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Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti, Oh Haiti

I'm sure you share the utter pain of watching the recent coverage on the Haiti earthquake. I think the pain is tangible for Lee and I as we picture the conditions our future child must endure before we bring him home. We feel the pain in a physical way, as our hearts literally ache. I have cried myself to sleep several times watching the orphaned children, dusty and bloodied, with tears streaking their cheeks.

Many of your know that Lee and I have been praying very sincerely about changing our adoption to Haiti from Ethiopia. I have been inside the adoption world knowledge regarding processes and procedures for Haiti. My caseworker at AWAA has been nothing but supportive, she has provided us with references to contact for other agencies who adopt from Haiti (our agency does not). That is just why we picked AWAA, because of their sincere understanding and support of God's will. So, doing our due diligence and praying about this terrible tragedy, we have decided to proceed with our Ethiopian adoption. We discovered that the Haitian guidelines for adoption are pretty stringent, and one must be 35 years of age to qualify (one thing that says I'm too young!) :) and couples must be married for 10 years before adoption. Our caseworker says that this criteria may be loosened in a year or two, after the number of orphans is confirmed and increased. But at this point, we do not qualify and feel that its a door God has closed for a reason. In addition, the time frame to wait for a Haitian child is expected to be doubled! The agencies I've worked with (our #2 and #3 agency choices after AWAA) have recommended that people realize the Haitian adoption process will be extended by 2-3 years on top of the 2-3 years already required for a "typical" adoption. The reason for this is that there is no way to prove that an orphan is indeed an orphan for a long length of time. Other family members may appear who would claim the child so they cannot be determined "adoptable" for a 1-2 year time period. This length of time is only lengthened by the emergent state of the crisis, just finding food and water and receiving medical care is difficult. Finally, many of the government offices and employees who process the paperwork are gone. So, quite honestly, Lee and I just cannot fathom waiting that long for our child!!! They have received an overwhelming amount of calls and contacts regarding adoption. Many Americans want to open their homes to these Haitian orphans. This is a blessing!!!! So, while we feel helpless and were longing to adopt a child from Haiti, we are allowing God to take control and perhaps we will do so in a few years after we have begun to raise our Ethiopian child. We have heard from our friends who have adopted, that once you visit a third-world country and their orphanages, your eyes are opened in a way not imagined. You'll never be the same and you'll become addicted to adoption. Lee and I discussed this tonight at dinner, that we imagine there won't be just one Toone adoption. :) I for one, would be thrilled to have a houseful of children, of all colors and creeds. I believe you are born with an "adoption gene" and I truly feel God gave me more than one in my DNA! Just call me 'Angelina' :)

So, thank you for all of your prayers and support and sending me the latest articles from the earthquake coverage. Please continue to pray for God's will, as you never know what He has in store. We feel helpless, as we know you do, and feel that we cannot have peace with this situation. So, if nothing more has come from this adoption, it has further broken our hearts for the plight of these poor children and confirmed that God's will is that we proceed. I cannot imagine the longing and angst for those families who lost all their paperwork in the rubble and aren't sure they will be able to get their children. My heart breaks for them.

And after all of that, our agency sent us an email that they were collecting names of families who are interested in being on a Haiti Foster Care list. There is talk among the US Dept. of State, UCIS and several agencies to bring plane loads of kiddos over from Haiti to be fostered while all the mess is cleaned up. Oh, the plot thickens. I found myself wondering why God does not put a giant Neon sign in front of our faces!!!

Please keep praying for God's will for our adoption and for those poor Haitian people.

And finally, a Bible verse that has just given me so much comfort this week.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will NOT fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea...God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed." Psalm 46: 1-2, 4.