Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adoption Process

I thought I'd finally start posting about our adoption process. People keep asking me how it's going, and are surprised when I tell them what the process is like. It isdaunting, overwhelming, expensive, and massive. But the reward in the end makes it worth it.

Right now we're been approved by Children of the Promise to adopt one of their kids, and we're approved by Love Basket who will be our adoption agency. We're now working on the home study with an agency that's located in Hudson, WI - close by us. It sounds as though the home study will take a few months to complete. As we're in the process of working on that, we'll also be working on the following:
* medical evaluation and blood work for Jason and myself
* reading two books and taking on-line training - required by Love Basket
* a psych eval for both Jason and myself (no comments from the peanut gallery)
* asking for 3 personal references, 1 family, and 1 pastoral. Any of you who were in church today - PB was talking about us.
* completing a second application for Love Basket - more comprehensive than the first

When all is said and done, it will cost around $30,000 and take 2-3 years to bring our little girl home. People cannot believe it when I tell them how long it takes and how much it costs. I appreciate why the process is so comprehensive. I don't yet understand why it's so expensive, but it's pretty standard for an international adoption to cost from $20,000-30,000.

If you are considering adopting, please don't let that discourage you. There are many grants available to adoptive parents, and many other ways to get the money. I'm confident that God will provide when it comes to finances. And after being in Haiti, the money doesn't matter. I'm not taking a savings account with me when I leave this life.

I'll admit that I'm overwhelmed. When the initial packet first arrived from Love Basket I started to hyperventilate. It felt like something we'd never be able to complete. The money part doesn't concern me at all. It's the rest of it. I remember closing on my first mortgage and being confused by the amount of paperwork. I just blindly started signing things - not reading a word. With an adoption, that's not possible. We can't sit back and just sign documents and hand over a check. We have to be fully engaged in this process.

This will take a lot of time and I'm certain it will involve a few tears. But this is a God thing, and with Him all things are possible.

I dream of the day when I say, "Mwen se manman ou." I am your Mommy.

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Odelande's new mom, please email me: What a surprise to read your comment!! She's such an amazing little girl. We did a lot of cuddling while I was down there. You are very fortunate to have each other!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sometimes, it's better to avoid the media

Friday night I was reading an article on Yahoo about the cholera outbreak. At the end of the article was the comments section. I don't know why I did it, but I started reading the comments. Once I started I couldn't stop. It was a train wreck.

The comments were so insensitive, inhumane, cruel. I don't understand how people can think what they think and take the time to post it. Friday night was very restless. The comments brought on doubt. I hate doubt. I don't use the word 'hate' normally in conversation. It's too strong of a word. But I truly hate it when doubt creeps in.

I started wondering why I'm even trying. Why go to Haiti? Why send aid? Why try to get others to do the same?

Then, I thought about Guerlin. Precious, sweet little Guerlin. In all the emails I've sent to aid organizations, I've included this, "I want to give him a chance to grow up healthy. Who knows, he might be the next President of Haiti and bring about the change they so desperately need."

Who knows? It's not for me to sit here and judge. Matthew 7:1, "Judge not that ye be not judged." It's not my place. It's not anyone's place. What if Guerlin, Odelande, Jerry and Magdalyn are going to bring about change in Haiti? What if they are here on earth to make that difference? Isn't it our place to do everything in our power to give them that chance?

With all doubt that creeps into my life, it brings a new round of conviction.

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‘Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Hand You See

See that little hand with the beads on his wrist? The one right above this post? Well, that sweet little hand belongs to an 11 month old boy named Guerlin (pronounced Gear-Lynn). Just this week I got the challenge of a lifetime - to find a hospital that will donate surgery to fix his heart.

Guerlin was admitted to Children of the Promise while I was down there. He's so very sweet and beautiful. I spent a lot of time with him, sitting under the mango tree rocking. His little heart just beat like mad inside his tiny body. While I didn't know his diagnosis at the time, I knew something was wrong with his heart.

Do you have any connections at Children's in Minneapolis? I talked to an awesome gal named Amy, who does all the scheduling. If we can get the hospital to donate their services (anesthesia, 7-day stay, etc) she most likely will get a surgeon to donate their time for the surgery. It's time to start working those connections!!

Three babies have died since I was there late August. I don't want to add Guerlin to that list. Other than his heart, he's a healthy baby. He has a mother who absolutely adores him. I want her to have many years with him.

If you know of anyone in the Children's network in Minnesota, I'd love the opportunity to talk to them. This little boy deserve the chance to play and grow up. Who knows, maybe he'll be the president of Haiti one day.

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On a different note, we're currently conducting an urgent drive for powdered Pedialyte. While Cholera hasn't hit COTP, they still have many severe cases of dehydration. The nurse makes a 'serum' for the kids, but we're hoping to stock them up on Pedialyte so she doesn't have to make it.

I realize we just finished sending Christmas presents, and I just challenged everyone to donate. Well, here I go asking again. If you have the opportunity to pick up a few boxes, I'll ship them down for you. Of course, if you're out of state, I can get you the address in Florida for Agape Flights.

We'll get everyone trained like Jason. Each week he does the grocery shopping he picks up a pack of diapers. Now he's going to pick up diapers AND Pedialyte. Good man.

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You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result."
~ Ghandi

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finally, The Christmas Challenge

I cry on the way home from work. That's my time to unwind, and think. I don't cry every day, but I do cry often. Today was no exception.

This morning I came into the office to an email from Haiti. Amy, one of the nurses at Children of the Promise, was letting me know that little Ashka had been called home Saturday morning. Another sweet life, taken so early. In the month leading up to my trip, four babies had died. Since I've been home, we've lost three more. Unfortunately, death is a way of life for those in Haiti.

The email this morning brought to light a reality we don't see here in the US. Yes, children die here. Yes, there is pain and suffering. But in Haiti, it is so much greater. The babies who die in Haiti most likely would not die if they were in the US. We have a healthcare system, and food shelters, and social workers. Our system certainly isn't without its challenges, but we have a system. In Haiti, there is nothing.

Children of the Promise is a blessing to the children of Cap-Haitien and surrounding communities. They do all they can, with what they have, to feed, nurture and provide medical care for the children who are brought to their gate. While there is a lot of life, they unfortunately still deal with a lot of death.

The Challenge - the original Christmas Challenge - has been on my mind since I was in Haiti. It came to me as soon as I stepped off the plane. Before I ever met a baby, I knew what I wanted to post to you all. It's November 1st - and it's time to post the challenge.

The Challenge: This Christmas, before you purchase one present, pause...and think. Think about a few things:
1 - What is the true meaning of Christmas? Really - why do we have Christmas? Why did it ever start?
2 - Think about all the presents you purchased last year for everyone. Can you remember everything you bought?
3 - Can you remember what presents YOU were given last year?
4 - Ask your family, friends, children what THEY got for Christmas last year. Do they remember?

My point is this. We spend SO MUCH money on a holiday which is greater than presents. What does it mean to you that the Christ child was born on Christmas Day? What does his birth and his life mean to you? Are you honoring HIM at Christmas? Or does it seem you're honoring a mall more?

This isn't about guilt - but this is about pausing, and changing our ways. I challenge you to think before you purchase. Do the people in your life really need what you're buying? Will they remember it next year? Is there somewhere else you could use that money?

The ultimate challenge is this - take some of the excess you'd spend this year - on decorations, wrapping, those extra gifts for your kids, expensive treats - and give it to the babies. Write out a check for Children of the Promise for $25, $50, $100, $1,000. Whatever you feel you can give - whatever you can take away from your usual spending and still celebrate the meaning of Christmas.

Please do this for Olivenson, Josette, sweet Ashka. Babies who don't have the opportunity to open presents this year. Please give in their memory, so that Children of the Promise can keep doing the amazing work they are doing for the people of Haiti.

I'm not asking you to take away from your celebrating. I'm asking that you give a new meaning to some of the money that you'd usually spend on Christmas. What you give to Children of the Promise will truly help save a life. What an amazing gift.

Checks can be sent here:
Children of the Promise
Po Box 123
Prinsburg MN 56281

For my friends in Canada:
c/o J and M DeJonge
995 Concession 2, R.R.1
Selkirk On. Canada
N0A 1P0.

Please write a special note for the person who opens the envelop. I'll leave that up to your spirit and creativity. Tell them why you are donating.

God doesn't want us to feel guilty for what we have. He rejoices in our happiness. At the same time, He wants us only to take what we need, then give the rest to those who need it more.