We have been home one week with Jorgensen and it feels like a lot longer. There has already been so many first and so many wonderful things happen in this first week home.
First time in a swimming pool (we think)
First time on a swing
First time eating most every food he’s eaten this week (especially fruits and veggies)
First time wearing a seatbelt and sitting in a booster seat
First time having a pet (oatmeal)
First time having anything of his own (even clothes, shoes, toys)
First time throwing toilet paper in the toilet to flush it (who would have thought that would be something to teach a kid) – in Haiti they do not flush TP.
First time eating out in a restaurant
The list could go on and on and it’s only been a week.
Although things have gone rather smooth and we have been pleasantly surprised with how well Jorgensen is adapting to being apart of a family, it definitely isn’t always what facebook shows! Facebook normally only shows the fun, the wonderful, the beautiful parts of life. As I look back at my page and pictures on facebook it looks like life is easy and wonderful all the time – vacations, beaches, pools, friends, family and cute kids and that’s what life is! But adoption and really parenting for that matter isn’t always easy or beautiful. Although J is doing amazing he definitely has his share of things we will work on and work through for years to come if not forever. J’s crèche did an AMAZING job preparing him to come into a family and specifically into a family in the U.S. but he still lived in an orphanage for years and has many behaviors and attitudes that institutionalized living and other factors of his life the past 5 years have taught him that aren’t pretty.
This week I have already learned a lot about Jorgensen.
He’s a great sleeper at night.
Although he is 5, at times (most of the time) seems more like 3 years old.
He has so much energy and he’s so excited about all the new things he’s learning it’s hard for me to keep up!
He can light up a room with his laugh and smile.
He is fearless which is scary because he doesn’t think that anything can hurt him.
He has a kind heart and thinks of others (Owen and Emma) often.
He is a pouter not a screamer, which we know is still a wicked heart to deal with but much easier on mommy’s ears.
Being a mom of three is much more exhausting than I ever imaged!! But I couldn’t be more thankful to have them all under the same roof finally! I also couldn’t be more thankful for friends and family who have come along side of us with meals, texts, visits and most importantly prayers!
The end (or new beginning) of our adoption process feels so close, yet we still have so many unknowns. We are currently waiting on Jorgensen’s passport to be issued. Once that is done our file will be sent to USCIS to be approved at the US Embassy in Haiti and then they will issue his visa and exit letter. That’s it folks, that’s all we need. These very few last steps to happen so our precious (crazy, hyper, silly) little boy can come home!
We are traveling to Haiti with a missions team June 6-13. We would have loved if Jorgensen could have flown home with us from this trip. It’s looking as though that will not happen since we don’t have his passport yet. But there’s always a chance and God’s in the business of doing miraculous things so we will not give up hope on that. So we are asking all of you to pray! Please Pray that if it’s God’s will Jorgensen’s passport will come this week. And that his file would be approved in USCIS quickly. But most importantly pray that no matter what we would glorify God in our Trust in Him. He has shown us time and time again he is worthy of our glory, praise, honor and our Trust – so that’s what we will give Him!
You can also pray for our missions trip! I will update a post before we leave with more details but we have some really fun and wonderful things planned for the kids that I just know they will all love! I can’t wait to get there and see Jorgensen and ALL of the kids and Nannies. Love them all so much!
A lot of people have been asking me how they can help for our upcoming missions trip to J’s creche. In order to purchase all of the supplies needed for each child we are asking you to be a part of our trip by sponsoring a child for a one time donation of $40. Your donation will provide a child with a VBS T-shirt, snacks, game supplies and craft supplies for each child.
When you sponsor a child we will email you a card with a picture of the child you sponsored and what to pray for while we are there.
You can donate by paypal by clicking the link below the donate now button at the bottom of this post. Or you can mail a check to me at 2234 Grovewood Rd Clearwater FL 33764.
We can’t say thank you enough to those of you who have already sponsored a child and those of you who are committed to praying for us and the team as we prepare!
It’s been a long 5 months home just waiting for updates on J and how he’s doing. I am thankful to say I have been so blessed to see lots of pictures and videos of him from other waiting Mama’s that have children at the same creche. Each time someone travels to Haiti we share pictures and stories and it really has been a Godsend to keep me sane in the wait for J to come home.
With that said we have planned a trip to visit J. But it’s a lot more than that this time. We prayed “how does God want to use us in this wait and what can we do to make a difference not only in the life of J but all the children, nannies, workers at Chances for Children.” So we decided to organize a Missions trip to Haiti. It’s really a twofold trip. Of course we can’t wait to see J, but we also wanted to be productive and be a blessing to the Kenscoff community while we were there. We are traveling to Haiti June 6-12 and we are taking a team with us made up family and close friends which includes Owen and Emma getting to go and meet their brother! We are so thankful for how we have already seen God’s hand in the planning.
While we are there Emil and some guys will be doing a large work project around the creche and guesthouse. There’s always lots things that need to be fixed or repaired and as the time gets closer we will have a better idea of exactly what Emil will be working on.
The girls, we will do small work projects in the morning and a VBS for the kids in the afternoon. I did get to speak with the missions coordinator from C4C and she informed me they have never had an “all out” VBS for the kids so we plan to do just that. We want them to experience the love of God through us with Bible lessons, skits, songs, crafts, games, snacks, VBS t-shirts. Of course we have plans but we will also be flexible (that’s the key word in Haiti)!! We do want to make this week something the kids will never forget and for them to feel so special and loved.
Sometimes in such a poor country we feel that the kids and people around us need so many physical things to make their lives better. But what they really need is Christ. They need to know Christ and have a personal relationship with Him, He is the one who promises to provide for all of our needs. They need someone to invest their time into their lives and we want to do just that. We want our main goal for the week to be to share Christ to all around us!
So what you can do for us while we plan…PRAY! We need lots of prayer as we plan lessons, skits, and games for a VBS in a country where we do not speak their language. Pray that we can clearly and accurately articulate the gospel through songs and skits. Pray for God to prepare for the hearts of all the children, nannies and C4C staff that if anyone does not know the Lord he would draw them to himself and open their eyes and hearts to the gospel. And pray for our team to prepare their hearts to invest in the lives of everyone we meet. We are so thankful for this opportunity to go and see our J again before he comes home!! And Owen and Emma couldn’t be more excited than they are 🙂
Update on adoption: we are in the step called parquet (children’s court) awaiting our adoption decree. Adoption decree is a big step because once we have it J is legally ours. We can then share with all of you his picture and full name:) YAY!
Just wanted to give an outline of the rest of our adoption process to those of you who have asked how long until our son gets to come home or what’s the process look like until he comes homes.
Here’s the outline of the next steps in our adoption process!
1. The file is picked up from IBESR and taken to Parquet (court)
2. Adoption decree – when the adoption decree is issued, the child is legally yours in Haiti, and they are officially given your last name
3. The file gets translated and legalized and has to go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4. MOI (ministry of interior = immigration phase of the process for the child)
5. The passport is issued
6. The file (along with the child’s passport) is submitted to the Embassy in Port-au-Prince
7. If approved, schedule visa medical appointment
8. Complete child’s visa medical appointment for visa
9. Visa issued
10. Exit letter
So that’s it folks! We would appreciate your prayers that these next steps go quickly and smoothly and J comes home fast!! The estimated timeframe is 8-12 months but we know if God chooses he can speed it up.
There was so much that happened in the last two weeks that I really couldn’t process it all while I was still there in Haiti so I tried to just give everyone a jist of what happened each day. The more I’ve thought about everything today on our plane rides and since we have been home there’s just a couple things I wanted to say until I say goodbye on the blog for a while. I really dont blog well so I probably wont write again until we have an adoption update which could be a while. There’s alot I learned in Haiti but the one thing that I keep coming back to is thankfulness. I have so many things to be thankful for some are first world luxuries, wonderful friends and family and spiritual growth and realizations during this trip. At first I was annoyed we had to spend two weeks in Haiti and at the end of it leave J there. I am still annoyed about it but I am very thankful for that time. One, we did get to know his little personality and learn even when we do finally get him home even if he doesn’t remember this time we bonded we know he can bond. It’s a really great feeling to know that he can bond he can attach and he did like us:) Two, I’m thankful for this trip to help me realize a little of what J will feel when he comes home. There were so many times on this trip I was out of my comfort zone. I didn’t look or talk like anyone there. The food tastes and smells different than ours. There’s so many things that will be new and different to J when he comes home so to be in his world for two weeks and feel somewhat how he will feel when he comes home it’s a good reminder and good learning experience.
Some of the first world luxuries I take for granted but today have been very thankful for are: Clean water, hot showers, garbage men, a comfy bed, electricity that the city doesn’t turn off every evening, yummy food, AC, and my list really could go on and on.
I am so thankful for so many wonderful relationships in my life. First and foremost my relationship with God. He was my rock through these weeks. My morning devotions and prayer time with him was what kept me going. And the close relationships God has given me that are such a blessing. Especially Emil. I can’t imagine doing this trip without him. All the things I saw in him on this trip reminded me what I love most about him. He was so fun with the kids they loved him and he was so selfless serving me and everyone around him the whole time. Also my parents. They gave up of their own time to care for my kids for two whole weeks. I know it had to be draining our life isn’t a slow pace sit at home life. But they handled it without one complaint and they are a picture of exactly of what being a servant of Christ looks like. And of course all my friends. I have the best village in the whole world. I really am a blessed girl. I couldn’t even name them all if I tried because so many people helped with donations, prayers, helping with my kids, having snacks ready for me when I got home, the list could also go on and on. I cannot even describe how thankful I am for my friends!
Some of the real lessons I have learned this week that have broken me and hopefully changed me into being a more godly woman, wife and mother are the spirtiual lessons I have learned and am still learning. I learned and am thankful that God is bigger than poverty. That he promises to provide for the needs of his children. What we think is a need and he what knows is a need may be different but I know we can hang on his promises. I am thankful that God is sovereign. when I cannot understand why J can’t come home with us now and how this process can be good or what’s best for him I know that I can trust God. That he is in control that nothing is out of his perfect plan and that he is J’s provider and protector, I am not! Even as I write this I am crying. I want J home with us so bad. I can’t even describe how I love this little guy I hardly know, but I do. So all your prayers are appreciated that God would make this next process quick and smooth and that we can go back and get J quick. But if quick and smooth isn’t God’s plan and it is slow and bumpy that I would trust trust trust and never waiver.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy spirit.
Day 13 – Today we had breakfast and went over to get J. Played at the guesthouse most of the day until we thought we had our social worker interview at 12:30pm. We got all dressed up and went over to the crèche to have our interview. A guy who works for our agency was supposed to be coming to translate for us and bringing the social worker. So we waited and waited and waited for about 2 hours. I finally decided I should email our agency since they were the ones who set up this meeting. They did email me back and let me know that their car broke down on the way so they would try again tomorrow at 9am. This meeting is something we have to complete while in Haiti in order to move forward with the adoption process. It’s a social worker from IBESR and they come and ask questions for about an hours in regards to why we want to adopt. We did find out J would sit with us during this meeting. Since we found out they weren’t coming today we left J there to do preschool with the other kids and we went back to have lunch. In the evening we went back to play with j and the other kids before we had to leave at 5pm.
Day 14 – Our last day. Today was a very emotional day. I woke up crying before we even went over to the crèche. I knew we had our social worker interview this morning which I was a little nervous about. Emil’s never nervous. Then it would be our last day to hang out with J and the other kids and leave all our new friends we have made here (the other adoptive families and A). But the sweet part is tomorrow we get to go home and see our kids. I miss Owen and Emma so much. We have got to facetime them a lot and they have got to talk to J some. He likes to talk about Owen and Emma. So we got our breakfast and headed over to the crèche for our social worker interview. After what we went through with this yesterday we figured they were on Haiti time so they probably wouldn’t be coming at 9am but we would get there at 9am anyway just in case. Haiti time is not like American time. It’s like this “so your meeting is at 9am, so you be ready at 9am and we will get there whenever we can”. It’s a cultural thing I guess. For me being a person who is like “I’m always 10 minutes early or I think I’m late” this Haiti time thing has been very difficult for me to get used to. So again we sat for a while. A while being an hour and a half. J wasn’t in a good mood because now his routine is that we come and get him and he gets to go to the guest house. So when we didn’t do that he was upset. So Emil and I actually took turns going to the guest house with him and one of us stayed at the crèche to make sure we didn’t miss the social worker. About 10:30am the social worker and our agency representative showed up for our 9am meeting!! So I went and got Emil and J and we went into our interview. Surprising J was so good most of the time. For an hour and a half he either sat on my lap or Emil’s lap while we were questioned by the social worker. He asked a lot of questions like describe your spouse, what you like and dislike about them. Describe your time here with J how it has gone. Where do you see J in 12 years? How will you keep the Haitian culture alive in your home? Lots more questions but similar to that and then at the end the social worker just gave us advice about adoption. He was kind and so was agency rep so overall It was a good experience. After that J went to preschool and we went out to lunch with our new friends the two other adoptive families here. When we came back we went straight over to spend our last few hours with J before 5pm. We played at the guesthouse. Honestly it seemed like he knew something was different. He was fun but a little down. We gave him one last shower (he loved it), facetimed Owen and Emma and momaw and popaw, and then we went back to the crèche so we could say bye to all the kids. When I was telling J good bye I lost it. He looked at me like I was crazy! But he kept hugging me very tight like he was trying to comfort me almost. He gave me many hugs and kisses. I told the older boys to reassure him we would be back for him and when he was sad they needed to comfort him. Emil and I gave all the kids hugs and said our goodbyes and a few of them said “we are really going to miss you”. We spent a lot of time with the boys playing and it was so much fun. I thought I was done but this one boy he’s 11 Emil and I got to know really well and we walked back over to the guest house he was doing something over here and he gave us a hug and said bye I said P I’m going to miss you and he had tears in his eyes and said I’m going to miss you too! I lost it again! Today has been hard. But good. This is part of the process we have to do in order to get to the end result of bringing J home. What a bitter sweet day. Past all the crying now and soooooooooo looking forward to seeing Owen and Emma tomorrow!!!! I cannot wait!!!!
Day 11 – Monday started off the same as normal. We had breakfast and then went over to get J and bring him to the guest house. B’s family brought him over to the guest house too so the boys played together until rest time. Around lunch we take them back to rest and then have their dinner. After that instead of playing at the crèche in the afternoon we brought J back over to the guest house again because Emil was going to build some tables for the sewing room. He was really glad to have a project to work on. That took most of the afternoon he built two table. J liked helping out. He swings a hammer really good. I can tell he’s going to be daddy’s little helper. After that we took J back over he has to be back at the crèche by 5 they head to bed pretty early.
Day 12 – After breakfast we went to get J and back to the guest house to play. He played some baseball today. J’s pretty good at baseball. He’s very active and loves to play. After rest and lunch we brought some of the older boys over (5 of them) and J because Emil had two more tables to build and they wanted to help out. Some of them were good helpers and some were not. I felt like I was herding cattle while Emil worked. They kept running off and I’d have to get them back in here. I’m exhausted from herding them back to work! They were just excited to get out of the crèche I think. There’s a new couple that came in tonight. They are the parents of two kids at the crèche. They are on the 2 week trip as well! It’s really nice to have another couple here tonight to chat with. After we finished the table we gave all the boys some of the jerky that rugged meats donated for the crèche. They loved it. Not sure if you can see great in the pics but they wanted to thank rugged meats so we wrote thank you on the bottom of the table they built and all the boys signed it. Thanks again Jim and Krista Kuntzelam!! We are so thankful for your love for Christ and orphans!
Day 9 – It’s funny how fast you forget what you did each day. It’s now Sunday (day 10) and I hadn’t wrote about saturday day 9 yet and I already forgot what happened! After breakfast we went over to see J and we knew another family was coming today. We played for a little while at the crèche and then they came. They were the family of a little boy (we will call him B). B is friends with J they are the same age. So once that family came we all came over to the guest house together and J and B played and we got to chat with them for a little way. It’s nice having another couple here again. They aren’t staying at the guest house with us but during the day they were here. Emil and I played lots of cards at night and that was about it for day 8. Missed Owen and Emma A LOT today. Owen had a baseball game and did really good! We got lots of pics from family and friends. So thankful for so many people who love our kids!
Day 10- Sunday. We decided to grab J and come back to the guest house this morning while everyone else went to church. A went home for the weekend to Oregon to see her mom for her b-day (hope your having fun A, we miss you). So we decided since she wasn’t here and no other adoptive families or missions teams were at church we would just have some alone time with J. We just played and hung out all morning. Around 12:30 we took J back over to the crèche for a rest and lunch. Then we went out to lunch at the same restaurant we went to last Sunday. We went with the other couple (B’s parents). It was nice to get out and get some yummy food. We walked to the restaurant from the guest house. It’s only about a 5-10 minute walk but you have to be careful to dodge motorcycle. I swear they would hit us and keep going if we didn’t move out of hte way. On Sundays the cooks are off so we are on our own to eat! After lunch we went back to the crèche to play again. We played with J for a while and I got to talk to and know some of the nannies a little better. Over the week I’ve tried to talk to the nannies in Creole a little. A had told me they really appreciate if you atleast try to speak to them and they don’t speak much English. So I’ve learned a little creole from them. I kept thanking them for taking such good care of J. They do seem to love kids and keep them clean and well kept. One of them that also makes the jewelry that is sold by chance for children. She gave me a bracelet today. I told her I would pay her and she said no I want you to have it! Then I did tell her I wanted J to pick out one he likes for me to give Emma from him! So he picked out a yellow one for Emma and he picked out another one a green one and he said “for Owen”. So Owen got a bracelet too from J. After that we headed back to the guest house and since no dinner tonight we just ate cookies and pretzels for dinner. This is the first night we have no electric or water. We aren’t sure what’s wrong. The maintenance guy who lives here at the guest house isn’t here tonight so we tried to ask the guard and he just said “no gas in the generator” so I guess the city has turned the water and electric off for the evening and our generator isn’t working. We did bring a flashlight and the guard actually brought us his lantern. So we are sitting here in the dark playing cards. Maybe you would think it’s romantic or something but it’s not! there’s mice that live in here lots of flies and mosquitos. It’s only 6pm and it’s pitch black dark. No street lights or lights anywhere to be seen. Very different than in the U.S. where we always have electric and running water! Thankful for the small things today!
Here’s some pictures of the creche. J’s room he sleeps in, the livingroom areas, dining room for big kids, dining room for little kids and outside play area. Also a pic of my kiddos. Thanks Steph for taking them out for cake pops!
Day 7 – This morning we had breakfast and then we went over to the crèche to play with J. The community center was there so we stayed for a while because they sing songs with the little kids while the big kids are at school. J didn’t really want to participate. All he wants to do once we come is come back to the guest house. So after about an hour we did come here. We played legos and cars and swords then at noon we were going with A to the Baptist mission to their gift shop and café so we took J back over for his nap before we left. It was about a 15 minute ride to the Baptist mission and once we got there it was closed. It looked like a missions team working inside. We spoke to a guy outside and he said they were closed until mid October. That was the only shop around here I was excited to go so we could get Owen and Emma a little something (oh well). So we got back in the truck and came back to the guest house. We let J nap for a little while and then we went back to the crèche to play. Emil played a lot of soccer and basketball with the big boys today. I played outside with J and his little buddies. We played basketball and keep away and I took a bunch of pics of J and his little friend on the stairs doing all different poses. He’s really becoming silly and funny (everyone here kept telling us he’s so quiet, but he’s not with us anymore). The hardest part for me right now is knowing I have to leave J here when we come home. A lot of these kids have been left at the crèche by their biological parents and they were hurt. Now I have to do the same thing to him. We come we play for two weeks give him gifts show him love and then leave him with no communication for a very long time. I just can’t wrap my brain around how this is best for the kids. Why Haiti’s adoption process is like this. I don’t want him to feel like we have abandoned him as well. But I don’t know how to make a little kid that doesn’t even understand English all that well understand we are coming back.
Day 8 – Today we had breakfast and then we went over to the crèche to get J for a few hours to play. We brought him over to the guest house right away because we knew we only had a few hours today to play. I wanted to look at the jewelry that the ladies here make and sell. Was able to find a few cute necklaces and bracelets to purchase. I couldn’t understand completely but I think from what I could make out there’s about 30 ladies in the community that make the beads and sell them for income. They are made out of old t-shirts. You can purchase them online so I’ll get that link for you if you want to help support the community here in Kenscoff. After that we had to take J back to the crèche because we were riding down to port au prince with A and some other guys to pick up wood (for Emil to build some tables) for some new couches for the guest house and to go by the store we needed more half and half and coffee (can’t survive without coffee). So that ended being an adventure. We had to go by IBESR to pick up C4C worker who goes into IBESR to advocate for our families. He had to go with us to get the couches. So that took about 3 hours. We waited on the couches forever. Finally we got them loaded in the truck and our driver decided there was no way we could fit the wood in as well. So we headed to the store to pick up the stuff we needed and head back to Kenscoff. Let me just say Port Au Price is unlike anything I have ever seen. There are people everywhere. A was telling us that it’s a 13 square mile area with 1 million people in it. There’s not really stores or shops, everyone just sets up what they sell on the side of the road. So if you need clothes or a purse or shoes or a cell phone charger you just walk down the road and purchase whatever you need. They sell everything even a whole chicken a guy was knocking on our window trying to sell us. And I don’t know if there is speed limits or driving laws but if there are they are definitely not enforced. People drive on any side of the road they want. Pass anyone they want to and motorcycle are going between cars as fast as they can. You have to be a good driver to drive in port au prince or you would hit another car or bystander. There’s people walking down the middle of the road and tap tap’s stopping to pick up people and cars swerve all the time. There were a few times I was actually really scared in the car! But we survived to tell the story tonight! Safely back in kenscoff. We got to go see J for a little bit when we got back and we will head over again tomorrow morning. Hopefully they will get wood tomorrow so Emil can have his project to do next week. He’s going to build some tables for the sewing room.