We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Saturday, March 7, 2009

African Adventure Update

Baby L after her bath

Well, our two week adoption trip has turned into a month and will probably be another two weeks - if everything goes well. If not, it could be longer. It's a bit crazy, but we are all OK. Truly, I do feel the end is in sight...but I'm also keeping in mind that there could be further roadblocks.

I hate that Erik's 12 weeks of paternity leave will be half over when we get home (if we get home in two weeks), but I'm thankful that he has had it. Our friends here adopting with us do not really have paid leave. Every week means less time they can afford to spend at home with their daughter. And while they are doing good bonding here, it isn't the same as being at home.

Here's where we are: On Monday, we had our interview for the L's visa (and the other baby, too) at the Embassy and it did not go very well. The embassy has given us more hoops to jump through, for things (documentation-wise) that have been acceptable before, and now, are suddenly not acceptable. What's worse, we were treated poorly and there were insinuations of wrong-doing on our part (and the family traveling with us), or on the part of those assisting us.

There is some backstory here which we are trying to figure out, but basically, there have been some issues in an orphanage up North that have alerted the authorities...not orphanages our agencies work with. In order to be extra vigilant, the US Embassy has changed their requirements for documentation for adoption visas...we are just caught in the middle of that change. Our paperwork is clean and solid, but we just need a bit more of it.

One of the agency directors(Jen Press of Partners for Adoptions) (it is a two agency-partner-program) is here in country and has done tons of work on our behalf (and the program's) with the Embassy...including an hour long meeting yesterday to clarify the process/documentation as it now stands. She was able to reassure us that the embassy does not think we have done anything wrong (although that is NOT the impression they gave us), they just need to make sure all the "i"s are dotted and "t"s crossed. Our agency director (Robin Sizemore of Hopscotch Adoptions) has been working equally hard with some higher ups in the Department of State stateside.

In order to complete the extra documentation, the bio-moms need to get passports, which is currently in process and takes about 5 business days to complete. In order to get these passports, they need birth certificates. For people living hand-to-mouth in a "shelter" made from scrap lumber and metal, this is not an easy request. However, our in-country facilitator has been working really hard to help them with this. Once the passports are done, the bio-moms will need to appear at the embassy and we will be issued the babies' visas. With the passport process, reinterviewing at the embassy and a minimum of 24 hours to process the visa, we expect to have the visa on or around March 17th/18th - and we could travel on the 18th or 20th. Since that is still 2 weeks out, we've decided the best thing is for Erik to travel home while to be with the kids and I stay on in Ghana to wait for the visa.

So, Erik has returned to the States (he arrived last night, Friday, March 6th). All the remaining adoption families are heading back out to Coconut Grove to wait out the visa process! I feel MUCH better knowing the kids will have Daddy back soon. :) And the kids are THRILLED now that they know he's going to be home so soon! (Thanks for letting us be the ones to give the news.)

Pray for safe travel for Erik back to the States and all the families heading to the beach (the road can be a bit crazy here)...and for the passports not to be delayed...and for the visas to be issued quickly (if they are issued on the 17th, we can fly the 18th...otherwise the next flight is the 20th)...oh, and my 10 hour flight with L on my lap...LOL!

Tomorrow morning we head over to Coconut Grove in Elmina, Ghana. You can google that and see what we have to look forward to! It isn't fancy by American standards, but it is really very beautiful and quite comfortable. Shoot - Will Smith has visited, so you know it's good! :)


Kristin Jag said...

Hi there,
I am so sorry to hear about all the delays. It is wonderful that your husband is back with the rest of the kids so you don't need to worry about them as much now. I wanted to tell you about a favorite shop in Cape Coast that I found when we were there. It is called Global Mama. It is all free trade clothing that has style and it already has a price tag on it; I loved it!

Christine said...

Your little girl is just too precious. Congrats! Sorry about the delays-- it will be over before you know it!

MagistraCarminum said...

Oh Kerry! Sending hugs your way, and praying for things to get done more smoothly in the next couple of weeks. And what a beautiful girl Lydia is! Can't wait for you to get her home!

Kerry said...

Christine - thank you for the encouragement!

Chris - The prayers are SO APPRECIATED...as are the cyber hugs. :) Say hello to everyone on ClassEd for me...maybe you can share our prayer needs?

TwoSquareMeals said...

I've been following your updates and praying for you. I just haven't had time to comment. Praying all goes smoothly and you get to bring your beautiful girl home soon!