Monday, March 15, 2010

A few words about Haiti

So... you might ask why I haven't written lots and lots about Haiti yet.. The truth is I've kind of hit a point where I need to take an emotional break from processing it. I've been blessed to have family and friends that truly want to know about the things I saw and what I learned there. I have had opportunities to talk in short and also at length about it. I've had time to cry about little things that I remember. I was able to go to the Global Orphan Project Haiti summit on Friday night where I saw pictures of my Haiti children up on the screen and hear stories about them from the leadership that I have a very personal connection to already. Because I was THERE. I held them. I smelled the smells. I saw their scars... and I know their stories. Amazing stories of faith in our God and horrible stories of horrible things happening to little babes that I love.

I have moments that bring it all back.. like when I get a whiff of diesel fuel on the highway.. or see a construction pile of rubble or when I think how far along one of my pregnant little girls is. She is due in April with a baby girl, and she is 13.

I'm still processing the faith of the pastors of Haiti and how they bring praising the Lord in times of trial to a level I can barely comprehend.

You know how there are moments in your life when you take mental pictures of things that you will never forget. I think my time in Haiti was more pivotal than many of the other experiences in life in terms of how it impacted and changed me. I was changed when Lucas was put into my arms... but I was renewed in a different way while holding children in the back of a truck in downtown Port au Prince.

That is all I have for now. I thought it was time to touch on it, but I'm not really in a place to unleash all details to the world of Blogger just yet.

March adoption update

I haven't written in almost a month, but I have fantastic reasons. Shortly after my last post I left for Haiti. When I returned from Haiti on the 3rd, I jumped right into working on the dossier in a major way. That pretty much consumed all nap time for the last few weeks.

Just before I left for Haiti, Ted and I were able to hand in all remaining pieces to our Homestudy that we had any control over. Since we had everything done that was possible on our end, Holt set up times to send out our social worker. Barbara came out on March 10th and the 12th for our interviews and looking at the house. Since we've done this before, and lots of positive changes (stay at home Mom, Dad finishing medical school, we live somewhere that doesn't have "stairs of death"....) we weren't really worried about passing as much this time ;-) Everything went great, and Barbara was wonderful. She is working on the final written documents of our Homestudy right now, and we anticipate that to be done in the next week or so. Even after it is finished, however, there will be some time of sending it around to various places to get signed and then it heads to Holt's corporate office to be fully accepted by the Ethiopia staff.

While they are doing all of that, we needed to turn our attention to finishing the dossier- which is Ethiopia's stack of documents that they want. This includes things that were in our Homestudy, along with a few other random pieces. We're done with a little over half of it... and the rest of it is quite doable. This week we are trying to wrap up documents that needed to be created by us, and next week I will have to run around getting stamps on a few different things. I still need a notarized letter from the police, Ted's birth certificate from Minnesota to come back, my letters of recommendation back from a couple gals, a listed statement of benefits from Ted's HR dept (notarized of course and on their letterhead), and a bunch of random documents that Ted and I have to create, notarize, and have state authenticated. It's just nice to be able to look at my list and at least understand what there is left to do.

Things got a little interesting in the Ethiopia adoption front this week. I'm going to be vague, only because there is no reason for great alarm because we don't have enough details to be alarmed yet. Basically, due to a few incidents over in Ethiopia of people coming to get their child only to find out that their agency had lied to them (ie: their child was severely disabled but the agency had said they were healthy, or children being years older than their agency had said they were). The result of those indiscretions has resulted in the Ethiopian government issuing a statement that now all adoptive parents need to be present for court to testify that their child is their child as they were told it would be. Let's be positive- Ethiopia cares about their children that they want to ensure the correct placement and they are willing to step up the game to protect all parties involved. That is GOOD. It also means that we can get the same time of visa that we had for Lucas which makes things much easier when you get home. Oh...and then there's that little tid bit of spending time with our baby when they are a bit younger and more picture opportunities! The bad? Plane tickets to Ethiopia aren't cheap... and people in Ted's position at the hospital can't "just take vacation time" like most working adults. The man can barely get any sleep or come home, let alone leave the country for an undefined period of time.

We don't know yet just how interesting this will get. This news is fresh from the adoption headlines and our agency is really scrambling to get us all answers. There are a lot of dossiers sitting there ahead of us in Ethiopia right now... and those folks will have to do the same thing before we do. Many of them are in more difficult places than we are.. in that they have more children at home to find childcare for. In our situation... 2 of the 3 members of our family are easily portable and it doesn't cost anything for those 2 people to be away... it's just our breadwinner that we worry about :-)

IF only one of us has to travel to testify at court- we are only looking at an addition $2,000 of cost, if we both have to, it will be more like $3,000 more. If we both have to be fully present both times.. and each time for awhile... then the Sibley family may need to take a break from this process for a bit to re-assess the finances. Will that be hard? Yes... BUT we will not lose all sanity in the pursuit of another child so as to take on so much debt that we can't feed the child when they come home. At this time, we are cautiously optimistic... and have decided to just work on our dossier in our own sweet time.. and instead of rushing to get it there as fast as possible, we will just work on it as we feel like working on it. If and when we do have to go for the court appointment, it will be 6-8 weeks or so after referral.. and we aren't really expecting a referral until late summer or early fall... so this is all a ways off and not worth panicing about.

In the meantime, we continue to pursue God's will in all of this and HIS direction. HE will bring our 2nd child home when HE sees fit. He is the God of all orphans and the God of all money. He is the giver of grants, donations, and low interest adoption loans... and this is in His hands. The more I remember that, the more peace I have, and the more I enjoy this fantastic life that He has given me.

And now, it is time to turn off Thomas the Tank Engine and read Lucas some books :-)