Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fair warning...long one!!

So…it’s been awhile since my last post. Last week a pretty stressful situation arose regarding travel visas (which all children need in order to leave Liberia and come home). We heard from our director of AOH that there were some new steps added to the U.S. Embassy visa process that would cause a HUGE set back for the adoption process. It was quite a crazy stressful few days thinking about what this would mean for us. Fatu and Osobie are SOO close to coming home. We got their passports in July so now we are only waiting for the travel visa (of all things)!! Anyway, I was a whirlwind of emotion and didn’t want to post anything until things settled. Plus, my wonderful husband is very much the practical, logical, think-through-it kind of guy. I love him for that!! He jumped on the research bandwagon to find out exactly what was going on. He even called the U.S. Embassy in Liberia and spoke to a woman directly!!! I can’t say we completely understand what’s happening, but from what we gathered, the U.S. Embassy in Liberia is cracking down on the issue of child trafficking. There seems to have been several problems with orphanages in Liberia being untruthful and corrupt. There were several stories on the news about these horrible situations. So, of course, they wanted to implement stricter rules for adoption processes for ALL orphanages, even though AOH has NEVER had a problem or a complaint EVER!!...The “new” requests were as follows:

  1. The consular wants to meet the parent or relative who relinquished the child to AOH to be certain they want to do this and the child is theirs. This meant finding parents who are hours and many miles away, some even in the bush. (Requiring AOH staff to travel in dangerous places to bring parents in!)
  2. The consular could request a DNA test if they felt uncertain about the relation of child to parent.
  3. They (U.S. Embassy in Liberia) were only allowing adoption appts and paperwork to be processed one day a week.
  4. Requiring adoptive families to stay in country with an open ended ticket in case they could not get their visa and would need to stay for several weeks.

Luckily, Patty, the founder of AOH, is in Liberia and had a chance to meet the visa woman at the Embassy and got some clarity on these new requirements. She also was able to share what AOH is all about. AOH is the only orphanage that takes in special needs children, is involved in feeding programs as well as many other humanitarian programs, and is committed to serving all the children of Liberia. So, today things are looking more positive!! Patty was encouraged by her meeting and relayed her optimism in an email to all the adoptive families. She was able to negotiate an extra day for visa processing, discussed changing the visa process and parental relinquishment, and received special concern for children with medical needs!!!

CELEBRATING this good news today!! WOW!! What an amazing time of prayer, fasting and crying out to God. THANK YOU GOD!! Thank you Patty for fighting for our kids, and thanks to all of our friends and strangers for praying with us!!

OH, one more thing!!!! PLEASE PRAY THAT OSOBIE & FATU GET THEIR VISA APPT TOMORROW (THURSDAY) they are supposed to get signed on!!! This would be a HUGE answer to our prayers for our family!!


Brandi said...

Praying with you for their visas!!! Let us know as SOON as you hear!!


Jason and Laura McBride said...

Praying..Praying..Praying!!! Thank you for the update. I've been thinking of you all so much and praying for you.

DeniseinSC said...

Praying for you...I know you are dying for that VISA!!! Love, Denise

adopting lady said...

God is good!