with the US Embassy. To simplify, this is the first step in the process to apply for Ruth and Naomi's visas from the US government.  We are planning ahead, so when the Haitian government approves their passports, we can already be in process of approval for their US Visas.  The appointment was yet another part of experiencing the Haitian culture. I'll spare you the details, but it was a day I hope I'll remember for a long time.

We arrived for our appointment much less prepared than we would have desired, since most of the paperwork we needed was and still is waiting on the Presisdent's desk for his signature. So we didn't even have either of our girls' birth certificates, let alone several other important documents, or the translations, required. We answered several questions from the first woman who interviewed us, then sat and waited more, and waited, and waited more before the next officer questioned us. We were trying to figure out a system to the chaos of the hundreds of waiting people....we found none. But it was a very humbling feeling to realize 99% of the 300 or so people in the room, were Haitians requesting American Visas. (I digress)

We had been told by peers who had gone to this interview prior, to expect a due date for any papers we did not have ready at this first interview. That helped ease our nerves while we waited. Hence, we recieved a due date in September to file the rest of these papers. We pray our dispensation is history by then, and that we will have the papers necessary for their invesigation. If not, we will request an extension (which is very common).

Another requirement that was assigned at that interview, is that any biological parent must be interviewed to attest to the fact that they are willingly chosing to give their child(ren) to another family for adoption and not that they are being forced or bribed. Ruth and Naomi's mother, Milonne, is living. Her appointment was set for August 8 at 8:00am. Tomorrow is Aug 8! While I am feeding my boys breakfast, and getting ready to rush out the door to swimming lessons, Milonne is to be at the US Embassy in Port Au Prince, waiting to testify.

We had the priviledge in June, to meet the brave woman that gave life to our girls. She made the 8-10 hour trip (on Haitian roads) simply to meet us. She firmly wanted to have her interview the week we were in country, to minimize another long, uncomfortable, expensive journey into PAP. However, the Embassy was not prepared to interview her, and denied our request to schedule her appointment for the week we were in town.  So, we are confident that she wants to appear for her interview. She expressed to us, how grateful she is that Ruth and Naomi have a family that will and does love them and is able to give them a life full of love and a future with hope. I do not worry that she will "change her mind" before our adoption is complete (yes, legally, she still could). But  there are hurdles that cause me concern with the rest of the story.

The rest of the story that makes this even more complicated, is that, in June we learned that she was expecting a baby in July. For 7 weeks I've prayed for this interview. I've prayed that she will be able to travel back to Port Au Prince for her interview. I've prayed that her baby's birth would not interfere with her reporting to this interview. I've asked my adoption coordinator, Wilna, about her baby's birth each time we've talked. Don't hear me say, I didn't care about her health or her baby's health, I did care. But what I was really caring about was my selfish concern. I realized that what I truly was praying  that her new life wouldn't interfere with ours. I didn't understand this, until today.

I spoke with our coordinator, today, and learned officially, now that Milonne's baby had indeed been born. A boy, Sammy (I think). Wait- no, there is no birth weight or length reported- because he was born, at home, with his mommy, alone, again. When we met her, I could tell she was a strong woman, and when I asked about Ruth and Naomi's birth story, it was clear that she was strong. She learned she was having twins, not in her 4th or 5th month, but she realized she was having a second baby after the first one delivered. Did you get that as slowly as I did?!!.....She learned Naomi was coming, as soon as Ruth was born. Remember, she was alone, in her home (a tent) in the mountains of Haiti.

Now, 2 years later, as she was hanging up clothes outside, she felt "something". She went inside to bring her baby boy into the world- her tent, with no one to share in her joy, hold her hand, or comfort her pain. My mind imagines a dirt floor, with a blanket I gave to her in June. There would be no running water, let alone someone to give her a drink of water.  She did what she knew, and called a Doula (likely an untrained Haitian woman), who apparently helped her with the placenta, but now two weeks later, she is having pain, likely from an infection.

So, when I find myself praying that she will hop on a "bus" with her new born, to travel a full, long day into PAP to appear for OUR adoption, I feel selfish. Today, my heart has changed. I have had a day of reflection. I know that Ruth and Naomi cannot come home with out Milonne appearing to testify before the US Embassy. Our adoption cannot be complete without this step. Believe me, when I say, I want to be able to cross this step off of the check list of steps to complete our adoption. But, I find my heart not willing to desire this at Milonne's expense. This is so hard for me to grasp, as I have asked so many to pray that this "bio parent interview" would take place like it should tomorrow morning. Yes, I still want to hold onto the part that  she could be sleeping in PAP tonight, and Wilna could pick her up in the morning to take her over to the Embassy to appear for her interview. But I want to desire God's desire. I am encouraged by Psalm 24:4-5
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

I want to lay down MY desire, MY plans for the plans He has for my family. I WANT my girls home, to be tucked in down the hall from their brothers, so I am the first face they see every morning. I want to know what foods they will love to snack on, what sports they will want to play, or will they desire to watch their brothers.  I want to take time doing their hair, and painting their nails. I want to memorize scripture passages with them, like we do their brothers. I want Danny to know his sisters are coming home, and that they aren't "at Haiti" anymore. I want them to know they are big sisters to Zeke. I want to mark their height on the wall with the rest of my children. I want to read Bible stories to them, and teach them that they are loved, they are special and they were chosen for our family.
As many things as I dream about and desire for each of my children, I know my Heavenly Father has plans for me that are greater, far greater, for my than I would have even asked.
I am thankful for Jeremiah 29:11- I cling to this for myself and for our girls
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I spoke with Wilna several times today. At our last, she wasn't sure if Milonne was coming into town today. She would have to arrive today, to spend the night in order to be at the appt in the morning.  Likely, we will have to request that the Embassy will reschdule her interview. I honestly do not know what to pray concerning her appointment tomorrow.
I am thankful for the promise in Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Prayer Braiding

I can't believe I've let a whole year go by since I've last updated. So much has transpired this year. It really is a shame to miss. To summarize, quickly, and I mean quickly....I'll include some of the highlights. Hopefully, you already know that Ezekiel Jason, "Zeke" joined our family as the fourth brother on December 22, 2011. He is such an easy going baby, and has been loved- adored by us all!

We have made much progress with our adoption process to bring Ruth and Naomi home. Jason went for a visit in October, alone. (I was too with-child to travel). Then, I went for a very needed visit in February along with Jacob, our 6 yr old. It is so encouraging to visit them and to know they are doing as well as can be, for being orphans in a third world country. But, I cannot describe the ache it is to say good-bye again and again.

Then, last month, we went with a group of teens from our church to do mission work, while completing some adoption work as well. Jacob and Isaac, our oldest two boys were part of the team and were able to spend the week with their sisters, too. We were able to see both Ruth and Naomi walking! They don't seem like such babies anymore, but toddlers!

They each have their own personality, which simply melts my heart. To say we are anxious for our girls to come home, is an understatement. They already feel like part of our family. I find myself hesitating to take pictures of the 4 boys, or of the 6 of us together, since it feels like our two sisters are missing. Numerous times a day, we talk about Ruth and Naomi, or imagine what life will be like when they are finally home with us. We are trying our best to be patient in this time of waiting, but we are more than excited to start our lives together with them.

Today, as I was doing my hair, and praying for Ruth and Naomi, I started to braid, since I am SO READY to do my baby girls' hair! And the verse came to me about three strands being stronger than two. There is power in more people praying with us. We know this, and we need you to praying and believe with us!  Believe me, we are praying daily, fasting, and asking others to pray with us. But God placed an idea in my mind that feels corny more tangible...

Ecclesiastes 4:12
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple braided cord is not easily broken.

What I'm asking is- Will you braid with me? When you tell us you are praying for this overwhelming adoption process, for the President of Haiti to sign our dispensation, for our finances to come together, we are touched! There is nothing more encouraging than knowing you are lifting us before our Lord, the most high God!
I will be braiding my hair (or a section of my hair) as I pray, at least until President Martelly signs our papers. Will you braid with me, as you pray?

No matter the style of your hair, we ask you to pray that this dispensation will be signed before August 1. (that's next week!) I promise to keep you informed, when we hear he has signed!

Thank you, dear friend for standing with us, and making us feel supported in this long journey.

May God richly Bless you!