Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dispensation Mishap

Things happen.  I keep reminding myself of that.  After looking at the copy of the dispensation that was sent to me and asking a few questions, I found out that our dispensation was actually printed in July, not November as I was originally told.  I don't know what happened.  Not sure if they didn't catch it or if it was lost or what.  I know mistakes happen and there is nothing we can do about it now.... I am just kind of sad that we waited for over 4 months with our file just sitting there while we were supposedly waiting on the dispensation to be printed.  God knows the day that they will come home and it will all happen in His perfect timing.  Right?  The moral of the story, is to trust your instinct and ask questions.  For the first couple of months, I sat back and waited.  When the third month rolled around, I asked if they had checked on it.  By the fourth month, I truly felt like something was not right.  Like either it got lost or there was a problem.  I emailed again and practically begged them to do some checking.  I hated bothering them, but I knew it was not "right" for it to be taking this long.  Low and behold, in November when I went to visit, I was notified that it just got printed.  There is an online version of the Le Moniteur where the names are printed.  I had looked through it over and over looking for the kids' names.  Never saw it.  Even after I got a copy of the printing, I have gone back and looked and I haven't found it.  All that to say, while a good resource, the online version is not necessarily all correct. 

So, where are we now?  Our file went into Parquet.   According to our worker, our dossier is being registered in their tax office.  Then, it will go back to Parquet.  When we exit Parquet, we should have a signed adoption decree and the children will officially have our last name!

Deccember update

Here is our update and picture for the month of December that New Life Link sent us. 

Hello Lori,

We hope that Christmas was good. As usual, here is an update on your kids.
James: weight: 30, weight: 38. 
Jovanika: weight: 35, height: 43. They are doing good.

Happy new year as 2013 is closing in!

Just to compare, here is their picture from last Christmas:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Officially Printed!

Several people have asked me about the dispensation.  I don't know the answers to why Haiti has the crazy laws and rules about who qualifies to adopt.  In our particular situation, we needed dispensation because we have a biological child already.  We meet the age requirements and the marriage requirements.  I emailed to see if I could get a copy of the paper on the day we were printed.  Just to see what we had been waiting so long for.  Here it is:

 After I got this, I promptly responded to ask where exactly we are in this process at this time.  I haven't heard anything since November.  Hopefully I will get an answer soon!!  It seems things have been slowing down and there hasn't been as much movement among the people in my circle of adoptive mama friends.  Maybe it's because of the holidays, who knows.  Praying for some news soon so we can get these kids HOME!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Update

Here is our November update from New Life.
Hello Lori,
As usual, here is an update on your kids.
James: weight: 30, weight: 38. 
Jovanika: weight: 33, height: 43. Also a picture of Jovanika on her birthday. They are doing good.
Have a nice day!

They included two pictures.  One is their monthly picture.  The other is Jovanika cutting her birthday cake.  I love that they have a little party for the kids with a birthday each month.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Presidential Dispensation published!!!

There are three requirements that you must meet in order to adopt from Haiti:  1~ Must not have biological children  2-~Must be at least 35 years old  3~ Must be married for 10 years.   If you don't meet these three requirements then the Haitian President must approve our adoption file in order to continue.  Without his signature, then we can't adopt from Haiti...period.  Since we have a bio kid, we had to apply for presidential dispensation. Several months ago, we exited IBESR with Presidential Dispensation!!  However, before we could move forward the Dispensation had to be published in the Haitian Legal Newspaper.  While I was in Haiti this week, I found out it was published on Friday!  

What's next???  Next, we enter 'Parquet'.  Below is a list of steps that occur while in Parquet (taken from All Blessing International Adoption Agency).

Parquet Court
The 'step' we refer to as Parquet court is actually a very complex series of steps and processes involving multiple offices and repeated trips between them.

  1. Attorney addresses a Request for Judgment to the Chief Justice of Parquet Court
  2. Birth parents are interviewed in Parquet Court
  3. Parquet Court signs off on "approval judgement for adoption
  4. Facilitator takes approval to DGI for stamp of authorization
  5. Back to Parquet for enforcement of the approval judgement
  6. Authorization and redaction from the Civil Registrar Officer for legal Adoption Decree
  7. Verification in parquet of the adoption documents by the Civil Registrar before signing the adoption decree
  8. First Legalization of the Adoption Decree, in Parquet Court
  9. Second Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Justice
  10. Third Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  11. Obtain attestation of Adoption Decree from the National Archives
 At the end of this stage we will have an adoption decree...which means the adoption is legal in Haiti!  The kids will officially be ours and have our last name!!!

That isn't the end, though.  There are still some more steps after this. Pray for rapid movement so we can get these babies HOME!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October update

Here is our October update. 

Hello Lori,
As usual, here is an update on your kids.
James: weight: 30, weight: 37 1/2. 
Jovanika: weight: 33, height: 42 1/2. They are doing good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 2011 pics

A fellow adoptive momma just returned from NLL and had some great pics of the kids. Just wanted to share:

 Jovanika napping with the baby doll I sent for her

The little boys praying before lunch

Jovanika & James with their big sister Rebecca

James and his friends at recess

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Presidential Dispensation

Haiti has this crazy law that you can't adopt if you are under 30, married less than 10 years or if you have biological children. If you fall into those categories, you have to get presidential dispensation to be approved to adopt. IBESR has to approve you and then they send your file to get presidential dispensation. Once you have the dispensation, they have to publish it in their newspaper before your file continues through the process We found out in July that we were out of IBESR but waiting to receive presidential dispensation before we could move forward. After waiting almost 3 months, I decided to email for an update. I was told that we have our dispensation, but we are waiting on it to be published. Once we are published, we will move on to parquet. From what I have read, this is where we get our adoption decree. After parquet, there are still several more checkpoints before we get passports and visas. Over the last year, we have gotten really good at waiting. We wait to hit the next big milestone in the process only to have to wait some more. Please pray that we get published soon and move swiftly through the rest of the process so we can get these kiddos home!!

James is 3!

Well, his birthday was actually September 18. Better late than never, right? When I first saw this sweet little boy, he was getting his long hair shaved off. A girl named Ashley was on our mission trip with us. Just so happens she is a hair stylist. She decided this boy needed to look more "boyish" and gave him a haircut.
I didn't think much of it at the time. After I returned from that trip, we decided to proceed adopting a little 2 year old girl named Jovanika. She was the perfect fit for our family. And, since we already have one little girl, we have all the clothes and girly things we need to pass down to another daughter. Plus, we know nothing about boys. And, let's be honest, Avery really wanted another sister. Not a brother, but a sister! Little did we know, God had another plan for us! I can vividly remember the moment James entered our world. We were so excited about starting the adoption process with Jovanika. As everyone going through the process knows, you are checking your email every day minute looking for an update. And since it was during the summer and I was off work, I had the time on my hands to check email more often. I remember standing in the kitchen and just quickly pushing the "send/receive" button on my phone. This time the "ding" alerting me that I had email changed our family!! The subject line read "Jovanika has a brother"..... I went on to read that if we don't want to adopt both of them, they will look for another little girl for us. I had no idea who "James" was, how old he was, what he looked like, anything. I immediately got on Facebook to see if anyone knew anything about this boy. Within an hour or so, I had the above picture sent to me. Someone had taken the picture of him getting his first haircut at 21 months old! Within a few days, after much prayer and consideration, we decided to proceed with adopting both. A few months later, we traveled to Haiti again and I formally met James for the first time. He was a timid, shy, and untrusting little guy, You could tell he wasn't used to the attention. It was clear he hadn't been held often and loved on much. It took him 4 days before he uttered any noise or sound to me. In fact, I was wondering if he could even speak. I never saw a smile. He would cry when I tried to pick him up. He didn't know who I was and wasn't quite sure about any of it. A few weeks after that trip, I had to travel again for court. My boy was a little more open. He still didn't make much noise. He didn't demand a lot of affection. The trip after that, he was a whole different child! He smiled! He laughed! He talked! He actually called me "mama"! He played with me! He came for me to pick him up and wouldn't let anyone else near me or near him. He was finally accepting attention and love from others.
I am glad we listened and followed God's path for us. I can't imagine not having Jovanika AND James. Avery is now excited about having a sister AND brother. James has no idea how much we are looking forward to him being the little man of the family. We aren't able to be there for his birthday, but we did send some toys with another adoptive mama visiting this week. We look forward to having a real birthday party for him next year when he is HOME!!!! Happy birthday James!!! We love you!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

September update

Here is our monthly update from Haiti.

Hello Lori,
As usual, here is an update on your kids.
James: weight: 30, weight: 37 1/2. 
Jovanika: weight: 33, height: 41 1/2. They are doing good.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August update

Here is our August update.

Hello Lori,
As usual, here is an update on your kids.
James: weight: 30, weight: 36.
Jovanika: weight: 33, height: 41 1/2. They are doing good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

interview email

So I finally got the email I had been waiting for with the news of how our birth parent interview went. It went a little something like this:
"The interview did take place. We don't know how it went because it happened in a private room with only the parents and the officer. The embassy will contact you by email if they need anything or if there are any issues."
And there you have it. So we are going to just go on the notion that all is good and the interview went just great.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our birth parent interview was today....

And I haven't heard how it went yet. I did hear from a friend of mine in Haiti that she saw the children all dressed up and going to the embassy for the appointment. But no word on if their birth parents showed up and how the interview went. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be on the birth parents to know that today may be the last time that they see the children they gave life to. Also, how confusing it must be for James and Jovanika to see their birth parents today. Will you please say a quick prayer for my babies and their birth parents? Please pray for their hearts to be comforted tonight. Also pray that everything went okay today and that we will continue to move forward swiftly in this journey to get our children home. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home Study Update

We finally got around to getting our home study updated.  They are only good for a year, so we needed to do an update to send to USCIS.  We also moved to a new house and needed that documented.  It really was no big deal.  Our social worker came to our new house and toured and checked it out, just like she did the first time around.  We talked with her and updated all of our information regarding changes at work, salaries, financials, etc.  Not much had changed, so it didn't really take very long. 

Our fingerprints are about to expire and I need to apply for an appointment to get those updated.  We can't get an appointment without a current home study on file.  I am sending in my request for a fingerprint appointment along with the updated home study.  Hopefully it won't take very long for them to process it, as our fingerprints expire very soon.  Kinda dropped the ball on that one. OOPS!

Friday, July 20, 2012

High Court

After being home 3 weeks, I am headed back to Haiti. We waited 8 months to hear we got out of IBESR, and we got the email 2 weeks after coming home from visiting the kids that we need to go back. Of course! It would have been way too convenient to be able to do all of this while we are actually there :) Tickets are booked. Our appointment is at 10:00am on Tuesday morning. I'm sure James and Jovanika will be shocked that I am back to see them so soon!! Can't wait!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Out of IBESR!

Today I finally received the email we have been patiently anxiously waiting for....
Hello Lori, Your dossier has come out of IBESR today. Now, either of you is awaited here for the High court appearance. Please notify us of when you decide to come down.
There were some days that I had an unexplainable urge to check my email every 30 minutes seconds or so waiting on THIS very email to arrive!! Today was actually not one of those days. It was a very busy day and I had just left the doctor's office with Avery. I got in the car and my text "ding" on my phone went off. Instead of hitting my text messages, I accidentally hit my email and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw IBESR on my screen. Wait, what?! After looking more closely, I realized what it was! I was totally surprised! It would have been completely financially convenient for this to have happened 2 weeks ago when I was in Haiti already. But, as I have been reminded time and time again during this journey, things always happen on their own time and happen when they do for a reason. I'm sure this is no different.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Embassy appointment

Last Tuesday I went to the US Embassy in Haiti to file our I-600. Everything went smoothly. We were supposed to be there at 8am. We left the guest house at 6, because you never know what traffic is going to be like in Port-au-Prince. There turned out to be no traffic at all, so we got there with about an hour to spare. Smith met us there and gave me all the paperwork I needed to turn in with our petition. After waiting and waiting, they called me up, took my form, asked a few questions, then had me go sit back down. After waiting some more, they called me back up for my "interview". The interview was actually just asking me a bunch of questions about the kids, how many times we had visited them, about our jobs and kids already at home. It was nothing to be worried about. After she asked me some questions, she gave me a piece of paper with the date and time for our birth parent interview on it. Our birth parent interview is scheduled for August 13 at 8am. Smith will take James & Jovanika's birth parents to the interview. The Embassy will interview them and make sure they understand that the children will be coming to the States and that they are ok with all that. They already know this, but it is a very important part of the adoption process. A "bad" birth parent interview can foil everything. If the parents come across as unsure about the adoption, they can not approve it. So please pray for the interview to go great!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

High Court Appointment

Our trip to go to court went great! My mom went with me in January and this time my Dad got to go meet the kids. I didn't want to travel by myself, so it worked out great! We got there on Monday around dinner time. Jovanika and James were in the guest house waiting for us when we walked in.  

Jovanika meeting Paw Paw for the first time
Tuesday morning we got up and got ready for court. We got to the court building, which is the old American Embassy. It is kind of set up like an office building. We sat in one of the offices, which I guess was the waiting room. After about 30 minutes, a man came and got us and led us down the hall to another room. We walked in there, which was packed with people sitting in there waiting. A man dressed in khakis, a plaid shirt and a ball cap came and asked for our passport. We were standing in the doorway waiting, as there was nowhere to sit and wait. He walked in another room and came right back and told us we were finished. After the fact, we found out the man in the ball cap was the judge. We were told the way it played out is not usually the norm. Usually he calls you in his office, talks with you and asks questions, but apparently they were really busy that day so we basically walked in and walked out.  

Waiting to leave for court
The next day, we went to the Baptist Mission. We took the kids to the "zoo". The zoo consists of rabbits, goats,a peacock, pigeons and a monkey. We also shopped at the market and ate at the restaurant.

  The Baptist Mission

We had a good time also just hanging out at the guest house. Jovanika really wanted to try to ride a bike. Paw Paw helped her try and figure that out.
Jovanika asked to comb Paw Paw's hair. He had no idea she was going to go to town braiding it!
It was very bittersweet leaving to go home. Each time it gets harder and harder to take the kids back to the creche and leave them with their nannies. The only sweet part of leaving is knowing that the next time we go back to see them, they will be coming home with us for good!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

No such luck :(

We were really, really, really hoping to exit IBESR by now. Really! It would have been perfect timing to exit so that we could go to high court this next week while I will be there. No such luck. So I am going to go ahead and be one of those glass half full kinda gals and look at the bright side of this... this simply means I will get to go back and see the children again!! Of course, it will be at the expense of another plane ticket and lodging and food and transportation. We will probably get the news as soon as I get back that we have exited and I will need to go back. (So much for my optimism.) Anyhow, I leave Saturday bright and early. My friend Jackie and I are traveling together to Miami and then we will meet up with some other people to fly to Port-au-Prince together. I think our flight gets into Haiti around 3 or so, which means we should be at the guest house just in time to get my babies and eat dinner rice and bread. My Haiti trips are always a carbfest. I am really weird about what I eat, which isn't much in Haiti. I have a problem eating mystery meat. Since I know that a lot of goat and other animals of the like are served, I can't bring myself to eat it. I also don't do beans, which is served regularly. They do serve some fruit and vegetables, which is kind of iffy to me. I worry about where the food came from and if it is clean or not. Depending on how OCD I am being at the moment, I may or may not eat it. It's not just in Haiti, I am always a "selective" eater. If I don't know what something is or where it came from, chances are I am not indulging. I may be picky, but I have never had any tummy issues while there. Knock on wood! I digress... I just need to finish packing now and I will be all set to go. I have packed for the twins. Yes, I know they are not actually twins. But they are exactly 10 months to the day apart in age, so that is close enough to me to call them twins. I am bringing them clothes, shoes, toys, snacks, sippy cups, everything we may possibly need. And then some. The hard part is getting myself packed. Why is packing so difficult?! I pretty much have my clothes packed mentally in my head. That counts for something, right? I just have to get them all together and get my toiletries packed. Knowing that I can't just hop on over to CVS if I forget something makes me a bit of anxious packer. Gotta get it done, though. I keep thinking maybe if I put it off long enough, somehow just maybe it will end up done. No such luck. Off to go lay down and think about how I should be packing....

Saturday, June 9, 2012


It is hard to believe that we are coming up on a year since we started this journey. To refresh your memory, I met Jovanika last June. After we got home and started the process of adopting her, we got the news that she has a little brother also at the creche. We were suddenly faced with the decision to adopt both of them or neither. I remember so vividly opening the email with the subject line "Jovanika has a brother".... I don't know why, but it never crossed my mind that something like this would pop up. I guess I assumed that they would have realized it upfront before we were matched with her. Well, you know what happens when one assumes.... Immediately, I got on Facebook and challenged everyone I knew that was on that Haiti trip to find out who this little boy is. Within the hour, I had pictures of this little boy getting a haircut. What is so crazy about this, is that I clearly remember walking through the creche and seeing this little boy with the biggest brown eyes and a head full of hair. He was getting a haircut. I remember thinking what a sweet face and oh my, that was some hair he had! I continued on my way and didn't think anything else about it. What a shock to realize that the little boy getting the haircut was my James! Since then, I have gotten to go back and spend time with him. He is a beautiful little guy and his big, brown eyes will make your heart melt. He is quiet and takes in everything. He loves to cuddle and wanted to be held at all times. In 2 weeks, I will be back there with him and his sister once again. To say I am excited would be an understatement!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I-600 appointment

Today I received our email that we have an appointment on Tuesday, June 26 to file our I-600 at the Embassy in Haiti. You can file it in the States, but apparently it saves some time to file in Haiti. At this point, we are nearly a year into it and will do anything to shorten the process.... Now we are anxiously awaiting an email that says we have exited IBESR!! IF (and that's a big if) we exit before my trip at the end of June, hopefully we can get a court date for the same time I will be there. It would save us a lot of money to be able to do both of these things this trip and not have to come back out another time to go to court. All of these things are out of our hands though. So we will continue to wait (not so) patiently and know that everything will fall into place at just the right time. At least after tomorrow, school will be out, so I can not feel guilty about checking my email during my break times every few minutes waiting for this very important notice in my inbox!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


It has been nearly a year since this sweet little girl has changed our world! Seeing her sweet face never gets old. This week I am thankful for other adoptive parents who take time out from visiting with their own children to get pictures of the other kids in the creche for all of the other families. Some pics I have gotten this week:

Friday, May 25, 2012

May update

Today we got our monthly email from Haiti updating us on the kids. They are both healthy and doing fine. Here is the new picture they sent us. Neither one of them look thrilled with their photo op.
Over the last couple of days, I have also received several pictures from friends who have been over in Haiti visiting their children.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Counting down the days....

Until I see these sweet faces again!!

Sweet boy. I just love this innocent face!!
Fun with foil!!
Look at those big brown eyes!
Jovanika and a friend playing with bubbles.
Jovanika's & her friends taking a break from school.... she is on the very far right with the white hairbows.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

From the news....

Ran across this today on one of the Haiti online newspapers:
Temporary suspension of the reception of adoption records The International Adoption Service (IAS) wishes to inform the families whose adoption process is underway in Haiti (files identified by the IAS, which is the subject of the recovery occurred December 23, 2011) of the decision of the General Director of the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR) to suspend the reception of any new folder from May 2, 2012 to July 20, 2012. The IBESR wants to restructure its services and establish a new system to ensure better protection of children available for adoption.
What in the world does this mean????

Friday, April 27, 2012

April update

Today we got our email from Haiti with our update and new pictures.

We hope you are fine as we feel excited to update you on your kids.James: weight: 26, weight: 34 1/2.Jovanika: weight: 30, height: 40 1/2. They are happy and are doing good. Have a nice day and weekend.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

IBESR news

Yesterday I got an email with some interesting news....
IBESR will not be taking new dossiers until the 1st of June in an effort to complete studying and authorizing the ones already sitting on their desks and also finish the ones that have been given dispensations in the last few weeks. According to a source, the director of IBESR is wanting to clear the dossiers that have been sitting for some time waiting for approval. There were many in IBESR when she took over the position of Director in November 2011. None were signed until after February 2012 and so they are way behind. We will continue to propose children and prepare dossiers so that on the 1st of June, dossiers can be turned into IBESR. We are looking at this as a good opportunity for IBESR to clear their work load and prepare for the new dossiers that will be ready and waiting in June!
What does this mean??? I am not exactly sure. It sounds like a good thing to me. IBESR is the social services agency in Haiti. They are the first big step in approving adoptions and they have to sign off on it before we can move forward in the process. Right now, we haven't heard anything since November and I feel like our file must be stuck on someone's desk under a pile of other files. I hope by them not accepting new dossiers for a month or so, it will help them to catch up and move our dossier along, as well as everyone else who has been stuck in IBESR for a while. While it isn't great news for those people waiting to enter IBESR, maybe it will help clear the way for their paperwork to move much more quickly once they do enter. Hopefully it will speed up the whole process in the long run for them. I have to admit, I am a little.... frustrated, nervous.... I am not sure what the word is..... It is so hard not knowing what is going on and having absolutely zero control over anything. There is nobody to pick up the phone and call to ask what's going on. I just have to trust that the amazing people at NLL working on our adoption are doing everything that they can as quickly as they can. I have 100% trust in them. It is just hard to understand why this process takes so long!! Pray that this whole "restructuring" deal at IBESR is just the beginning of good things to come in the adoption world!!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March updates

We got our March update. The kids are both healthy and doing great. We still have not heard anything about our paperwork in IBESR. We are inching up to the 6 month mark of being in IBESR. I am ready to get out and move forward!! It is absurd to me how some people get in and out in 2 months and others have been in over a year. Please pray for some movement and progress for those of us patiently waiting. Because, to be quite honest, my patience is about gone and I am ready for my babies to be here!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New pics!

Jovanika and her friends

Jovanika and her older sister Rebeca working hard on their craftivity!


Rebeca, Jovanika's gorgeous sister