Friday, July 24, 2015

The Long Long Wait

I know you have heard us complain before about how long the process is to adopt in Bolivia. So just in case you wanted to know some of the details, I am going to do a blog about some of the hoops you jump through and talk about just how long the wait has been for us. Now some of you will now seek out a more interesting blog to look at, but for those of you who are sticking around for the details, here goes!

Our adoption journey began the week after we returned to Bolivia in mid-October, 2015. In order for us to adopt in Bolivia, the first steps involved getting our paperwork together, as a couple. These steps included background checks from three different places: Interpol, FELCN, and REHAP. We also had to get our one year and two year visas certified. We had to wait a month to get our two year visa certification back from La Paz. We had to wait two weeks to get back our background check from Interpol. All of the steps included at least one day of dropping things off, another day for picking them up, and sometimes waiting for hours in lines. We got to know the banking system well, and where the Banco Unions were located, because each step required deposits of money into the bank. Think long waits at the DMV over and over again! Banks are set up like the DMV here. When you walk in you get your ticket with your number and then you sit down and wait to be served! 

It felt like a big giant treasure hunt, getting all kinds of stuff together from so many different areas. We had many days of not being successful with the treasure hunt! Like the time we walked clear across town twice to find the spot to certify our, three times already certified, birth certificates and marriage certificate. That day we gave up, because each place we went told us that they did not do it there and sent us to another location. I guess you had to “know” the right person, because our lawyer ended up doing this step for us, and all she had to do was go to the original spot we were told to go! Where they had told us that they hadn’t done them in that location for three years… go figure! We spent three full days getting where we lived registered and then didn’t end up needing that paperwork! Getting our bank information notarized was another fun day and step in the process.

One of the big things was the work we had done with SEDEGES, the Bolivian equivalent of Child Protective Services. This involved many days of interviews, psychological exams, and a home study. Our team was good to work with and got our stuff done in record time for which we were very thankful. 

Everything having to do with our paperwork as a couple, was ready by the end of December. We thought that everything having to do with David and Adriana’s paperwork was done also. Now we were waiting on Peter’s paperwork to be done, to get him ready for adoption with his older two siblings. 

Side note: At the end of October, David and Adriana were assigned a family that wanted to adopt a sibling pair. This couple had two days to respond saying whether they would like to adopt them or not. After the 48 hour period they lost their chance to adopt them. During that two days or right before they were assigned, the wife had an accident that burned her badly. I never confirmed whether it was an automobile accident or something else, but the couple was unable to accept OUR BABIES, because of the accident. It was such a close call that we could have lost them to another family. It strengthened our feeling though that God truly has these children for us. Our lawyer made sure after this close call that they were “removed” from the system until we could ask for them.

Our lawyer traveled from mid-December through mid-January. When she returned we officially requested to adopt David, Adriana, and Peter. Although, Peter’s paperwork was far from done, we didn’t realize how far until later, we wanted the judge to know that we wanted to adopt them when Peter’s paperwork was ready. It felt good to get the ball rolling and we were sure that we were on the home stretch at this point! 

What it comes down to is the baby home that was caring for Peter, was not working on preparing his paperwork like they should have been. It wasn’t until April that we finally figured out what the problem was. With a bit of cash and our lawyer running paperwork around for the social worker at Peter’s baby home, we were able to advance his paperwork rapidly and it was ready by mid-May. We went to get our “official visits”, one of the next to last steps in the process, on the 21 of May. We were disappointed to find that we did not get the visits, instead we had to present more paperwork about the medical issues that David and Peter had. 

In Bolivia you are not allowed to “choose” children to adopt. However, like every law in Bolivia there are exceptions. A big one is if the child you would like to adopt has a physical problem or developmental problem. Bolivians typically do not want to adopt children that have a potential medical problem or if the child has had a surgery. David was born with a large dark birth mark that covers about 1/4 of the back of his head. This could potentially be cancerous one day. It actually has a medical name and therefore can be “played up” to be a real crisis. I personally do not see him having problems with this in the future, but even if he did, we are fine with that. Peter is behind for his age. The fact that they are a sibling group of three also makes them less desirable and lessens their chances of being adopted by another family. This latest hiccup at the end of May had to do with what we had stated were our reasons for choosing to adopt these particular three children. They wanted more proof that David truly did have this “dangerous” birth mark and that Peter was delayed in his development. To us it just felt like more headaches!

Our lawyer once again traveled from the end of May to the end of June. We worked on three different things while she was gone by ourselves. Every week and almost every day we were doing something involved with the adoption. Rudi even made cinnamon rolls as incentives (bribes!) for two different government agencies! However, without her help we were pretty hopeless! Our lawyer has a way of getting the impossible done. She is worth more than her weight in gold. We could not have done this whole adoption without her! 

When she returned at the end of June, you can guess from whom was the first phone call she received… Yep, it was us! I think she was on her way home from the airport when she got the call! It took three more weeks, but by mid-July we finally had our official visits, just seven weeks later than we thought they would be! Or was that FIVE months later than we thought!! Either way, it doesn’t matter now that the end is finally in sight. 

An interesting point is that David's paperwork hadn't gone through one of the steps and it ended up being his paperwork that we were waiting on the last few weeks! Supposedly his paperwork was completely finished TWO years ago. If it isn't one thing it's another here!!

Let me tell you this long wait has been HARD for me. For all of us, but sometime back in February when I thought this process would be over soon, I let my heart go and these babies became mine. That has meant that each time we drop them off or say goodbye after visiting them, a little of my heart stays with them. It truly hurts my heart to be apart from them. The mama bear instinct has kicked in and I want my babies home with me for forever. It has been the hardest thing I have had to do, for the longest amount of time. I have reached the end of myself over and over again. I keep thinking, “I can’t go on waiting anymore” and that is when the Lord takes me up and comforts me again and again. When I am stretched beyond my endurance that is when He takes over. I know that what I am “suffering” is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered for me. He suffered for me, so that I could become his daughter. The verse at the top of our blog says, “Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross...”. Who for the joy that was set before him. I am that joy. You are that joy. He endured the cross to adopt us, to allow us to be called the children of God. I am enduring “this cross” for the joy that is set before me: David, Adriana, and Peter. I know that I will look back and it will just be a blink in my life; this time we have waited and labored for them to be adopted by our family.  

Yes, adopting in Bolivia is anything but easy, but since when was anything worth having been easy? 

....We are hoping that we will be bringing our babies home NEXT WEEK!!! Can't wait to share that blog with you all....

1 comment:

  1. Way to be not weary (well, most of the time :) in well-doing! Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 It is good to hear the life in your "voice," Carla :)

    I am eagerly waiting to hear that David, Adriana, and Peter are united with you, their family, in your home.

    I love the way you brought out how much God loves us and what Jesus went through to make our adoption possible. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!

    Excited for you,