It has been a while since I have posted an update on Franklin’s adoption. The main reason is that we have been through some incredibly hard months with the process and to be real honest, we just didn’t know if it was going to be a good outcome.
To get everyone up to speed, last September we began working with an adoption agency called Lifeline Children’s Services out of Birmingham, AL. At the beginning they felt fairly confident that we could get this accomplished. Just so you know, our case is very different than the usual adoption. The average adoption looks something like this (my paraphrased version):
- Family in the States decides they want to adopt and what country they want to adopt from.
- Family begins paper work state side.
- Orphanage/government picks the child that will be adopted by family.
- Family is sent a pic of child.
- After the orphanage/lawyers in said country take care of child’s paper work, the family then travels to country to meet child and complete paper work so that child can come back to the States with the family.
To say our case if different is a huge understatement! Franklin has already been living with us for 3 ½ years. He only knows us as mom and dad. Here’s been the biggest issue….
According to Hague law and the laws of Haiti, the adoptive family CAN NOT have prior relationship with the child nor the biological parents. This law is in place to prevent child buying and child trafficking. So, the BIG question is: Is there a loophole in this law? Will they make an exception?
After returning from the states last October and fundraising so that we could proceed with the adoption, Lifeline sent the social worker to do our home study. We completed that in November. After that was written up, our immigration paper work was sent off at the first of 2014. The adoption agency then started setting up meetings with a lawyer in Haiti that they had previously worked with on other adoption cases. This was the beginning of our not so good news….
After he reviewed our case, his recommendation for proceeding with the adoption was to put Franklin in an orphanage until the adoption could be complete! “WHAT?!?!” I know right? He had to be out of his mind. Franklin has only been with us since he’s been old enough to remember. This would traumatize him and all of us. The agency told him that this was not an option, and that we would have to find another lawyer.
After the agency had this meeting, they had to report back to us about their findings. That was the worst phone call in the history of phone calls. I sat on the other side of the phone crying my eyes out thinking of all the worst case scenarios. They had to prepare us for the worst. At this point it was very possible that the only way to adopt Franklin would to be to put him in an orphanage. And if we weren’t willing to do that, then we would never be able to adopt him….
They told us that they already had a meeting set with another lawyer in Port-au-Prince in the next couple of weeks. Yes, weeks! Do you even know how depressed I was at this point? It took every bit of faith I have to keep myself above water. I felt like I was drowning. How could this be? Why would God allow all this to happen this way? My faith has truly been stretched…
The next lawyer the agency talked with was a bit more encouraging. This woman agreed with us, that it would be in Franklin’s best interest to stay with our family during the process of the adoption. After reviewing our case, she said that she would set up an appointment to speak with the director of IBESR (this is the social services of Haiti and the ones that approve all adoptions. They have the power to say YES or NO).
She wanted to let us know up front that there were only 3 possible outcomes to this meeting:
- IBESR would agree to allow us to adopt Franklin and he could stay with us in the Dominican Republic during the process.
- IBESR would agree to let us adopt Franklin, but we would have to move to Haiti during the process.
- OR, They would say we CAN NOT adopt him because of the law that I mentioned above.
After we found out all of this information, I called on my prayer warriors to start praying. It took another 3 days before we found out what happened. That was the longest 3 days of my life. The people in this meeting had the power to tear my family apart. If they said no, we would be forced to make some hard decisions. If we couldn’t adopt Franklin, it would mean that we could never travel with him to the States. We would either have to stay here in the DR for the rest of our lives or we would have to find another family for Franklin. I really didn’t want to make those decisions! Franklin is our son. We have loved him, nurtured him, cared for him when he was on the verge of death and watched as God gave him a second chance at life! How could it be God’s will for him to be taken away from our family?
The day finally came and our social worked called me on my cell phone. She had to gather herself before she could even speak. She read me the email from the lawyer which stated that she had met with the director of IBESR and he agreed that it was in the best interest of the child to allow our family to adopt him!
YES!!!!!! The worst possible outcome was off the table! He will one day be a LUTHER! She still didn’t have the details as to how it will all take place, but at least they said YES!
This week our social worker is in Haiti meeting with the lawyer face to face to find out what is next. Will we have to come to Haiti for a while? Can we stay in the DR while the process is being completed? How much more is this going to cost? The retainer fee for the lawyer is $5000. And there are still some other fees that will need to be paid to the agency as well. We are so grateful to all of you who have given to the adoption. We would not have come this far without you. Thank you for your support and your prayers. We have the money that was raised last August that will cover the cost of the lawyer’s retainer fee and has paid for the other expenses like the immigrations paper work, home study, some agency fees, ect….
I am a little concerned about having enough money especially for travel expenses to Haiti and then to the US and if there are additional cost for the lawyer. So, Leah and I will come to the States in the month of August. I will be cutting hair while I’m there to raise money for travel expenses and other cost that are uncertain at this point. I am estimating $7000 as our goal. I feel much better about receiving money when I’ve done something in return for the donation. You get a great haircut and Franklin gets a great family! LOL! I am so grateful for all of you who have given and have supported us through all this. My words just seem so insignificant! I wish I could express just how grateful we are! If you would like to help out with these costs, here are the details:
More Than a Haircut, It’s an Adoption Event!