• Posted by Ben on 16 Dec 2011

I just got some good news from Susan at Little Angels! Well, first she toyed with me and gave me the bad news: the national committee STILL didn’t hear our case in their meeting on Wednesday. Their backlog apparently goes back to last April. Susan heard of this at 9am on Wednesday, though, so she quickly wrote up another letter for the Little Angels committee that was also meeting on Wednesday afternoon. She listed out all the extra steps we did, the headache from the national committee, etc. And they did it! They approved Eden “clear for adoption” and approved us as able to adopt! It would have been nice if they had given us this approval 6 weeks ago…or even 4 weeks ago after we got the paperwork they asked for! I’m super happy they did approve us though, the backlog from the national committee is not looking so good.

Next Steps:
Our lawyer takes this letter to court next week and hopefully is seen on a Certificate of Urgency (2 days wait instead of 3 weeks). This first hearing is the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem. This person is supposed to come visit and observe how amazingly wonderful we are with Eden, how she is thriving in our home, etc. We then have another court hearing 1-2 weeks after that where the guardian and a little angels’ social worker present their reports and (hopefully) the court grants the adoption. Its unclear if we have to go back to the national committee at that time or not. If we do, well, hopefully they’ve worked through their backlog! Worst case scenario is that we have to wait 3-4 weeks for the first visit, then 3-4 weeks for the second visit, then 4-8 weeks for the national committee…but thats where the humanitarian visa would come in: we could at least come back for a little bit to see Meghan/Andy/Gracie/family in the middle of all the waiting.

  • Posted by Meghan on 15 Oct 2011

Our lawyer wasn’t able to move the date to get our travel order (Tuesday, October 18) so we had to reschedule our visa interview.  We are now going to the embassy on October 24 at 9:30am.  Thanks for praying for the process and for a successful meeting!

  • Posted by Meghan on 07 Oct 2011

The time has come to pray like you’ve never prayed before!  On Monday, October 17, we have our visa interview at 9am.  (That’s 2am for most of you, so pray hard before going to bed next Sunday night).

We are still waiting on our travel order- a critical piece of documentation- but hopefully that will be ready next week.  Our lawyer didn’t realize our visa appointment was on the 17th, so he scheduled to hear the verdict on the travel order for Oct. 18.  Please pray with us that he is able to get in to see the magistrate next week, since we can’t go to the interview without it.

Otherwise, we have all of our supporting documents gathered together.  I’ve gone over the information they are looking for countless times, and feel pretty prepared.  The big thing is that they need to know we will return to Kenya.  We obviously plan to come back, since we need to finish Eden’s adoption, so we hope that won’t be an issue.

Last time the visa process seemed easy but we’ve heard that they are more selective with the visas now and the process has changed since we applied for Eden’s two years ago.  Please pray that we will have all of our documents, that the kids will be lovely while we wait and are interviewed and that the consular officer will recognize how important it is that we ALL come home for Gracie to be born .

We will post something as soon as we know!

  • Posted by Meghan on 05 Sep 2011

Well…today we met with a new lawyer for a consult.  She was recommended to us by a District Children’s Officer that had worked with an American couple that we know on their adoption from the Sally Test Center.  Mrs. Odede was very nice and had a lot of information.  She also knows the two women that we are working with at Little Angels and called both of them while we were in her office and she is going to see the DCO that we are working with this afternoon.  Also, she will be in Nairobi later this week and is going to take Susan (from Little Angels) to meet with the National District Children’s Officer in Nairobi who has to give us her final blessing before we can wrap things up with Eden.  She was quite surprised with all that we have done so far and was very impressed with our guardianship/custody and exemption orders.

Little Angels had asked that we update our home study from the US which was completed in 2009.  It’s not possible to do that while we are here and Little Angels is concerned that we won’t be given the go-ahead on Eden without the proper paperwork.  So, Mrs. Odede has recommended that we look in to getting another travel order for Eden (an extended one that lasts even until she turns 18) and then try to get a visitors visa with multiple entries to the US.  This would allow us to come home for the birth of Grace and stay until Grace is over 1.  While in the US, Mrs. Odede said that we can continue with the adoption process, getting our paperwork submitted with Little Angels and waiting for them to grant us permission to adopt Eden.  Then when we return we would have 3 months or less of wait time for the court proceedings to take place and then Eden would be officially ours.

There are several benefits to this plan.  One being that we could all be home together for Grace’s birth.  Another being that we could possibly get a custody/guardianship order from the high courts now and in two years (around the time the adoption is finalized), we would be able to get her I-130 visa since this is a hang-up with the USCIS office.  Finally, it would give us the best chance of being able to finalize Eden’s adoption without spending an extended amount of time in Kenya.

There are also some drawbacks.  This of course drags out the adoption process which we are eager to finish.  We don’t know that we would be able to get this visa for Eden to come back to the US.  And we would probably be gone for several months in the fall of 2013 which would be the beginning of Eden’s second year of preschool and Andy’s first year.  I hate the thought of disrupting their schooling, but I think I could home school them for one semester without them losing too much and they could start back in January.

Anyway, it’s a lot to think about and, as always, hinges on a lot of things going our way.  We need to get with our lawyer, Were, and come up with a plan.  Thankfully we have great prayer warriors out there and we know that God has brought us through so many obstacles unscathed already that we are up for whatever comes next.

On a side note, August was a rough month for us.  I told Ben I felt like it was our ‘hump month’.  We made it through August and I personally feel much better about things.  I can make it until October, and maybe even December if I have to!

  • Posted by Meghan on 18 Aug 2011

Well…it turns out the highlight of our trip to Nairobi was that we got good food at the Java House (I even had apple pie!).  Unfortunately, the embassy was not so great.  The man we spoke with was really very nice and tried his best to help us.  He’s the “adoption expert” but doesn’t have any influence on the visa process which is what we really needed.  He went to the USCIS office and they told him that our custody and guardianship order doesn’t count as legal custody because legal custody in Kenya can only be granted by a high court justice and our custody was granted by a magistrate.  He did suggest that we request the high court justice issue a letter or note with our final adoption stating that he/she suggests our custody/guardianship order from two years ago be viewed as legal custody.  Robert (the adoption expert) said that might help the USCIS people feel more comfortable granting us a visa.

He didn’t say that there was absolutely no way for us to get the I-130 visa in October, but he certainly implied that it wouldn’t be easy.  He said we could look to a visitors visa as a fallback, but that’s not guaranteed either.  We know that visitors visas are typically not granted to children who have already been adopted because there is basically no reason for the family to return to the foreign country.  The fact that we took Eden on a visitors visa before and came back and that Ben has work here and comes here frequently would help us, but we can’t count on being given a visa.

So…that leaves us with a big decision.  Do we continue with the adoption process now, wrap it up and hope that we can get one of the visas to come home before Dec. 1, or do we stop, apply for a visitors visa before we do the adoption and then come back later and do this all over again, knowing that we would probably have to stay here for 2 years?

Ben and I both feel like we really just need to get this finished.  We are tired of having it hang over us and tired of Eden not being “officially” ours.  We’ve worked so hard to get everything together to do the adoption now, we don’t really want to stop.  Also, the fact that I am pregnant is good incentive for them to let us go back…we won’t have such a good reason if we would come back to Kenya and try this again later.

It is very frustrating to feel like the US is battling against us and we’re so tired.  Tired of being away from our home and families, Ben is tired of working weird hours here, I’m tired of the rain, tired of the ups and downs…we’re ready to be home.

So for now the plan is to continue with the adoption, apply for the I-130 visa in October and if that is denied apply for a visitors visa.  Please start praying now for the process.  Especially that the USCIS would be kind, sympathetic, reasonable, etc and just grant us the I-130 visa.  We really appreciate your support and prayers!

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