Last week we hit exactly 5 years and 9 months since we started our adoption process...and today makes exactly 3 years and 7 months since we started the process from Haiti (after changing from Ethiopia). Next month it will be 3 years since our file was formally accepted by IBESR (the Haitian government agency in charge of officially matching us to our child).
So! We have been stuck at the same stage waiting for a match for a very long time (only compounded by how long we were already waiting before having to start over). Renewing home studies, renewing fingerprints. Worrying through hurricane seasons...and various political unrest.
Which brings me to this month. It has been a rough week in Haiti the last week. After the Haitian government announced that there would be drastic increases in fuel costs (between 38-51% depending on the type) there were huge protests. The protests turned violent and even deadly. People were forced to shelter in place for days and all flights in and out of Haiti were even cancelled. I was so worried about the state of things there, what that meant for children at the orphanages (Did they have enough food available at the orphanage? What if a storm/flooding hit and contaminated the drinking water while they couldn't leave? Were the nannies safely at the orphanage with the children? What if a child needed medical attention?....etc, etc)
My mind became caught in a cycle of unproductive worry and hypotheticals. What if with UN forces having pulled out of Haiti they couldn't get the protests in control on their own? What if the people now angry with their government leads to long-term political unrest or a coup? And of course I worry about how all of this will delay or affect adoptions...will this further delay us meeting our daughter? Will the delays cause the child we are potentially be advocated for a match to (no I have zero information on this child) take so long that she'll age out of our approved age parameters?
I tried not to dwell too much on the news reports and violent images found in the media, but it is hard to glean information without seeing them either. Reports from people on the ground were grim at first, but over the last couple days we have been hearing more encouraging information about things slowly going more back to "normal" (with appropriate caution of course). Yesterday a girl I've been able to communicate with online (that actually went to high school with me) received her official adoption decree for her son!! If that's not miraculous, I don't know what is. For something that big to happen right on the tail of such turmoil in Haiti was so encouraging to see...and at the same time I want only that much more desperately to hear good news of our own. This girl is adopting through our same agency and entered IBESR just a couple months after we did...and they are at the final stages of bringing their little boy home in the next few months! It is wonderful and I'm so happy for them! The sting of wanting to be traveling that part of the journey ourselves alongside them feels so much more apparent to me right now though.
I know we have such a long road still to travel after meeting our little girl, and that makes me all the more anxious to get going with that stage of the process. We have been waiting for so long to meet her. To see her face. To know anything at all about her. To even have the option of flying down to see her an hold her while we are waiting. To feel justified in getting her room ready and using her name.
I have felt this ache before. I have traveled this road and felt this yearning...just not for this long consecutively. Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for the 3 children I've been blessed with, but our family is not complete and I just yearn to be to that point. To de-mystify things. To know her. To touch her little face. To have at least some answers. To be able to show people her picture. For her brothers to see her face!
I could go on and on about this aching, but let me at least say something I have been grateful for. The connection to people who are going through this process also. I cannot imagine not being able to reach out, ask questions, and connect to other mamas going through various stages of this process. To share in their worries and share in their joys.
One way I recently have seen the hand of the Lord sustaining me in this process recently was through someone He has recently put in my life. At the beginning of the month the prayer list was updated (for those who have been waiting a long time for a referral) on the Adopting from Haiti FB page. For families waiting 26 months or longer in IBESR for a referral (we're at 35 months this month) they take off any families who received a referral the prior month and update the number of months waiting for other families. When I was looking through the list I got curious about families who were close to us in number of months waiting. I clicked on the profiles of a few families that have been waiting within 2-3 months longer or shorter than us and one caught my eye...when I peeked at one family's profile, their most recent post was asking if anyone had a spare iPhone that they could use for their son's CGM! We had just posted the same thing the week prior for Max. Say what?! Someone on this site who has also been waiting forever for a referral that ALSO has a child with T1D??! I fessed up to my facebook "stalking" and left her a comment saying that we also had a T1D and she quickly messaged back. Before long we had exchanged phone numbers and began to send each other Marco Polos (an app for video messages). Finding someone else who could relate to the 2 biggest stressors currently in my life (the long adoption process and T1D) was so amazing. It has been so amazing to get to know her, and uncanny how many similarities we seem to have (we even share the same birthday)! The support I have felt from being able to communicate with Sarah came at a time when I so desperately needed it. In fact, I don't know if I fully realized how much I needed it...but I know that He did, and I'm so grateful. We're praying that somehow we could be blessed to receive referrals for our little girls from the same orphanage so we could try and meet one another in Haiti since we live on opposite sides of our country. That would be so amazing. In the meantime, I'm so grateful to have each other to support one another during this sometimes agonizing wait...and to talk diabetes and life in general along the way.
The last thing I wanted to mention is that Chareyl has given very little information (which I understand that she can't say more), but that they have a match they have been advocating for us...and that there is just a document missing that needs to be fixed and then we could potentially be ready for a referral if IBESR approves it. That is a lot of ifs, but I am so hopeful that it will work out. There have been 2 other potential matches they have advocated for us that have fallen through, so who knows if this one will work out either, but I was feeling so optimistic about things happening soon...and then the protests/riots broke out in Haiti. I'm praying that if this is supposed to happen that the document will be provided so we can move forward with this match.
This whole process is full of so much heartache, beauty, unknowns, waiting, faith, patience, impatience, hope, isolation, connection...the dissonance is dizzying sometimes. Sometimes I just feel like I'm riding a rollercoaster blindfolded. It can be exhilarating at times, but sometimes the coaster breaks down unpredictably for unknown amounts of time (and I feel stranded in the darkness waiting)...and when things are moving you can't see when the big drops are coming. I don't want off the ride, but I am anxious to have a peek from behind the blindfold for a bit to at least meet our daughter. Hopefully sooner than later. We'll see.