Friday, January 30, 2009


I'm not sure how much information we'll be getting at this point. Right now, we seem to be in the gap between receiving a passport and entering US immigration (USCIS). We were told to expect at least a week of lag time and haven't heard, yet, if the file has actually been submitted to USCIS. My hope is that we have been and just don't know it yet. ;o)

In the meantime, I've been compiling a list of things we need and need to do before our Asa comes home. I actually purchased some clothes for him online, which made my heart flutter with excitement. I haven't found the perfect homecoming outfit for him yet, though. We might wait and do that as a way to celebrate immigration approval (since that will give us a better idea of when he'll be home and what the weather will be like).

Thank you for all the wonderful and sweet comments on our passport news. It's amazing to be able to share this process with so many supportive friends! We are so grateful for your continued prayers. We're still hoping for the possibility of being on a particular pick-up trip and will certainly be updating the blog as we get more information. Have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It Was Issued!

We had been waiting all week and I'd given up hope, thinking it was just to late to receive any type of news. But at 9:56 pm Friday night, I saw the e-mail as it entered my in-box!! Asa has a passport! And we are elated!!

Our documents will now be sealed by foreign affairs and, in about a week, they will be submitted to USCIS (US immigration) for approval. Once approved (we're not quite sure how long that will take) a visa appointment is scheduled at the consulate and the actual visa will be issued a few days after that. We are praying for a smooth process and a quick visa approval. Since many C4C families are on the verge of traveling, they are now scheduling group pick-up trips to make it easier on the creche staff. Our fervent prayer is, and has always been, that Asa will come home in God's perfect timing - and of couse, our desire is that his visa will be issued in time for the next trip.

Monday, January 19, 2009

No Passport News Yet...

But I'm so hopeful for this week. Today is Jim's birthday and what an awesome gift it would be - to find out that the passport had been printed! He did get part of his gift two weeks ago, though... a bike. And somehow, I'm benefiting from the anniversary of his birth, as well, because he got me a bike so we could all ride together. Now we just need our precious three year old son here so we can get one of these for long family rides on the lovely, Florida bike trails:
We're trying really hard to stay busy and enjoy each day. There are a few activities coming up in the next couple of weeks, including a conference at our church with Gary Chapman (author of many wonderful relationship books including the Five Love Languages series). We have a some get-togethers planned with friends and a few home projects we'd like to complete. Hopefully those will be enough of a distraction to help get us through the final stretch of this wait.

Once Asa comes home, our plan is to give him plenty of uninterrupted time alone with us, to lay a very firm foundation of attachment and healthy bonding. So, while I'm still having those impatient feelings of wanting him home NOW, I'm trying to embrace this season of our lives as an opportunity for growth and a time of joyful anticipation. It's hard to make that attitude shift because my arms ache to hold my son and I just want my family together. But I've been doing a study on waiting from different Old Testament passages and am learning (and being reminded of) the benefits of fully experiencing "tough" times and trying to appreciate their ultimate purpose. This is so much easier to talk about that to actually do but we are working on it! And now the little kids and I are off to wrap their gifts for daddy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Brother and Sisters...

And a dog.

I'm going through pictures from Christmastime and thought I'd share a few current ones of the three kids who have been waiting so patiently for their little brother. Here is Allyson (16) at Ft. Desoto Beach. We spent Christmas Eve there with my mom and grandparents. It was a beautiful day.

And here are the two littles with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Chloe (7) asked for walkie-talkies. Camden (5) also asked for walkie-talkies, but when Santa said he could pick something different than his sister, he said "a guitar." By the way, that beard is the real deal. We love them and see them every year. {We even ran into Santa down on Siesta Key in the summer.... when the kids seemed suprised to see him in a red polo and shorts, he told them "everyone needs a vacation once in a while" and "you've been good but you should keep your rooms cleaner." See?!?! He IS the real Santa!!}

And I'll add one of the loyal companion whom, we hope, Asa will come to love. Every boy needs a faithful dog. Henry is our sweet Golden Retriever.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Embassy Outfit...

The children at the crèche are always dressed up so nicely for appointments in Port Au Prince. This outfit will be heading down to Haiti next week - I'm sending it so Asa has something brand new to wear when he has his embassy appointment. I think he'll look super handsome. We are praying for passport news so our file can move on to the final phase: US immigration. As always, your prayers are extremely appreciated! We've been receiving so much encouragement from friends and family who are almost as eager to get him home as we are. We feel truly blessed by the amazing support we've received through this whole journey and are looking forward to introducing the little boy that so many people have grown to love.

Oh, and three children from the crèche are coming home to their family this week! :o)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back To Work...

I think this is the day that many of the Haitian offices reopen. I read on another orphanage's blog that some offices were working with a limited staff over the holidays - it would be nice if the passport office was one of them. We're assuming it'll be a few more weeks before we get news, though.

Christmas break kept us busy. We were finishing up Asa's US immigration forms, as well as compiling the current support documentation that they require to issue his visa. One funny/frustrating thing is that, at the same time, we were also working on Allyson's visa application for Brazil. She'll be going on her third mission trip to Curitiba over spring break and their visa application process has become more complex with each passing year. It was soooo nice to be able to just mail everything off and be done with paperwork.... for a while.

Now that the offices are open, I'm eager to start reading great news on everyone's blogs! :o)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

That Smile....

Look at this gorgeous little boy. These pictures are from the October '08 trip - exactly one year after meeting our precious Asa Mack for the first time. The difference was unbelievable. When I traveled in October of '07, he was extremely ill. He was severely anemic and protein deficient. He could barely keep his eyes open and, for the most part, just slept in my arms. I never saw him smile. Not once. It was heartbreaking and, to be quite honest, I was very scared for him. But the staff in Haiti told me that they had seen this before and they assured me that he would be nursed back to health.

In December of '07, I was already seeing the results of their efforts. He was still low on energy, but the improvement was evident. July of '08 was an answer to so many prayers - Asa seemed to be in perfect health and he amazed me with his physical development and his joy filled spirit. We had so much fun together and were truly able to bond as mother and son... we picked up right back where we'd left off when I returned a few months later.

The particular afternoon that I took these pictures was quite busy. I was helping to photograph some of the children for their monthly updates and it was a little chaotic. Asa was sticking pretty close to my side and I pointed over to the slide to see if he would climb up by himself. He seemed to understand and ran over... looking back every few steps to make sure I was watching. Once he got to the top, he waited to ensure that he had my full attention, then proudly slid down by himself. Now, this is a totally normal thing that my other kiddos have done. It's always so sweet to know that they want to show off for mommy. But to see Asa, the once sick and weak little boy, who could barely make eye contact twelve months before, run - climb - slide - and smile that HUGE smile... and at me. Amazing. Precious. Priceless.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking Ahead...

We're hoping and praying that 2009 will be a better year than the last. We're certainly grateful for the abundant blessings of 2008; we are all healthy, we have a home & food (so much more than many people throughout the world) and we've enjoyed some wonderful moments together as a family. But we've also experienced some sadness and loss...

Last year began with us waiting for Asa.

Then, mid-year, our hearts broke as we mourned the suffering of two precious families. We were shocked and confused by the passing of our Senior Pastor & his son and, three months later, our Music Minister. We trust that they are in the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father, which eases some of the sorrow, but for their wives, children, parents and siblings - we ache.

The trip to Haiti in October (my fourth visit) brought about a ton of sadness and anguish over all the time we are missing with Asa Mackenley - and the desperation to just get him home has, at times, felt like physical pain. So the last few months have been awfully hard. The blog was a bit neglected and has mostly just been an outlet for process updates as opposed to revealing nitty-gritty reality of a family in the throes of Haitian adoption. Now, we're not walking around depressed all the time and we absolutely trust that God has a perfect plan. We do enjoy each and every moment together - but the sense that we are missing a family member is palpable. The three kids at home stay positive by envisioning what life will be like when Asa arrives and they pray for him every day. But I know it's disappointing for them when well-meaning people ask why their brother isn't home yet.

Christmas was, of course, bittersweet. We loved spending time with family, but we missed my brother, sister-in-law and nephew who are in the Netherlands. And we missed our youngest son.

Then the year ended with us... waiting for Asa.

So we're looking forward and embracing 2009 as the year that {we pray} will end with Asa in our home... and not just in our hearts.