Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Doctor Saturday--Vaccinations

On Saturday my wife and I have an appointment with our doctor to review the vaccinations and medicine we will need for the trip to Haiti.  I got my complete list from the medic sergeant at my unit.  It looks like I am current on everything.  It felt like I was current on everything when we went to Iraq.  I surely got a lot of shots.

My wife may not be so lucky.  We will both need malaria medicine and I will need to bring bug spray.  I am one of those people who attract mosquitoes.

Last night I talked to one of the deacons at our Church--Wheatland Presbyterian Church in Lancaster.  They have an adoption fund so we will be able to get help with the expenses of the adoption.  I had breakfast with one of the elders this morning (relative to me he should be a "Younger" since he is about 20 years my junior) and he said the charitable funds are on a fiscal year basis so we may get additional help next year.  The would be even better.

We were thinking about travelling later in the month, but the plane tickets all but doubled in price over the holidays and through the first part of January.  It also seemed like getting this long process moving would be better than delaying a month or more.

Lots to think about.

Going to Haiti the Week Before Christmas

Annalisa and I will be flying to Haiti for a two-day visit the week before Christmas to meet Wenky.  I know two days in Haiti seems very short, but we just need to meet Wenky and get the adoption process started in Haiti--so two days seems reasonable to me.

Odd things about the trip:  I have traveled to 25 countries on five continents, a total of more than 50 overseas trips.  This is the first time I have been to the Caribbean and the first time I have paid for the ticket.  The Army has given me all-expense trips to Germany and Iraq.  My work has taken me to every continent but Africa and after 58 years I am finally going overseas on my own and the destination is Haiti.

Monday, November 28, 2011

News from Haiti: Wenky Can Be Adopted

Today we learned that Wenky can be adopted so we are moving forward with the adoption.  Before we could actually apply to adopt Wenky we had to sure he was legally available for adoption and the lawyers we are working with in Haiti confirmed it.

The next step is to send an application and a $4,000 application fee.  We should have that completed in a month.  Next is a visit to Haiti sometime this month.  There will be many pages of paperwork to fill out--some that will need to be translated into Creole and notarized.

We will do all we can and make sure the delays are on our end.

Missing Emarion

On Saturday and sunday of Thanksgiving weekend I realized I was planning on Emarion visiting for the weekend and was sad thinking about it.  Emarion loved to ride.  On Saturday I rode toward the outlets and realized he would have ridden with me on that warm afternoon.  He probably would have ridden every day of the weekend, though not Thanksgiving morning.  The Turkey Day race would have been too fast for the tandem and the 60 riders would have been too many for his first time in a pack.  But the smaller groups on Friday and Sunday would have given him a good start riding in groups.

I hope Emarion gets a chance to ride in whatever home he goes to in the future.  He is a good rider and really good on the back of a tandem.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Family Pictures

With three daughters in Virginia, holidays are the only time to take family pictures.  At noon on Thanksgiving we were able to take a family photo before Lauren and Lisa sped off to Thanksgiving in New Hope.

The entire family:

From left:  Iolanthe, Kiersten, Annalisa, Jacari, me, Lisa, Nigel, Peter and Lauren.
Iolanthe is my step daughter, Kiersten lives at our house and tutors the boys.  Her Mom was one of Annalisa's hospice patients a dozen years ago.  Kiersten has gone on some of our family vacations since and is now a student at a local college.  Peter is Lauren's boyfriend.

The kids:

The boys:

Timmy is our neighbor and is also adopted.  He and our boys play together a lot.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boys' View of Adoption Change

After I heard about Emarion's decision not to be adopted, I had to tell Nigel and Jacari.  They said the news was sad, but understood (better than most kids) that the whole adoption process can be scary.  Then they began to speculate about why he would have changed his mind.

It could not be them.  Emarion could whip them both at wrestling so why would he be worried?  He would want to go to a new home where he could beat his new brothers.

They knew he liked riding with me.  Jacari said, "He was a mad cyclist.  He could ride forever.  Like Dad."

Then they hit it.  Jacari said, "Emarion did not like vegetables."  Nigel said, "Dude, that boy just did not want to eat vegetables."  A cascade of confirmation followed.  Clearly it was carrots that caused second thoughts!

Or not.  But it was fun to watch them process the news.  And now they are happy having arrived at a cause that is outside their control.  "Mom would make him eat vegetables!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

One Adoption Stopped, the Other on Hold

At noon today the social worker who has been our contact with Emarion told us he has decided he does not want to be adopted.


From what little we know, he has a good foster home now and recently left a bad one.  He does not want to change and in his position, I might do the same.  It is sad for us, but we are sure there will be another boy who needs a home.

We also finally got word from Haiti.  The team we are working with is really enthusiastic about the possibility we can adopt Wenky.  But they have not yet answered the question "Is Wenky free for adoption?"  Until then, we can't go forward.

Our social worker was really supportive and happy we are not discouraged.  She said she will get to work on finding another child.

More soon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Feelings, Duty and Adoption

This morning my wife and I were talking about the process of adopting Emarion.  Later today I will call his social worker and try to arrange a time to bring him to our house for next weekend and over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.  Next weekend is Nigel's birthday.  Thanksgiving is when his sisters will be in town--a rare occurrence happening just a few times a year.  

Annalisa wants to get Emarion moved into our house as soon as possible and get him fully integrated into our family.  For her, adopting is providing a home for a child who needs one.  So once Providence, circumstances and the foster-care system has put a child in our lives, she wants to get on with the adoption process and get it done.  For me, providing a home for these boys is the most clear path I have to doing God's Will in my life--which I am not very good at otherwise.  So I also think we should keep the process moving.

The rest of the world clearly thinks feelings have a much more prominent role in this process than we do.  How does Emarion feel about the whole thing?  I don't know.  Chances are he doesn't either.  With us he will be a member of a family, have brothers his own age and have a place to call home while grows up.  When he goes off to college, gets a job, and finds his way in the world, he will have a place to call home.  

For anyone coming out of the foster-care system, moving into a permanent home has to feel weird and uncomfortable.  Annalisa and I think the faster this process moves the sooner everyone can get on with life.   

Friday, November 4, 2011

Next Steps with Adopting Wenky from Haiti

I have been out of town on business each of the last two weeks with a snow storm in between.  But we have managed to make some progress with adopting Wenky.

I spoke at some length with one of our pastors and our Church does have a fund to help with adoption expenses.  Before we were introduced to the possibility of adopting Wenky, we had planned to stay within the Pennsylvania adoption system.  When we adopt through the state, many of the very important issues are taken care or their status is clear.

Since our first intent is to provide a home for boys who need a home, it is important for me that parental rights are terminated.  We do not want to be in a protracted dispute with the birth parents in the future about custody.  With both of our sons and the boy we are in the process of adopting, the parental rights are terminated, so we do not have that worry about the future.

Pennsylvania also takes care of all the legal fees for children adopted through the state system.  This is no small potential expense.

With Wenky, we are paying for legal expenses, which by our current calculations will be a minimum of $8,000.  The total expense of the adoption will be close to $18,000 as a minimum.  Since our future plans include me working less in order to be home more, more expenses means being home less--we have to earn more money.

So our next step is to confirm Wenky is legally free for adoption and willing to be adopted.  You might be thinking "Shouldn't you know that already?"  We don't.  If adoption looks simple and straightforward from the outside, it's not.

IF Wenky can be adopted, I will go to Haiti to meet him and confirm (as well as I can) that he wants to be adopted and we will go from there.

More later. . .