Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Adoption Update and New Pictures

The year started off with some excitement on the adoption front when news came that half of the last group from 2012 (they should have actually traveled last year) finally had EP approval and would be submitted for court review under the new law in Korea (prior to this new law we did not have to go through a court review process, only EP). I think we all had high hopes that the court review process would move quickly and that the first group for 2013 would be submitted for EP approval; we anticipate being in this first group. But there has been nothing, no word at all, and no confirmation on what, if any, new paperwork the Korean courts would like. I have heard lots of rumors about this from Holt families, but we have had no confirmation of anything. So just as quickly, hopes have fallen - such is the emotional roller coaster that is international adoption.

Part of the issue appears to be that the Korean courts have never done adoptions before so all of the judges and lawyers need to get up to speed on the process.There has been a suggestion made that Korea allow all of us who accepted a referral prior to the new law going into effect be allowed to skip the court review step, which would allow adoption to continue on without the delay this new step is causing. It is a long shot, but our God is a God of miracles, please be praying with me about this, that somehow this court review step begin to move forward either because it is eliminated (temporarily) or because the courts quickly determine the process and necessary paperwork.

One of the potential new pieces of paperwork that may be required is a Certificate of Citizenship (COC) for Joshua. Technically, he became a U.S. citizen as soon as his adoption was finalized. However, at the federal level he is not listed as a citizen until we pay $550 and file a bunch of paperwork, and 6-12 months later we get a piece of paper. Because of the cost we had been waiting to file for this until some funds came in; we are in the process of doing all the paperwork now, but obviously with the current processing time frames we won't have Joshua's COC before being submitted for court review. We will receive a document that states our paperwork has been received, so please pray that this doesn't cause us any issues and that the Korean government will be satisfied with a receipt notice.

We really need your prayers right now:

1) For the adoption process to move forward

2) For the court review step to be worked out

3) For us to have all the necessary paperwork including the COC issue

4) For Jonah to be able to stay with his current foster family (we haven't had an issue so far, but the longer
the wait, the more likely it is a problem could arise that requires him to change to a new foster family)

5) Prepare our hearts and home for Jonah's homecoming, especially Joshua's who at the mention of his little brother tells me "bye" meaning he wants him to go bye-bye; also for me - part of me can't wait to meet my next son, but part of me is so afraid of going through another difficult adoption transition

6) To prepare Jonah's heart and for God's protection upon it - Jonah is now 18 months old and has lived with his foster family for 16 months; this will be an incredible loss for him

7) For us to rest in God's timing; one of the things I have been praying about is that if Jonah's homecoming could occur during a developmental window that would make the transition easier for him, to let it be at that time 

We have been blessed with new photos of Jonah almost every month (skipped April and August - though we received his first birthday pictures in August). I am so grateful for these photos, whether and how often you receive them depends on your social worker in Korea. Our social worker has been really wonderful, but unfortunately she has recently left the agency. I am hoping our new social worker continues to send photos every month.

Jonah is now 18 months old, he weighs about 23 pounds and is 32 inches tall.

Hard to believe it has now been over a year since we first saw this sweet face and a year and 5 days since our paperwork went to Korea. For comparison, we were in Korea meeting Joshua for the first time exactly one year from when we first saw his picture and 11 months from when our paperwork was sent over. We in all likelihood still have several more months of waiting. I have all but given up hope of traveling in March. At this point, I am hoping for April.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Big News!!!

First, I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We had a busy and joy-filled holiday season. We spent Thanksgiving with friends, had a visit from my mom in early December, worked on photo book projects for the grandparents, celebrated Christmas at home, and then went to visit John's sister and her family in San Diego over the New Year holiday.

There is a reason this Christmas was especially joyful for our family. It is because we were celebrating the amazing news we received right before Thanksgiving. John's deployment was cancelled!!!!

I was completely shocked when John called to tell me. I kept asking him, "Is this for real?" He already had his orders and flight arranged. He had even been to some of his pre-deployment training and was just days away from leaving for more training. A cancellation at this point is highly unusual. I think it took 2 weeks or more for the news to finally sink in; I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and for him to be re-tasked. But it didn't and he hasn't been. As of now, John is not scheduled to be deployed again, obviously this can change at any moment in the military, but for now we are rejoicing that he is home with us.

When we received the news back in August, we were absolutely heartbroken. Deploying at this time would mean John would have missed Jonah’s homecoming from Korea and would not meet his second son until after his 2nd birthday. In addition, it would mean that I would have the incredibly difficult task of going through the transition period with Jonah by myself, a time when he will likely be grieving hard and adjusting to such a traumatic change. Due to the need to establish a secure attachment with us first, I wouldn’t have been able to allow anyone else to help care for him during this time. Needless to say, we felt completely overwhelmed and unsure of how we would get through this. All we could do was put it in the Lord’s hands; we felt certain He was at work in our situation and knew we were not to fight this. We desired God’s will and trusted that He would work things out for His glory and see us through this situation. That was our prayer.

In addition, many other people were praying for us, my mom’s church, family members, friends, my friend Wendi’s mom along with her team of intercessors, and pretty much anybody who heard about our situation.

But never in a million years would we have guessed how God would work things out! He answered in the most miraculous way and we are so grateful.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

The question I have been asked most often is "why?" The truth is we can't really give any earthly reason as to why; we don't really have an explanation. It is God's grace and mercy. Not only was there Jonah's homecoming, but there was the issue of John's safety. We found out that John was tasked to be a part of team that would be going "outside the wire" as it's often called, which is incredibly dangerous and is how most non-combatants are killed. I honestly feel like God spared John's life. In addition, based on the behavior that we saw from Joshua after John returned from training, we believe that a deployment would have been seriously damaging to John and Joshua's relationship. Joshua was very close to his foster father in Korea and therefore has had a difficult time bonding to John (attachment was difficult for both of us, but more so with John).

There are some who are inclined to think that it is because President Obama was re-elected; I have no idea whether that was an direct or indirect factor or not. But what I can tell you is that God has been moving the hearts of kings and leaders for thousands of years (see Ezra 1:1) in order to accomplish His purposes. What I can also tell you is that 2 more people in John's clinic have been tasked to deploy (not because John's was cancelled) and I know of others who husbands have just recently deployed.

I also want to be clear about something else. I don't believe this happened because we had the right number of people praying, "gave it all up to God," prayed just the right prayer, or anything else. So often you hear people say how they just did ________ and boom, their prayer was answered - they had a miracle pregnancy, got married, found a job, got healed, etc. Having been on the receiving end of this type of statement during our years of waiting for a child, I know how painful it can be to hear this, as if we are the ones in control and if you just do this, your problem will be solved. Sometimes you pray, surrender, ask others to pray with you, give it all up to God, and then God says no. It is not because of anything you did or didn't do, it is because God in His sovereignty said that was not His plan for you, at least right now. I don't know why we received this miracle; we feel completely undeserving of it. We are grateful and humbled by it. It did not happen because we did just the right thing, it was God in His sovereignty working out his plan. If you are facing the deployment of your spouse or family member, please know my heart and my prayers are with you. I don't mean to cause you more pain in sharing our news. I only want to give thanks to God and tell of His "wonderful deeds" because this was all Him.

"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1