Saturday, March 31, 2012

Closer and still closer..

What a roller coaster of a week it has been!

Thursday we heard that our dossier had been submitted to the Embassy, we all rejoiced. The kids and I went to the thrift store and started to buy up 18 month to 3 T clothing :0)
Steve was in Ohio at a conference and celebrated with the senior leadership of our base there :0)

Friday we got another message saying that the dossier had been taken to the wrong the consulate instead of immigration. While we wold have been fine with our dossier being at the consulate because they are the folks who issue visa's..we had to back track and go through the final immigration step. A bit of a deflation.. but a short delay.

Then later Friday we heard that or adoption worker in Haiti had managed to talk to the USCIS office. They confirmed that all our investigative process is finished. That we are approved to move to consulate BUT that the person who can sign off on our dossier wouldn't be there until Monday. So our dossier will be going for a USCIS and consulate tour on Monday. Back up on a high :0)

We hope that we will then hear that we have a VISA appointment date and three days after that date we will plan on traveling out to bring our boys home.

So Monday we are praying that our friend in Haiti is able to have fair travel and safe passage and favour with authorities so he can get our dossier where it needs to be. He works with 40- 50 families and each step of each dossier is grueling. He has to physically go to each government office, wait to be seen, be redirected to the person who can help him, ask the right questions in the right way to get an answer or to collect a dossier and move it on. Often times things get lost in the process and he and the office team have to work on finding or replacing those items. I have been with him on one of these trips and seen first hand how hard it is to get an answer. The offices are hot and the wait seems so long.

Sooooooo closer and still closer.....

and so worth it!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Wadley has a passport!!!!

Both boys will now have their dossiers sent to the US embassy in Port Au Prince for Visa processing!

Once we have VISA's then we will get our thumbs up to travel date :0)

SOOO close!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Draw my other Mommy

"Help me draw my other Mommy, Mommy. "

My little five year old has a lot of mature questions and as the adoption of Wadley and Peter draw nearer the questions grow more difficult.

Today we sat and drew her first Mommy several times. She asked last night if her Mommy had blue eyes, or brown. I brought out some photos I have of her so we could look and see. I am now on my fifth picture, tracing over the features of this "other Mommy" and talking about her with my daughter.

You'd think it would be hard, or painful or awkward. It doesn't seem so for her because I'm not making it a big deal. It's part of who we are. It's a conversation I will have with four of my children for the rest of their lives. The "other Mommy" talk.

"What are you thinking about when you color in this picture?" I ask my little strawberry blonde delight.
"I'm thinking of her holding me when I was a baby and feeding me."
"Oh, do you remember that?"
"No I's just thinking it in my head."
"You have a good head for thinking"

"I thinking you hold me and feed me"
"Yes I did hold you and feed you when you were a baby."
"Because you needed someone to take good care of you and the other Mommy wasn't able to do that."

Long silence...

"You were a good Mummy!"
"You were a good baby and have grown into a very nice little girl! I love you very much. And this Mummy (I point to her picture) she loved you as well, she just couldn't look after you."

"Can you draw my baby hair?"

I will have this conversation over and over with my sweet daughter. It breaks my heart to see her trying to make sense of something that doesn't really make sense to a 40 plus year old let alone a five year old. She is happy and confident and these conversations come as naturally as "What is for dinner" to her. We work hard at trying not to make it dramatic or give off a sense of shock or nervousness around the topic, I strive to honor the "first Mommy" while answering gently some of the tougher questions. But the truth is it tears up my heart, because I remember all the pain and I want to shield her from that part of her history. I look at the photos and I remember the terrified screaming as I dropped her off, the jittery child I picked up, the painful visits where eventually her mother asked me to stay just so she wouldn't cry for the hour. I remember the struggles and the hopes and the disappointments as I saw this young girl make choice after choice that took her further and further from being able to parent a child, this child, the child that was slowly becoming my child with each defiant gesture.

My five year old on the other hand is not concerned or worried or grappling with life complexities. She is simply exploring more who she is and how she got here. And she is definitely looking forward to teaching her new brothers all about their "new sister" and sharing her "bestest Mommy" with her littlest siblings! She will look at me and say " I love you up to the moon and back and again and again.. up, down, up, down like a M for Mummy!" She is a gift and a treasure and.. sharp as a tack!! I am blessed to be chosen as the second Mommy and honored to give it all I've got!

The first Mommy asked me to always let C know that she loved her first. That I can honor as I continue to thank God for the choice this mother made for life for her child.. my child, sweet little, bright child of ours.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Out of MOI!!!!

Good bye last stage of verification on the Haitian side of the house. We are through Ministry of INterior and approved for passports. Peter already has his and we are praying Wadley's will be in our agents hands within two weeks!

Then it will be VISA's and fly to get them!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

For when the boys come home..

I have been reading several blogs and talking on line to several families who have brought their children home in the last year. Several things have become increasingly obvious to me and so I wanted to write them down, to open up dialog and get feedback before our sons come home.

I will be re-posting this with any added sugestions to help us navigate the first few weeks closer to our "due date".

1) There has to be a party!!!
There has to be a the bottom of the stairs or in the luggage area..or in the arrivals area.. there has to be a party, a welcoming home, a symbol of having "Made IT!!" There has to be lots of photos and hopefully some video and it has to be posted to facebook as soon as possible so that those  who can't be there but really want to be can rejoice and cry and rejoice.. with the family. After all you all had to suffer with me thought blog after blog, after status update that said ..well not much really.. you deserve the party..I can't wait for the party and the children are positively busting at the seams when they think about it!! So PLEASE..come to the party :0)

UPDATED: Please be aware that this bombardment of the senses is going to be terrifying for the babies :0) They may shut down and not be their usual smiling, happy selves.. it's OK.. I want them to know in the years to come that they were celebrated when they came home. And my big kids need this, they need the release of years of waiting to be a joyful supportive please..when you know when we are coming.. feel free to come join in the fun!

2) Then there has to be recovery!!!
As you are all aware we have been through three years of straining towards this point. As I write this blog post I am physically and mentally and emotionally drained already. But all we have been through is nothing compared to the things my sons have had to endure as they waited for us to come and get them. Add to that the experience of traveling with two babies from Haiti to Oklahoma, three plane rides..three take offs and landings and these children have never even traveled in a stroller before! The excitement of the "Party" and then the reality of bringing the baby home. To our home!! To be part of our family. Our family, our base family, our church family, our community family! That's a lot of family and we will need to take it slow and steady.
First of all we will need to take care of all their medical issues, skin and intestinal. We will need to build their immune systems up and probably ours too after the travel and stress. We will be having multiple doctor visits and specialist referrals to deal with existing conditions. This would be a great time to surround us with your doorstep love. Please don't feel offended if you come by and we don't invite you in to stay a spell, but  please don't feel like you can't pop by. I might just need a moment to sit on the step and chat..or I might not.. just know that we are looking forward to the day you can come and sit a spell with us and watch the family play.

3) There has to be connection!!
Our children have come from an excellent orphanage. The Nannies sing and pray and love on our children. The mission teams hold and play with them and we have had a chance to go and care for them for a week  at a time. Peter was cared for by his mother for the first few months of his life but has been part of the cresche for several months now. Wadley had Jesley for the first few months but has been on his own for over a year now. They have had to learn at a tender age that they are not always going to get their needs met, they have had to learn to sooth them selves and they have had to learn that multiple caregivers give basic sustenance. When they come home they will need to learn WHO Mummy and Daddy are, WHAT  a Mummy and Daddy are and WHY a Mummy and Daddy are good to have around.
Here is the hard part.. I know so many of my friends and family will want to hold and play with and care for these new family members. But I have to ask that until they don't want to go to anyone else but us, that you help us help them identify us as safe people by not picking them up, by directing them to us for all needs to be met and even if they are crying and reaching out for you (which they will do because it is how they get the missionaries attention when they come to the cresche) that you just tell them verbally you love them but direct them physically back to us to hold and nurture.
There is going to come a day when this will no longer be an issue and we can not wait for that healthy milestone to be reached. again bear with us please and remind yourself and others who may not have read this blog WHY we need it to be this way for the while.

4) There has to be "Those days"
After all in my dream life the boys come home, the house is spotless, the meals are all ready, the children are all healthy. The boys enter the home and start to play nicely with the toys and each other and the siblings. No one is crowding them, the five year old is not trying to pick them up every two seconds, the sisters aren't vying for their attention and the brothers aren't trying to do the boy bond thing.. nope.. in my dream every one is wearing flowing clothes, the sunlight is cascading over us all and I think I hear harps playing :)
IN real life however.. there will be overwhelm, and squabbles, the stress of the wait will be out in all of us, the sleepless nights and the 2 hour diapers will be taking their toll. The looks in public and the natural "do I know what I am doing?" new parent thought process will be kicking in.
There may be days when the smile is a little strained and the "We are doing great" might not sound quite honest. There might be a day when I'm watching Wadley and Peter and I am missing Jesley. There might be days when the intestinal stuff isn't clearing and I am up to my eyebrows in poop! There might be days where i can't see straight for lack of sleep...
I want you to know I know this :0) Because when I am having one of these days I'd love it if you could just say.. "squirrel" or better yet give me a hug and tell me you are proud of me or that it's OK. Please feel free to restrain the "this is what you chose" and "you did this to yourself," and the " you have no one else to blame" comments. And you might wonder who would say such a thing after all we have been through..but let me tell you.. it's been said :0) and I'd love for it not to be said again, not even in jest please..thank-you.

5) In the end there has to be family!
I can not wait for you all to meet my sons. I can't wait for them to be out in the neighborhood playing, in church worshiping, in base activities as part of our family (hopefully behaving) and in our community living life as Americans to the full. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people. I have the best people who speak wisdom and truth to me daily!!! DAILY!! The best support and the I couldn't be happier to be bringing my sons home to this lifestyle. I wish my friends in VA and SC could all be at the airport :0) My friends and family in England, Virgina, Idaho, Texas.. all of you who have walked this walk with us. I wish all my adoptive friends could be there..and that I could be at the bottom of the stairs when they bring their children home too. Thankfully we have the Internet :0) and I can share those moments with you all.

This will be the start of the rest of the journey..thank-you for reading through this with me. I truly would love your feedback and thoughts on what I have written.

Love Wendy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New photos and a little new news..

We got our updated photos today, Wadley clearly not enjoying the "stand for a photo" routine despite a bit of bread in his hand.. I am going to be in BIG TIME trouble when those eyes and that little face is pleading in my direction :0)

Peter is wondering if big brothers tears are worth worrying about..and if he's going to get a bit of that bread too.

And yes, we are all wondering what happened to Peter's poppers :0)

The other news that came with out photos was that our office hopes to have our dossier from MOI next week. They will then be able to prepare it for passports and we will wait to hear that Wadley has caught up Peter and they are both ready to go to the VISA stage.

The question always asked is..WHEN are they coming home?
The answer as always is.. "squirrel"

BUT if I was going to take a chance at another guess... so far my predictions have been as reliable as the Doomsday prophets!..but..

1 week for final out of MOI
2 weeks for passports
4 weeks for visas
total 7 weeks end of April start of May

or not...


Sunday, March 4, 2012

A little glimmer of hope..

We have been in this holding pattern waiting for Wadley's passport. The office that is able to give him the thumbs up for moving on was closed last month.. but is open for business again this month! And while that might not seem like much..we don't need much to keep on hoping :0) So we will take it..and I'll be back hitting send and recive like a demented wood pecker until I have more news to share.

Here we are in March.. and I survived.

You may want to skip this blog post..but I need to write it.

Today's date reads march 4th 2012 but in my head it reads one year and two days since we heard Jesley died. For the past month I have been reading dates in that way.. lead up dates.. to this first heart breaking anniversary.
We spent it in Alabama at a course for Commanders and their spouses, learning how to be better servants of the people God has graciously allowed us to lead. I spent my hardest day (Wednesday) hearing an exceptional young man describe his tangle with an explosive on foreign soil. I then listened as a mother explained how she lost her adult son. It was sombering and challenging. I don't want everyone elses experiences of loss to be obliterated by my own sense of grief. I have to learn how to be open to hearing the hard stuff from others and allowing them to express their hurt, I believe that was part of my learning journey this last week... but it was hard.
It was tough starting the day in such an emotionally raw way, knowing that it was a Wednesday that I heard the news. It was not by a knock on the door and a team of people sent to tell us that we heard our news. No, I heard by a screaming of grief rushing down our double hallways and my daughter screaming that Jesley was dead! An email that Steve in his grief read out loud to the children standing there.. a bomb blast that sent shrapnel of raw pain into the hearts of each of us. Killing our dream of raising twins and watching their unique relationship grow. Leaving one of our sons bereft of his crib buddy, on soil a country away... Starting the learning process of having to live with out and still live with the child your heart was so wrapped around it will never learn how to let go.
But listening to these families speak confirmed in my heart that we do find a way to live differently. There will always be the before and the after date.. until we reach eternity and then it will only be now!
So I spent the day learning how to be there in case it should happen again on our watch. Learning and being reassured that, the things we have done in the past when this loss has hit our families and our teams have had to walk that tough pathway to the door of a family member, were the right things. Knowing I could do it again if called to, and knowing how hard I pray that we will never have to.
I had been praying that God would redeem this day for us. I had hoped it would be with a trip to Haiti to bring home our sons, but God knew I had to redeem it in the only way that counts... not with something for me..but learning to serve and be. I am grateful that He chose this week for us. ....... and now it's over I'm ready for Him to chose the day we are to bring home Wadley and Peter so we can start that part of living "after".
I'm right you know..there is no word that can take away the pain of loss. No word that can express the sorrow of losing a child or learning that a friend or anyone had lost someone they love so passionately. But while words don't "make it better" they do take the lid off the pressure pot and allow you to look in, it does help to use the words to express the thoughts. If you read these words..thank-you.. if not.. it's OK I needed to just talk and a safe space to do it in.
Love Wendy