Looks like USCIS has finally put forth some guidelines for all of us adoptive parents that recently brought children home from Haiti under Humanitarian Parole. The short of it appears that we pursue a domestic adoption in our state of residence, then file for Petition of Alien Relative after two years.
Being that this will all be outside the “norm”, it should be an interesting journey through the caverns of the legal system, a journey for which I am definitely not prepared, but absolutely blessed to get the chance to walk….because it means that my children are home! So while I will probably get discouraged from time to time, might even complain, just ignore me….because I definately know it is all worth while.
So does anyone reading this know a good (insert honest and talented) adoption lawyer in the north Louisiana area? Actually, I am not even sure they have to be in north Louisiana, as long as they are licensed to do adoption cases in Louisiana and are willing to help us get through all this. And come to think of it, that honest part is probably less of a requirement than the talented part…we are talking about lawyers right?
Oh and by the way…the girls are doing great.
Amelia has to be the greatest 6 month old baby on the face of the earth….seriously. She NEVER cries, ALWAYS smiles, and takes several naps a day in addition to sleeping from 8:30pm to 8:30am. Ok, the only thing that would make her a better baby would be if she would actually change her own diaper and fix her own bottles. Just those two things.
Naomi is adjusting very good as well. She LOVES her Momma, big sister Claire, and little sister Amelia; she tolerates her Daddy/Poppa and bigger sister Bella. Actually her and Bella are little partners in crime, either up to no good and perfectly aligned or playing nicely and misaligned.
I realize I owe you all some updates and pictures. I will get those up soon.
Let me know about that adoption lawyer if you have any connections.
There are literally countless stories like the one I am about to share with you….stories of how God moved in, around, and out in front of His people to orchestrate the story of Naomi and Amelia’s homecoming. I can promise you, there are so many small stories of God moving man made mountains, that when woven together, tell a miracle of epic proportions. God worked through the FAITH and ACTIONS of so many people to literally change the course of our family’s life, but ultimately it was only God that could fill the gaps.
Here is the kicker…I think God is willing to do this over and over again in your life and mine if we are willing to start taking steps of faith that require God to show up. Little steps of faith don’t really require our God to deliver on His promises….big steps of faith allow God to come through as only He can.
Below is a story told by the man who took Naomi to the US Embassy on faith and allowed God to use him in bringing Naomi home to us:
Have you ever experienced God filling the gap in your life… you know when you feel God putting something on your heart but you don’t really know what it is? When you need to do something, but don’t really know what, why or how? It is such an incredible thing… following what God puts on your heart and letting him fill the gap. I’ve just experienced this first hand and I feel so incredibly blessed.
My plans were to work at the Heartline clinic on Saturday. During a break, I wondered how Carol Plamanns kids from Mother Theresa’s were doing. Mother Theresa’s had been trying to get her two kids along with 5 other orphans out of Haiti. The Sisters in Washington DC were trying to get a flight but were struggling. Over the last 4 days, promises and commitments for the flight came and went without success. I decided to go over to Mother Theresa’s and check. Sr. Martine told me “no success”…they were unsuccessful getting the authorization for the flight. On a whim, I asked if I could go to the US Embassy and see what was needed to get them out. I had no idea about anything to do with adoption.
When I arrived at the Embassy on Saturday, there were long lines of people trying to get visas or passports. I went to a window on the other side and told them I was there on “Official Business” for Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity. I know I was stretching the truth, but they let me right in. Someone came to meet me and brought me to another building inside the compound and I quickly met with the person in charge of “Orphan Evacuations”. She gave me a list of what I would need and I was out the door on my way back to Mother Theresa’s. I wasn’t planning to do this and really didn’t know what I was doing but felt a need to ask the questions.
I was in a hurry to get back to Mother Theresa’s to see if they had the needed paperwork… the only problem, my motorcycle wouldn’t start… and I couldn’t get ahold of Jean. So I decided to leave it at the embassy and tap tap back to Mother Theresa’s. Sr. Martine brought out all the documents she had and we went through them one by one… the documents seem to line up. It appeared that we had everything they were asking for. I asked if I could take them and if she could go with me early Monday morning to present the documents and see if we could get the two children out and she said sure. Jean came to pick me up in his truck and we headed back down to the embassy to pickup my broken down motorcycle. As we drove through heavy traffic, I was thinking about everything and remembered hearing that because of the huge demand, the embassy was open 24 hours. Without much thought, when we arrived at the embassy, I headed to the guards window instead of my motorcycle. Little did I know that God was moving me and filling the gaps. I had know idea what I was doing but I knew I was doing something.
At the window, I claimed “I’m from Mother Theresa’s Missionary of Charity” and I’m here to present and file some documents for adoption. The woman I met earlier was busy but a man who assisted her quickly looked over my papers and asked, “Can you be here tomorrow at 12pm? Without thinking I said “Yes!”. He said bring your children and be ready to go… if you get the green light to go you have to leave immediately… but you’re going to have to be patient. I was both excited and nervous… for the first time I thought to myself, “maybe I would have to leave Haiti tomorrow”. I knew this was not my plan but for the first time thought maybe this is why I was here… maybe it was God’s plan.
I called Sr. Martine, told her the news and asked if she could have the children ready at 10:30am. I asked if she would come with to help insure that that we could get this done. I got back to Troy and Tara Livesay’s house late… and Troy was just getting home. He asked my what I had planned for tomorrow and I told him I might be going to the US with two orphans. I had already decided if this happened, I would return to Haiti after delivering the children to their adoptive parents. He told me about a 3 year old girl that had gone to the embassy the day before but was rejected because some papers were missing. He asked if I could bring her along and try to get her out along with the other two. I said, “Sure, I could bring her and present the documents, but God would have to do the rest!” We both knew what I meant.
I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I dosed in and out and around 2:30am I finally gave up trying to sleep. I started thinking about what an incredible opportunity God had put before me. I wondered why he would choose me to do this… I didn’t know anything about the adoption process. I felt totally inadequate and uneasy with the responsibility but also felt grateful for the opportunity to help these 3 little children.
I found out the following morning, Troy spent much of the night and early morning emailing and calling Naomi’s adoptive parents to get the missing information and preparing her adoption papers. He worked so hard and really gave me everything I needed. The next morning, Tara brought Naomi over and we were off to Mother Theresa’s. We picked up Guyvinscy (7 years old) and Evans (2 years old). I asked Johanna, a nurse who was staying at Troy and Tara’s house, if she would come with us incase the two boys got to go but Naomi didn’t. She would have the responsibility to bring Naomi home if she was rejected again… what a difficult job this would be.
We arrived at the embassy before 12pm… all of us, Naomi, Guyvinscy, Evans, Joanna, Sr. Martine and me. After checking in we were led to a waiting room containing over 120 children. It was complete chaos with children running and playing and sleeping on the floor. While the children looked happy, the adults looked tired and weary. Many had been there for over 48 hours… waiting to get their children out of Haiti. We quickly found out how they were feeling as we too were forced to wait… and wait… and wait.
As we prepared to leave, there was a 15 year old boy named Jefthe that had received a “Humanitarian Parole Visa” but was unable to leave because he did not have a guardian to accompany him. His pastor who had raised him since he was 2 years old was there but was unable to leave the other orphans he had. The woman behind the bullet proof glass looked at me and said, “You need to take him, you cannot leave him behind”. And she was right, I could not leave him behind… God must have thought 2 or 3 was not enough so now there were four.
The next two days were spent going through immigration… a grueling and sometimes painful experience. One of the other parents reassured me this too would pass… and it did. One by one I was able to release these children that God had entrusted me with to their new adoptive parents. It was incredible to see and to be a part of. I told my wife I thought this is one of the things I was put here on earth to do… I just felt it in my core… God was working though me to fulfill His purpose for my life. I could not help but cry… My wish is for everyone to experience this for themselves and to realize God has a purpose for our lives… each and everyone of us were put here for a reason. It is God’s plan for our lives that we should seek, not our own… and in doing so, we will find true joy, peace and fulfillment that we all so desperately desire. I found my little piece of heaven… right here on earth.
Thank you Lord Jesus for revealing yourself to me, for revealing your purpose for my life. I ask that you watch over these four children, Guyvinscy, Evans, Naomi and Jefthe… protect them and let them experience the joy of having a loving mother and father that will care for them and raise them to know you. I pray that they will seek you and as they grow seek your will for their lives. Thank you Father for using me, for giving me the opportunity to love these children. I am so honored and grateful for this experience and know that all Glory goes to you… for it is only through you that miracles truly happen.
So cool that we are getting the opportunity to share our story…well, God’s story…just ours to tell since we were willing to walk it.
I have been asked to give a live, on-air, interview with 88.7 The Cross this Friday (2/5) around 7:10am “ish”. I have to be there at 7am so I expect we will go on-air a few minutes after that. They said they want to give me about 15 minutes to share “our” story. Me sharing “our” story in 15 minutes…just another miracle in this whole thing if I pull it off.
Here is the link to their webpage which I believe has a link to listen live via the Internet….please check it out and listen in on Friday morning!
Pray for me…I tend to ramble and sound like a redneck :) The rambling can be overcome with your prayers…the redneck part…well….
Our friend, Kristen Howerton, wrote a blog about why we actually need UNICEF….they actually do serve a purpose. BUT, blanketed misguided bureaucratic power trips to keep adoptive families from their children is not one of them, nor should be the shutting down of international adoptions for the sake of institutionalization of true orphans for the sake of culture. Take a moment and read it.
Brittney Johnson with NBC (KTVE 10/KARD 14) was over at the house again today shooting a follow-up to the story they have been running on us. I will be shocked if they get more than 20 seconds of usable footage because of the 4 girls reeking havoc during the interview. I will post the link once they put it online.
Here is the link to the homecoming at the airport the other night: