Sunday, November 10, 2013

Officially Citizens!

We had heard from our other adoptive friends that social security cards and certificates of citizenship would automatically come in the mail after a few weeks.  We didn't get either.  What to do??  Finally, I was able to get in contact with someone at the Department of Homeland Security.  Turns out they still had our old mailing address.  Luckily, they had stuck our certificates in the mail the day before, so they were able to retrieve them and send them to our correct address.  A couple of days later, they arrived!  Yay! I guess technically, they were citizens when we hit immigration in Miami.  But, now, it is officially official and we have the paper to prove it!!  Next step is figuring out the social security cards.  Guess we will mosey on down to the social security office and see what the deal is.  I am guessing we will have to apply for new cards.  Let's just pray we have all of the paperwork we need to take care of this. Here's our proud American citizens:


Halloween is not celebrated in Haiti.  The kids had never heard of it.  In fact, they really looked at us funny and were really confused when we tried to explain that kids dress up and walk around and get candy.  Sounds great, though, right?  Jovanika chose to dress up as Cinderella. James chose The Hulk.  Although when anyone asked him what he was going to dress up as, his response was always "Muscles"!! Jovanika had heard about Halloween at school and I guess they talked about it in her pre-k class, so she was actually excited.  Even though I don't think she really understood what was going to happen.  When the big day finally rolled around, both of them were excited to put their costumes on.  I think they thought that was it.  Like that was Halloween. We practiced saying "trick or treat" and "thank you". They may not know much English but they sure have "trick or treat" down pat!!  So we went outside and told them we were going to go walk around to our friends houses. "I don't want to walk", says princess Jovi.  So I explained if she didn't, she wouldn't get any candy.  Yep, she changed her mind. They quickly got the hang of trick or treating and had a blast.  We had a few "incidents" that I am sure all first timers have... like one house we walked up to and the lady was holding a bowl of candy in her lap.  She handed James a piece of candy and without missing a beat, he took his other hand and reached in her bowl and grabbed a handful of candy instead!  Why would he want one piece when there was a whole entire bowl?!  That happened several times. And each time he would charm the person into saying "oh, it's ok, he can have more"... Um, thank you, but, no, it is not ok, he does not need 12 Snickers bars.  I think it's safe to say they enjoyed trick or treating.  For about a week after Halloween, they asked every day if they could go trick or treating.  And then they would look at me like I am Mean Mama for saying "no"... Obligatory Halloween pics:

Catching Up

Wow!  I can't believe the kids have been home 3 months!  We have had many new experiences, a few challenges and lots of fun together as a family of 5!  I am going to try and catch up and post about some of what we have been up to.  Stay tuned....

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Settling In

The kids have been home 10 days now.  Sometimes it seems like not long, others it seems like they have been in our family forever.  They are doing so well!  We have not had any major issues yet... a little jealousy, a little sibling rivalry, but for the most part we are all adjusting pretty good! More updates later....

Their favorite thing so far.... swimming!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Visa Appointment

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker,
We are pleased to inform you that the I-604 process is complete, and James and Jovanika Whitaker may now be scheduled for the final visa interview with the Department of State.  The visa interview is scheduled for August 1st, 2013 at 8:00 am at the Consular Section. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

I-600 approval

Finally!  After a day of shopping, I was leaving the mall and noticed I had missed texts and emails.  Not sure how I missed the "ding" of new emails... I have pretty much become a professional email checker during this process.  Always waiting for the next bit of news to roll in.  So, as I flipped through my emails on my phone, I noticed USCIS, Haiti scroll across. ::::YES::::  We have been waiting on this email!!!  I knew it would either say our I-600 is approved or there would be a request for more evidence.  Obviously, we would prefer an approval!!!

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker,
USCIS in Port au Prince, Haiti is pleased to inform you that the I-600 petition, which you filed at this office on June 26, 2012 on behalf of James Jean Baptiste and Jovanika Jean Baptiste, seeking to qualify them as your immediate relatives have been approved.

We are SO, SO excited!   In the next few days we should receive another email that has the date for our visa appointment on it.  The kids will go to their visa appointment on that day.  A couple of days later, their visas will be picked up.  Then they will come HOME!!  After we know the date of their visa appointment, we will be able to start planning when we will go get them.  It seems surreal that after 25 months in this process, we are actually seeing an end in sight!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Under Review

Today we received the following email from USCIS:

Dear Mrs. Whitaker,
We confirm receipt of your adoption dossier on June 18, 2013.  Your case is currently under review.  If we have any questions regarding your document submission or require additional information, we will contact you directly.  Otherwise, we will inform you once a decision has been made and adjudication of the pending I-600 petitions is completed.   
Please note that due to high volume of adoption cases pending in this office, the current processing time for pending I-600 petitions, in which we have received complete dossiers, is approximately three (3) weeks. 
Adoption Team
Department of Homeland Security
US Citizenship & Immigration Services
Embassy of the United States of America
Tabarre 41
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Tel: (509) 2229-8000
Fax: (509) 2229-8082
Although a final I-600 approval would have been more exciting, it is very reassuring to know that everything is complete and someone is actually looking at our file!! Praying we receive an email with our final approval very soon! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

... still waiting ...

We are still waiting to get an email from USCIS with our final I-600 approval. We were told we should have an email within 2 weeks of our dossier being submitted to the embassy. Two weeks has come and gone. Today I emailed USCIS to check on the status. Got the usual automated reply letting me know that I can expect a response in 7 business days. BUT.... that since they are very busy, it may take longer than that. Sheesh!!! I wish I could get away with that at my job.... "I might do this by when I said I would. But if I am really busy, than I won't." HA! Pray we get some news soon!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

medical appointments

When applying for a visa, you are required to have a medical appointment to test for contagious stuff and infectious diseases. The kids had their appointment today. I received pics of them while they were at the hospital waiting for their appointment.

Sweet Jovanika must be scared, wiping those tears away.  
I love that Smith took the time to take these pics and send me an update while they were sitting there!! Now that the appointment is done, we will wait for the email with our final I-600 approval. We were told it could take up to 2 weeks. I don't know why, but even though I know it is going to take a while for that email to arrive, I still obsessively check my email every time I hear the "ding" on my phone!! It has been a part of my daily routine for the past 2 years, so why stop now???

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I got an email today that our dossiers have been submitted to the Embassy. From what I understand, we are waiting on final i-600 approval. Once we have that, we wait for a visa appointment. Then, the kids get their visas and come HOME!!! Basically, that just translates to more of me obsessively checking my email waiting for more news.

Monday, June 17, 2013

James has a passport!

James has a passport!!! Now both children have their passports. I think that means we are ready to move forward to visas!! I don't know how long that will take but let's hope it is SOON!!!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Jovanika has a passport!

This sweet little princess got her passport today!! We are just in awe that it took less than two weeks! I have been hearing horror stories of people who have been waiting MONTHS for their child's passports with no news. I had prepared myself for another long wait, but prayed for it to happen sooner. Well, God provided and we got the email that Jovanika has a passport today!! We are still waiting on James to get his passport. Once they both have them, they can move on to the very last step of getting a visa!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Prayers Answered!!!!

Got word today that James is out of MOI. Both kids are ready for their passports to be processed. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel..... My babies are coming HOME soon!!!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Today I got an email from Smith. It said that Jovanika is out of MOI. While that is a very good thing, we are still waiting on James to get out. I am not sure why she got out but he didn't. He went on to say that they will continue to process her passport while they wait for James to exit MOI. Please pray that James gets out ASAP!

Friday, April 26, 2013

April update

Got our monthly update pic!! No posing or smiles this time.

Friday, April 5, 2013


This morning I got an email letting us know that our file went to MOI yesterday. This is GREAT news!! According to ABI's website, MOI consists of the following:
Ministry of the Interior All international adoption cases are reviewed by the Ministry of Interior. In order to obtain authorization to request a passport, the following documents must be submitted for each child: Four passport sized pictures Birth Certificate Attestation for the Birth Certificate Extract from the National Archives for the Birth Certificate Relinquishment Proces Verbal of adoption Adoption approval judgement Adoption Decree Attestation of the Adoption Decree Power of Attorney for creche director and/or attorney Stamp from DGI Notary letter for the passport Identification card of facilitator and/or attorney on the case Biological parents' identification cards Adoptive parents' MOI form, identification, and passport photos. The Ministry of Interior will grant authorization to submit the dossier to Haitian Immigrations for a passport.
Love that last part.... We are getting so close!! I have no timeline as to how long it will be. I know someone who has spent 4 weeks at MOI. I also know people who have spent way over 4 months at MOI. Every case is different. Please pray with us that we move through quickly and get these kids home!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

February Update

We got our new pic for February. The kids are healthy and doing fine. We haven't heard of any progress lately, so we are just waiting for some news! That seems to be the story of our lives during this whole process. You wait and wait.... just so you can wait some more!

I am so excited because in just 3 days I will be in Haiti with them!!! It has been almost 4 months since I saw them last. Can't wait :))))))

Friday, February 8, 2013

Where we are....

So, I have been trying to figure out where we are in this crazy process.... Best I understand, we are still in Parquet. Several weeks ago, I heard "there was a small problem getting the dossiers registered at the tax office".... HMM, okay.  Not sure what the tax office even has to do with anything, but there is a lot about this process that doesn't make sense to me!!  Soon after, I heard the problem was fixed and they got it registered. 

I am so thankful that we are able to keep up to date with what is going on and that we have constant communication with everyone working on our adoption in Haiti.  On Facebook, I am always seeing people who are adopting from other creches who haven't heard anything in months and have no clue what is going on with their adoption.  I am impatient enough as it is!!  I can't imagine not being able to ask questions or hear anything.  It would be hard also to not get updated pictures of your children!!  We are so blessed to get new pictures and updates every single month!!  It makes the waiting a little easier.  

 We are currently waiting to hear that we have our adoption decrees.  Not sure what exactly happens after that, but having adoption decrees sounds pretty fantastic to me!!  We are getting closer and closer.  Please pray we get these decrees soon so we can move forward!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January update

Got our January update from Haiti.   Maybe it's just me, but the kids look so much bigger than they have in past months!!

Hello Lori,

We hope that you had a good weekend. As usual, here is an update on your kids for this new year.

James: weight: 30, weight: 39. 

Jovanika: weight: 35, height: 43. 

They are doing good.