Friday, September 29, 2017

Mama Didn't Come

They dressed her all up nice and pretty for Mama.

The message that we were not able to make it to court didn't filter down to the caretakers so they washed her and fixed her hair and put her in a sweet little dress.

She was all fixed up and ready to go to court with her Mama and Papa.

Oh my goodness I just can't stand it!


 She was waiting for Mama.

Mama didn't come.

Our facilitator, who stood in court for us, went to visit her with gifts she bought "from us."

And they couldn't even take a picture for Mama to see because our facilitator's phone battery had died. She spent the day on the phone getting our Interpol paperwork redone because our name was misspelled on it.

Yesterday, things kind of exploded across the ocean.  I can't share everything but I can say this... the person who has been wrecking havoc on international adoptions has had the tables turned on him.  He is being de-throned. This is good in the long term. This is a HUGE answer to prayer! This is what all of us have been hoping for.

But in the short term, his removal leaves a hole that has not been filled. There are other holes that are empty too as a result of this man's work. Right now the office that processes adoptions is in chaos and we are caught up in that story.

For us to move forward, our dossier has to be reviewed and approved by a committee that he headed. Then our dossier needs to be signed. Up until yesterday, he was the one who signed the approvals.  When he wanted to. At his leisure.

There isn't a head of the committee anymore. At this point no one has been appointed to replace him.

We are in limbo.

So are a whole lot of other families. Some are across the ocean with approvals and court dates scheduled for next week, but no signatures because he was taking his time about signing them. They can't have court without approvals.

We are hoping and praying that in the next few days things will begin to sort themselves out.

We are first of all praying that someone will be given the authority to sign the approvals of the families who have court next week.

We are praying that the committee will continue to meet and approve dossiers and that our dossier will be part of the next meeting.

We are praying that the person put in charge of this committee will not have the same sentiments that his predecessor had.

We are grateful that the powers that be over there did not turn a deaf ear to the cries of the families who have been caught in the corruption and deceit over the last nine months. There are some really good ladies who lost their jobs over all of this and I am praying hard for them that they are reinstated. I care about these ladies because they helped process both Aaron and John's adoptions for us and I missed them a month ago when we were there.   

We are so grateful to the Lord that the mountains are being brought to dust.

We are currently caught in that dust storm and right now the scenery isn't pretty.

It's making it even harder to breath than normal and is causing a lot of headache.

But we have a silver lining.

Tomorrow a Mama is crossing the ocean to accept the referral for her little guy.

He's my silver lining.

He's in Mary's group.

We met him.

We were even able to take a few pictures and send them to his Mama.

He's a teeny tiny little guy who had lost so much weight at camp that his britches fell down every time he walked.  He came running into our room one time with tears pouring down his face and came over to me for comfort. I wanted to pull him into my arms and whisper in his ear that he had a Mama.

He's a little wisp and next Wednesday he's going to meet his Mama! 

I'm so excited for him.

I'm grateful too because we sent Mary a cute little Baby Einstein octopus that plays music and has buttons she can push that make sounds. That's her love language!! She loves buttons and she loves music!! We also sent her pictures. We can't be there but we can at least send bits of love to her from afar.

Here's the thing...

The Boyers are not fully funded.

I want to thank them for loving on our little one.

They have been offered a $1,000 matching grant.

Will you help me match this for them???


If you are reading this and have 5, 10, 20 OR MORE to spare... will you donate so we can match their grant????

It would bless them so much!!


I so am hoping that Cindy's battery doesn't run out so we can get some new pictures of our little one!

P.S. The Boyer's grant account needs to read $2,512.25 for their matching grant to be met.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Feeling Wrecked

We didn't buy tickets.

Our bags are only half packed.

We aren't rushing out the door.

We won't see our little one this week.

Court will happen without us.

The mountains we hoped would move yesterday refused to budge on our behalf.

We are home.

Feeling a bit wrecked.

Adoption is hard. You step off a cliff in faith and find yourselves tossed to and fro and around and around to the point where some days you don't know whether you are coming or going.

The very hardest part is how utterly helpless you are most of the time. Filling out the paperwork and gathering the money is about the only part you truly play. After that you are forced to surrender everything into the hands of government workers, social workers, postal workers, facilitators, judges, juries, directors, drivers, more social workers and more government workers.

We've had to surrender a lot this time around.  The process in Mary's country is much harder to predict. After having gone through this twice you would think we would have a handle on all of it, but we are as baffled as if we had never done this before.

We are feeling wrecked this morning.

We can't even express how hard it feels to not get to see our little one this week. We long to hear her voice. We miss her funny expressions and the way she wags her little finger at us. We want to hold her when she falls and carry her in our arms. She's ours. Not yet by order of the court but she is deeply entrenched in our hearts.

It's a difficult Tuesday morning.

It's okay. It comes with the territory. Cliff jumping wrecks you some days.

Our facilitator will stand in our place in court on Thursday. She will explain the whys of our absence.  We will then wait and pray that next Monday mountains will budge. We need approval from a committee that holds our dossier in their hands. We need signatures. We need a new court date.

Today we will rest. Regroup. Cry a bit. Grieve.

Tomorrow we will go back to making lists and plans. Tomorrow we will anticipate schedules and count days. Tomorrow we will pray and then pray some more.

And through it all we will trust in the One who called us on this cliff jumping adventure!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lost Papers and Lost Certificates

A girl and her Papa....

I laugh when I see this picture!

Playing on the iPad was so exciting that her little fingers just pushed and pushed and pushed every single button over and over and as fast as she could. Papa had to teach her to push it one time. One time. It took a while, but she soon learned.

If you are praying alongside us for Mary just keep right on praying!!  We still don't have plane tickets and our court is scheduled for Thursday.

It seems hopeless.

But on Friday God moved part of the mountain.

One of the many issues is that an important paper we needed for court was lost by one of the governmental agencies over there. Ours weren't the only ones lost so several families have been biting nails over here and waiting and waiting and waiting. On Friday morning, our spitfire of a facilitator and two other facilitators stormed into an office on our behalf looking for those lost papers.

I was sent a message that morning to pray and so pray we did. We asked some of our fellow prayer warriors to pray and pray they did.

Those women pushed on the mountain and it moved.

Those papers are now where they are supposed to be.

It's not over.

We need the mountain to topple into the sea on Monday.

The chances of that happening are slim.

But God moved part of the mountain on Friday and we KNOW He can bring it to dust in one breath.

So we are praying hard and asking you to please pray hard.

We want to be frantically calling for plane tickets on Monday afternoon!  We want to see our little one this next week. We want to get through court so we can come home and count the hours until we can go back and get her. Our hearts are longing with every breath for this to happen this week.

Either way we know that in the end - when the dust has settled - we will see God's handiwork in all the mess. And in that we take comfort.

We pray. We wait. We long. We trust.

On Friday, while the mountain was being shifted, we learned some rather horrifying news on a different front....

On the U.S. side of the adoption, as part of the U.S. requirements for immigration, your homestudy has to be certified by a Hague agency.

We paid a lot of money for our Hague certification.

We were certified and qualified by immigration to adopt. We hold that approval in our hands.

The agency we hired... and the agency that about 30-40 other families who are part of our Reece's Rainbow family hired  - lost their certification as a Hague agency.

This doesn't affect our ability to have court for Mary but it does affect our ability to get her out of the country.

Our homestudy needs to be certified in order for us to get through immigration.

Since our agency lost their certification... we lost our certification.

Unless there is a way for us to be grandfathered in (and that is very doubtful) - we have to hire another agency to certify us.

It's several thousand dollars worth of headache plus a lot of paperwork that just makes me want to cry.

But our iPad loving girlie is worth it.

So we are working hard at trying to figure out what we need to do to redo our certification.

And we are again asking for prayers for not only us but the other families who are in the same situation. Many of the families are not even close to being funded and adding this new cost on is just about drowning them.  It was hard news on Friday. A lot of tears and a lot of discussions. Pray for wisdom and clarity as we all move forward with this news!!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Trying Not to Cry

We still don't have plane tickets.

It is very doubtful whether we will make it to court next week apart from an act of God.

The obstacles and barriers seem so big right now and our little one seems so very far away.


We at least understand to some degree why we can't just hop on a plane and go back.

Little girl has no idea how hard we are praying and much we are longing to hold her in our arms again.

All she knows is that we were there and we are now gone.

All she feels is the abandonment and loss that is part of being an orphan.

I am trying not to cry.

There are so many parts to this story that we are not free to share on this blog, but it all boils down to us being here and little one being over there.

We are wading through our days waiting and PRAYING and hoping that God will move some mighty big mountains that will allow us to keep our court date next Thursday. Those mountains are mighty big. Way too big for man to move. No matter what - we will trust in Him. But we sure would like them moved.

Please keep praying with us.

And keep praying for the other families who are also waiting and praying and hoping because we are most certainly not alone.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Obstacles and Barriers

Two weeks ago we said goodbye to our little girl with promises that we would be back.

Two weeks ago we looked back and saw her little arm waving goodbye as we walked down the long path towards the gate.

Two weeks ago we walked out of the gate holding back tears and breathing promises... we would be back. We would be back.

We don't have plane tickets.

We have a tentative court date set on September 28th, but at this point we have no idea if we will be able to keep that date.

Several pieces need to fall into place in order for us to purchase our tickets. Right now those pieces are scattered across the floor and we are looking at them and biting nails and praying hard.

The streamlined adoption process... okay... not really streamlined because NOTHING in Mary's country is ever ever streamlined... but the relatively streamlined process over there has been upended.

We don't know exactly when we will see those gates again or our precious treasure inside them.

There are powers that be over there who have entered into the process who are doing everything they can to upend the process.

They don't understand adoption. They especially don't understand special needs adoption.

Why would we adopt sick children?

Do we sell them for body parts?

Do we gain financially from adopting them?


What is in it for us?

Why in the world we would adopt them they ask?

They are making it harder over there. These new powers that be.

They are adding on rules and requirements. What used to be a rather bumpy road has now become an obstacle course.

So many obstacles are being dropped onto the course right now that it's hard at times to even see the course.

We can't purchase plane tickets even though our court date is less than two weeks away.

We are waiting and praying and biting nails and trying to make decisions and trusting the Lord that He holds our little one in His loving arms.

We have great facilitators who are working overtime trying to work through all the new rules and regulations that are being dropped on them by the day. 

We have little control but we serve a Great God.

We know He's set us on this course.

He has provided all that we need. This past week we received donations that mean we are now fully funded for this adoption.

That brings us great peace as we wait.

We are not the only family waiting and praying and biting nails. There is comfort in numbers and each time someone gets over a new obstacle the rest of us cheer them on.

There is also comfort in knowing that surrounding us and the other families are mighty prayer warriors.  We need prayer warriors. We need the obstacles to be removed. We need the new powers that be to be toppled from their thrones. We need the bumpy roads back and not the crazy, ever changing obstacle course. We need prayer coverage in a big way and so I am asking - begging you to pray.

I have refrained from sharing about the obstacles until now. When we were in country we were quite shocked at the changes and the barriers.  We watched as our facilitator worked tirelessly to get us through them. The amount of new paperwork required was unbelievable. Just getting our court date was a miracle. Knowing that we may not get to keep it makes us sick.  I have been quiet but as I look around and see so many families struggling through the barriers, I knew I needed to say something. We can't carry the burden alone. We need prayer support.

I cannot share any more than I have shared.

I can ask you to pray.

Pray that our pieces will fall into place.

Pray for the many many families who are in process alongside us that their pieces would also fall into place.

Pray that God would change hearts.

Pray that thrones would tumble.


And pray some more.

Our little one needs us.

Friday, September 8, 2017

I Miss Her

How could one little girl capture our hearts so fast?

How can the empty spot at our table seem so terribly empty right now?

We only had just a few short visits yet she stole our hearts.

She completely stole our hearts.

Soon baby girl.


.... and no... I did not give her the make-up. She had it when we came and held on to it with the grip of death...

For those who have asked - Mary is six years old and is in a 6-7 size range.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

If You Leave Me Now

As all the world knows by now, the internet's a great place to find recipes. Who hasn't gone to the web to search for a fresh new casserole, or tips on grilling chicken?

Today's blog features a recipe the world seems to have learned without the internet. Here's how to break a little girl's heart in five easy steps:

1. Let her live with her mother until she gets sick. Then have her mother abandon her.

2. Send her to live in an orphanage full of strangers. Give her nothing to call her own, not even one set of clothes. Make her share everything, so that she won't want to share anything. Train her to see all other children as rivals, not friends.

3. Give her false hope by bringing in a new set of parents.

4. Rip those new parents away from her by making them wait forever for a court hearing. A month is good, longer is better.

5. Bring the parents back. Then rip them away again by making them wait ten more days before they can even start the paperwork to take her home.

We left Mary around noon yesterday, on our way back home to wait for court. It broke our hearts to do it. She is too young to understand why we left, and too stubborn to forgive. We have no doubt that she will punish us when we return for court-- probably severely. It may take days to gain back the trust we lost by abandoning her.

Trouble is, we won't have days. After court comes a mandatory ten-day waiting period, because... Who knows why? The process has become so unpredictable that we don't dare wait out the ten days in country, for fear it will become three weeks. Much as we hate to, we're planning to fly home again after court-- which means abandoning her yet again. Poor child. If only we could wish the next six weeks away, for her sake and ours.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Baby, What a Big Surprise

It's Friday morning, and we're sitting in our hotel trying to sort through what's happened this week. It all started on Monday morning, when we walked into the government office that handles adoptions here. This is where we would see Mary's file for the first time, and request a referral to meet her.

The first thing we learned was that Mary wasn't where we thought she was. We hoped and believed she was still at her baby house; but alas, she has already been transferred. Her new home is a special needs institute for boys and girls aged 4 - 18. Some are only mildly disabled, others profoundly so. Most of them spent the summer at "camp"-- a nice word for a not-so-nice place where the children go so the institute staff can have a holiday. Mary and some other little ones were to be summoned back from camp a few days early, so we could meet her. The rest of the children would come back for the first day of school, September 1st.

The next thing we learned set our hearts spinning. While sifting through the foreign conversation in the office, we heard the dreaded word "brat"-- brother. Unknown to anyone before now, Mary had a brother-- which meant that we might lose her. If the brother was available for adoption, then we might have two choices: take both, or take neither. They would not split up brother and sister for foreigners, even if the siblings had never met.

The next while was a bit tense, to say the least. Our lawyer hustled us out of the office so that the officer could investigate the brother's situation. Our facilitation team also investigated, calling its contacts in Mary's region. We had minutes to decide what we would do if the brother was available. How could we take both, when we didn't have a bedroom for a boy?

Imagine our relief when we got the news: the brother had already been adopted. They are happy to split siblings for natives, just not for foreigners. We went back into the meeting thinking, "Problem solved"-- only to learn that Mary had another brother!

The good news was that this second brother didn't seem to be "in the system," which meant that he probably wasn't available for adoption. Our facilitators seemed satisfied with this; but it was cold comfort to us. We left our appointment not knowing for sure if we would ever meet Mary.

We spent the next 28 hours in a fog of the unknown. It was a time of praying and wondering. We had no news until Tuesday afternoon, when we went back to pick up the referral.

It was then that we heard, through unofficial office gossip, that the second brother had not been found in the system. We would hear no more until we reached the institute; for only the director there had Mary's full file. The files in the capital hold only bits and pieces, many of them wrong. It is a sad, broken system, and we were feeling its brokenness as we left with Mary's referral.

We headed out to region early Wednesday morning. A two-hour drive brought us to the director's office, where we finally got the straight dope. Mary's brothers were both younger than she, and came from a different father. The younger was adopted, and the older was with his father. So that issue was finally put to rest, 48 hours after we learned of it. It was the biggest relief of the day.

We also learned why Mary was abandoned, we think: because she has epilepsy. The poor child lived with her mother almost four years, until she got sick enough to need a hospital. It seems that her mother dropped her off there when she started having seizures, and never came back. The mother lost her parental rights, and Mary became a ward of the state. She went from the hospital to the baby house, where she spent about two years. Then it was off to the institute this past May.

The actual meetings always come as a surprise to us foreigners. We were on our way to a pre-school room when we came across a caretaker in a hall, overshadowing a tiny little girl. It took a second to recognize her as Mary; for she was much more haggard than the girl in her pictures.

She was also terrified, of course. It took most of her strength to climb the stairs to the pre-school room, where we all sat while our facilitator read through her file. She was playing with a puzzle when we saw the first seizure.

It's the sort of thing that's hard to believe until you see it with your own eyes. Mary suffers from a fairly rare type of seizure called "atonic"-- without muscle tone. One second, she's as alert as can be. The next, she flops down like a rag doll-- as if someone cut a wire in her brain. Two to five seconds later, she goes right back to what she was doing before-- as if she has no idea anything happened.

This is a long way from what we were expecting, to say the least. We'd been told that Mary's epilepsy was mild, and caused her few problems. Yet in the first hour we spent with her, she had at least ten drop attacks. We also saw times when her eyes fluttered, but she didn't drop. We think these little episodes are probably mini-seizures. Plus her hands are shaky, although this may be a side effect of her medication.

The biggest danger of drop attacks isn't the seizures themselves, but the falling. Mary smacked her head on the table once in that first meeting, even though the caretaker was holding her. She had another drop attack on the way out, right at the top of the stairs. If the caretaker hadn't been holding her hand, then she surely would have fallen down the whole flight.

What we're wondering now is, how in the world are we going to keep this little girl safe? The seizures come on too fast for her caretakers to react, even if they're being careful. Rob's spent the last few visits following her around with his arms corralled around her. Lest you think that's over-protective, he's already saved her from falling many times. She's safe on a couch, provided she's sitting back. She's only safe at a table if she's strapped to her chair-- up high, so that her head can't fall forward. It's all rather scary, and we are a bit overwhelmed!

The first step is obvious: The child needs a helmet or headband to save her poor head from hematoma and concussion. The next step is to find her a good doctor. An EEG will give us a better idea what we're dealing with. She needs off her medication, which obviously isn't working, and on some better ones. From what we read, though, atonic seizures don't always respond to medication; and even if they do, it takes time and trial to find the right ones. People also recommend the ketogenic diet, which sounds dreadful. "Welcome home, little girl, here's a list of all the things you can't eat: anything sweet, and anything fun."

Then there are the behaviors. Mary is an active child who is tired of being restrained. She seems to see us as her ticket to freedom, her chance to break all the rules. We have little authority over her; for we aren't her parents yet, and aren't on our home turf. The caretakers are nice, but we're still  paranoid about upsetting them. Beyond that, Mary's way behind developmentally. Her calendar age may be six, but her developmental age is somewhere between two and three.

And yet... what a darling. People used to call epilepsy the "sacred disease," probably because they associated it with visions. We know it's more scourge than sacred; but even so, there's something special about it. It's a whole new feeling, having a child flop down in one's arms like that. There's nothing we wouldn't do to help this helpless little girl.

Needless to say, it's been an exhausting week. We are emotionally drained and physically worn down. We plan to stay and visit for a few days, and then head home Sunday or Monday to wait for court.

Alas, the wait may be far longer than we like; for adoptions are getting harder over here. Certain government figures seem to care more about national pride than they do about children's lives. Please pray that the Lord will tear down all the obstacles they throw up.