Monday, February 27, 2012

My Busy Little Bees

Back in the village again!  My mom and I had a very long and wonderful two-and-a-half day journey halfway around the world, full of laughter and sleep deprivation and memorable moments, and this morning we finally stopped moving!
3 airplanes

lunch in the city

shopping at the tourist stalls

warming up with tea and croissants in this lovely little bakery

seeing the sights

early morning on the train

taxi ride from the train to the village
Checked into the hotel, dumped our very large suitcases stuffed full of toys, orphanage donations, and little boy clothes, and took off to visit with the boys.  

Oh, my sweet boys!  I certainly did miss them!  Gideon was a very busy little bee today, so eager to run and play and explore. 
Not such a surprise, really, since he is always busy (too busy to smile for a picture, as always).  Micah, on the other hand, really surprised me by also being a very busy little bee!  In the past he has preferred to lay quietly on the couch and hold my hands and smile at me.  He used to be content to just lay down and do nothing.  I think every time I visit him I see more of a spark of life in him, and more reason to hope.  

Well, the last time we saw Micah, a little over a week ago, Derek and I let him lay on the floor for a few minutes to play.  And today he remembered that, and he wanted to get down on the floor and play again!  He tried to dive head-first off the couch a few times before I finally took the hint and let him down on the carpet.  He scootched himself all over the room once I let him down on the floor.  He threw a ball out ahead of himself, then worked his body like an inchworm to get himself over to the ball, threw it again, giggling like crazy, and took off after it again.  I have never seen him so active!  I can't tell you how excited I am to see him show such spunk!  Although I do have to say that Micah's new-found spunk will definitely make the long journey home seem much, MUCH longer!  :)  So much for him just laying his head on my lap and gazing into my eyes for that 12 hour flight, right?  My mom is probably starting to wonder what she has gotten herself into!  

Tomorrow, with the help of our wonderful facilitator and my mom, I will start the great paper chase.  My first order of business is to pick up the adoption decree.  Then I will go to the cities where each of the boys were born (in two opposite directions, naturally) and get their new birth certificates.  After I have those I can apply for their passports.  Once I have those, I will be able to finally get my sons out of the institution!  

We will travel back to the capital city with the boys, take them to a series of appointments (medical, visa, and embassy) and once those steps are all complete, they will be free to leave the country and begin their new lives with their new family in a new country.  

New mom.  New dad.  New siblings.  New grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  New pets.  New language.  New food.  New customs.  New smells.  New sights.  New rules.  New bed.  New sounds.  New routine.  That's a lot of NEW for two little boys to take in, isn't it?  Please be praying for my sweet little sons as they are dealing with so much that is new.  They are about to have so many changes thrown at them, all at once.  And it all starts off with this head-spinning whirl-wind trip.  And even though you and I know that these are good changes, the boys will probably not really know that right away.  They have spent their entire lives in a laying-down room.  Absolutely everything in their lives is about to change . . . except for one thing:  they will still have each other.  These dear boys have grown up together.  They have always been together.  They were transferred to the institution together.  I am so very thankful that the Lord is allowing Gideon and Micah to become brothers and to stay together for life.  They can face all of this newness together.  

And I am praising God that I am here today, in this village, at the beginning of the end of this adoption journey.  Soon, my sons, so very soon, we will be home, our whole family finally together where we belong!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Court . . . Bad News and Good News

So today we had court.  First the bad news.  We did not pass court.  We did not really even have court.  The judge who was supposed to be there was not.  A new judge walked in.  He'd never seen our dossier before today.  This court has never done an adoption.  Not international, not domestic.  No adoption at all.  This judge had a lot of questions, and shook his head a lot.  He asked us to explain ourselves.  Why would you want to adopt these children?  Will you benefit financially from this adoption?  How will you care for their medical needs?  You are so young.  Why would you want so many children?  We answered each question as clearly as we could, and tried to keep our voices from trembling.  

How do we explain?  How do we explain to a judge who is not familiar with adoption that these two little boys are beautiful and worthy, and that we love them and want to be their family?  That God places the lonely in families, and that He has called us to the amazing calling of being His appointed family for these precious blessings?  How to explain?  We prayed all the way through the hearing, prayed and held hands.  

At first the judge indicated that we were not qualified to adopt these children, and was talking as though it was just not going to happen.  We prayed.  More talking in the courtroom.  More questions.  Then he said perhaps sometime next month he would see us again.  We prayed some more.  The judge listed several additional documents that he wants to see before he can proceed.  Our awesome facilitator amazingly convinced the judge to see us again tomorrow.    Tomorrow!  

So that is the good news.  Our facilitator is running around begging people for the documents right now, and we have court tomorrow at 3:15 pm.  That's 5:15 am Pacific time, so anybody who wants to join us in prayer, we would really appreciate it.  

All I can tell you is this:  there is resistance here, and we need prayer!  God can do all things.  God does not want to leave these boys as orphans.  God places the lonely in families.  God loves these little boys so much.  He has brought us this far.  Provided everything we have needed so far.  Kept the boys safe this long.  He has not brought all of these things to this point only to have a judge deny this adoption.  I have faith that God is bigger than this.  I have faith that God has brought us to this point because He has a rescue plan for these boys, and we are trusting Him that He is in control.  Please pray with us!  


So we discovered that no matter how much you decide you are not going to be affected by jetlag, jetlag is still going to get you.  We visited the boys yesterday, then came back to our room around noon and laid down to rest for a few minutes.  And next thing we knew it was 2 am.  Yeah.  Jetlag is brutal!  But we sure feel well-rested now!  Hungry, but well-rested.  

Mama and Papa came back!

We have been away for a full month.  Finally it was time to see our boys again.  Will they remember us?  we wondered.  Are they healthy?  Are they all right?  We sat in the same visiting room, on the same shiny couch, waiting.  For twenty minutes or so, we waited.  (It always takes them awhile to get the boys dressed and ready to come out for a visit.)  Finally we heard crying.  And we knew that crying right away!  The same voice that we heard for the first time a month ago, echoing down the hallway.  Micah!  Our little boy, crying and fighting against the hands that held him, so unaccustomed to being touched or carried, desperately wanting to be laid back down.  The nanny walked into the visiting room with him, bundled inside a huge blanket, a fuzzy hat, a pink sweater, and several layers of clothing.  I took him, kissed him, hugged him, and then finally let him lay down on the couch.  And then he stopped crying and smiled at me.  He seems happy to see us again.  As long as we don't try to pick him up.  We have definitely lost any ground we gained with Micah previously.  We will need to build up trust slowly with this boy.  Sweet sweet boy, it may be a long journey for you, but we will help you to learn to love being held and cuddled.  No matter how long it takes, we will not give up on you.  You are precious and beautiful, and so worthy.  We love you so much!
And then Gideon was pushed in on his tiny little wheelchair.  And as soon as he saw me, he launched himself out of the chair and into my arms!  He hugged me and pressed his cheek against mine!  He remembers!  He was so excited to see us again (and to get out of the confines of the laying-down room, I am sure!)  Twice during our visit, he called me Mama.  Oh, my boy!  I was told this boy does not talk.  He calls me Mama!  My smart, strong little boy!  Oh, how I love you!  Oh, how my heart sings to see you giggle and run and play! 
Tomorrow we have court.  Please pray that tomorrow the judge will grant these boys what they need more than anything else:  a family.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We're on our way

We are waiting in the airport right now in the capital city of our boys' country, waiting for our flight to their region.  We flew out of Seattle yesterday to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam we flew here.  We are going to see our boys in the morning!  Oh, I cannot tell you how much I have been missing them!  I love them so much, and my heart aches to hug them again.  Tomorrow!  

We are looking forward to getting back to the village, where sights like this
are common.  I wonder if this boy knows that children are locked away just
on the other side of that wall?  
Then on Tuesday morning we will have court for the adoption to be approved.  Please be in prayer for the outcome to be favorable.  This will be the first international adoption seen by this court, and I really sense that the need for prayer right now is great.  I am asking you to pray that the judge will see the worth of these two dear boys and that the Lord will speak through us when we are asked to explain to the court why we want to adopt two five-year-olds with special needs.  We are praying that God is glorified and that by Tuesday afternoon these two precious worthy boys will be orphans no more.