Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waiting Out the Wait List at #....

Lately I've had several people ask me for an adoption update and I've been surprised that they somehow missed my last "update" I gave in September.  And then I realized, I never gave an update in September.  I asked my Facebook friends to pray for us as we were about to have a phone conference with our Social Worker, Beth, and our in-country representative, Raul.  I had full intentions of writing and sharing an update and, I guess.

You can ask a couple of my friends who I "attempted" to talk to after our phone conference and they'll be quick to tell you that I wasn't really making complete sentences.  Those types of meetings are mentally and emotionally draining to me.  Whether it's a just a tidbit of information or an entire seminar's worth - it takes me a little bit to process everything.

It's also gotten pretty hard for me to update this past year.  When I sit down to write, I want to share all that is on my heart.  I want you to try to be able to feel a little bit of what we're feeling on the inside while we're navigating this process.  In order to do that, I have to have the time to unpack all the emotional junk, sort out what to share and what to keep tucked in my heart, write it out (preferably in coherent sentences) and then pack it back up again...all during nap time.  So, it's a little bit harder now.

Now, for the update.  Our meeting in September went really well.  For months we've been trying to determine if the children available for international adoption, in our age range, had more severe medical/special needs or if they had mild/moderate/correctable special needs.  We know our limits as a family on the types of needs that we can choose to efficiently parent and if the children in our age range were on the more severe end - we knew it was time to research other countries or adoption options.

We finally got our answer...Raul told us that there were children available for international adoption who were on the mild/moderate end of the special needs spectrum.  This was good news for us (side note: it feels really weird saying, that's "good news" because, in reality, it's not.  It sucks.  There's a need for adoption.  There's kiddos who are sick and the very reason they can't stay with their forever family could be because they lack the finances and resources to properly care for their sweet kiddos.)

The second bit of "good news" we got was a bit of a surprise.  We've understood all along, as did our social worker, that Colombia didn't have a waiting list for families like many other countries.  However, in this meeting we were informed otherwise and Raul said he would work in the next several days to determine each families position on the list or their "number."

Here's where I want to give a quick stat we learned that day: Colombia is only processing 1/3 of the number of adoptions this year as opposed to 3 years ago.  Changes have occurred and things have slowed down substantially.

Our best guess at our number (based on some of the numbers that were thrown out in the conference call) was somewhere around #400.  I pictured one of my daughters being walked down the aisle in her wedding dress while I held my newly adopted toddler son in my lap on the front row.  But we were way off!!  I mean, big time, big time way off.  Who wants a math pop quiz?

400 - 386 = 14

We're #14!!!!!!!!!!

That means that there are 13 families waiting for an ICBF referral in front of us.  Only 13 - not 386!

We're still trying to determine exactly how this list will work...are there 13 approved families in front of us or 13 approved families for boys, 0-3, mild/moderate special needs.  This number doesn't tell us how much longer we have to wait, but it is SO MUCH BETTER than #400.

We've also been told that Colombia is still working diligently at updating all of the kiddos files for accuracy and "plan" to release them in the next month and start making referrals at the first of the year.  We're throwing in a couple of "grace" months and not really expecting anything to happen until February or March.  It's just good to know these kiddos are being advocated for and their files are being worked on so they can be presented with the most updated information.

December 9 will mark 1 year of "waiting".  Sometimes patiently and others times....not so much.  I just want my kiddo home.  I want to rock him to sleep, I want to play cars and trucks and build blocks with him, I want to read him a bedtime story and run into his room when he wakes up from a bad dream.  I want to doctor his cuts and bruises with magical kisses that only mommies have.  I want these things so badly - but not just for fill this longing and emptiness in my arms.  I want it more for him...because a family is the least of what he deserves.

We're ready to give him all of us, every single day for the rest of his sweet life.  We are, oh so ready...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hermanos de la Iglesia Colombia (Brothers in the Colombia Church)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the long awaited and prayed for opportunity to go to Colombia on a mission trip.  Our church has had a partnership with some missionaries there for several years and now, one of my most favorite families lives and serves there full time. So, it was a triple good-thing....a) serving the Lord in this way, b) being in my son's birth country while I desperately wait for him, and c) being with the Sumralls.

I have lots to say about that trip: my emotions and feelings when the plane landed - putting me on the same ground as my kiddo, the beauty of the Colombian people we were with, how my only hope was a 10 year old little girl when we hopped in the car with a ridiculous cabbie, and my short stint in a local Colombian hospital.  The LORD used all of these things for His good, His glory - and I can't wait to tell you about each of them.

I remember in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina (no, I haven't switched gears - hang with me, please).  I honestly didn't know what was going on - all I knew was that my husband was supposed to travel from Tennessee to NOLA on a Sunday for a Monday morning job interview, in anticipation of moving to NOLA a few months earlier than we had planned.  We were informed that there wouldn't be an interview that day because Katrina demanded a city-wide evacuation.

We waited in anticipation and fear and worry for the next several days/weeks...pulling up any and every bit of information from the internet of what was going on in the place we wanted to soon call home.  I remember working with some evacuees who were brought by Greyhound bus to the next country over from mine and feeling the emotional shock as one after one, broken people stepped off of a bus having lost everything - some having lost everyone in their family.  I clung to my computer and television in those days craving any bit of information.  I already had a love for the city I knew little about.

And now I find myself there, again.  I spent the weekend worshiping, teaching, serving, loving, and being loved by these people...

And I wait anxiously as I hear about waist-high flooding, 25,000+ people in this town and church being displaced - having lost everything.  As the rains keep pouring down in the mountains, causing the river to rise continuously.  

I remember after Katrina, that all I wanted to do was get to NOLA, help some how, do something...and now all I want to do is get on the first plane back to Colombia and go serve my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I want to hold them, love them, and cry with them.

I pray for the church and Pastor Manuel who have opened the doors as a shelter.  I pray for at least one family...a mom, her son, and grandchildren who lost everything.  I pray for a new Christian - "J" - who was to be baptized this weekend. at the church....and has now lost everything in the waist high water in his neighborhood.

I remember what it looked like when my husband and I came to Slidell on a rebuilding mission trip a few months following Katrina...and I have those same pictures in my mind of that same type of devastation and loss and heartbreak now for this beautiful town.

"Brothers of the Louisiana Church."

That picture was on the prayer wall of the church.  

And now, we pray for "Hermanos de la Iglesia Colombia."

Please join us in that prayer.