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Haiti Bound

mhaitiToday our adoption file should be headed down to Haiti! Yahoo! We have been working so hard to get to this point. It took much much longer than expected. Nevertheless, here we are! It will feel so good to have our file on Haitian soil.

Once our file is in Haiti it will be legalized and then deposited into IBESR. IBESR stands for “Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches.” Basically it is the children’s services in Haiti. IBESR will be the ones to approve our file, do and approve our children’s files and then match us with our kids.

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IBESR is sometimes called the black hole. Some people get stuck in IBESR for many years for this reason or another. Its not super organized but with the lack of personnel and tools available to them they are doing their very very best. They are working super hard to become more organized and to follow the many rules and red tape that they must follow. We hope to be deposited into IBESR within the next few weeks and then we will hopefully have a file number.

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Photo credit: Ambassade de France en Haïti Ambafranceht

We are so very excited to finally be at this stage in the adoption. We will likely be at this whole thing another 2-3 years. A huge part of that depends on how quickly we can be matched with our children. We have been told that because of our very specific age requirements it may take a very very long time. But we are trusting God that this will all happen in his timeline. Our hopes and desires are that it is quick… but whatever it takes to get to our children… we are ready for it. Ready for the long haul! =)

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Please keep praying for us! This is a real rollercoaster of a journey! Please also be praying for us financially. We still need to raise about $35,000. We will have to pay almost all of this around the time of the referral… which could be in 9 months, 18 months or more. But its a little scary to think of needing that much money in 9 months time. But as God has taken us through this thus far he has not failed us! I know that in His timing it will all come together! We have a few fundraising ideas up our sleeves. Hopefully we can get them into motion soon. Its very time/energy consuming doing all of this fundraising and adoption paperwork. Pray for perseverance! =)

Thank you for walking with us through this journey! We can not do it alone! We appreciate each and everyone of you!

Have a wonderful day!
~Debra

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Happy 2nd Birthday Berea!

Happy Birthday to our sweet little girl! What a blast these past two years have been with you! You were pretty stubborn and you were born nearly two weeks late. But when you decided to come you came very quickly. You have been developing into such a fun little girl with massive amounts of personality. =) We can’t wait to see what the next year hold with you as you grow more and more into a little girl.

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Secret Mission to Cali

Berea and I just got home from California. We called it our secret mission! I’ve been dearly missing my family and every time we go out our time is very very busy. We are usually visiting churches, supporters, friends and busy getting everything off of our shopping lists. That is NOT a bad thing, but I was ready to just see my family and spend good quality time with them.

While we were there we ate some of my favourite foods (In-n-out, Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, Tri-Tip, Los Posas Strawberries…), layed around and watched tv, ate more food, went to the beach, shopped at Target and Trader Joes, cooked together, had lots of great coversations, ate food, jumped on the trampoline, ate food… It was PERFECT!

Here are some pics from the trip. I also posted an album on Facebook, so check it out! =) IMG_2191IMG_2141IMG_2207IMG_2183IMG_2079IMG_2010 IMG_2245

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Faith and Disappointment

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Well, again, we have good news and we have bad news! It sounds like we have Ministry approval, we will get the official word on Monday! This is excellent news! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my post explaining our need for Ministry approval. First read this one: Setbacks and Hope and then this one: Great News and Bad News

After a week of back and forth emails, revisions, signatures, phone calls we were told that we have our approval as soon as we email the final revised paperwork back to them with our signature on it. We did that yesterday. So I guess we are just waiting for the official paper to be mailed to our adoption agency.  This is so wonderful because it was the FINAL piece of paper needed before our file could be sent to the Haitian embassy for authentication and then finally mailed down to Haiti. This is such a huge relief! This step has been a bit of a nightmare and it only should have taken a few weeks.

And here comes the bad news…

When they sent us the final revisions to our paperwork they changed the ages that we are approved to adopt. We called and tried to see if it could be put back and they were completely against it. Back in the Setbacks and Hope post I talked about the 18 month rule. This is what I said:

18 month rule- There is a guideline in Ontario that you cannot adopt any children that are within 18 months of age of any of your biological children. We were under the impression that this was not going to be enforced in our situation. But the Ministry has since said that we will 100% have to abide by this. Our adoption agency has told us that if we abide by this rule it will be very difficult to find a match for us… that it may be many years to find a match… at first they said that it would be impossible. But since then they have said that it is possible but that it will likely take a long long time.

After writing that post we were told that a miracle happened and they decided against making us follow this rule. We were ecstatic and overjoyed! But then on Friday they wrote us and email and said that they again changed their minds and are enforcing this rule.

It might not sound like a big deal. But our adoption agency is telling us that its going to be very very difficult to find us a match within those dates and that we may be waiting several years. Its a real blow. I’ll be honest, I cried. I’m not a crier… but I couldn’t contain my disappointment. Pure disappointment.

When the news came in a major mental battle started within me. I believe without a doubt that God has already picked out my sweet children. I also firmly believe that He has already seen the day that we walk off the airplane in Toronto with our precious children and that its the exact date He has chosen.

So if this new “bad news” doesn’t change who my children are and it doesn’t change the day that we bring them home… why am I so very sad and disappointed? I have absolute unwavering faith that God’s got this. He has every detail worked out.

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I’ve had to really work through this in my mind and also talked it out with my loving husband. Norm reminded me of Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” I was taken aback and thought the word mourning was just way too strong. But I realized that it wasn’t actually. I’m disappointed in my expectations being shattered. I had imagined this going smoothly, with two kids that fit nicely between Berea and Emmaus, having them all close in age. Now I am mourning the loss of how I saw this going, I’m mourning the loss of time I had expected Canaan to have with our adopted kids before he grew up. He will will be probably 12 or 13 before our kids come home to us. Unless God blows us away once again… which is my hope! =)

Fact

I’ve been struggling with the fact that I’m so disappointed in God’s plan. Even though I have utmost faith in his plan. I kept telling Norm that I didn’t know how I could have total faith in his plan and yet feel so sad about it. I felt that if I saw the facts…

  • He has a plan. Jer. 29:11
  • He is in control. Jer. 32:27, Job 42:2
  • He has all the details already worked out. Psalm 37:23
  • He already has my kids picked out for us. Psalm 33:11
  • He already has the date set for their arrival. Psalm 139:16

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…and had total faith in those facts that my feelings should be joy, peace, contentment. It didn’t compute in my head. Until I saw that I DID have peace, joy and contentment. I was not angry, anxious, resentful, bitter, nor in despair. I’ll be honest… I had moments though where I started to take this personally or feel upset with the person who decided to be “mean” to us… And I would again remember the facts… Gods got this!

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Can we be sad, disappointed, and mourn things in our life? You betcha! Does this mean that we don’t have faith in what God is doing in our lives? Nope! But we have to be careful not to wallow and have self pity.  We need to have the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Note that being happy is not one of the fruits of the spirit and being sad or disappointed doesn’t interfere with the fruit of the spirit. Wallowing in a in self pity though would not show joy nor self-control.
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So what are your thoughts? What are some of the times you have been disappointed in God’s plan?

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings and walk this journey with us!
~Debra

 

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One Year Anniversary

We're adopting!

One year ago we posted our big adoption announcement! If you never read it please do! Just click here: A Leap of Faith!

It’s been a true roller coaster ride. Up and down, fun and scary, happy and sad, exhilarating and nauseating. But most of all its been an incredible journey of faith!

When we first thought about adopting we had a pretty simple idea in our heads. Fill out some papers, raise a little money and voila: A new kid in the family!

This little picture that I found on Facebook has been so true for us this past year:
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We have been through a year long crash course on international adoption and yet we are still only learning the tip of the iceberg.

So much has changed from the first day we decided to adopt.  We originally thought we were going to adopt only one baby girl from Guinea, but God closed the door on adopting from Guinea. We then decided to adopt from Haiti. And slowly over time God really moved in our hearts and nudged us to change our plans yet again and adopt two children! Not only two but not babies. In Haiti most children available are between 3-6. And the process takes several years. So we are looking at bringing home two kids between the ages of 5-8. faith-mlk-quoteI know that if we planned on spending 3-4+years in the adoption process to adopt 2 children that are much older than babies and spend around $70,000 doing that…. I would NEVER have signed up for it. But you know what?! God worked in our hearts, brought us to this place, and we are OVER THE MOON excited! I’m so glad God works on our hearts slowly, one little bit at a time.

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One year ago we posted that we were taking a giant leap of faith. And that it has been and will continue to be a leap or journey of faith for many years to come! I’m incredibly glad that God has brought us to this path. Its a scary uncomfortable path… but and incredible one that I very much want to continue traveling, with HIM as our guide!

If you haven’t been following our adoption feel free to browse through all of our adoption posts: Copeland Adoption

Thank you for walking with us on this journey! Have a blessed day!
~Debra

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Smooth Sailing!

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I saw this quote on Facebook and it really struck home for me.  I even wrote a blog post called “Setbacks and Hope.” And those setbacks REALLY were an INCREDIBLE set up for a miracle. I’m still blown away at how God has truly worked everything out.  If you don’t know what I am talking about please go back and read the blog posts that I linked to.

In my most recent post I said we are waiting for ministry approval and also that we need to update 9 pieces of paperwork. We need to update our psych exam, medicals, references, police checks, and a few other random things. I’m so happy to say that we have successfully updated all of the papers! We were really worried that we were going to have to start from scratch and have to pay several thousand dollars to get some of these updated. Thank God the grand total cost of updating these papers was $63.00 and we got it done in record time.

As far as ministry approval we received word that we are pre-approved and that it needs to be signed off by the director. She will hopefully be able to do that tomorrow but possibly not until next week.

Our adoption agency has told us that as soon as the the approval letter arrives they will mail our packet down to Haiti!!! The moment we have been waiting for!! =)

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This quote also strikes home for me. =) Just about one year ago we posted our adoption announcement and called it a Leap of Faith. SO much as happened in the past year. Many, many ups and downs. And I can honestly say that our faith in God has only grown. He has shown us over and over that He is fighting for us. He carries us through the valleys and rejoices with us on the mountain tops.  He has done amazing things with our fundraising. We are needing approximately $70,000. And so far we have raised and saved about $33,000!

I have to tell you a little story that happened this week. On Tuesday evening I locked the door on the van thinking I better keep it locked so that no one tries to steal anything… We often don’t lock the doors because we live in such a small community. But anyway… usually its the prudent thing to do because we live in a world where if someone goes into your car with out your knowledge its to steal something. Well on Wednesday Norm gave me a call and said that he found $50 that someone hid in our car. WOW! How often do people go into your car to GIVE you something? I just laughed and laughed at how cool that was!

We have had so many stories of incredibly generous people helping us out however they possibly can. We have learned so much about generosity throughout this past year. So many lessons that I will keep with me until the day I die.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings! I hope you have a truly blessed day!

~Debra

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Great news and bad news!

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Our FBI background checks arrived today!! Yahoo!! God really worked an awesome miracle! Somehow someone at the FBI found out that we needed these checks done ASAP and ran them as soon as they arrived at the FBI and mailed them off the next day. God is so good. Seriously! How does that happen!??!

Now that we have these background checks we should be getting “ministry approval” in the next couple of days. “Ministry approval” is the government of Ontario approving us to be adoptive parents. We had to have that approval before our papers can head down to Haiti.

We also received a bit of disappointing news.  Even though the background check came in so quickly we still need to get a few things updated. Nine things to be exact. Most of these will be very easy and quick to update. But a few of them are slightly more challenging or time consuming. We need to have our medical reports done again. We are not sure how long it will take to get in to see the doctor. They are often booked months in advance. We are hoping the doctor will be able to slip us in really quickly so that he can just quickly update the medicals instead of completely doing them again. Another big question is our psychological exams need to be updated. It was $1200 to get these done originally and we had to drive 2 hours to go see the psychologist. PLEASE pray that we wont have to go back in and do them all over again. Pray that they will be willing to either update it or meet with us over the phone. We also had to update our local police check. We went in this morning and they said it should be back in tomorrow! I’m amazed at how quickly it will be done! Thank you God!

I will post as soon as we get our ministry approval! Thank you for walking this crazy journey with us!

Have a blessed day today!
~Debra

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Happy 9th Birthday Canaan

IMG_0836Last week we celebrated Canaan’s 9th birthday! Wow have these years gone by so quickly. What a good reminder to savour the moments, each one. Canaan was born during Spring Break while we were in the training with NTMC. And this year his birthday was during Spring Break again and we ended up celebrating Canaan’s birthday twice. Once as a family during Spring Break and today we successfully pulled off a very last minute surprise birthday party with some of his best buddies.
We are so proud of our Canaan. He is so tenderhearted and loves people. He is very outgoing and talks more than I thought possible for any human being.  He is so passionate about so many things. I am constantly in awe of who he is becoming. IMG_0682

Our adoption is always on Canaan’s mind. He talks about it every day and prays for our adoption to go smoothly at nearly every meal. He has been trying to come up with ways to raise money to pay for our adoption. Some of his suggestions have been:
-Selling his clothes!
-Sell his toys.
-Make bead bracelets to sell to our neighbours.
-Do chores for money and then give that money to the adoption… (Until we explained that the money would come from us and not really help at all.. LOL)
-Buy journals at the dollar store and sell them for double the price. =)

He has so many ideas… most of them wouldn’t work at all. But he is constantly thinking about it. He wishes he could do more. But these kids don’t realize how much they have already given up and will give up in the future. They are our biggest advocates and it is beyond precious to me.

A few months ago we talked about presents at his birthday and he thought it would be awesome to forego gifts and have his friends bring small donations to the adoption. I knew he would get money/presents from his grandparents so this worked out wonderfully. He didn’t know he was going to have a birthday party, but when we planned his surprise party we asked his friends to just bring a small donation instead of a present. He was quite excited about this. At his party today he raised $67.65! Way to go Canaan. Thank you to all of Canaan’s friends for that! You guys are awesome!

IMG_0850This is Canaan’s “what in the world is going on” face when he walked in the door and all of his friends yelled “SURPRISE!”IMG_0841We did a food challenge game. These are a couple of the items the boys were challenged to eat. We also had canned beats, raw potato, sardines, pickles, olives, and marshmallow with mustard all over it. They boys had a really fun time. It was quite entertaining. IMG_0859

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Miracles

This is an update to my previous post about setbacks. If you haven’t read that please read that first!! You can read that by clicking here!
I wrote this in my previous post:

I am praying for a miracle. I know that looking back I will see God guiding and directing us through this dark muddy journey right directly to our precious Haitian children.  He sees every detail from start to finish. He sees the path like a perfectly lit highway. From our point of view we can hardly see a thing. But he has promised us with so much if we just continue to keep our eyes on Him and walk forward in faith!

WELL GUESS WHAT!!!! It appears that God has been working on some pretty awesome miracles! I can’t really go into a lot of details but its looking like we might get our FBI background checks back really really quickly!
He has also been working on a few other miracles but we can’t post about them yet. I know horrible right?! But I can tell you that pretty much every problem I posted about in my previous post is not a problem anymore! I really can’t wait to tell you more about these awesome miracles. I am dying to see how all of this works out… Its so amazing.

You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. Psalm 77:14 

Thanks for stopping in!
~Debra

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Setbacks and Hope

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Well what a whirlwind 2015 has been so far. Its been a very difficult few months for us. We’ve dealt with a lot of sickness, someone telling lies about us, a lot of setbacks on our adoption journey and so much more. We have been walking in quite a lonely valley for a few months. But even when your heart breaks and you feel alone there is always hope!

Its been so hard to share about the ups and downs of our adoption journey because its so hard to explain the ins and outs of this crazy web of adoption details. Even those closest to us don’t really get the process. Mostly because we haven’t really done a good job explaining things. Often times we don’t fully understand everything but we have to just go with the flow and do our best.

We have had a lot going on with the adoption and haven’t really shared much because we just don’t really know where to start. So I am going to try to get better at explaining things and keeping everyone in the loop as much as possible. Im going to try to give a BREIF overview of some of the things going on and then I hope to explain things a little more in detail with some future posts explaining each part a little better. Parts of the adoption process is confidential and some things we will just never get to talk about. That part is hard for me… I am a very open person and find it difficult not to tell all. But for my future precious kids and our adoption process I am going to have to get used to just leaving some parts out and learn to be ok with that.

Over the last few months our adoption timeline has become much much longer. We are now likely looking at a 3-4 year timeline. We have already put a year into this adoption and I am not counting that in the 3-4 years that we still will have to wait. Over the last couple of months it has felt like we have taken so many steps backwards that it has felt almost like we lost our way, like the nice bright pathway in front of us has become so dark and muddy that we were not sure which way was up down back or forward. But with our eyes fixed on God we have continued to push forward through the darkness… Keeping our eyes on Him instead of which way to go. One thing we know for certain is that this is the journey He has brought us on and that we are still completely steadfast and dedicated to walking this journey with Him. We still can hardly wait for the day that we get to meet our precious children.

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So a few brief details that I hope to explain in future posts:

Our home study and Ontario approval-  Our home study was completed last fall. We then expected our home study file to go to “The Ministry,” which is the part of the government of Ontario that approves to become adoptive parents. Somehow our file was misplaced and it was not sent in for approval until just before Christmas.
Our dossier for Haiti – Our dossier is our file full of all of the paperwork required by Haiti and our adoption agency. This took quite a few months and a ton of work to complete. But it was completed last December 1st. We expected this to head down to Haiti right after. But that is when we found out our home study had not been sent in for approval yet.
FBI background check- In early February we received an email explaining that we needed to change a few things in our home study in order to get approval and that we would also need an additional background check. We had done all of the required background checks but it turns out the requirements had changed after our home study was complete but before it was sent in for approval. The problem here is that the FBI is backlogged by 16 weeks because of a change in their system.
Expired paperwork- We notified our adoption agency that our Ministry approval was going to be quite delayed due to needing the FBI background check. They then told us that if we had to wait that long all of our paperwork that we have worked on for months was going to expire. Everything in our home study and dossier must be dated within 5 months of being sent down to Haiti. So now we feel like we are back at the beginning again… Not completely at the beginning but it was a big blow and has been really tough to comprehend.
18 month rule- There is a guideline in Ontario that you cannot adopt any children that are within 18 months of age of any of your biological children. We were under the impression that this was not going to be enforced in our situation. But the Ministry has since said that we will 100% have to abide by this. Our adoption agency has told us that if we abide by this rule it will be very difficult to find a match for us… that it may be many years to find a match… at first they said that it would be impossible. But since then they have said that it is possible but that it will likely take a long long time.

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I am praying for a miracle. I know that looking back I will see God guiding and directing us through this dark muddy journey right directly to our precious Haitian children.  He sees every detail from start to finish. He sees the path like a perfectly lit highway. From our point of view we can hardly see a thing. But he has promised us with so much if we just continue to keep our eyes on Him and walk forward in faith!
Here are a few verses that have been so encouraging to us:

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1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Hebrews 12:1b-2 and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Psalm 23: 3b-4a He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.

Have a blessed day!~Debra

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