FYI – wifi is terrible and won’t upload photos. So you might need to check tmw morning!
Just in case you’re a little concerned about the title, this post is not going to create international uproar.
Today we hopped into the car and heard the news that our long-awaited IBESR social worker was coming today to complete our required interview. To any other adoptive parents that have to go through this process, your first immediate response is deer-in-the-headlights stare until you snap yourself out of it and realize you’ll be just fine. 😉
The biggest worry it seems, for parents going through this process in Haiti is that the IBESR (the country’s version of social services) has the ultimate power to decide “yes” or “no” to allowing your process to proceed. If the representative decided at this interview that they didn’t like us for whatever reason, or didn’t like something we said, or got even the slightest vibe that we weren’t what we seemed, then they just stamp a big ol’ “DENIED” right across the page and send us on our merry way – back home. (okay, so that’s probably not how it actually happens, but it sounds cooler that way)
Anyways. We decided early on that no matter what happens, or how intimidating the interviewer was, or how many questions they threw out to throw us off our game (there is speculation that they might sometimes ask leading questions trying to see if you will give the “wrong” answer…although we didn’t experience this) – anyways we decided to just be ourselves, and answer honestly, truthfully, and just let it all happen as it would.
Didn’t quite go down how I expected, but it turned out just fine 😉 We headed up to the second floor balcony with the social worker, W and our translator, and the five of us sat down in peace and quiet…for about 30 seconds until the rest of the kids wanted to come join the party. Within that half-minute there were 7 kids out there that we had to shoo away! What I thought would be a private interview ended up being one observed keenly by one of the older boys who knows a lot of English, and a 2-year old that has pretty much attached herself to our translator (I keep telling him he needs another kid!). We sandwiched W between us on the bench seat and got him busy drawing pictures of undersea creatures while we started talking. The IBESR rep started off stuffy and formal, but after we got started talking and answering questions, really just from the heart instead of trying to find the “right” answers, he warmed up really quick and began asking spontaneous questions rather than just what was on his list. What also helped, was that we happened to have W’s photobook that we had made of all our family and home, with captions in Creole, so that he could read it. The rep saw it and asked to look at it – he read through the whole thing, and put it down and said “I think that is a wonderful thing and very helpful. Thank you.” (SCORE!!!!!) 🙂
Afterwards, Kris just put it out there – no mincing words here – and said “uhhh…how long does it usually take for you to complete your report?” and the guy said “It won’t take me any longer than 10 days.” LOL I know that others have had that experience and they quote a very short time and then its months and months – but the guy just dangled a carrot in front of my mouth (actually, right now that carrot looks more like a Chicken Pate from the Stop n’ Go…I’ve got the late-night munchies) and I’ll take it. We are still on cloud 9 on this bonding trip and we’d like to chain ourselves to hope as long as we can!
When the interview was finally done and he was FREEEEEEEEEEE to go play outside, (he had resorted to building houses and garages for his cars with the domino set while we finished up) we took W down to play outside before we left. We took tons of photos of the kids that were down there, Kris is having fun with his new camera, and played more baseball… 🙂 and had more snacks. That kid ate every single thing we brought today! Tomorrow I’m going to have to pack enough food for 5 people and hope he fills up! I’m not quite sure how he will fare after we leave…I’m worried we are getting his belly used to lunch and snacks and SUGAR. LOL Our kids would be jealous of all the treats! But man, when you have never had nutella before, or Froot Loops…desperate times call for desperate measures.
I had my first, first-hand experience with a mama’s protectiveness about this little one today. About an hour before we left, a car drove in, a couple male adults and some young boys visiting from some mission team or something. They were very friendly and said hello and immediately went into kid-pleasing mode, making friends by passing out candies. But when the main guy found out that W was our son, he asked his name and got down on his level and then started babbling in Creole to him, to which I instinctively wrapped a protective arm around him and politely listened. The guy then went inside with all their stuff, to “get the tour”. I’m sure it was someone from the church that the director attends – or an affiliated group. The kids were nice and the grownups were nice as well. But my mama heart instinctively protected my son from a stranger who aggressively trying to “make friends” with my son. Granted, in an orphanage, with kids who rarely have people that care for them – passing out free kindness and genuine care to all of them is normal. And what he was doing, and how he was acting was completely normal for this place, and Kris and I did it as well when we came the first day. The chaos and desperation in these kids is assaulting the first time you meet them – so I get it. But I wasn’t prepared for my instinctive heart to protect my son from someone that wasn’t mom or dad – and that was a weird – but good, feeling.
Moving forward after we leave will be difficult for us in another way besides the plain and simple “I’m here and you’re not” but it is the realization that we cannot protect him from well-meaning people who come and visit the Orphanage in our absence. We cannot protect him from well-meaning other moms and visiting church ladies or other dads who come and pass out candy and want to pick him up and want to play baseball with him and bring him treats because he’s so sweet and likable. We can’t do a thing about it. But it worries us. Because people visiting (and sometimes even other adoptive parents) don’t really get how fragile the bonding process is. We don’t ever want to feel like we have to fight for our own child’s affection or loyalties. We have all the “normal” feelings of being worried that our child will forget us in our absence, or think that someone else’s parent or some other “fun lady” is a better option than mommy LOL I know it sounds silly, but when you’re 3500 miles away and can’t do a thing about it – you worry about this kind of stuff! Shoot, we aren’t even gone yet! LOL
SIGH. Our hearts are beginning to roil and ache a little more each day as we get closer to the end. We are praying for swift completion of our interview documentation and even SWIFTER IBESR exit letter – with no issues!!! Please pray for speed throughout the next steps. One of the questions we were asked in the interview was “How did you feel when you received your referral?” I told him that we were very excited, because we had waited 30 months in IBESR for a referral so when we finally received it we were extremely excited and relieved and that we cried happy tears. He looked up from his note-taking with a quizzical look and said, “30? 30 months?” – YES. 30 months. and Kris promptly used this moment to gently plead our case and said something like “which is why we would really like things to move quickly from here on out” LOL or something similar, I can’t even remember, but he was very serious and I laughed inside. I’m GLAD the rep was surprised – I hope that it helped put into perspective for him that there are families like ours that have been waiting a very long time to love a little one forever – like forever, forever, til death do us part, forever, not “until life gets hard”, or “until I don’t like him anymore” LOL (he did stress to us that we do understand, yes?, that adoption is irreversible through any circumstance) haha. yes. yes we do. Thanks for the warning, we’d like to take him home now. 🙂
I feel like I’m rambling today, so sorry – I spent 10 minutes telling Kris I had writer’s block and said “I’m just going to close my eyes and think for a minute…flat on the bed.” LOL Now look at this random novel…
Tomorrow morning while W is at school, we are going to head over to Petionville and visit the Apparent Project! I’ll update you tomorrow on how that is, but we’re expecting great things! I believe their website is http://www.apparentproject.org if you want to check them out – they have a cool ministry here! (although my wifi is on the fritz so I can’t actually connect to check it right at the moment. I’m going to simply hope this entry actually posts correctly…)