Thursday, November 29, 2012

Feels Like Family

Our friend Emily, who lives at the Lifeline orphanage in Haiti, will be coming home for a month to be surrounded by her family and friends for Christmas. Before she does, she has been taking some of her free-time to let the families adopting from Lifeline Skype with their children. Yesterday was our turn.

Erin got out of work early and we all huddled on the back, arms, and cushions of the poor old couch as it groaned under the strain. Six faces (the seventh face was at work) shifting and bobbing to find an open space on the video feed. And then there she was....the eight face ...on the other side. How I wanted to be able to reach in and pull her to our side. To cram her onto the couch with us, nestled within this mass of bodies that is called family. And even though she hasn't spent one second on the couch, or at our table, or in this house... it is all hers. She is a part of us, even though she is far away.

As many of you know, it will be four years this coming January that we have been working on Nephtali's adoption. Four years of dreaming of her as part of our family, thinking about her walking the hall, playing in the yard, scrambling into the car. Four years of imagining a toddler, a preschooler, and now a little young lady as part of our tribe! And through those years we have always wondered what she was thinking. Did she remember us? Did she miss us? Did she understand just who we are trying to be in her life? Yesterday she let us know.

Her face wiggled all over the screen and then that sweet little voice asked Emily in creole, "Is that all my family?" She was counting us. Us... her family. And she knew someone was missing. She laughed at "her big family." Ivy showed her the space in her mouth where four teeth used to be. Nephtali laughed with her sister about her big gap. She asked Emily what we were all sitting together on. Emily told her it was a couch and pointed down the hall where the only couch at lifeline is and her eyes light up. She wanted to know everyone's ages and shouted with joy when she heard Ivy was 6. She wanted to know if Daniel was a boy or a girl and smiled big when told he was her little brother.

Then there was this moment... "Can I see my bed?"

Now the woman in me said to herself and her husband ...we can't do that. Their room is a huge mess! You see, the room that she will share with Ivy is only a play room right now. Two years ago we painted, polished, and primped this room in preparation for two little girls. It's a cheery yellow room with a play kitchen, dolls, stuffed animals, dress up clothes, a doll house and bunk bed with fluffy bright green polka dots comforters!

But Ivy doesn't sleep there yet. She is still waiting for her sister to come. It's their room and she isn't here yet. Plain and simple.  So each day the little ones go in the room to play (which in children's terms means getting everything out and collecting it in the middle of the floor) and at night the door is closed and the room is left until the morning.

Luckily, though, my voice wasn't the only one. There was Dad's voice saying "Who cares. She wants to see her bed!" And so, laptop in hand, we all marched down the hall and Daddy, keeping most of the floor out of view, put her bed on the screen and there on her precious face was the biggest smile we've ever seen.
It was brighter than the twinkle of the Christmas tree lights, brighter than a spotlight on a stage, brighter than the sun... we have a bed for her! She has a bed! A fluffy soft bed! She has a safe place to dream. She has a place in this home.

There were other things as we continued our Skyping that made that big tooth grin appear. Like seeing the wall in our living room with all of our childrens' pictures on it. She jumped when she saw her own face smiling back at her and when I pointed to everyone and said their names and told that "These are all my babies!"

After, when we had to say goodbye and hit that ugly button on the computer that separates our family again, tears started to slide down my face. Tiny drops filled with sorrow falling from a body aching to hold her, but this time there was a smile on my face and a joy in my heart. We are her family. This is her home. She feels it! She knows... She is part of our family!

Lord, please bring her home!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Little Update

We were praying hard to hear good news before Thanksgiving and even though the update we received wasn't what we had hoped for, its still a good one.

"Nephtali's court validation is pending and should be arriving soon.".

Please join us in prayer that this does indeed arrive soon and we will legally be a family of 8 before Christmas. It will still be many months before she can come home but we will be all the closer to that day!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Third Time's a Charm

It seems to be a theme in our adoption.  Things don't happen the first time around or the second. It takes 3 tries. October 17 the was a holiday in Haiti, October 24th hurricane Sandy hit Haiti, but October 31st we got word that the court appointment did happen and everything went well.

Now we wait and pray for a few weeks to receive word that our adoption decree has been created and that we are the legal parents to one silly , beautiful, smart, sweet , precious little Plastic Wrap Ninja. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Exodus & the Rest of the Journey Home

The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 77:16-20

And He made a way and led us out of IBESR.

Okay so maybe getting out of IBESR and the parting of the Red Sea are not on the same playing field. But for our hearts,waiting and longing for 11 months and one day, to hear those words, it sure felt like a small miracle.

We have our "Authorization to Adopt." After 3 yrs and 9 months we have Haiti's permission to adopt Nephtali.

Now I know some of you are saying "Huh?" "She isn't coming home yet?" "You still haven't adopted her yet?"

She is closer to coming home. This step was a big one. We are now on to the next step. Possibly even right now as I type, the lawyer will be bringing our file to the Dean of the Court in Croix-des-Bouquets. This next step is known as Parquet (generally pronounced as "par-kett"). It is here that an adoption decree will be created making us the legal parents of one precious Haitian butterfly. But along with that paper being created, is a very complex series of steps and processes involving several offices and repeated trips between them to have everything legalized.

There have been some changes for the good that we are hoping could make this process much quicker than it has been in the past. But there are no guaranties. Other families are seeing this take anywhere from one month to three or four. So please pray with us that God's plan for our adoption has this process take the shorter time-frame.

Once we have the adoption decree and it is legalized, we will still need to wait a little bit longer for our Butterfly to flap her wings and come home. But again, she is much closer.

From there, our file will go to an office called the Ministry of Interior (MOI). At MOI, our file will be checked, and double-checked, for spelling mistakes, forged documentation, and other things. Once everything is found to be in good order, authorization will be granted and our file will be submitted to Haitian Immigration for a passport. Again I cannot say how long this will take. But other families have seen time-frames as small as a few weeks, while others have had problems and were there for as long as seven months. The average seems to be two or three months. But this too, is in God's hands.

Once the request for passports has been made, it can be just a few weeks before they are in hand. After that, there is one more stage: Nephtali's visa. Steps have already been taken toward getting this and once we are at this stage we could be ready to fly within a month to bring our daughter home and this long journey to it's end. 

Then... we will be begin the new journey of being Nephtali's family.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kisses in the Wind

KISSES IN THE WIND (The Waiting Child's Lullaby)

 [ Dear Nephtali,]  I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.

You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

--- © Pamela Durkota, written for Josh

Monday, September 17, 2012

Signatures, Dates, & Planning

Some of you heard the shouting last week... we made a little bit of a ruckus. But when you have been waiting for over 10 months to see the words:

 "I am thrilled to tell you that Sarah reported today that you have received a Presidential Dispensation!" can't help but let the JOY come rushing out of you. Lots and lots of joy!  It comes out in praises, in song, in tears, in whispers, in hugs, in dancing, in smiles, and every other way it can when you have been holding on to Hope for so long.

But that evening some of our joy was stolen for a little bit. Through a few conversations on Facebook we ended up searching for our daughters name in the legal journal that it needed to be published in before our paperwork can go on to the next step. We didn't think we would find it since we had just received our dispensation and it's normally a few weeks before it was published. But upon searching we found it! Dafterly LeHaut (her legal birth name) posted on May 15th.

Our hearts dropped... May 15?! It was Sept 12! How was it published that we received our dispensation nearly four months ago, on May 15th? That night and the following morning there was a lot of phone calls made and emails sent looking for an explanation. The short version of a very long and complicated explanation: someone messed up.

We, in fact, received our presidential dispensation around the end of April.  But sometime after leaving the President's desk... it was left, sitting on a desk, with no inquiries as to its status or whereabouts.  We don't know why and never will.

The idea that we lost four months hurts... BAD! Those were four months during which we could have been making progress. During those four months I've endured some of the hardest days I have ever had. Days I hit rock bottom, waiting for something we didn't know we already had. But because somewhere along the way someone didn't do their job, I was left to wonder... and cry.

So what did we do next? We chose to celebrate for another day! It is what it is and we can't change what happened. We can't redeem that time. But God can. I know God used those days I was in a pit of sadness. I know He used those days of longing to bond her closer to our hearts. They were not wasted.  And the fact still remains... WE GOT OUR SIGNATURE!!!! So even though there were twinges of pain, there was so much more to celebrate and thank God for, and that is where we wanted our hearts to be.

Now the second part of the story is this, the other line of that email we received said this...

"She said that she will pick up your file from IBESR next week!"

For any of you that have been in these adoption shoes, you know what follows: the estimating, the planning, the what-if's, the time-tables, the dreaming! This next step averages about this long, but I knew someone who got it done in this many weeks, and I heard that... and so it goes until you head is spinning and your heart has your child home by the next major family event or holiday.

I was taking a stroll down that road this morning as I sipped my coffee.

It's a road I have walked many times these past 3 1/2 years. But the map has always been upside down, the road signs were after the exit, and it has never gone like I had planned in my head. Too many times I have fallen on the side of the road and cried because I didn't get where I wanted to go. Yet, even with that knowledge, here I was this morning blissfully ignorant to the walk I was once again taking as I looked at the time frames of other adoptions, searched blogs, and Facebook posts. Could she be here by February? Maybe everything will be done by the ministry teams trip in January? Maybe we can delay Christmas for our family so she can be a part of it? All the while my heavenly Father is shaking his head.

He knew. He knew I was go there again. He knew it was too temping. But this morning He stopped me. There was a gentle whisper in my heart that reminded me I hadn't had my quiet time yet. So I stopped my stroll, set down my coffee, quieted my heart, and picked up my devotional and read:

"You will not find my peace in excessive planning: attempting to control what will
happen to you in the future. That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief.

When your mind spins with multiple plans, Peace may sometimes seem to be in your grasp;
yet it always eludes you. Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities,
something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion.

I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability.

I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring me all your needs,
your hopes, and fears. Commit everything unto My care.

Turn from the path of planning to the path of Peace."

Oh Daddy, how you know this child of yours. And how you love me. Thank you for your gentle reminders. Thank you for the progress we have seen and the progress yet to come... in your perfect time!!! I look forward to each day spent with you as I try and wait, not plan or predict, for our daughter's homecoming.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Yesterday was a hard day. Plain and simple. And that hardness traveled through the night and into the morning. We had heard that a new list of people that had received Presidential dispensations was released. It was true... and again, we were not on it. But others who were behind us were. No matter how hard you want to be filled with joy to see progress for those you care about, no matter how much you want to smile at knowing children you love are one step closer to their families, sometimes you can't stop the tears of pain that fall..

I choked at reading words about God's goodness and wanted to scream. Where was our dose of His goodness? Where is the fairness? How can we hit so many ditches, ruts, and gullies? How can we continue to watch our daughter grow older and older with no day to count down to? How can I stand to see the pain in my children's and husband's eyes as we pray day in and day out only to watch others receive answers and our family only the hollow ticking sound of the clock as time continues to pass.  In pain I let myself become blind and deaf for a moment. I let myself shut out the truth.

God is good... period! God is not good some of the time. God is good all of the time. God cannot be other than what He is. So... if God is good for some... He is good for all. So where is His goodness for us on this day filled with tears? Well, He did try and talk to me before we heard the news, but I didn't want to listen. I was so wrapped up in thinking, in hoping, in dreaming that today would be the day we got good news. He had good news for me but I glazed over it.  My devotion for the morning was this:

"I am your best friend., as well as your King. Walk hand in hand with me through your life. Together we will face whatever each day brings: pleasures, hardships, adventures, disappointments. Nothing is wasted when it is shared with me. I can bring beauty out of the ashes of lost dreams. I can glean Joy out of sorrow, Peace out of adversity." ( Jesus Calling)

Things are not fair sometimes. We are sinners in a sin-filled world and that plague causes pain. But God is GOOD.

So where is my dose of His goodness? It's right there. He is my friend. He is my King. He is with me. I am not alone. And it is enough.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rainbows, Time, and a Beautiful Butterfly.

Talking with a friend tonight stirred up the memory of these two pictures. Our beautiful butterfly so tiny in one. Barely fits on Daddy's shoulder. Our beautiful butterfly 3 years later. Barely any room left in Daddy's arms. Lord, please bring her home soon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

1300 days

It's been exactly 1300 days, today, since I fell in love with a little girl in Haiti and she with me. Sometimes, nothing hurts as bad as the passage of time.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nine Months

Many people compare adoption to pregnancy. That wait for your child. The wait while things develop. The wait for new life to enter your family. The pains along the way.

Tomorrow will be nine months that we have been in IBESR. Nine months. The average time a woman cradles her child in her womb before she cradles that child in her arms instead.. But tomorrow I will still have no child in my arms. Tomorrow our wait will continue.

You see, in pregnancy there is a time frame. And though it has some variation to it, a family knows that within a matter of weeks it will happen. In some adoptions there is no time frame. There is no date to count down to along the way.

In pregnancy there are regular updates. Midwives and doctors measure and listen. They test and compare and tell you how things are going so far. In some adoptions there are no updates. No words of progress. No one to say "good news: things are looking good!"

In pregnancy there is predictable planning and preparing. The family knows they are having a infant. They know the needs. They can plan and prepare with happy hearts as they pick a nursery theme or buy outfits from tiny 0-3 months and up knowing where to start and looking forward to what they know will come

In some adoptions there is no planning. There is no getting ready because sometimes it just breaks your heart. Sometimes you think your child will be home and need a warm sweater, size 3. They will be home and start 1st grade with their sibling. But then, you give that sweater away, having never been worn, because now it's to small. And you plan lessons for one and not two.

In pregnancy you start with a mostly clean slate. A family is blessed with a tiny new person who they love and work with and mold from the start. In adoption the slate is muddied with pain, abandonment, self preservation, and more. And each week, each month that goes by, more walls are built to survive the day-to-day. And we are left praying that the walls aren't too thick and that God guides us in how to tear them down gently.

In pregnancy you are a major part of the process. What you put in your body feeds and nourishes your child. You can talk to your child. Your body keeps that son or daughter safe. As you feel your child flip and kick you know they are there hearing your voice and heart beat... surrounded by the warmth of your body. In adoption you are not really part of the process. Nothing I say or do today will effect how my daughter is doing today.  I cannot protect her. I cannot feed her. I cannot feel her.

No... adoption is not like pregnancy. And seeing nine months of waiting go by is just another painful reminder of that.

Please keep praying for and with us.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Daddy and a Daughter

Yesterday was Father's day. A day filled with hugs, smiles, and laughter and in some houses a few tears. My husband was surrounded by five beautiful children that showered him in love. But this Father's day, one was still missing... Nephtali. Some days we lose our breath speaking her name. Yesterday was one of those days.

It is said a daddy keeps his child close. And I know, just as I have, my husband left part of his heart there in Haiti, in the heart of a little girl. Yesterday we updated the pictures of all six of our children on the wall. We had a meal of Haitian spaghetti and reminisced about our time spent with her this past December. We held hands and prayed for her and this long road home. She was here with us... close... in the best way that we could.

There is something special about a daddy. A real daddy. They are our heroes. They are our rocks. They are our teachers. They listen. They create memories. They stretch us. They are our security. Their love is unconditional. We feel it every time we call out, Abba, to our heavenly Father. He is special. He is our Daddy.

And even if there is not a legal sheet of paper yet, even if she lives miles away over an ocean, my husband is and forever will be Nepthali's Daddy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our Big Daddy

It's June 15th. We've been in IBESR seven months and one week... praying and waiting. It's Friday. For most, Friday is the day of the week you look forward to. For most of us on the adoption road, Fridays mean a coming silence.

Don't get me wrong. Everyone needs time off and down days. Everyone needs time to refresh and renew. But on this journey, those silent days are not days you look forward too. You look forward to Mondays and a whole new week of possible news. But even though we don't look forward to them we need Fridays.

We hold our breath Monday mornings to Friday evenings. When Friday nights come we need to take a deep breath. Sometimes like stubborn children we stomp our feet and say "I don't want to." But thankfully, breathing is something our big smart Daddy made happen naturally. And just like breathing, weekends will come even if we try and hold our breath a little longer. He always knows what we need even when we don't want it.

There has been a few "happenings" in Haiti over the last month pertaining to adoption. At the beginning of last month IBESR (the office in Haiti in which our paperwork waits) temporarily stopped taking new dossiers. Originally they had planned to close from May 7th until the end of June, but have moved the end date to July 30th.

On the surface, closure doesn't sound like a good thing. But the intention of this temporary closing is so that the office can take this time of not accepting new cases to complete the cases they already have in their office. With a new president dealing with chaos, a system with pits and forgotten cobwebbed corners, and  a new director of IBESR having to clean house and concentrate on making sure the children of Haiti in orphanages are safe, there is a backlog in cases.

There are those we know who have been waiting in this office for over a year. The new director stated in a meeting that it is their intention to also get the dispensations from the president that are needed for families to move out of IBESR and into Parquet (court) where families receive their official adoption decree.

So far, during this closure, our orphanage received word of one family getting their dispensation. This family has been waiting almost a year so this was very good news to hear. Their progress brings hope to us and the other families waiting to see movement during this temporary closure.

This past weekend the internet was abuzz with word that President Martelly was going to ratify the Hague Convention on Monday in honor of  "Children's Day" in Haiti. And this did happen on Monday as planned. There is a lot of "ifs" and "buts" that are following this move. In other countries when they have ratified the Hague before they were ready and able to comply with the rules and regulations that come with the Hague, other countries have (further down the road)  pulled out of adoptions from the country.

Haiti doesn't plan on stopping international adoptions and has been working hard to make the changes they need. I don't see them getting it all done in the 90-day grace period they have after signing. It has taken other countries years and years,. But at least they are trying and working toward the goal.  I also do not see the US pulling out of adoptions in Haiti. In the past they have allowed adoptions in progress to proceed.  So we are not worried about things on the US side.

As far as the Haiti side of things, our prayer is that we will continue to see movement during the closure and that we will receive our dispensation and approval during the 90-day grace period. Our agency has told us that, usually, any adoptions in progress are "grandfathered" in and any new changes that are made will not affect us even if we do not get out of this office in the 90 days.

A part of me has to laugh. We have been at this for three and half years. We have weathered false information, an earthquake, government "red tape", Humanitarian Parole denial, disruptions, restarts, policy changes, and now Hague. And do you know what I have to say about that .....OUR GOD IS BIGGER!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Birthday Blessings

Seven years ago today a little butterfly was born into a land filled with beauty but riddled with extreme poverty. Three and a half years ago God led my husband to Haiti where he met that little butterfly and God showed him that the patterns on her little heart were the same as the patterns on our hearts. We were family. We belonged together.

Since we started the journey to bring our butterfly home we have been blessed to see her grow. At three she was a little butterfly who clumsily flapped her tiny wings as loud as she could to get the attention of others. A little butterfly who danced and sang all the time with a smile to bright your heart just melted on the spot.

Today as she is seven. Her wings have grown. They are still breath-taking to look at but instead of the flash from sequins they now have more of a shimmer to them.She has learned to to flutter her wings gently. She is growing up and one year closer to becoming the beautiful woman God has waiting inside her.

Nephtali's past three birthdays were spent quietly at the orphanage where birthdays are just another day.There are no parties, no presents, no cake. Just the small whispers of the heart as prayers are said giving thanks for life, giving thanks for scarifies, giving thanks for the greatest LOVE of all.

And here in Kansas we gathered as a partial family and sang loudly, hoping a few notes would make it over the ocean. We took pictures of a cake bearing her name for her to see later and know we were thinking of her. There were cards and small gifts set aside with hopes that sometime in the next year someone could take them to her. And we held hands and shed tears as we lifted prayers up to our Lord, thanking Him for knitting her in her mother's womb, for saving her life, for joining our lives with hers, and that maybe this year would be the last birthday spent apart.

Unfortunately that last part has yet to come true but through the blessing of a friend, who has such an amazing heart for Jesus and a love of the precious children of Haiti, this birthday will be a little different. Although still separated by miles, this birthday we will get to share a small part of it with her... as a family.

This evening we will get to Skype with our precious birthday butterfly. We will get to sing and it will make it across the ocean for her to hear. There will be a cake with her name on it and candles to be blown out with a little help from her siblings. There will be a present that we sent down a few weeks ago with friends and we will get to see her smile as she opens it. There will be joy and love shared as a family on this very special day. There will be prayers lifted up together thanking our Lord for her life, for her health, for our time together and that maybe this birthday will be the last birthday away from each other's arm.

Happy Birthday to our precious and beautiful seven year old Butterfly. We love you so much!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

One Day Closer

Yesterday I spent some time going through new and old photos looking of pictures to share with some families who were blessed to meet their children for the first time last month. Today I thought I would share a few photos of our beautiful Butterfly.

Nephtali - age 4

Nephtali - May 2012 - almost 7 yrs old

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garage Sale!!! Spread the word! we work to bring our treasure home!

Get ready for a great day of bargains and an opportunity to help us raise some funds for Nephtali's adoption!

This Saturday from 7:30 to 4pm at 1737 SW Amhurst Rd
(If it rains we will move the date to the following
Saturday, May12th).

Please pass along the message to your family, friends, church and anyone else you can.

We will have...

Couch and Love seat
Kids furniture
Household ( juicer, microwave, toaster oven, lamps, iron, shelves and more)
Computers , printers, fax, software, TVs, and other electronics
Kids toys ( Fisher price, Playskool, Little Tikes, and more)
Wagon, train table, slide, push car ,easel, and ride on horse
Books , video games, and movies
TONS and TONS of name brand clothes and coats! ( kids, teens, womens and mens of all sizes)
Most only .50 to $1!!

There something for everyone and more donations are still coming in!

Monday, April 30, 2012

S.O.S. Can You Help?

We need your help! Spread the word! It's an S.O.S!!!
Sale on Saturday, May 5th!
1737 SW Amhurst Rd
(If the weather doesn't hold, we'll try again May 12) 
Get ready for another great day of new bargains and an opportunity to help us raise some funds for Nephtali's adoption!

Our goal is to raise $3000 to cover the last of the lawyer and agency fees and Nephtali's visa fee. 

We could use any donations of items in good condition. Do you have a spring cleaning pile you're looking to get rid of? If so, please let us know! Every little bit helps us get closer to the goal. 

Could you help spread the word? Give a shout out to your family and friends in the area. Post it on Facebook or Twitter. We'll be so thankful.

All your help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Answered Prayers!

Even though Nephtali's mother was 2 1/2 hours late... Even though the national police were on strike causing mayhem... Even though there was burning blockades... Even though there was mobs and violence... Even though it took all day... The appointment was a success!

Thank you all for covering our daughter, her mother, and the assistant director in prayer. Thank you for getting on your knees and shouting out to our Lord for their safety. Our prayers were answered.

One more thing to check off, inching us a little closer to bringing our Butterfly home!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Please Join Me in Prayer

Four days from today is the third try at the parent/child interview at the US Embassy in PAP. This is the meeting that, if it doesn't happen again, could mean serious problems for us. Please join with our family in prayer for this appointment.

Please pray not only that it happens and goes perfectly, but also for our daughter's heart and the heart of her mother. Nephtali will have to spend some time with her mother during this interview. It has been many years since she has done that.

Please pray that its a time of blessing for both. That the pain and hurt can be covered in better things. That Nephtali can carry in her heart, from this day, a good memory of her mother along with the knowledge that she is so loved by so many. That her mother can carry in her heart the image of a healthy and vibrant young girl instead of the frail dying child she gave up, in order to save, years ago.

On the dispensation front, we are still waiting and praying. President Martelly is currently recuperating in a Miami hospital from a pulmonary embolism. No word on how long this recovery will take. But for now, that means no new dispensations signed. There is a chance that we could already have a signature. He had been signing some here and there and it does take weeks or months to find out if your paperwork was signed. So please keep praying!!!

Lastly, now that holidays are over and school is almost done, we are going to be working on fundraising for the adoption again. We have come so far thanks to so many friends and strangers generosity. We are hoping to have another yard sale fundraiser on May 5th, weather permitting. We will be looking for donations. So, if you have any unwanted items in good shape, please think of us. Also, please feel free to share our need and donation button. Every little bit helps.

Or goal is to cover the visa fees, physical fees, second half of the lawyer fees, and the last agency fee. These total about $3000. After those are covered we will start working on the travel cost of bringing her home!

Oh how I look forward to reaching that goal!!!

Read more here:

Monday, April 2, 2012


In our lives there are many moments that will come with out preparation or warning and they will steal one of those precious your breaths away. Some times they are beautiful things and some times well they are simply not.

In a quiet still moment this morning my life giving breath was not there. The flood gates opened and I hit my knees in a tangled mix of emotions. As I saw my hands open in prayer to my Savior my vision blurred for a moment and when it cleared I saw my daughters beautiful dark skinned hand nestled between my worn hands.

How I long for those hands to be really in mine. To be able to use my hands to guide hers. For my hands to be an example to her. To watch, not through pictures, but through my own eyes as her little girl hands change and become that of a young women.

I closed my eyes and saw her hands raised high as she praises our Lord. I saw them holding the firm but gentle hand of the man God has planned to be her husband. I saw them tenderly cradling a newborn as she becomes a mother. I saw them working hard in her home to care for her family. And I saw them holding mine tenderly as I had aged well toward my homecoming.

When I opened my eyes and glanced at my still open hands her little girl hands faded. In those precious moments she was here. In those moments my heart danced. In those moment my wailed.

But in those moments I felt other hands. I felt the merciful hands of my Savior holding me. In those moments and all the other moments of my life He is holding me. He is with me when my heart dances. He is with me when my heart wails. Never letting go or fading. Holding tight and whispering will hold her hands and watch her grow.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Long Way Home

Nephtali and Daddy, January 2009

Even though Steven Curtis Chapman had another meaning to this song when he wrote it I don't think he will mind that it touched this mama's heart in a different way deep down. "Well I know we're gonna make it And I know we're gonna get there soon So I'll keep on singing and believing what all of my songs say Cause our God has made a promise
And I know everything He says is true And I know wherever we go He will never ever leave us Cause He's going to lead us home
Every single step of the long way home Keep on, were gonna make it I know we're gonna make it We're just taking the long way home"
Nephtali, February 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Disappointments & Choices

Thank you for your many prayers for the parent/child interview. Unfortunately it did not happen. We asked a friend that night if she knew if it went alright and she said that "they didn't go today." The director's assistant told her that the appointment wasn't until the 16th.

My heart sank and I shared the email from the embassy showing the date of the 12th, not the 16th. We emailed our adoption coordinator and shared the news and our concerns that this was the second time this had happened. He responded this morning saying the assistant informed him that she had lost the embassy email. He told us he would ask for a third appointment and that he would request it for when he would personally be in Haiti. That way, if needed, he could be the one to take them to the appointment. He let us know that if this third appointment does not happen and Nephtali's mother does not make it to the embassy, we could have some big problems.

Also several families heard news last week that they received dispensations. What a mix of emotions going through our hearts. On one hand, we shout for joy for the families that are one step closer. And on the other, we cry out in pain as we were not one of them.

There are so many things God teaches us through the adoption process. Not being self-centered is one of those things. My human side wants to pout and demand that our daughter and our family be the most important thing. It's all about US. I want it now. I don't want to wait anymore. Now! Now! Now!Us! Us! US!!

But even through the disappointment and pain I can see past that little human monster. My Lord and Savior is first! It's about Him and His Glory. His purpose. And then it's about others... a part of God's great plan just as much as we are.

So I choose not to be mad at the mistakes made. I choice FORGIVENESS instead. I choose not to worry and panic at what could happen. I choose TRUST instead. I choose not to be envious of progress for others. Instead, I choose JOY.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Yesterday the earth moved in Haiti again and fear and worry welled up in the hearts of the people. Many spent the night outside away from the comfort of their beds, sleeping in the hope that they would be safer away from the walls that would otherwise shelter them. Movement. So many emotions can come from it.

In Haiti, while they wish for the earth not to move, they wish for the government to move.  God's sons and daughters pray for movement in the hearts and lives of the Haitian people. That they may move toward the saving grace of our Lord and Savior and move away from voodoo. Families watch for movement of papers filled with signatures and stamps from one office to another on fragile nerves.

All these things are tied together with one thing, God.

Let's lift up our prayers that these things be like dominoes causing a chain reaction. Let the hearts of the people turn and reach for their Savior. Moving people to reaching out to help each other one by one with food, education, shelter, and love.  Moving leaders who have the heart of the people in mind to be raised up. Moving adoption paperwork and making it flow and families to be made whole.  Causing more children to be raised up for our Lord. Causing more voices to spread the Word of His love. Moving more hearts of the people to turn to God.

We received word last week that the names of the families who received dispensations were still sitting on a desk, but not to give up hope.  We will never give up hope not when we have a God that can move mountains!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being a Family...

I have thought a lot lately about what things Nephtali is going to have to learn when she gets here. There will be so much and at first it will all teeter on being overwhelming. From English to winter weather. From abundant food to dogs as pets not pests. The list go on and on from simple to complex. In all these things we will work through together, but there is one that I pray about every day: What it means to be a family.

Erma Bombeck said, when speaking about family that it was:

"... a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."

In our house, she will learn that the common thread is our Lord and Savior. And being part of a family of 8... she will learn many of those other things right away. : )

But I also want her to learn that having a family means you are loved and will always be loved... for the rest of your life. You have a place you will always belong. A place where people believe in you and pray for your dreams. It is a place where you are safe and can trust. It's place where you can learn, explore, play, and laugh everyday. It's where you will always be forgiven and will always have room to grow. A family is where love is unconditional. It is sharing in and building traditions. It is hugs and kisses and a happy heart.

And in the famous words from Lilo & Stitch "family means no one gets left behind... or forgotten."

Nephtali, my precious daughter, we will never leave you behind. We will never forget you. We are forever your mommy and daddy. We are forever your family... no matter what!

So I pray each day that the 7 of us here, her daddy, her mommy, her brothers and sisters can show her what it means to be a family and soon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Singing a promise

A promise....a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. 
Singing our promise to our little girl, our precious butterfly, this morning.

We will keep praying.
We will keep singing.  
 We will keep sharing the need of the fatherless.
We will keep raising money.
 We will keep praising our Heavenly Father.
And when His perfect timing is right... 
We will keep our promise.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On Our Knees

We, along with a few other families, received word today from our adoption agency, CCAI, regarding the presidential dispensations that we are needing. The presidential dispensation is the approval we need from President Martelly of Haiti to adopt.

There are several reasons why A family would need this; for us it is because we already have biological children. As you can imagine, President Martelly has several things on his plate and has not been signing dispensation very often. The last bunch he did was Dec 26 and we are till waiting to hear if we were one of them.

Erin was told that the names of those who have been "recently approved"will be released when ISESR gets them (at the end of the month, hopefully) and IBESR approval for those families should soon follow.

If we were not in this bunch it could be another 6 months, or more, before President Martelly signs more dispensations.

Please join our family in prayer that we are indeed one of the families that have received their dispensation and we can quickly move out of IBESR and on to the next step.

Each day, if we come to mind , please lift your voice, get down on your knees, and help us bring Nephtali home!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Extended Hugs and Kisses

 This January there have been 2 teams that have visited Lifeline. On the first team was 2 amazing young ladies that will be staying at the orphanage for a while. One, Leah, for a little bit.  The other, Emily, for a year. Between the teams, Leah, and Emily going down to be God's hands and feet we have been blessed with a few new pictures of Nephtali. What a blessing it has been to know our little girl has so many arms to hold her and loving hearts to watch over her and the other children.

Tomorrow a third team will be heading down to Haiti. This team will have some very close and special friends going. Including one mommy meeting her daughter for the first time. They will bring our daughter some pictures we had printed from our trip this past December to add to her photo album, a t-shirt with one of those pictures printed on it, and lots of hugs and kisses. I sure wish I could be going with them, but what a smile it does bring to my face to know again she is covered in love and prayers and will be told how much her mommy and Daddy miss her and are praying for her to come home soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Battles, disappointment, and peace

This past week God has had a lot to say to me about a few things. We have had many many conversations. Some with tears, some with questions, some with doubts, some with pleading, some with smiles and all with thanks. Its been a really hard week for me in my soft squishy mama heart and my hard headed brain. There is a battle going on. I want to DO something to aid the adoption process. I want God to MOVE mountains. I want to please OTHERS. I want to please GOD. I want things to happen NOW. I want God's TIMING. I want to POUR out my heart but don't want disappointment. I want miracles from God WITHOUT asking or risk.

The parent/child interview at the US Embassy did not happen and the US Embassy is not responding to requests for another appointment. Our Adoption Coordinator is going to call the State Department to have them put pressure on the embassy. He said it is not uncommon and that we shouldn't worry.

In addition, it will be another two to three weeks before the names of the 100 families who received dispensations from President Martelly are released. There are still about 400 on his desk waiting for his signature. So there is a small chance we are one of the 100 and a chance we are still waiting. So no bad news. But it still saddened me to hear; it's just not the news we wanted to hear.

I know God is shaking his head sometimes and saying, "precious child when will you learn?" He must feel so frustrated with me at times. But luckily He loves me truly and deeply and during these scrimmages within my self He will whisper in my ears. That middle ground between my heat and mind. And with His precious words He will cease the swinging of the swords and the blasting of the cannons and my heart and mind will bow their heads and obey Him.

Some of you are on the same journey of adoption we are. Some of you are facing much more trying and difficult times. Some are in the trenches of the everyday grind. But the words He has whispered in my ear are not just for me. They are for us all and for all our situations. We are all His children, whom He loves. Stop and listen. Do you hear His soft voice?
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. ~ Philippians 1:6
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. ~ Ephesians 3:20
Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. ~ Philippians 4:6
God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28
and then this morning...
"Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert My sovereignty is in the timing of events. If you want to stay close to me and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment by moment. Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let Me set the pace. Slow down,and enjoy the journey in my Presence."~from the book, "Jesus Calling"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


As I sat down to write and update today I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. I wonder how many of our posts here have the word "waiting" in it. And I decided to look up the definition of the word adopt, which is:

a·dopt  (ǝ-dôpt’)
tr.v. a·dopt·ed, a·dopt·ing, a·dopts
1. To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child.

However, after much thought, I believe it should read:

a·dopt  (ǝ-dôpt’)
tr.v. a·dopt·ed, a·dopt·ing, a·dopts
1. To wait and wait and wait and wait... with as much patience as possible.
2. To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child.

We were hoping to hear this week if and how the parental interview went a week and a half ago. It was scheduled for Nephtali to go to the embassy with her biological mom and dad on Dec. 27th to be interviewed. Usually this interview is done a few months after the adopting family files their I600. The embassy scheduled their interview only 2 weeks after our appointment. So we are praying that, with such short notice, mom and dad were found and got to the embassy for the appointment and that all went well.

We are also waiting to hear if we were one of the families for whom President Martelly signed a dispensation. Haiti has a rule that the adopting family can only have two biological children (oddly there is no limit on how many adopted children they have). Thankfully they almost never adhere to this law and offer families with more than two biological children a presidential "dispensation."

We got word last week President Martelly of Haiti signed about 100 of these dispensations and that many of the families adopting from Lifeline that needed it were included. But we do not know if we were in IBESR long enough to be included in that bunch or if we are still waiting. President Martelly has only been signing them every six months so far and if we missed this bunch it could mean that we may have to add an additional six months to our wait.

All right, I admit it. Today is one of those hard days. I want movement. I want encouragement that things are happening. I want steps crossed off. I want my daughter in my arms. I don't want to wait anymore. I just want the real definition of adoption fulfilled. I want her to be here, a part of our family, all things legal done and raise her to love the Lord with all her heart and be secure in the fact she has a forever family.

Okay, pity-party/tantrum over.

Back to reality. God is in control and knows better then me. Leaning on Him and putting my trust in His plans. Finding comfort that my daughter will have lots of people to make her smile and arms to hug her today. A large group of friends and others will be arriving at the orphanage today. Children will be cheering, tears of joy will be shed, hearts will be forever changed, God's hands and feet will be in action on the hard dusty soil of Haiti.

So I will close my eyes when the frustration starts to swell inside me and envision the strokes being brushed in the bigger picture. Our Heavenly Father, paint brush in hand, blending deep rich warm browns and soft tender creams together. And that is a beautiful thing, a very beautiful thing. Far greater and more important then my solo "party" here in KS.