Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Still Waiting . . .

Just like when I try to get going on a journal, I never manage to do much because I feel like I need to give the entire back story before I can move forward with what's currently happening. Not a ton has been happening with our Haitian adoption, but little things happen regularly and I'm not getting anything recorded because I keep thinking that I need to write about the last six months before I can write about what's going on today. The problem is, the longer I wait to write something the more catching up I need to do. Rather than continuing to not do anything, I 'm just going to jump in a move forward from here. Hopefully I will get back to the beginning at some point, but if not at least I won't miss the middle and the ending too.

One of the reasons that I feel so strongly about getting something recorded is for the sake of Noah. With Adam we have so much to give him and so much to tell him. Hopefully he will never have to wonder too much about his story and how he came to us. His birth family still communicates with us and still sends us things for Adam so at least once a year on his birthday he gets a reminder that he is deeply loved by two families. I know that Adam is my child and was always meant to be in our family. I hope that he will develop an understanding of why he came to us through adoption instead of by birth. His birth mother maybe needed the experience of carrying him. I definitely know that we needed the experience of adoption for our faith to develop. I've learned things because of our infertility and Adam's adoption journey that I know I never would have learned any other way.

Now that we have found our way to Noah I am still trying to figure out what all we are supposed to learn from him and our journey to him. It's so hard to feel a bond with a picture and a few words in an email once a month, but that bond is coming. I really hoped that when it came time to see the pictures of the children and to choose one to be in our family it would be immediately obvious to us which one was ours. That didn't happen. In fact, we selected Noah because he was the only baby available at the time who was under 24 months. Because of some miscommunication of some sort with our social worker combined with the INS rules, we were only approved for a child up to 24 months. Sandy (our social worker) wrote in the homestudy that we only wanted a child under 24 months so that what we were approved for. We could have had it changed but after the headaches that we had already been through with INS we weren't too anxious to fight that battle. We decided that we would take the approval as it came and see if there was a child for us that was under two. If not, we would go back and make whatever changes we needed to make. We got our INS approval letter in the first part of July and saw Noah for the first time on July 12. He was the only boy under 24 months available right then so we were immediately drawn to him for that reason. As I mentioned, I really wanted to have have some kind of "I know he's the one" moment, but that didn't really happen. I questioned whether he was the one who was supposed to be ours since I didn't really feel anything one way or another. Phil helped me to understand that we could welcome any of those kids into our family and it would be great. He wasn't nearly as concerned as I was, but I think that's just my nature. I have a hard time making even minor decisions and commitments and with one this big I was bound to struggle. I honestly think that for my benefit Heavenly Father made the decision easy for me by having Noah be the only boy available who matched our approval. By the end of the day on the 12th we had decided that we were going to request a match with Noah. We immediately sent an email to ACHF and the next day, July 13 (Happy Birthday Kelly!) we received a confirmation that Noah was matched to our family. Our dossier was already done and ready to go, so we sent a check to LDS Family Services so that ACHF could get the ball rolling.

By the middle of August Holli at ACHF still hadn't received our payment even though LDSFS had cashed the check, so we had to make a couple of phone calls to our social worker and to Dana at church headquarters to see what the hold-up was. Sometime in the middle of August Holli finally received the check and our file was sent to Haiti. We have been just sitting and waiting ever since.

This baby's given name is Nedi Saint-Louis and his birthday was April 12, 2005. We decided to name him Noah and although we would love to keep part of his current name, we just aren't sure that we can do Noah Nedi. We are still working on the name thing. He was 15 months old when we received the referral and he's 18 months old now. Our sincere hope and the thing we are praying for is that he will be home before his second birthday in April 2007. That only gives us another 6 months to get through this process. In any other country that wouldn't be a stretch at all, but what we've learned about Haiti is that nothing moves quickly down there. The best explanation I have heard about why it takes so long is that we are dealing with a typical government bureaucracy. We had ridiculous delays on the US side of things before we received our USCIS approval. What should have taken 4 weeks or so here took almost 5 months and we were working with the US government. Now take that, and put it in a third world country like Haiti, and the wait could go on forever.

Something that appears to be really positive happened just a couple of weeks ago though. The head of the Haitian social serviced who has to sign out every adoption file was replaced. Apparently he was a big part of the hold-up and the new person, Madam Beaudin, is much more interested in moving these files out so that these kids can get home. Phil and I are feeling more and more optimistic that we just might be able to celebrate Noah's birthday with him at home.