I met my daughter. I held her, fed her, changed her, played with her, loved on her, kissed her, bathed her, laughed with her and then I had to hand her back over until I see her again in May.
Our time in Haiti was no short of amazing. I spent 6 days with Schella and I feel like I birthed that child. Only God can make that happen. I meet kids all the time and I don't think they are mine. That would just be weird.
Schella is a pretty serious little girl. I don't blame her one bit. She has been through so much in her short 13 months of life. Her right hand was burned pretty badly. We aren't sure exactly what happened but I can't imagine going through a burn that bad and how long it probably took to heal. I doubt she had any medical attention and probably not very good living conditions. Then I think about her whole world changing at 7 months old when she was given to HIS home, the orphanage she is at. She has every right to be serious. Talk about self preservation. It was so neat to see her warm up to Jeremy and I over those short 6 days. Schella is tiny for her age. She only weighs about 15lbs. She doesn't crawl or walk. We went from day 1 of no smiles, no holding on to us as we held her, and only sitting to day 6 of smiling, laughing, reaching out for us, and eating better. Being able to love on her was pure joy.
HIS home is a great orphanage with a wonderful couple who run it. Hal and Chris have been in Haiti for 14 years, they have 3 Haitian children (7 children total) and they have 134 kids at HIS home right now. They work tirelessly helping these kids. No matter how you look at it, she is still in an orphanage. There aren't enough hands to hold her, feed her, help her crawl and to walk. Hal and Chris care about these kids being adopted. The bonding visits are just one way that shows how much they love the kids and the families adopting them. We can go for bonding visits every three months until she comes home. Fourteen families were with us last week. All of these families love and adore their kids. They want them home. We are thankful for the visits for many reasons, but one huge reason is how these visits will help when our children come home. The transition is said to be much easier. Seeing families, and experiencing it myself for the first time, have to say bye to their kids is heart breaking. This leads me to the adoption process in Haiti, which is not the same for every country.
This process is frustrating to say the least! Jeremy and I say we want to pitch the biggest fit yelling "It's not fair" at the top of our lungs. My knowledge is still pretty limited since I am just walking down this road. Many of my new friends who are adopting from Haiti know so much more than I do. Getting our dossier done and sent to Haiti was a pretty smooth and quick process. We are now waiting on Schella's dossier to be done. IBESR, Haitian social services, has a list of forms and documents that is intimidating to say the least. Check out the process here. Chris and Hal are in the process of getting Schella's documents together. When hers is done, then her dossier and our dossier will go into IBESR. It can take 3 weeks to 10 months to come out of IBESR. After that we go to court in Haiti where they will ask why we want to adopt her and the birth mom will be there. Then we go into immigration and passport phase. So all of that has to happen, if only it was easy without any hiccups or any hold ups. It is totally out of our control.
Why is this process so long? Why is it this way? It really was designed primarily to prevent child trafficking. Years ago one could walk into Haiti with a large sum of cash and have their adoption completed in 4 months. You can see the obvious dangers in this process. So, the government has gone to the opposite extreme, making the process very, very long.
Only 33 kids were adopted out of Haiti last year to the U.S. Here is the good news and a glimmer of hope. Haiti has a new president and a new director of social services. We need to be praying that this process starts moving faster, so that these precious babies can come home soon.
I say all this not discrediting the God that I serve. His Word is what I cling to more than anything I hear or see when it comes to bringing my baby home. His timing is perfect! He loves Schella more than Jeremy and I do. He is the Father to the fatherless. He is more powerful than any government or any organization. We are holding on to His truth! We are believing and we are praying for a supernatural process that can only point to Him and His glory!!! This process is teaching me so much about God's love for me and it is continually turning me back to the gospel.
Please pray for us and pray for our girl. Please pray for God's provision. Please pray for God's protection over Schella. Prayer is what is going to carry us through this journey.
I met my daughter...and all of this is so worth it!
*Jeremy talks about our adoption here.
*Next post...videos of Schella. (We have a lot, but no time to upload them yet.)
*Many questions about her name. Her name is Schella, sounds like Shayla. We thought we might call her "Ella", but Jeremy thinks it will be hard to say Ella after saying Schella. We will see...