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.