Well.. as you can tell by the date of this post, March 10th... that it's been almost a month since my last update. Things have changed so much in my heart and in the Ethiopian program. I didn't want to write this post. I have been putting it off. Talking about things is hard.
First of all, before the giant rehashing of all the past few weeks has involved, I need to send a big encompassing "THANK YOU" out into the void to all of those that have written, texted, or hugged encouragement into me lately. You know who you are... Brenna, Courtney Norton, Cassie, Sarah Graber, Sarah Flanagan, Kristy DeGraw, Chrissy Jensen, Shonda, Martha, Lindsie, Michelle, Betsy Meehan, Rachel... and that's just the ladies of my adoption world and mostly from the Ethiopian program.
Then there are those that are closer to the inner workings of my heart as I process this: my poor husband, the worship team of Deerbrook, the Thursday morning girls,Erin P, Mike, and all my siblings. It has been such a tough road in the past few weeks.
So.. after all that... you probably want to know what happened.
After not being submitted shortly after the Feb 14th update I wrote, I contacted Holt wanting to know the status of my file because everyone around me was being processed and it seemed I wasn't and I just wanted to know why. Holt Oregon wanted to know why too. They contacted the Ethiopia Holt staff and asked "So... what's up with the Sibley file? We haven't heard anything on them". A response was received, but Holt Oregon wasn't sure how to take it. They did more research. I received a call at 1pm on February 22nd from the head of the Ethiopia program. She (lovingly with great compassion) informed me that we had never passed court on December 6th like we were told. The Ethiopian court had decided they wanted additional evidence from the police department where our son was found. Sometime in January/February this info was obtained and accepted by the court, but they were meeting on March 4th to review our case again and hopefully approve it.
Insert knife twisting in my chest here. I cried the biggest ugliest cry you could imagine. My poor husband had to leave me there to go to work. I cried some more. I folded laundry. I took my son for a long and cold walk. The days that followed were an up and down journey of getting over our new reality.
I called Global Orphan project and confirmed that I would be leaving for Haiti on March 23rd for sure. If you're saying "WHAT IN THE????" I'll get to all that later or in another post.
Fast forward to March 4th (last Friday). After prayer on all our behalf we were informed at 10:15am (15 min after Holt opens for business on west coast) that we had not passed court yet again, due to a missing letter from MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs- the gov entity in ET that oversees all adoptions). Now at the time, this did not scare me because this is a very normal problem that many people have. It usually means that they look at you again in 2 weeks and the letter is usually there and then you move on in the process of getting all your stuff together for the embassy (which is what we thought was going on in Jan and Feb). I got this news while on the treadmill... which is a great place for me to get bad news because I can sprint like a crazy woman until I'm calm again. I didn't even cry. You would have been proud.
I organized an emergency date night for Ted and I to make sense of this. Thank you RuthAnn Koltveit for helping with that!
Saturday night, I began to hear more and more grumblings and a big scary rumor from multiple sources that MoWA was going to begin cutting Ethiopian adoptions by 90% to crack down on any and all corruption in the system. Because MOWA is the people that kept us from passing court this last time, does it mean my next court date is now months away? Does it mean that initial adoption cases are being slowed down or all of us regardless if your file needs 10 pieces of paper or 1. I just don't know. It's scary. In light of all of the "what if"s that we are faced with... it's a real time of stretching and looking in my own heart.
So.. last summer.. while I was waiting for Ben's referral and the process made the switch from one to two trips and everyone was freaking out (which is now kinda ironic since that seems like a pretty minimal problem compared to what we are faced with now) and we didn't know what would happen. I remember praying often that this journey would not be about what I want but what God wants to teach me and the journey itself. Now that was an easy prayer to pray, given infant referrals were moving along and most people came home with a child 4-6 months later with no real bumps or problems. Getting our court date in December was a longer wait than some people but still somewhat close to what we were quoted. All quotes are out the window these days as the program seems to be spinning out of control. One constant of international adoption is that it is always changing and is not for the faint of heart, but MAN... it's hard. It's hard when everyone else (it seems) in your group is home with their kids, or will be soon, or has the balls to complain about how long they have waited publicly... when at the end of the day, all that you want is just the prayer to be in that part of the process with them. But you're not. And you don't know when you will be. Or, heaven forbid, you never will be given the news coming out of the country.
I'm not there yet. I do think Ben will come home. I just have no idea when.. if it will be in 2011.
I wish I could summarize all I have learned of God and his character in this blog post... but I can't. I suppose I'll have to site a cliche which I hate, that God only gives you what you can handle. Little bread crumbs at a time. I can think of the past instances in my life, where if I would have known what was ahead of me I would have run as fast as I could in the opposite direction to avoid the difficulty. I think of this specifically in terms of marrying Ted. If I would have known what life with him would sometimes look like, I would have said "I love you and all, but I want someone home every night at 5p that can give me little white babies that look half like me". AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY WRONG. Dead wrong. Because my little 21 year old brain couldn't handle it. If someone would have told me last summer that all that would transpire, I would have said "No thanks, I'm going straight to domestic adoption where I can get a newborn african american boy way way faster and not miss his first year of life or longer". And I would have been wrong. I would have missed out on all that I have learned. At the end of the day, whether Ben is 6 months old or 12 months old or 18 months old, he is still the path that God has me on until I hear otherwise.
So rather than seek the comfort and peace that God can choose to give me, I'm trying to choose to focus on aspects of Himself to be revealed to me. Some moments its hard. Sometimes I'm not strong enough to continue to love him unconditionally even though I know I should. Sometimes I'm just sad. Someday this will all be clear to me, or maybe it won't. The journey is what matters. Every little wonderful and sad piece of it.
So here is what I am asking you to pray for:
That I keep my eye on the prize that is NOT Ben.
That the Ethiopian government can give us a clearer idea of what is ahead from their perspective
That Ben will remain healthy
That I can continue to stay positive even when other people aren't positive about my circumstance.
That I get news of my next court date.
That our update to our homestudy and immigration will come back in time and without drama.
That I stay safe in Haiti.
That I remain open to what ELSE God has in store for me, outside of adoptions.
That I enjoy the everyday blessings that we have been getting a lot of around here lately.
That I don't get any more adoption news that turns out not to be true, whether that is someone's fault or not.
Thank you for all who have put up with my ramblings and emotions and all of that. I love you all. Very much.
Coffee time for me.