Garrett Adoption Update – Happy Birthday to Jude!

Family and Friends,

While we don’t have a green light to travel (and won’t have one for several months), we thought it was time for an update, as it has been two months since our last one. Much has happened since our last update. A flu virus has ravaged the entire country of Haiti. People were dying all over the country throughout the month of June. Our orphanage lost four babies and many staff members were out sick. With no place within the orphanage to quarantine the sick children, and not enough staff to help, the director had her hands full. Praise God “this too shall pass” – and it did.

We wish we had new photos to share, but since our last message we learned that the lady who did the updates has left the mission orphanage and a new couple has taken her place. They are still getting settled. Between the flu last month and the staff changes this month, we imagine things need time to settle down before we’ll get new photos of Jude, so we wait.

We have filled out paperwork for the James Fund grant, as mentioned in our last message. Please continue to pray that we would be awarded that, as it would be such a help to us.

Today is Jude’s first birthday. Last week we sent a rubber ducky to him as a birthday gift…the first thing we’ve sent to the orphanage. Now we are working on a small photo album that the orphanage director requests all the adoptive parents to send to the orphanage after their referral (match to a child) takes place.

We have had many ask us “What takes so long?!” So, we thought this would be a good time to give a few details. When we accepted Jude, his paperwork was coupled with ours and now has to make its long journey through the Haitian government offices. This is fairly complicated, but can basically be boiled down to a four-step process.

1. IBESR (Haitian Social Services) – paperwork needs four signatures – time: 3 – 5 months (has consistently been 3 lately)

2. Parquet (Haitian Court System) – paperwork needs two signatures which legalize the four signatures obtained in IBESR – time: 1 – 2 months

3. Passport Application – time: 4 – 6 weeks

4. Visa Application – 1 week

To our knowledge, our paperwork is still in step one, and likely will be through the summer. Currently, adoptions in Haiti, however are in much turmoil. Parquet seems to be challenging the authority of IBESR to approve adoptions, even though by law IBESR does have the authority. While most adoptions are still going though, this has precipitated much clearer legislation that will be voted on in Haiti in November of this year. The issue that is really pressing at this point is that the Minister of Interior (who has to approve passports) isn’t signing passport applications. Some have been in his office for over five months. Recently a delegation from the US and Canadatraveled to see the MoI and the President of Haiti regarding this issue. The MoI agreed that the new process he put in place for passport processing is not working and that he needed to do something. He committed to personally looking into any passport applications that had been in his office for over a month and many adoptive parents were asked by our orphanage director to call Haiti to be sure their case we being looked at. Two days after that, a huge package of passports arrived at immigration. At the time of that update, it had not yet been verified whether those were for the adoptions in question or not.

It is our prayer that by the time our paperwork makes it out of IBESR most of these wrinkles will have been smoothed.

The other thing we’ve heard a lot, both in question form and statement form is “This must be so hard for you!” All we can say is that by God’s grace, we are doing just fine. We decided from the beginning that we would choose not to make ourselves crazy with the wondering. We would trust God and go about this knowing that this child doesn’t belong to us anyhow – he belongs to God. Certainly we have rare weak moments of longing for the child we love but cannot touch, but the reality is that Jude is in the hand of the Almighty God, and that’s the safest place to be. We go about “doing life” and practicing patience…learning how to let go well before the years will come when Jude’s age will require it!

There is something amazing about this journey. Adoption is as much a miracle to us as conception. The adoption world is a volatile one, full of quick changes, hurry-up-and-waits, hoping, longing, excitement, and opportunities for God to reveal his unending faithfulness and unwavering trustworthiness. As we look to Him daily, we can honestly say…it’s a good ride.

Thanks for your continued prayers,

Matthew and Valerie

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