adoption delays

We are running into more delays with Haiti. This one really felt like a punch to the gut. I'm not sure why - by this point I should be more prepared for the insanity that is adoption from Haiti. The only thing that is predictable in this process is that nothing goes smoothly.

We are now almost two years into this process. When we first started out, I thought Keanan would certainly be home by now. I had his name on the waiting list at the preschool India starts at in 22 days. I have his bed ready for him in the room he shares with Jafta. And yet we find ourselves spinning our wheels again, with no real understanding of when he may come home. But it definitely won't be this summer. The little baby I met in May of 2007 is now almost 3.

It's hard to explain what is going on, so I'll offer two sets of explainations:

for those not familiar with Haiti: to be approved to adopt, there are three government agencies that must approve our adoption. They all work as slow as molasses and can take anywhere from 6-18 months in each stage. We were ready to leave the 2nd stage, but found out this week we got bumped back into the first stage.

for those who know the Haiti system: Parquet just sent our dossier back to IBESR to have presidential dispensation redone.

Now as to the inevitable WHY question - that's where we just have to go a little "numb+dumb" about the whole thing. Because there is absolultely no logic or rationale to this stuff. And to answer the constant question I get from caring and indignant friends: don't these people in the Haitian government care that they are keeping kids from joining a loving home?

The answer, sadly, is that I'm not sure that they really do care. Haiti is a hard and heavy place, and everyone is in survivial mode. I don't think international adoption is high on the priority list when your country is recovering from a year of natural disasters, famine, kidnappings, violence, and political unrest. I know that there are people at our orphanage who care very much, but there is nothing that anyone can do to make the "powers-that-be" move any faster at signing papers for the hundreds of children who wait.

Which leave us with this fact: We have a son, who continues to live in a different country, without the presence of his family. This is a fact that is so painful for me that it sometimes takes my breath away. It is painful for me, but how much more so for a child. I worry all the time about Keanan growing up without us. He is loved, and cared for, and I know he has a lot of fun. But he needs a mommy and a daddy.

Sometimes I wonder in this process what I would do if India or Jafta were forced to live in an orphanage in another country. I can't imagine I would sit idly by. I would probably pack us all up and move there to be with them, because they are my children. And that's really how it feels with Keanan, too. Mark and I both have a constant tug that we need to just pack it up and move to Haiti for however long it takes. But then the practicalities and anxieties of that plan overwhelm us, and we passively choose not to act on it, because we drop the subject for another couple of months. It's a conversation that is always on the table, and yet never really on the table. It becomes a sort of nagging guilt: I SHOULD BE WITH MY SON, BUT I'M TOO SCARED. And really, that's the truth of the matter. Fear.

So we go on with our busy lives and amp up the sarcasm a notch to hide the fact that we are in continuous pain over not being whole as a family. It is a seperation that is palpable, and even Jafta feels it. It has a weight like depression or grief, and we feel so utterly helpless to change things right now.

We have met other friends along this path, and they are going through similiar things. There is so much pain amongst waiting families, and there is pain for the waiting children, too. If you never have, go read Jamie's blog. She articulates so many of the feelings that I have, but don't have the energy to even speak.

Adoption is hard.


  1. This totally grieved my heart to read that you had been put back in stage 1 after all of that waiting. I truly hurt for you Kristen and I pray that your little one is home soon. I can't imagine what you are going through as a family and for that, I will pray with no knowledge but a heart full of saddness for you. All of my love and prayers!

  2. this breaks my heart. adoption IS hard. my sister was supposed to adopt from kyrgzystan back in january, and after 18 months and thousands of dollars, the state dept halted all adoptions from there b/c of corruption. it just sucks.

    but keanan IS coming to you. you've been paired and you will be united! blessing and grace as you wait.

  3. I am so sad to hear this. We've also been kicked out of parquet for dispense, but we expected it. I wouldn't think your family would need this. It just stinks!!!!

    Praying for a peace that only God can give.

  4. I ditto everything you said. the part about picking up and moving to haiti. oh my word do you know how many times i have thought of this.
    love you guys. this stuff sucks.

  5. I don't know of very many people in power that care about the kids. There is an overarching greed and desire for power the trumps everything else. I have what you want now watch me sit on it --- power corrupts. I hate it for you.

  6. Hi Kristen, we've been waiting for 44 months. Our son was 7, just turning 8, when we started the paper chase. He's 11 now. You can click on my labels of "adoption" and "(or lack of adoption)" and find my posts about our process. Blech! It all leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I did spend the month of January with our son in Haiti. It was awful to have to say good-bye to him once again but I'm so thankful for the time that I had with him. Hang in there.

  7. Praying for you and with you. (sigh). My hubby and I have had the same conversation and the same passively dropping it repeatedly. I met a family there, on my last trip, that did just that-moved to Haiti as missionaries, while they wade thru the adoption process. They have their Haitian son living with them....I think about that all the time.

  8. Oh Kristen,
    I remember the wait, the agonizing... It took about 18 months to bring our boy home--which, at the time, was untenable. I can only imagine your state now.
    I am not advocating or encouraging this, but sometimes just knowing someone "gamed" the system makes us feel less impotent. Check out this link and go to the March 11, 2008 entry if you haven't already.

  9. We almost began the adoption process via Haiti about 2 years ago as well. We decided to go the foster care route first but I have been keeping up with the drama and ridiculousness of adoptions and the Haitian govt and it's just so sad and disgusting. I am praying for you and for Keanan and for all of the other beloved babies and kids and families all waiting to be together.

  10. praying for you. praying with you. :(

  11. I'm so sorry to hear your files have been sent back. Our adoption (of 3) took 3 years (2.5 for papers in Haiti) and we often tabled, but not really, the conversation about moving to Haiti to see it through. With two jobs, it seemed impossible. With lots of fear, it was. I get this post and I'm sorry.
    There are no words to fathom the horrible reality of waiting for someone else to care and to release your children.
    The good news is our precious ones did make it home and your beautiful son is on his way. Prayers for speed.

  12. Thank you for posting this. I feel like printing it and handing it to everyone who asks me "why is it taking so long?"


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