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Monday, August 8, 2011

Report on Adoption Meetings

Greetings from the Dominican Republic:) we go....
I have to include a little pre-meeting detail...LOL...we left the hotel this morning around 9 am. Giovanny and Carolina Valdez, missionaries here in the DR, are our chauffers while we are here. They have a car that seats 5 people and so we ride 2 in the front and 6 in the back. We pack in like Sardines:) It is about a 40 minute drive to Santo Domingo from where we stay. For any of you that have not experienced Dominican driving, it is like being on the! Except you go and stop and go and stop never knowing if someone is going to slam into the back of you, if you might run over someone on a motorcycle that might have a family of 5 on board or if a car is going to stop so that they don't t-bone you! In the Dominican the primary rule is whoever gets there nose out there first has the right away! It is quite an adventure!! Brayden says..."Hey mom if Davis (my nephew) got his license here do you think he would be able to make it one day without having a wreck??). I did give Jackson some dramamine before we left but failed to give the others some....mistake!!! As we approach the city, Jada was in my lap in the front and got a bad look on her face which had VOMIT written all over it, I quickly rolled down the window and out her head went as she vomitted as we were driving down the highway. Oh my! As we approached the lawyer's office Brayden starts to feel sick and when we went in Esmeralda starts crying that her stomach is hurting as well. I quickly administered zofran under the tongue and dramamine for them plus K Mae knowing we had more riding to go....haha!! It was quite eventful! I'm sure the secretary at the lawyer's office didn't quite know what to think as we walked in! We met with the lawyer for about 20 minutes and then headed to CONANI.

When we got to CONANI, we met with the second lady in command. She is very well acquainted with our lawyer. We jumped right in and just shared our story with her from start to finish. Tommy did most of the talking and I silently prayed for God to give him the words. The lady's name was Sarah and she was most attentive. We learned from her that as long as someone meets their requirement of age and marital status they are required to review any case for adoption that is submitted to them. Past that they make an executive decision to recommend or not recommend the case to their committee or board that makes the final decision to allow the adoption or not. Basically what happened in our case is our lawyer sent our papers in and asked Sarah to review and she denied our case to be taken before the board for a decision inn June. She said the reason being that she felt like there was a strong possiblity they would reject our case given the information she was given on paper. BUT....after hearing our complete story and our heart for these children she said...."There is no way I can deny putting your case before our board and the fact that you are here talking with me in person shows that you are committed to seeing this through". Music to our ears!!!!!! Now, she clearly stated that she can only recommend our case and the final say is out of there hands, but that she was willing to do whatever they could do to help us present a strong case. So... WE ARE ON!!! The process from this point on is this:

First we have to obtain birth certificates, this will be done by their legal department at CONANI with the assistance of our lawyer. This could take 6-8 months or sometimes sooner depending on God's timing:))

Second after birth certificates are obtained, their process of review begins, they will go to the orphanage, see the girls situation there, they will interview the girls, and anyone that can attest to the bond/relationship with them. They have to establish our bond with them, so they can prove it would hurt the girls more to not allow the adoption. She stressed their goal is to do what is in the best interest of the children no matter what. Acceptions for special cases have been made in the past but it is not a simple process because they want everyone to go through their lawful process.

So once all their investigations are finished and they have completed the paperwork then our case will be presented to their committee/board. Once in their hands than they will make the decision.

Sooo, we are still in for a lengthy process that we have to TRUST is God's perfect time table. Our lawyer is very committed to helping us and seems very efficient! Please pray that we will be patient and while we wait the girls will be protected and nurtured. We have seen some change in them especially Esmeralda. She is 13 now and as you know starting to come into her own as a young lady. It is difficult even now as we go get them from the orphanage to spend time with us because we know the other girls wonder why is no one coming to get me? I pray that they will not feel the negative effects of being the ones that get the attention. If I had enough money I would put them all on a bus and bring them with us!! Esmeralda gave her life to the Lord about a year ago, and we are so grateful, she is truly a precious young girl but it is hard being 13 and having to real discipline in her life to stay on track! This is why we want to have time to pour into her before it is to late. Jada is still the life of the party not taking to much to serious. She laughs most of the time. She will require a little more attention in the discipline department than Esmeralda and will definately keep us on our toes:)

It has been interesting watching the dynamic of 5 kids together. Esmeralda and Jackson are 2 peas in a pod. Give them a DS and they are happy for hours. Jada, Bray and Kennedy on the other had are quite the trio...jumping from bed to bed, yelling like they are at a ballgame most of the time and running down the halls anytime they think they can get away with it! If we don't get kicked out of our hotel by the end of the week it will be a miracle! LOL! They have had some squabbles, and we have had some hurt feeling moments but overall they have had a good time so far. Kennedy and Jada have been Tommy's shadow and want to sleep with him every night. I have slept with Brayden and Jackson and Esmeralda have had a bed to themselves:)

Well, I am going to close for now. Thanks to ALL of you who have diligently prayed for our family as we pray God's Will in this adoption. We do believe God has heard your prayers and is moving us forward as we see how His Plan unfolds. Words cannot express how awesome it is to know our Family in Christ is praying us through and what strength that gives us! We love all of you and look forward to the day when you can all meet in person the 2 souls you have prayed for! God is SO GOOD!!!!
Much Love!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hello everyone! Well, I have done a poor job keeping my blog updated & I apologize for that! As you all know, and if you don't, the adoption process is long & very frustrating at times and not much change occurs until you get near the end of the process....

Here I go as I try and update you on the past year since we started this process in June 2010:

As we started this process we knew we were stepping out on faith and taking a risk that we could jump through all the hoops and still not be able to bring our girls home. Each phase of the process has come with much prayer and has taken the Lord's hand to move us forward in the process. The risk in this process of adopting Esmeralda & Jada are as follows:
1st they are not registered orphans with the Government Adoption Agency (CONANI), Conani has to approve every adoption that takes place in the DR. So the situation is that the lady who runs the orphanage the girls stay in, does not register any of them with the country so they are unadoptable in a sense as far as the government is concerned. The other issue is that the Dominican has become a Hague Convention Country in the last 6 years which means by law they do not allow you to pre-identify children to adopt them. Because of child trafficing in past years they put this law into effect to protect the children. Now, we were told Conani could make acceptions to these things if we presented a strong case and so that is what have been trying to do over the past year.

Along the way God has provided and met us at every turn. As you all know adoption is not cheap even so when you are trying to adopt 2:) But, as for us over the last 4 years in full time ministry, we have had to trust God to provide for us every step and this situation is no different for us. We believed God wanted us to move forward and expect the miracle even if the odds were against us. So that is what we have tried to do! We have had some amazing People of God contribute to get us this far down the path financially. Without those who have given sacrificially and the PRAYERS of SOO many that God would see this through, we would not have been able to get this far. God HAS PROVIDED through His Children!!

Another provision along the way, of God, has been a new home for us. We considered looking for something a little bigger with enough room for 5 children plus all the friends we love to have spend the night:)) We found a foreclosure that was more house than we would have ever asked for! We knew that without a miracle we would never be able to own a home as wonderful as the one we found. God showed up big as we prayed that He KNEW what we needed and when we needed it. If we needed to stay where we were than we would be content to do so, and if we needed the room to be able to provide for 5 children and anyone else the Lord would bring across our path then we would be obedient in that as well! God saw the purchase of this home,we now have, through in 3 months start to finish and sold our house in 8 days!! As a friend said "God is the best real estate!" I do not know why God has shown us favor in this move, when I know there are so many other faithful People who need to sell their homes, but in ALL things God is sovereign!! We have been humbled beyond comprehension and are extremely grateful for His blessings!

We completed our final packet of paperwork in May, and they were sent off to the Dominican for translation and presentation to Conani. We received a denial email June 23rd. It was a devastating blow to say the least but not a final say for me or Tommy. We knew we would have to go to battle for my precious girls and that is what we are prepared to do. I compare our battle as though we are David going against Goliath! It seems to most as the impossible but we Believe ANYTHING is possible with God! As we have told the Lord from day one of this journey, if He chooses to not allow this adoption to take place at this time then we will accept His Will and know He knows what is best for our family. Our alternative plan is that, when they are of age we will work to bring them over on an exchange student status and when they turn 18 we can put them in college over here and work to get their green card. So, either way we do believe God wants them to be a part of our family!

We ask for your prayers as our whole family will travel over to the Dominican this Friday August 5. We will be having face to face meetings with our lawyers and the government adoption officials to try and get the denail overturned and to see what our options are. We pray that you ask God to soften the hearts of these officials and go before us! Also, Tommy found out today that a hurricane could hit the DR this Friday the day we are suppose to arrive and so please pray that God will redirect the storm:) We have asked to have the girls stay with us for the week when we are there and we are excited to spend some time together with our WHOLE Family!!

Thank you all for loving us, supporting us and praying for us as we try to be faithful to God's Call on our lives! I will update you as we are in the Dominican on the meetings! Much love to all of you and God Bless!