adoption, parenting

Settling in!

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It’s been just over a month since we’ve been home.  The boys are settling in well and making friends and we just took a vacation for over a week.  I wondered if they would be overwhelmed, but overall they managed very well.

Lowenski will officially become Peter in the next few weeks.  He is currently in the 4th grade and while he was never able to read while in Haiti, he is picking things up very quickly here.  His first day of school on March 11 was awesome.  He came home with a picture and a letter from every student in his class welcoming him to America and to school at his elementary.  He was so proud.  He’s made a friend in the neighborhood and is often out riding his bike around the block.  His favorite American food is grilled cheese sandwiches!

Daveson, soon to be David is in Kindergarten at the same school with Peter.  He’s working on writing his letters and counting to 30 and 100 in English.  He can count to 30 easily in French.  He loves his teacher and his classroom.  But nothing lights up his face more than when Marley comes over! 🙂 He is so sweet to her and she to him.

Healthwise, they are both doing great – gaining weight and growing.

We had a few adjustments as a family to make with their arrival, but overall, Marcus and Denny have been incredibly helpful with their little brothers.  Yesterday was a banner day when we went to Silver Dollar City in Branson and everyone was laughing and having a great time.

We still occasionally have some “You’re not my real mom moments”, but they are becoming few and far between.

We so appreciate your prayers for our family.  I truly believe things are going as well as they are because so many people are covering our family in prayer.

adoption, adventure, faith, kingdom living, parenting

I’m in Haiti!

I made it to Haiti this afternoon!  It’s great to see the boys and they are anxious to get on the plane.

I have some specific prayer requests for this week and would love it if you would be praying for them:

  • Tomorrow we go to the Embassy for the Visa interview.  Once we complete that it could be the same day or the next day that we pick up the visa.  Please pray that it is same day so that there are not additional transportation charges to pay.
  • Once the visa is in our hands, I will go with a social worker to IBESR (Haitian Children’s Services) to pick up the exit letter. Please pray that we are able to get this with little to no delay.
  • On Friday, we will fly out, assuming there are no delays, to Miami.  We’ll overnight in Miami and then fly to St. Louis on Saturday morning.

We would love to have you meet us at the St. Louis airport to welcome the boys home! Our arrival time is 11:30 and we are flying in on American Airlines.

Look for posts on my facebook account for more detail a little later in the week.

Blessings on your week! Thanks for your prayers!

adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

It is Finished!!! (Well, almost…)

We finally have a visa appointment!!  I’ll be traveling to Haiti on Monday and going to the Embassy on Tuesday morning for the appointment.  As soon as the visa is printed, we’re going to IBESR for the exit letter.  Please pray that all goes smoothly!

Our current plan is to fly to Miami on Friday, March 1 and stay overnight to get a little space, then fly to St. Louis on Saturday morning. It looks like we might make that 2 year-to-the day mark after all!!

Once we’re home, we’re going into a cocooning stage to give the boys time to acclimate to a  new family and an entirely new way of life and some space to grieve as they leave their old life behind. We’ll also be busy with a multitude of appointments as we begin baseline health evaluations for them.  We’re not sure how long this will take, but we’re planning on at least three weeks.  So, you’ll see either Brian and I and the older boys around, but probably not the whole family for a while.  In the meantime, I’ll be updating the blog with how things are going.

We would love to have you welcome us home at the airport.  We’re flying American home and our flight arrives at 11:30 am.  Check my facebook account for updates throughout the week!

adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting

Visa Update

Thank you all for praying! The US Consular Section in Haiti has begun again to schedule these appointments. Families who received approval from USCIS and who began the wait for the visa in mid-January are seeing appointments scheduled for February 20 and later.  We received our USCIS approval on January 28.

March 1, 2011 was the date of our first court appearance in Haiti.  It would be ironic if our visa appointment were scheduled for that day.  We certainly did not expect a 2 year process at that point.

On that trip in March 2011, our orphanage director told me we were looking at an 15-18 month process in Haiti.  I refused to believe her because I knew I had a big God who could move mountains and the laborious process was nothing against His power.  And I maintain that all of that is still true!  The pace of my adoption does not negate His power and does not mean that He wasn’t involved, didn’t care about me or my family.  Instead, He used these 24 months to teach me a lot about myself and to sculpt and mold me more closely to His image.

I don’t regret the last two years of this process. I am a different woman because of them.  He’s not done molding me yet and the arrival of our boys will start a new chapter in that process.

Thank you for praying for my family.

How can I be praying for you?

adoption

Adoption Update – January 11, 2013

Finally after weeks of playing a back and forth game with the US Embassy, we have received some documents that needed to be translated, sent them off to a translator and are waiting for their return.  When they arrive, we should have final approval on orphan status for the boys.

From there, our file moves to the Consular Section and a Visa appointment will be set. The boys have already been cleared by the embassy-approved doctor for travel to the US, so this should be an easy step.  Visa appointments have been scheduled pretty quickly after final approval on orphan status.

It’s looking like a very real possibility that the boys will be home very soon.

We appreciate you all praying with us throughout this adoption process, we’ve needed every one of them to stand strong in faith that they would come home. We’ll need them even more when they arrive home and begin the transition to our family.

I’ll update as soon as orphan status is approved and the Visa appointment set!

Brian and I offer our most humble thanks for all of you.

Natalie

adoption, spiritual warfare

If you think about it…

We would appreciate your prayers for tomorrow. We’ll be making a call to the US Embassy to find out why there is a delay in approval of our I-600.  (The I-600 is a Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative and is filed with the USCIS.)

The USCIS at the Embassy in Haiti has had our file since November 14. In August of last year, they told me that all they were waiting for was our court documents for it to be approved, so I expected that we would have approval long before the end of November.  Instead, it’s January 1 and we’re still waiting.

Thanks for praying with us!

adoption

Inside the embassy somewhere…

Well, we sort of know where our file is.  We know it’s inside this building:

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We know it’s in the Customs and Immigration Unit of the US Embassy in Port au Prince, but we know nothing further than that. We’re awaiting the adjudication of our Form I-600 “Petition to classify Orphan as Immediate Relative”. We’ve submitted all requested paperwork and at this time are just waiting to hear the outcome.

To bring our boys home, we need to move from USCIS to the Consular section for the issuance of their visas to come to the US.

Once the visas are issued, we get an exit letter from the IBESR (Social Welfare office) and then we can get on the plane and bring them home.

Please be praying for these things:

  • A swift conclusion to the adjudication process.
  • A quick process through the Consular Section (We’re pretty sure this will take at least 8 days, but we’re hoping for not much longer than 2 weeks).
  • Once these are done, a quick issuance of the exit letter.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer to bring our children home.

adoption, faith, kingdom living, parenting, spiritual warfare

Adoption Update

We finally got the phone call!!!

Tuesday morning, Brian and I will be on a flight to Haiti to finalize our adoption in a Haitian courtroom.  We are so excited!! Thank you for partnering with us in prayer for this day to happen!

Interestingly, our call came exactly 2 days before our file had been in IBESR for exactly a year. 363 days of learning patience…

We don’t expect to be bringing them home with us on this trip, but God could certainly surprise us with that blessing.

We would appreciate your prayers in the following areas:

  • That we would be able to fit in all of the appointments we need to take care of between Tues and Fri.  Two court appearances and then passports to be issued.
  • That we would be able to get all documents translated back into English quickly so that we can deliver the entire dossier to the US Embassy on Monday morning or even earlier 😉 .
  • Pray that once the dossier is in the hand of the Embassy that they will review everything quickly and approve our I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. We previously had a roadblock at the embassy and we need it to fall down.  The boys cannot get visas to come to the USA if our I-600 is not approved.  Please pray that God will remove all the barriers and to direct us to the right people in our government to facilitate that removal.
  • Pray that our boys will be home on or before 8/8/12.  It’s my birthday and that would be a very cool birthday present!

Again thanks to all of you who have supported our family in prayer throughout this process.  We’re not there yet, but we are into the final sprint!!

adoption, Bible Study, faith, kingdom living, spiritual warfare, Uncategorized

Answered Prayer

I was doing a study this morning as part of facilitator training for our church’s women’s ministry called Friend 2 Friend.  We’re going through a book called “Growing in Christ” by the Navpress. I’ll be willing to confess that I wasn’t all that thrilled to be asked to go through it.  I mean, I’ve been a Christian since I was 19 (wow, is it really almost 30 years). This is pretty basic stuff, I thought. I was reminded that even the most basic stuff is what we need sometimes.

We’re still anxiously awaiting news from Haiti. We know that four or five dossiers from our orphanage have received presidential dispensation in the last two weeks.  We still do not know which dossiers. Why? Because as soon as this news was received, Haiti began to erupt in political violence. A prominent police officer was killed prompting riots throughout Port au Prince. In addition, seven kidnappings took place. A group of 50 ex-military men stormed parliament demanding back pay. A prominent governmental official was accused of killing a store owner. The list just goes on and on…..

As I went through this study this morning, I was reminded again of the battle that is taking place in the spiritual realm in Haiti.  There is active opposition to children coming home both spiritually and in the natural world. As much as I have written about this spiritual battle, you would think that I would have been girded and praying and engaging in that battle. Instead, I heard these were signed and have been fretting and pestering the director of the orphanage trying to get any information at all, to no avail.

Lessons from today:

1. Don’t stop asking in Jesus’s name

John 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

2. Ask according to His will – I John 5:14-15

3. Abide in Jesus, trusting in Him, reading and applying His words. – John 15:7

4. God’s answers to my prayers will be great and mighty, beyond what I ask – Jeremiah 33:3 and Ephesians 3:20

5. The wrong reaction to this uncertainty is for me to become anxious; the right reaction is to keep asking God with thanksgiving. – Philippians 4:7

6. When I do, He will give me peace and guard my heart and mind. Philippians 4:7

I’m thanking God today for the reminder.

Prayer Requests for the adoption this week:

  • Those with dispensation will be told this week.
  • Dispensations will be published in Le Moniteur even this week.
  • Files will exit IBESR by Friday next week.