Famous Last Words

Our Adoption Journey to Haiti

Entitlement November 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 4:17 pm

A couple of weeks ago at church, one of our pastors delivered a message on entitlement that has stuck with me. The main message he delivered – people cannot enjoy what they feel entitled to.


I typically reserve the term entitlement for someone else: a teenager who feels entitled to the latest version of the iPhone every Christmas.  Or to 22-year-old employees who feel entitled to a significant paycheck and a six-hour work day. It certainly does not apply to me.


But as he continued through his message, I had to gut check myself.


He taught on Matthew 20 – The Parables of the Workers in the Vineyard. In a nutshell, at the crack of dawn, a landowner hires people to work in his vineyard for a set wage. He then hired more people at 9 am, 12 noon, 3pm, and 5pm and promised them the appropriate wage as well. When the work day is over, he first pays the people who began working at 5pm…but he pays them the same amount of money to the people who have been working since the crack of dawn. He paid every person what had been promised to them, so there was no injustice.


However, the people who worked all day were mad obviously and felt entitled to a greater pay than those who only worked one hour. I certainly would be. Of course like every good parable, it is full of lessons that we may or may not want to apply to ourselves, such as real grace does not necessarily align with our sense of fairness, or God’s preference to show compassion to people who need it the most.


This time of year we are focused on thankfulness. And trust me, I’ve got lots to be thankful for – this message of entitlement is helping me further understand that the things I take for granted are quite possibly things that our future child might not have (and that I am not entitled to either). Such things include:

  • Three meals a day
  • A bed
  • Medicine
  • Knowing my family and its history
  • A safe place to go
  • Innocence


“It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it.”
Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild


Sister Act November 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 8:58 pm

Genetically speaking, we are obviously related. Here are the Graham girls at what I would consider the peak of our good looks – 1987:

IMG_0192 (2)pic 1

Growing up in the Graham family, it was abundantly clear that we were related. We all had some shade of red hair.  A good deal of the time we all had bad perms. Except for my dad – he was in the Air Force and I cannot imagine that his commander would have approved of a perm. We also all have pale skin and TONS of freckles. And to top it off, my sister had really bad teeth (translation = years of braces) and I had really bad eyesight (translation = years of hideously large glasses).


I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately. In particular, my mind has been on siblings and what kind of role Noah and Brady will play in our adopted child’s life.


Siblings rock. In fact, the relationship with our sibling is likely the longest relationship that we will have in our life. They are our life’s eye-witness. They shape our character.


While we share the same gene pool, my sister Katie and I could not have been more different growing up. For example, Katie wore puffy jackets, K-Swiss and listened to LL Cool J, while I wore pea coats, Dockers and listened to Joni Mitchell.


But despite our differences, we work well as sisters. We’re just like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson, only prettier. For those of you that don’t know my sister, here is a little insight:


Katie is fiercely loyal, incredibly generous, and has a very wicked sense of humor. There is nothing funnier in the world to Katie than watching someone she loves get mildly hurt by running into a cabinet, tripping over something, or falling down inexplicably.  And sometimes she shoves food up her nose and pretends it is a booger (I laugh every time).


She is really weird. But in that way that attracts people to her. She is typically the life of the party. Unless she doesn’t know people that well-then she is oddly shy.


Katie brings big emotions with her wherever she goes. She doesn’t do subtle. She loves to play pranks…especially on our mom.


She is a really good aunt. I love the way she loves my boys. She is a caretaker by nature and is always putting the needs of others before her own.


Katie is a loving mom of two daughters. She was a very young mom to Taylor and did an amazing job in very tough circumstances.


You know what my relationship with my sister has taught me?  Different is better. Different makes life interesting.


Last Chance November 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 7:33 pm

I love to read. Unfortunately, during this busy season of my life, I don’t get the opportunity to dive into the New York Times bestsellers list.  I need 500 words or less, which is why I find myself reading blogs. I have a few favorite bloggers that really challenge me. I am sharing these with you to give you some context and insight into my restless mind…

Tara Livesay – she adopted two kids from Haiti more than 10 years ago and currently lives in Haiti working for Heartline Ministries. She has a lot to say about adoption ethics and has witnessed firsthand some very corrupt practices in Haiti.

Seth Haines  – he and his wife actually backed out of an adoption in Africa because of concerns of unethical processes.

And of course Jen Hatmaker (don’t judge me because I am obsessed) – she adopted two kids from Ethiopia and her commentary on life (one and two years out) after adoption has me appropriately shaking in my boots. I’m considering getting a tattoo of Philippians 4:13 on my forearm lest I forget why we signed up for this adoption business in the first place.



I’m wrestling with some pretty tough stuff right now-I’m downright manic. You might remember the Ruckus I mentioned in my previous posts about ethical adoptions. As we are moving further down the road in our adoption process, the thought of any unethical practices has me on my knees and up at night.

Tara Livesay said this, “Adoption is not about finding a child for a family who really desperately wants one. Adoption is about finding a family for a child who really desperately needs one.

How do we ensure that we are adopting a child that actually needs us? There is a radical cry to ensure that this MUST BE the case in every single adoption.  And I agree. But what does that look like practically?

We vetted our adoption agency. We have full confidence in their ethical standards and practices-they are very transparent. We chose a country that has just recently re-organized the way they process adoptions to do a better job of ensuring ethical practices. Here is the process in Haiti –

–       Based on our family’s request for a child, our orphanage identifies a specific child to the Haitian government adoption entity (ISEBR).

–       ISEBR then meets with the biological parent/s** of the “orphan” multiple times to ensure they understand that their child is being permanently adopted and were not somehow misled or manipulated. They work with the parents to identify possible ways for them to take back their kids and support them.

–       Only after multiple meetings with the biological parents will ISEBR declare a child adoptable.

**This is where I get very uncomfortable.  Why am I adopting a child if their parent is alive? Is it because of poverty? Well then should I just send my $30,000 to that parent to take care of her child in the child’s native country? If we were not adopting this child, what would happen to him or her? How can we ensure that we are the LAST CHANCE for this child?


Southbound November 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 7:22 pm

Our dossier has left the country…at long last. That blessed pile of papers is making its way to Haiti. I am so grateful (practically giddy) to have one more step down in our path. Here is what has happened already and what still has to happen before we bring home our child (as far as I understand).

  1. Complete dossier – check
  2. Dossier translated – check
  3. Dossier authenticated by Haitian Consulate – check
  4. Dossier mailed to lawyer at our crèche, Foyer de Sion – check

Here’s what’s coming….I am terribly sorry for all the details. But a lot of people have asked me why in the world it takes so long.  Well, here’s why:

  1. Our Haitian lawyer submits our dossier to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for legalization
  2. Our dossier is then submitted to the Haitian adoption government agency – ISEBR
  3. We wait for our referral (which means a picture and information about a child) – I believe this process takes a REALLY long time
  4. We accept our referral and our dossier leaves ISEBR and goes to parquet (pre-court). I believe after we accept our referral we go to Haiti to visit our child.
  5. We leave parquet and go to real court
  6. We then go to the Ministry of Interior legalization process – I have no idea what this even means?
  7. Then we go to the Ministry of Interior – again, huh?
  8. We then get our passport for our child and do a Visa interview
  9. Then we bring our child home – yay!

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