Sunday, March 23, 2014

Long story..

Well, we finally got our referral of an adorable girl. We were told that she was approximately 4, but she could be as old as six, so we needed to update our home study. We knew that the DR Congo has temporarily suspended issuing exit visas for adoptees--that means you can adopt them but you can't take them out of the country--but we were assured that it was only going to last a couple of months and would not impact us because it would be resolved by the time we needed her exit visa. So, we moved forward and accepted her. That was in late November.

In December the US Department of State issued another update stating that the suspension would last 12 months. I spoke to our agency again and was reassured the that was not going to happen because they had spoken with people in charge and the warning was meant as a worst case scenario.  Feeling a bit relieved we began sharing her photo with friends and family.

In January I received updated pictures--but she looked older, like two or three years older. So I called the agency and requested her birthdate--something that We had never gotten.  I was told that we would get her birthdate AFTER the adoption was finalized in court. WHAT?!  How do you refer children when you don't know and age--even an estimation?  Turns out the court actually assigns the birthdate during the adoption hearing. Weird.  So, again, we trudge forward knowing that there is a chance she won't be home for a long time.

In February I went to an adoptive Momma's retreat in Atlanta. There I learned so much about the rampant corruption in the Congolese government and throughout the adoption process.  I asked lots of questions. No one else was in the Congo program with our agency.  I left determined to get some answers about the process and the verification of a child's status as an orphan. I emailed our agency, but for no response for weeks!

Finally, this past week, I received an email from the agency informing us of a conference call with the Dept. Of State regarding the current state of adoptions in Congo. It was gut-wrenching!  Children are being trafficked, kidnapped, sold, etc to orphanages. There is fraud in lots of paperwork and that is why they have suspended the exit visa process. The country is trying to verify each case. They don't want corruption in the system. I'm glad they are working to make it better, but it doesn't change the fact that hundreds of families have legally adopted children and they can't bring them home. It's a nightmare I do not wish on anyone.

Mike and I talked about our case and what we could do.  Since our case has not been finalized--in fact it was only recently submitted to court--we made the tough decision to halt the adoption. Hope will not be coming home to us. We pray that she will go to a loving home soon. I feel terrible about this decision, but honestly I would feel worse if I knew I was supporting child trafficking.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way. We need a little time to grieve and pray for our loss--yes, loss. Our hearts are given completely to these children as soon as we know they will be ours. --Sharon

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Still Waiting...

For our referral.  It has been almost two months since we learned that we are #2 on the wait list. It's getting harder to be patient to be honest.  With all the delays and changes to the Congo program we have considered switching countries and have even considered siblings to move things along. With each discussion and prayer it comes back to waiting for God to send us the perfect child.   I keep telling myself that we were told we would have a referral in less than three months, but in reality adoptive parents wait much longer for a referral. In all likelihood we will not have a referral before the end of the year, and then it will still be another six months before we travel.   I must learn patience.

While we wait there is so much going on at home that I shouldn't have time to think of our adoption. School is a major time-consumer each day, then there are always appointments when you have five kids, doctors, counselors, piano lessons, sports, etc.  But there has been another issue for the last two months--my health. About six weeks ago I began having weird symptoms like dizziness, seeing spots,   Numbness and confusion. I have undergone a plethora of tests to no avail. My MRIs have shown some spots on my brain, but no active swelling. Blood tests have all been normal--except for a slightly low thyroid level. A spinal tap revealed two diseases--neither of which have produced typical symptoms for those diseases, but nothing of major concern. I have another MRI coming up soon and an appointment with a rheumatologist and endocrinologist to rule out Lupus, thyroid disease, Sjogren's Syndrome and whatever else the medical community can think of. Of course now that I have lots of appointments, my symptoms are improving. Whatever is wrong will likely take a while to diagnose.   Yet I have true peace that God's got it all under control and I will be fine.

That's the update for now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pathetic, I know.

Here's me whining.


It has only been a week since our agency got home from the Congo with lots of new referrals, but our call has not come yet. Soon.  In God's time.

Until then I've got some medical issues to work out. I've been sick for two weeks with bad headaches and exhaustion. No cold symptoms other than that. I'm not a headache person generally--even with five kids they are rare--but these have been terribly debilitating. So my doc has run a bunch of blood tests and everything cMe back normal. He is now sending me to have an MRI. I'm sure it will come back normal and I will just be diagnosed with some virus. But I do pray for relief.

If you have a minute, could you please say a prayer?  God knows I need relief, and he honors our fervent prayers.

Until I have relief, or a referral, I will be off the blog.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Email from the agency

Our agency has sent some staff to DR Congo to do some training and to provide much needed money and medical care to the kids who wait to be adopted. The agency's waiting child site began to fill up with photos of gorgeous children--even twins!  Unfortunately, I was sad to see that they were all older than 3. So I emailed the director and asked if there were other referrals being made. She assured me that they have received many new referrals and that our referral would be coming soon. She said that we are sitting at #2 in the referral queue. That is AWESOME!  It could happen fast, or really slow, but I cannot wait to see our little girl's face!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I Think They're On To Me.

Day 2 of homeschooling two kindergarteners, two fourth graders, and one fifth grader:  I'm pretty sure they're on to me already. Sure, I look like I know what I'm doing; I've got the newly sharpened pencils, the professionally bound lesson planners, new text books for everyone--YOU get a textbook, YOU get a textbook, EVERYONE gets a textbook!--even additional supplies for all those awesome science experiments I intend to do. No, really, I've even written them into the lesson plans (in pencil, lets not go crazy here).  And yesterday I got up, had a delicious cup of coffee made by my awesome hubby, grabbed the planners and called the children in for roll call. After everyone was accounted for, we started off with devotions, which would have been so awesome and enlightening if I had not been interrupted eleven thousand times by kids asking if it was going to be hot enough to have a water balloon fight. Yet I was not deterred.  

After devotions everyone went to their desks and dug into their first subject. Meanwhile I sat with The Littles to begin their kindergarten year. "Today we are going to learn about the letter 'S'.  Yes, Josh, I know it looks like a snake, but it's a letter--no, not like 5, that's a number.  Do you know what sound an 'S' makes?  'Sssssssssss', yes I know that kind of sounds like a snake, but it's just a letter for reading and writing. *I now turn the flash card over to show them a picture guessed it, a snake...*. Moving on...let's learn our numbers now. Can you kids count?  You can?  Show me."  After what sounded like a combination of letters and numbers I whipped out the shiny new flash card with a big bold '1' on it. Except it was in ARIEL, like this: l.  Suddenly I hear, "Hey Mom, that's an "L", like 'Lily'."  I quickly responded that is was the number one, not a letter. I had them hold up one finger--no, not that one, and even gave them one gummy bear to demonstrate. Then Josh noticed there was a picture on the back of the flash card showing one animal. You guessed it--a snake!

And so we hobbled through Day one. Today I awoke with an idea for a new approach and a new zest for the school year. Devotions were again interrupted millions of times by silly questions and behavior corrections--I'm pretty sure the kids think we are learning about the Disciple James: The One Who Couldn't Sit Still And Be A Good Listener. Off to individual subjects now and learning how to write. Ok, learning how to hold a pencil. After the 416th time of helping Josh to hold his pencil correctly, he refused to do any more work. Alas I had no choice but to let him walk away. This of course snowballed and suddenly everyone wanted to have the rest of the day off. Absolutely not!  We stumbled through US History, Science--"No Honey, we are not doing explosions this week. Maybe next week we can blow things up", Language, writing, S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G, and reading. And then there was math...Ugh!  I hate it more than they do, but we got through the day with only one major meltdown. When my husband came home I finally let myself out of timeout.  Maybe tomorrow will be better?

Adoption Update:

We have completed EVERYTHING and are now officially waiting for a referral. We have been told that we could be waiting anywhere from 3-6 months for a referral. With the uncertainty of this program it could be longer. The waiting is always the hardest. It could last a few days, or years depending on the country. We don't know who our child is yet, so waiting isn't torture. Once we get The CALL, things will rapidly deteriorate in the patience department. That's it for now. I'm pretty sure my kids will have duct taped me to a chair and proclaimed their freedom from oppression. If I don't update within a week or so, please check up on me. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Oh Oprah!

After learning of Oprah's allegation that a Swiss shop was racist when it refused to sell her a handbag, I decided to send her a note. (Please note that I do NOT agree with racism in any way!  Everyone deserves equal treatment.)

An open letter to Oprah Winfrey.

Dear Oprah,

I was shocked to hear of the treatment you received in Switzerland while shopping for a hand bag.  While I certainly don't know all the facts, because I wasn't present, I do understand that a sales lady refused to show you a $38,100 crocodile-skin handbag designed by Tom Ford. I was simply appalled at this story!  $38,000 for a purse?!  That is ludicrous!  I was at Kohl's just last week and saw a lovely handbag for $59.99. It was fancy and had lots of pockets and storage areas--it even came with a cell phone pouch. Now, I'm not a purse-carrying girl but if I was, I would wait until it went on clearance and save a bundle. We both know that the Tom Ford purse did NOT cost anywhere near $38,000 to make. Even if it came with an actual crocodile it wouldn't be that much. (Note, I do not advise that you purchase a live crocodile. They are not nearly as friendly as dogs.)

So, here's some advice:  Shop local, never pay for brand name, and for goodness sake DO NOT follow fashion trends!  That hand bag will be out of style by spring and will end up relegated to a coat hanger in your closet until your summer yard sale. 


P.S.  $38,000 could feed thousands of orphans, provide much needed vaccines to third world countries, and help give homes to the homeless. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dossier is done!

We sent our dossier--minus the FDL--off to the agency this week. I applied for the I-600A on Thursday. I hope to have a fingerprint appointment within two weeks.

As a distraction to the waiting--and there is so much waiting in adoption--I am finishing a room in our basement as a family room. With six kids in the house we definitely could use more room.
I have framed, powered, switched, insulated, and am now working on the drywall. Hopefully I will be ready for carpet by next weekend.

That's all for now. Going to hang out with Tisha Alexander with tonight. Can't wait to see everything God is doing there!