I know it’s been a while again since we have updated. We had great momentum going into the end of 2016. We had a minor bump but had great confidence we would get through. We went to see Mathieu (and all the kids at the Children’s Home) for Christmas, and it was such a great and wonderful Christmas. We are so thankful for the time with him and for our friends and family who generously sent Christmas gifts, crafts, candy, and supplies to all the kids.
In early January, on MLK Day to be exact, we got probably the worst news we have gotten during this whole process. It was a huge road block. I honestly thought God was telling me it was over and to be at peace with that. He is still in control and has a perfect plan even if this adoption didn’t work out, and the ultimate goal is His glory, not Mathieu coming home. Even though God told me Mathieu would be our son, I thought that we were going to be his parents from here. But God kept giving me little reminders that He is God and to just believe. As we came home on the evening of MLK Day and hit our knees in tears, I remember a dear friend telling us not to settle for Ishmael, (don’t settle for parenting Mathieu from here), our Isaac is coming. Peyton was also confident that it wasn’t over and Mathieu would come here. We kept pushing through, praying, and believing even though it was not easy most days. In April, we got news that the road block could be moved but was going to be take some more paperwork, right? Hallelujah! Praise God! Once again, God proves to me He is faithful and His will, will be done.
Of course the paperwork took a few more months as well. Finally, last week of September, we were back on track. There were meetings and court dates and classes that had to happen and miraculously happened quickly. We went back to see Mathieu and the kids for Christmas again in 2017 and had another special time together. Our friends and family rallied together again to send all the goodies they would need for a proper Christmas party. This trip was much different knowing that we had actually made progress. We wanted to tell him so badly but knew there were too many delays that could still happen that it was probably not safe to say anything just yet.
On January 9, we got our official “referral” or “matching” letter. IBESR (like social services in the US) has officially approved us to adopt and think that Mathieu would be a good fit to be our future adoptive son. (For adoptions where you do not previously know your child, this is where you would “meet” your child on paper for the first time, receive information on them, and accept to move forward to adopt them. The adoption process has changed in 7 years since we started, so we are having to comply with some of the new laws now.) We had to sign and have notarized a letter back to them saying that we accept him to be our son. Peyton was in Brussels during this time and wouldn’t be back and able to sign the paper until what day? MLK Day to be exact. What a difference a year makes and wow to God.
We returned our acceptance letter and were required to make a two-week socialization trip to see him and be interviewed by a social worker from IBESR. (Yes, we have been socializing with Mathieu for 7 years, but this is a new step in the adoption process that they added and required us to do.) So, we went to Haiti for two weeks and spent lots of great time with Mathieu. Our attorney feels confident that he will be home in 5 months, so we could not hold the good news any longer. We told Mathieu he would be coming home in December! (Because Haitian 5 months is a little longer than American 5 months. haha) He is excited, ready to meet his family, teach them Creole, and have a momma and a daddy. He also had lots of questions about his home, his bed, when he would get to come back to Haiti, and of course if he would have an iPad or laptop.
We are so proud of the young man Mathieu is becoming. He seems to love Jesus, reading His word, praying, and is so much fun to be around. Mathieu has also loved babies since he was little, and is still so gentle with babies and younger kids. He is also a good Creole teacher. I was able to have (very basic) conversations with him. It helps so much with his mood and our bonding for us to at least try to speak Creole as much as possible.
We tried our best to explain to him everything that was going to happen in these two weeks and that we had to have an interview for the adoption paperwork. Bless his heart, I think he was a little nervous. I mean, we were, too, so I can’t blame him. I think he did wonderfully. They asked him if he was ready to come home with us, and he said with a big smile, “Oui”. They also wanted to talk to him and his nanny without us. I snapped a picture below.
It’s definitely not all fairytales when we are together, and the goodbye tears suck. But God continues to send people in our life both here and in Haiti who encourage us, help us translate, and show us that being a family is hard sometimes but that we are not giving up. We want to assure Mathieu we are coming back for him. These last two recent trips to Haiti, we have had incredible experiences and conversations with complete strangers (who are now friends). No meeting is coincidental, and God orchestrates each and every encounter. I am so often blown away. I learned a new Creole phrase that came in perfect timing. Bondye fidel. God is faithful.
For now, we wait for the social worker to write a report on our interview and pray there are no more issues with our paperwork. I really hope to be giving more and more positive news in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, we sized all the kids’ feet while we were there. They are in dire need of tennis shoes (and also dress shoes and sandals). We are hoping to have them all a new pair of shoes for our next trip down (in the next 5-10 months!) If you are interested in helping out with a pair of shoes, let me know.