Our adoption journey started in my heart as a little girl. I always knew that I wanted to have a few kids of my own and then adopt some kids. I grew up, got married and had my first two children. The thought of adoption really hadn’t entered my mind again until one day when my second child was just a few months old and I was watching a program about a family that adopted their son from Guatemala. It lit a fire inside of me that never went out. I KNEW that was God’s plan for our family and jumped right in to looking up information and learning every single thing that I could about adoption. You can imagine my shock when I told my husband that we should adopt and his response was far less zealous than mine! I remember begging God to take this desire from my heart if it wasn’t of Him and if my husband was never going to jump on board. I tried everything from filling out applications to agencies and just highlighting where he needed to sign to taping pictures of orphans to his bathroom mirror with scriptures attached. I finally just stopped and told the Lord that if this was what He wanted for our family, He was going to have to convince the husband because I was getting nowhere! And the next thing you know, we were on the same page. FINALLY!
Initially we thought we would adopt from Korea. We had 3 children and just knew a 4th child from there would complete our family. We filled out the paperwork, turned it in, and received the shock of our lives!
We were pregnant.
This obviously put our adoption plans on hold.
Sadly, our twin daughters passed away at 17 weeks in utero and then 23 weeks in utero. They were perfectly healthy baby girls but their umbilical cords had gotten tangled into knots. We were devastated and rocked to our core, but we survived. Some days just barely. A year after the girls we found ourselves delivering a healthy baby boy and his sister followed less than two years later. I never in my life thought we would be the mega family that drove a 12 passenger van! I loved having all the kids but in my heart I still felt like someone was missing.
In 2011, I was 5 months pregnant with our fifth child and we had been matched with a birthmom. Her baby was due just 3 months after our baby, and in essence it was going to be like having twins. We spoke with ‘J’ on the phone once a week and everything seemed to be going great, but one day I got a call from her and something wasn’t right. The birth father was back in the picture and they had been evicted from the place they were staying because he had gotten in a fight. She assured me that she would call as soon as they got where they were going but I never got the call. In fact, we never heard from her again. The attorneys we were working with thought she might call when she went in labor but she never did.
We hadn’t said a lot to our family and friends about this because honestly we were just confused. We knew God had called us to this but it felt like we kept hitting a brick wall! Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe how we were feeling.
One day, out of the blue, I got a call from a friend of mine who was a pastor’s wife. She was asking me about the adoption and I just opened up and told her everything. She started telling me about a missionary family in the church that was moving to Haiti to start a school, and they had connections with an orphanage there.
I was intrigued. I met with the missionary for coffee and she told me all about it. It seemed perfect. It seemed right. My husband wanted to proceed very cautiously because of what we had just been through. We called the agency, spoke with families that were using them, and really had a good feeling about it. In April 2012 we were on a plane to Haiti to meet our child!
God had other plans on this trip because He not only gave us a daughter, but a son. Through countless confirmations we knew we were on the right path. We were told the process would be about 8-12 months. We needed what was called a presidential dispensation because we met all of the requirements except that we had biological children. The President of Haiti would sign off and give you permission to proceed. We were over the moon excited. We were told things were progressing nicely. We received our IBESR numbers which proved we were in process and in November were told we were on the president,s desk, awaiting signature.
Little did we know that 18 months later we would still be sitting in the same spot.. STUCK.
We became good friends with the director and made several trips to Haiti to visit the kids and bring supplies. We loved her. Supported her. Believed everything she said. But in August 2013 all of that changed. Families that were adopting were making some pretty strong accusations, and red flags were going up all over the place. At first we refused to listen. The director told us they were disgruntled families whose adoptions she had canceled.
But in October, we made the decision to have the children removed from the orphanage they were in. The director was not being helpful with this, and many children had already been removed. The children in their care were not being fed properly and things were getting really bad. We did not feel confident that they could finish our adoption.
We hired a private investigator, who miraculously found our children’s birth parents in two days. They removed the children from the orphanage and kept them until we could make arrangements for them to go somewhere else. God opened some amazing doors, and 10 days later they were being taken to their new temporary home. Many of the children that were in that first place were never supposed to be adopted out. Their birth parents took them there thinking it was a boarding school and that they could come and get their children at any time. Thankfully for us, our children's parents had always wanted them to be adopted.
When the new agency got our file, many documents had to be redone due to fraudulent papers being turned in by the former agency. We weren't even sure that Haiti was going to let us adopt these kids.
In February 2014 we got the news that we could move forward but for some reason our case sat and sat and sat with no movement on our file at all. We turned in every single paper that was requested, had our children's biological parents come to sign papers 3 different times and still we sat. No one really understands why our file, along with the files of the other families adopting, have not moved. Different answers are given all the time. So here we are over 2 and a half years in this process with children that are now 6 and 3 years old. When we skype with them they ask us when we are coming and we have no answers to give them. We do feel certain that they will come home, and just recently have gotten news that things are moving for us. But it’s maddening. We love them so much. They are our children and yet there is absolutely nothing we can do. We trust that God’s timing is perfect and that they will be home at the absolute best time for our family and for them. There are many children, not only in Haiti but all over the world, that are STUCK. They have families waiting to bring them home but because of some sort of red tape, it holds things up.
So please when you think about it, say a little prayer for all of us “stuck” families and our children who are “stuck” as well. We just simply want our families to be together and not separated by government bureaucracy.
To read more about our family you can visit www.wardfamilycircus.blogspot.com