Please pray right now!

Right this second, Wilna’s parents are sitting in a social services office in Haiti. The appointment yesterday was cancelled (by the officials) so they came back today. The officials are saying that there are a few things that need to happen with the dossier before they can interview. Brian is in a different section of social services waiting – having just arrived in Haiti.

We have our appointment with the officials Monday, so this desperately needs to happen today so that Wilna’s file can be completed.

Please pray with me that God will make a way where there is no way. Even on a Friday afternoon at 2:00 pm in Haiti.

Please, Lord.

Miracles Happen!

Yes, miracles happen and now here we are getting greedy. Will you pray with us for another? 🙂

Oh friends, I’ve been sitting here at my computer trying to think how to even begin. I want to keep this blog brief, because we have much to pray for today and I don’t want to lose you before the prayer request – but at the same time, I want to brag on our most beautiful, kind, amazing, mighty God.

Let’s see if I can bullet point the huge news.

  1. We had to cancel our i600 appointment because we found out our adoption liaison completely dropped the ball on some major items.
  2. God gave me, someone who has trouble killing a bug, the boldness to fire our adoption liaison.
  3. Through a miraculous intervention, we gained an audience with the director of social services in Haiti.
  4. She was angry that our file had been languishing for two years. She learned of Wilna, reviewed her file and handed us over to their lawyer to review the file.
  5. After hours and hours going through myriad offices – one group to another to another, we returned to the director and watched her write in French “I approve this dossier.” I nearly wept.
  6. From there we went to another series of offices and received a case number – a case number is a HUGE deal because it means Wilna is in the system, and even if she doesn’t come home with the boys, there’s a far greater chance she will come home eventually. To get a case number in one day is unheard of!
  7. Many things need to happen this week and then Brian will fly in to meet with the director again on Monday. Wilna has a case number, but on Monday they will review the file, review the interview with the birth parents (which will happen tomorrow) and determine whether she can join the boys so they can all come home together.
  8. If you know Haiti at all, you know that getting an audience with the director is incredible. Getting a birth parent interview scheduled in less than a week is unbelievable. Gathering important documents from all over the country in such a short period of time – nearly impossible.

And yet God is working mightily and it’s nothing short of miraculous.

Oh, And to add improbability to miracle, the very adoption liaison we had to fire has been graciously helping us all week to gather information and pull everything together.

Amazing!

It’s tough to describe the emotion. We love these children so very much. And we truly want what is best for their lives. It seems like God has made it clear they are all coming home, but we still want to hold it loosely and pray for God’s very best for them. Tomorrow at 10 a.m. (Eastern time), Lovence and Wilna’s birth parents will be interviewed. Please pray that their voices will be heard, their hearts understood. We want to honor them as the birth parents of these children we love so much. Pray that the questions are clear, that their answers are from the heart and that God would bring them comfort and clarity throughout the process. Pray also for Brian as he is traveling on business all week and will fly to Haiti on Friday to meet with the officials on Monday. Pray that they would utilize their authority to right the wrongs, and Lord willing, that Wilna will be able to come home with the boys.

What a week! We are blown away. Undone. Profoundly grateful.

Thank you for your prayers, and please don’t stop now. We will update you as soon as we hear more about the meeting with the director…

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Could we have a next step?

It feels like forever since I’ve updated you.

Oh wait, it has been. May 2014. Nearly nine months since I wrote last to tell you that we were still waiting to find out about Wilna.

The first bit of news: according to our adoption liaison there in Haiti, we will not be able to bring Wilna home at the same time as the boys. This may mean she doesn’t get to come home with us at all, but we try not to let our hearts go there. Bottom line, we truly want God’s will for Wilna’s life. His will may be that she come home to us later, or it could be that he has other plans for her. As much as that’s difficult to swallow, we honor it.

We truly want what’s best. Whatever that may be.

Of course God could always do a miracle and orchestrate her arrival with the boys. We’d be thrilled with that too.

Oh friends, its tough to keep our hands and hearts open through this process. Loving and letting go at the same time is nearly impossible. The only way we can walk it out is to resolve to love these kids wherever they land. If any of them remain in Haiti, we will do our best to love and serve them there.

Now on a brighter note, we may have some good news about the boys.

I am headed to Haiti on February 7th for an appointment on February 11th with the US Embassy. I will file the I-600 which, upon approval, would classify Lovence and Laurentz as our immediate relatives. Our adoption liaison assures us that they are nearly out of social services and that it’s time to take this step.

I’m not sure how long it would take once we get approval. It could be six months, it could be another year. No one seems to be able to gauge the time…

So we hold on and we love and we pray.

And we do our best to trust.

Would you pray with us for some specific things?

Samantha will join me on this trip. Please pray for safety, health and great connections with the children.

Pray that our adoption liaison would gather all the paperwork needed to file the I-600, that he would show up to come get me at 6:30 a.m. on the 11th – and that we would be safe traveling through the streets of Haiti.

Pray for our I-600 to be approved and that any issues would be easily addressed.

Pray for our hearts as we wait, but more for the children. That God would pour over them, protect them and care for them there. He has a plan for their lives, we just want to fulfill our part of it!

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That’s it for now. Thank you for traveling this road with us – we’re so grateful for you.

I wish I had good news

I’ve been waiting to update you. Nearly every month we have been hearing that Wilna will be added to our Haitian adoption file.

I visited in February and we submitted the fees and gathered paperwork.

Things looked great. Maybe next week, we heard.

I visited in March and hand delivered a letter to our adoption liaison. In the letter we shared how important it would be to keep Lovence and Wilna together. We shared how our hearts and our home were ready. We shared how much we longed for Wilna to be part of our family… how in our hearts she already is…

Things looked great. Maybe next week, we heard. Certainly next week.

It’s now nearly June. Brian is in Haiti right now and Wilna is still not added to our file. We found that out today and our hearts are very heavy.

Brian told me over FaceTime and we just stared at each other across the miles. Both optimists, in this painful moment we felt discouraged, angry and frustrated. It will still be at least nine months of waiting after Wilna is officially added in to our file. Each month that passes makes the coming home date that much further out.

And the harder reality – the more time that passes, we fear our chances to add Wilna grow less and less.

And we love this girl so very much.

Wilna and me

Wilna and me

I gathered up Savannah and went to the gym. I turned up the music and pushed my body hard. I felt helpless.

After the elliptical I wandered over to the weights. The music from my iphone was still blaring in my ears. I remembered how back in high school I would lie in bed and listen to the radio at night. With teenage romantic longing, I would think of my current crush and say, “This next song is how he feels about me.” If I was lucky, it was a love song crooning about how wonderful I was… more often than not, it was something utterly disappointing, like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

I smiled into the mirror and did the same thing. Since most of my music is faith based, I whispered, “Ok, God, the next song is what you feel about these adoptions.” I was hoping it would be one of my favorite adoption songs, something like “Home” or “Always” or “Wanted.” I knew if one of those came on, God would be speaking his encouragement to my worry.

My one and only instrumental came on. I glanced down at the title of the song. “Now is the time to worship.”

Now is the time to worship. Not knowing what will come. Not knowing how it will all end. Not knowing anything, really. Now is the time.

I did.

God, you are good.

No matter what.

God, you are loving and kind and gracious and strong.

Whether we bring home all three children or our hearts break because none of them take that journey with us.

God, you are glorious and mighty!

You can make this happen in a breath. Nothing can stop your plans for every single one of us.

God, you are our refuge.

You are our safe place to land. You are Wilna and Lovence and Laurentz’s safe place to land. You are their Father in all the best ways. You hold them and you hold us.

You are good.

We trust you.

And so I ask, friends who are along for the ride, please pray. As we focus on God’s goodness, we need prayer. We need prayer for Wilna and Lovence and Laurentz. Pray that our good God would bring good things to pass in their lives and that if it’s His will, that Wilna would be added even this week so we can bring our children home by next spring.

We miss them. And we do want them home.

So we can all praise our good God…. together.

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Thank you.

The wait… oh, the wait!

Adoption is so much about the wait. Sometimes I wonder if God feels the same anxious anticipation as He waits for us to say yes to him. I think He must – joy, anticipation, longing. He’s the best parent of us all, so I can only imagine how excited He is for the day we choose to become his children.

            We are in that boat. Waiting. Anxious. Excited for the day. We have good news in that we’ve been approved by our local adoption agency to adopt all three children. We had been approved for our two boys, but adding Wilna was another step in the journey. What a process! We so respect our agency and their desire to make sure we know what we might be getting in to… parenting two children with traumatic backgrounds is a big deal, parenting three little ones in addition to Savannah is an even bigger deal. We interviewed with our agency extensively and did lots of research. Joy upon joy they met as a team and determined us able.

            Thank you, Jesus!

            So here we are.  Waiting again. Right now we are waiting with the hope that Wilna will be able to join her brother and Laurentz in the adoption process on the Haiti side. There are lots of things that need to fall into place for that to happen. Will you please pray with us that God’s will would be done on Wilna’s behalf? We love to imagine that his best for her would include our family, our home, our beautifully goofy world, but we also understand that our plans are not always his.

They have the same smile... oh, please Lord!

They have the same smile… oh, please Lord!

            Please also keep in prayer my trip to Haiti. I head there on February 6th and my dear friend Jan will join me. So excited! I will get to meet Wilna for the very first time and see the boys for the first time since November 2012. Please pray for safe travels, sweet connections and lots of great bonding time. Pray also that if I need to do any adoption errands in the chaos of Port-au-Prince, that I would navigate those things like the super savvy traveler chick that I like to think I am….

            I think that’s it.

            Thanks for praying.

            We are always grateful!

I’m freaking out here!

Ever want something really bad and then suddenly feel terrified you might get it?

I felt that way about marriage.

Loved my man. Loved our love. Couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle…

But then I wondered:

What if my quirky bedhead hair isn’t nearly as cute as I think it is?

What if we run into rough spots and in the process run each other over?

Worry.

Or when my baby girl Samantha came into the world. I couldn’t wait to see her, touch her, cuddle her close.

But then I wondered:

What if she looks at me, and then looks to heaven: “This is the best you could give me, God? Seriously?”

And then I pictured ten years down the line as she sits in front of a therapist.

“So my mother dropped me on my head… shudder…and now I’ll never become the NASA engineer I was born to become.”

Worry.

I had a similar thing happen just yesterday.

We got great news . Fabulous news, really. Our boys made it out of IBESR in Haiti. In miraculous time. That means their case files are on to the next step in the adoption.

Best case scenario, we could have them home in nine months.

I was reading on the adoption forum and other parents in the same position were praising God and celebrating with multiple explanation points.

Meanwhile I spent a sleepless night freaking out.

It suddenly became so real. How will we manage our three Haitian children and our little baby girl? How will I cuddle them all? Meet their needs? Help them with the hurt they will carry? How will I not manage to do something utterly stupid… like drop someone on his or her head?

I felt so little and the future felt so big.

I asked God to help me. I asked him to give me perspective. I asked him to make me a better woman than the sniffly mess I was in the moment.

He was so kind.

As the morning wore on, I felt like He whispered something specific to my heart. It wasn’t something I would typically think, so I felt more certain it was from my God.

Loving these children will bring you to life…

I pondered that. I sat in it. Life. Loving and serving these beautiful gifts will bring me to life.

I  won’t do it perfectly. I will say something stupid or do something foolish. Prayerfully I won’t drop anyone on his or her head… but I very well might make a mess out of their brussel sprouts or goof up their snowman with my supposed creative genius.

It will be difficult. Messy. Painful.

But here’s where I missed something. In my desire to prepare my heart for my children, I’ve focused a lot on the difficult aspects of parenting: adoption issues, attachment and trauma. Specifically for our Haitian kids, I’ve thought in terms of strategies, techniques – how we can best serve them. I’ve thought about learning the Haitian language and how to cook Haitian food. I’ve broken down parenting into strategy and tactics.

All of that is good. But I forgot how much I will LOVE individual moments with them:

Snuggling them close after bath time

Making snow angels in the winter

Playing Marco Polo as we splash in the rec center pool

Getting flour-covered as we bake Christmas cookies

Making them laugh as I act my utterly goofy self during story time

Playing, laughing, sharing, living…. Loving.

Left on my own, I may enter old age focusing on my creaky knees and growing wrinkles. And I think that’s what God was trying to tell me.

Loving these children will bring our family to life.

Because that’s what love does for every single one of us. As messy, painful, goofy, broken as we all are… loving others changes us. Makes us better. Bigger. Stronger. Littler. Humbler. Weaker.

More beautiful than ever.

We may not get everything right, but these beautiful children will know that their slightly crazy parents think the world of them. They’ll know we would move heaven and earth to see them grow to joyful adulthood. They’ll know we spend hours on our knees asking God to protect, love, comfort and strengthen them.

They’ll know that even if we don’t do things perfectly, we’ll give it all we have. We’ll educate ourselves and get resources and be diligent – but we will also do our best not to forget the joy of simply doing life together…

And then maybe life will come. For each and every one of us.

Wilna

Wilna

WilnaLovence

Wilna and Lovence

Laurentz

Laurentz

Savannah

Savannah Grace

Disclaimer: I have never – nor do I ever plan on dropping a child on his or her head. Simply added that for dramatic effect.

Just in case anyone was worried.

Face to face

I stared at the photo, tears in my eyes.

Back in the day ultrasound photos weren’t very detailed. My sweet Samantha looked like a weeble wobble: tiny head, round little body.

ultra

I didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl then. I had yet to touch her face or nuzzle her soft baby skin. But I loved her with all my heart.

I had the same sense of awe when I married my husband and took his son and two daughters into my heart and prayers. Even though I hadn’t raised them, my heart was full for their good.

Then tiny Savannah Grace. I got to see her curly haired head come into the world. Birthed by a brave young woman and set into our arms. Awe. Wonder. Beauty.

Now again, I feel that same fullness in my heart. Brian left early this morning to head to Haiti and see Lovence and Laurentz – and to meet Wilna for the very first time.

I was up in the night thinking about it. We know what Wilna looks like from a photo the orphanage director sent to us. Beautiful eyes, warm smile. Just like that ultrasound pic, we’ve looked at it with longing and love. We’ve wondered what it will be like when she comes into our world, when we will get to serve her as Mom and Dad.

We bought her a doll. And some pretty outfits. I tried to will my love into each item and imagine her petite fingers holding the very same cloth, the very same box.

I have yet to touch her face or snuggle her close, but I love her.

I love our boys: I love Sean, Lovence and Laurentz.

I love our girls: Jessica, Cassie, Samantha, Savannah. And I have come to love this fifth daughter, this child of my heart, Wilna.

Amazing how God does that: fills your heart with love for a child you have yet to meet.

I thought I would only get to be a mom of sorts to one child. Now I have the privilege of being bio mom, adoptive mom and stepmom to eight all together.

I’m not sure what our God was thinking, but I should probably buy some parenting books pronto.

That and some chocolate. And maybe a bottle of bubble bath stuff.

But I digress.

Oh friends, will you please pray for Brian – for his travels, health and heart? Pray for wonderful moments of connection with all three of the children. Pray for safety and strength. He will also meet with our adoption contact in Haiti to find out the latest. Pray that all will unfold just as it should…

And pray for me. I will get to take my turn to meet Wilna in a few months. Pray that I will be patient as I wait for that sweet day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!