Monday, November 30, 2009

We Passed Court!

Elijah Mugisha Eymard Cropf is officially our son according to the Government of Rwanda. We are even on his birth certificate. Praise God for bringing us this far. We were also able to get our state PA clearance in ONE day, thanks again to God's hand on our journey. This was a last minute thing and our clearances were expiring left and right but with a help of a friend from my dad's church we made it!

So now i am trying to book plane tickets for this weekend. It's surreal to think we are getting a child this weekend. We are very nervous about flying, the journey, and the dangers of the trip, and especially about leaving our daughter. That is driving me sick. literally.

Please keep us in your prayer for a safe journey to Africa, to our son, and home again across the ocean to our daughter and life as a new family together.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

baby feet and travel induced stress illness

Thanks to friends and family who have volunteer 4 more suitcases! we have at least that many toys and clothes to send= awesome!

Our friends the dorbands were able to check Elijah's feet and thet are "19-20" we think that means shoe size. (which makes hime about 12 months/ size 3. We can't wait to get him little sock and shoes for his feet.
I do think I am the most stressed out the past 2 days as I ever, ever rememver. Comparable to final exams in vet school, or the final days of preganacy awaiting labor. But so stressed my head is in a fog and I feel physically ill. I am dreading the flight and trip itself but eager to meet Elijah.
Bill and I have made 2 important trip decisions in the "11th hour"
one- we are leaving emilia with bill's parents, and 2. we are flying separetly "just in case"
now we need to book tickets.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friends are in Rwanda!!

We are getting sooo close to holding Eljiah in our arms! in the mean time we are happy our friends are blogging away so we can follow their progress!
the Dorbands are another "independant" family (no agency) and here are their gorgeous boys!

The Spore family is also meeting their son as we speak
AND the Bowers :
AND the Smiths:

These families have been along side us for most of the adoption journey through a daily (sometimes hourly!) email list group. We encouraged each other, shared any shreds of news in the long, long waiting process, prayed for each other and now we finally get to share in the joy of meeting our kids for the first time!!
The blog world is indispensible for adoptive parents and I am so grateful for this forum to share our adoption journey.

We may be traveling FRIDAY to meet Elijah but no tickets yet! we are frantically packing, spraying clothes with permethrins, cleaning and sorting the house, and basically running around like the proverbial chickens with our heads cut off.
But we are getting that mcuh closer to meeting our boy for the first time.
we can't wait!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Paperwork Panic

WEll, our homestudy doesn't allow us for a greater than 15 month old baby BUT I wrote the consular in Nairobi and they said "as far as they are concerened the homestudy is good for the whole adoption" So I think we are ok there. That can be a note to other adoptive families if this happens to them, but I still suggest double checking with the nairobi embassy too!
Secondly, All of our police, child abuse, and FBI clearances expire Nov 26, Dec 1, and Dec 26 respectively. We apparently need a state PA clearance to re-enter the country. This is unique to every state. You can check if your state requires it by this confusing link. Out homestudy lady emailed us and told us make sure we get clearances, but it was a last minute thing. (not really her fault, we are not using an agency and only used her for homestudy)

God may be working a small miracle here however-- my dad lives in harrisburg and a woman from his church is a lady who-- PROCESSES state PA CLEARANCES!! (one of only 3 or four who do this-- she is "the lady" ) I talked to her today adn shes is going to try and get everything through for us if she can before we go, then just add those clearances to the file when we get back (we still need to re-do them)
That is a great lifeline at a time like this!

We have court on monday and then Elijah will be officially ours, then we are following our friends the Dorband's journey to see how long paperwork is taking them before we book flights. We may leave as soon as next friday!

I also got a wonderful box of crocs from the Greer's of 4-More raised by families all over the country. I stuffed them all into a donated suitecase from my dad, along with about 2 dozen other pairs of shoes, and filled all the cracks with beanine babies, clothing, washcloths, medication-- anything i could fit in a croc, i did!

We recommend vaccume bags to suck the air from clothes and stuffed animals. you can fit at least double!

That's the news for now-- court date monday pending, paperwork still flying, no plane tickets yet, excited to finally meet our son.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Between 7 and 28 months

Well, to say there is confusion over Elijah Mugisha Eynard's age is an understatemnt. His medical reporst said his DOB was 29 march 2009, while an email from our POA said it was July 20 2007. A clarification to that put him more at July 20 2008. So, we really have no idea. The problem is, if he is more than 15 months old (WHICH he will be on FRIDAY) we have to re-do our homestudy paperwork and get it re-sent to Kigali.
Which means more delays. We did ask clearly for an infant but there was confusion on our request and the child is clearly much older. We are needing to "reset expectations". I wouldn't go so far as to say Bill and I were disappointed, but we were just expecting a baby-baby, not a toddler-baby. But two good friends both pointed out that our daughter will be able to play and interact with her brother right from the beginning, which will be a good thing I believe. God know what He is doing.
And I pray he doesn't forget the part about not giving us more than we can handle. ;)
We did hear about the circumstances by which Elijah came to the Home of Hope.
On July 20, 2009 he was brought to the authorities by a widow who lives in Kigali. The widow went to bed one night, and while she slept a child was left in her kitchen. When she awoke she found him. She herself was very poor and unable to keep him so she contacted the authorities. Someone loved Elijah very mcuh to leave him in a safe home. We can only wonder what circumstances led up to such a heart breaking decision. I think about the mother or family members who had to make that choice and I wish it didn't have to happen to them. While we are thrilled God has called us to care for an orphan, I wish we could also care for a mother so that she didn't have to lose her child in the first place. I am more sad right now for our baby's family than I am for him. I simply cannot imagine making such a mercy choice as leaving your son in the home of a kind widow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Update on Elijah

We heard from a friend in Kigali that she MET Elijah and said he has a smile that lights up the room and is walking all over the place! We are so excited to meet him! His birthday on his medical papers says he is 7 months old but his is walking with several teeth, 17lbs and 28" tall. We are very confused on his age but thrilled about his smile :) We may have info tomorrow about when we can go to GET him if all goes well!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IT's A BOY!!!!

Well, insomnia pays. I was still up at 2:30 am reading "there is no me without you" and i decided to check email--and spam folder-- one more time. There was the file we have been waiting for for over a year. I ran down and woke up Bill so we could open it together. Out little boy -- Mugisha (blessing) Eynard (a famous priest) was looking back at us for the first time!
We are so excited and THANK GOD for this moment. We will keep everyone posted-- goodnight!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thankful thoughts for those who help us along the way.

This is a post to thank all the people and agencies who have help to bring us here so far. Sometimes (often) paperwork is very frusterating and it's easy to lose sight of the hard work people do to help orphans around the world. First of all, I want to include the nuns at Home of Hope in our prayers who have a 24-7 duty to care for babies and children as best as possible, giving them as much love & tenderness as they can, as well as being the closest person to a parent some of them may ever know. They also teach them that Jesus loves them always and is their Heavenly father. Secondly I want to thank our Power of attorney, Peter, who is working tirelessly on our behalf in Rwanda and is so good about sending us updates on progess over there. He is a Pastor and a huge help. I also want to put myself in the shoes of the ministry for women and gender, who suddenly have a very large work load with all these adoptions that was never there before. I am sure they have additional needs for technology and staffing that have not been met yet that makes their job that much harder. We appreciate that the timeline for adoption from Rwanda is still much faster than almost all other countries and have to commend Veronique and the Minister for doing the best they are capable of.
So, that is my thanksgiving post.
Praying we get our referral soon!

Waiting & hoping & praying!

We are so happy for FOUR of the families on our email list who got their referral yesterday, and in it pictures of their new children. Even though ours did not arrive, it was still an incredible experience to be emailing instantly as families got the great news. What a once in a life time chance to be part of such an amazing event as families all over the country "meet" their children for the first time. We are so happy for everyone, and pray our little one follows soon!

I had a dream last night (my second adoption dream) that our baby was about 2 yr old cute little girl but she had club feet. It was a very strange dream but not as strange as the one in which our "referral" was a teenage prostitute. I wish I could have a "normal" referral dream!! although when I was pregnant I dreamt once I gave birth to a kitten and another time that the baby had crazy blue- green eye shadow like the character on the drew carey show. So I guess the referral dreams aren't too far off.

In closing, my daughter hit us with another tear jerker last night. I went a little crazy and ordered a veritable library of books on adoption and on Rwanda/Africa so I can be a better educated momma for our Rwandan baby. E was going through a box of books and this is a little excerpt of her monologue "this one for baby sister, this one for me, I looking for wheels on the bus books to send to baby sister. She no have any books. I send her this book. I share with baby sister."
Then I asked her, where is baby sister? We had just talked about Africa so she said "In Africa. She coming in God's Car."
She is wiser than she realizes.
Still waiting...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

reading list while waiting?

So I was hoping today would be the day, but if not, HOPING for tomorrow!
In the mean time, I went on amazon and ordered a veritable library of children's books from Africa. They have a bunch of books for 5-6$ and if you buy 3 you get one free. So, I will review them when they arrive and let you know which ones we love!

I would also like to reach out to bloggy-world and see if you have any suggesstions on Rwanda books or adoption books.

Ones I've read:
Land of 1000 hills by Rosamond Carr - A biography of a woman who moves to Rwanda in the 1940's and her life there in peaceful times. When the genocide hits in 1994 this 80 yr old amazing woman evacuates to the US but decides she can't leave the land she loves. In a passage that gave me goose bumps she describes hopping on a soviet era plane as an elderly woman and returning to the most dangerous country in the world to help orphans she loves. Very interesting read/ easy read. 5 stars!

Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America (Hardcover)
~ Adam Pertman Kind of all over the place and hard to follow at times, but I got if for a few bucks on ebay used. It had some interesting points on trends in adoption and how adoptions have changed dramatically over the years. 2 stars

Chicken soup for the adopted soul- if you like chicken soup stories you'll love this. Not great literature but nice pick-you-up reads 4 stars

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew By Sherrie Eldridge
Very insightful on some topics, but totally seems whackie on others. I'm not sure she has scientific studies to back up her conclusions and seems like she fights a lot of her own demons. Nevertheless, since I am new to adoption I am glad I am aware of some of these issues, but I hope she's off base since she makes it seem like every adopted person will be severely off base at the core of their being but will only be happy when the supress some things. At least that's what I took away from it. You may get a totally different impression. I do still recommend reading it with a grain of salt. 3 stars

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be killled with our families… (Paperback)
by Philip Gourevitch Interesting first hand accounts of Rwanda Genocide and especially interesting Politics that led up to genocide and especially how the world community reacted (not in a good way!) I had to skim it sometimes because it got a little to dry but the post-genocide reponse I found most interesting. I also skim violent passages because I find them too upsetting, but it doesn't have too many and they also play into larger stories in the book (not just random violence scenes) Four Stars

Ishmael Beah’s memoir, “A Long Way Gone,” Boy-Soldier in sierra Leonne. Riveting, disturbing, eye opening. HIGHLY recommended. This is a NY times review- much better than mine!

So that's my list for now- Any other Suggestions?? PLease add them in the comments!

Praying tomorrow is the big day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Support Adoption Blogging!

The news in the blog world is that Veronique (who processes the final referral email) is "upcountry" for today but is doing everything possible to get the referrals out by friday. The court shut down in December is scary. I am hoping and praying that she really does help us out.

I also want to add what a WONDERFUL support network we have via blogs. We are on two informal group email lists- one by Mugisha Ministries who helps people adopt independantly from Rwanda, (our friend Tina) and another or 9 families who linked up over blogs and we are all awaiting our referrals.

I would strongly suggest if you are adopting from any country you find other families in the same position as you on the blogs and contact them, and send a group email out once a week or so with updates, prayer requests, love and support for each other. It's a fantastic way to help each other and lift each other up during the hard wait.

One concern I have is I have heard that several families have agencies that have not allowed them to have a public blog. I feel this is a TERRIBLE and UNETHICAL restriction placed on a family and on the adoption world. I certainly understand not posting information on children to protect them but posting over paperwork and trials of paperchase should be a basic (American!) freedom0- freedom of speech, freedom of press! . If you agency doesn't want you to have a blog you need to ask why. My feeling is they don't want the realities of adoption publicized (the frusteration, the waits, the hold ups etc) But these things are part of adoption for better or for worse and only by sharing the expereinces can we collectively life each other up and give support. Up until you get your referral there is no danger to any child by posting this process. If there was, I wouldn't be posting. I think the agencies don't want the world to know about their imperfections, customer service (or lack of) etc. For the money people pay agencies they should publish the blog FOR you!! LOL. If you have a good agency with nothing to hide they will welcome blogging as a support network and ways to meet other families.

Just a thought while I wait (with my bloggy friends) on the Lord for our baby...

Monday, November 2, 2009

rwanda update

look like all the info is in but they have not had time to send it- this is the letter i got from our POA.

Today I went to the ministry to check with Velonique. She said she has already received the info. for the children, she was not able to send them due to many other responsibilities she has. I shared with her how the parents eagerly want to see the faces of their children,, she promised to have them sent ASAP this week. So there is more time to wait and pray. I asked her to give them to me so I just scan them and send them to you but this is not possible.. so... . I even told her that the court will be closed by December , that if possible the parents would come this Months ,...

I also went to the orphanage to ask if there is posibilities of staying with the child before the court. The nuns said it is not possible but that I needed to ask at the ministry.
Going back to the ministry, they said that is not possible to stay with the child in the hotel till the final letter ( To who it may concern letter).
You can however go visit, spend a day with your child but not taking him or her to saty in hotel.

Jen, The court date always depends on the number of the cases the court has to work on. But the maxmmum would be four weeeks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

fasting for fast action!!

We are approaching a deadline of sorts- if we do not receive our referral SOON, we will hit December when the Rwanda courts will be shut down, and thus pushing our "gotcha day" off until january. The thoguht of the baby in an orphanage an extra month (and over Christmas no lesS) is very difficult. So our prayer email teams (we have 2 awesome groups- our "independent" adoption circle and also our "families awaiting referral" cicle. We are going to join together tomorrow for fasting and prayer to God that our referrals arrive soon and we can get those precious babies before the court clamp down and they are "stuck" for another month in the orphange. Please join with us to bring our babies home!

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