Famous Last Words

Our Adoption Journey to Haiti

The Final Chapter January 17, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 5:43 pm

When I began this blog, its purpose was to document the journey to adopt our child. I wanted a written testimony for our child to show him that he was wanted, loved, and sought after.  The process to adopt Jonathan is finally over – and so this will be the final blog post.  We will share these words with him when he is ready.

We love Haiti for many reasons, but most of all because our son is Haitian. Our investment in Haiti is not over.  We are committed to spending time in our son’s country as tourists, primarily.  And maybe, if we believe we can actually ever be truly helpful and not create more problems, doing missions work.

I want to share the story of our homecoming trip…it was the most exciting, beautiful, emotional, and suspenseful trip of the eight trips we made to Haiti in the past two years.

We knew that homecoming was very close when on Friday, December 1st we received visa approval from USCIS.  Once we had that approval in hand, Jonathan needed to go to the doctor’s office in Haiti to get medical tests (including TB) completed.  Once those tests were completed and turned into the Embassy in Haiti, our Visa would be printed and we could book our flights.

Jonathan went to the doctor on Monday, December 4th.  Our orphanage representative went to pick them up Thursday, December 7th, but apparently the doctor was very busy and not able to print the results.  So our orphanage representative had an appointment to go back first thing Friday morning to pick them up so that he could then get them to the Embassy and our Visa could be printed.

Keep in mind, our family is on the edge of our seats. We don’t know exactly when we are going to leave….but it literally could be the next day.

The hours ticked by on Friday.   Finally, around 2:45 we heard from our adoption agency that Jonathan’s medicals were picked up and they were going to try to get them to the Embassy before they closed at 3:30.

In conjunction with our orphanage and agency, Patrick and I decided to leave for Haiti on Sunday, even without our Visa printed, because everyone was so certain that the visa was going to be printed first thing Monday morning.

So we left for Haiti Sunday, December 10th.  By law, we had to stay in Haiti for six days to pick him up.  We arrived Sunday evening.   We were going to relax at the hotel Monday to give the Embassy time to print our visa.  Then Tuesday morning our driver, Rocky, was going to pick us up, go to the embassy, then pick up Jonathan.

The hours ticked by on Monday and still no Visa. We were starting to get very worried, but were assured by our agency that the Visa would be ready Tuesday morning.  Rocky picked us up at 10:30 am Tuesday and we still did not have the Visa.  He encouraged us to go to the Embassy ourselves, even though we were advised that we could not get in without an appointment.

Patrick and I bullied our way in (you can imagine how uncomfortable this made Patrick). We went to the attendant that handled Visas and learned that our orphanage had STILL not dropped off Jonathan’s medicals. I literally thought my head was going to explode.  During a very heated conversation with our adoption agency (who is great by the way….they too were deceived), we learned that the orphanage had not even picked up his medicals.  Again, I am normally a reasonable person…but I completely lost it.

Rocky raced us to the orphanage to figure out the problem. We tracked down (by telephone) the orphanage representative who had told us that he picked up Jonathan’s medicals on Friday.  He said that he was on his way to pick up the medicals and would meet us at the Embassy to drop them off. We never did learn why he told us they were picked up Friday.

I had always imagined picking up Jonathan from the orphanage for the last time being very emotional. We would take hundreds of pictures, give out gifts, and say meaningful goodbyes.  Nope.  That did not happen.  While I was dealing with tracking down Jonathan’s medical reports, Patrick raced around the orphanage trying to get a couple of pictures.  Jonathan gave a very non-chalant, “bye-bye” and we were gone within 15 minutes.

We raced back to the Embassy. We bullied our way in again.  Fortunately, Jonathan’s medicals were finally there.  But our Visa would not be ready until Wednesday morning.  Our flights home were scheduled for Friday morning.  Not only did we have to have the Visa to go home, but we had to get a travel exit letter from Haiti…which they needed the Visa before they would print the exit letter.  This was a tight turnaround.

We returned to the Embassy Wednesday morning and picked up our Visa – one major hurdle down! Our driver, Rocky, had planned an amazing adventure for us Wednesday and Thursday.

We left the Embassy and headed south to the beaches of Jacmel. It was about a 2-hour drive (half of the drive was over a treacherous mountain – good news is none of us get car sick).  We hit the beach.  Jonathan had no issue with the sand or water.  But a wave caught him and Patrick and took them down.  That was the end of the beach!

Thursday morning we went for a hike to the most beautiful place we’ve ever been – Bassin Bleu. We went swimming in the waterfall and enjoyed fresh coconut.  We headed back toward Port-au-Prince where we had lobster lunch on the beach on our way into town.

By this point, it is approximately 2pm on Thursday. We are still waiting for our travel exit letter as we are supposed to fly home early the next morning.  We are calling and texting our orphanage representative to get the status.  Apparently, the woman who has the sign the letter left the office, but she was coming back right before they closed.  Wha?????  The office closes at 5.  It is now 4:15. We are all very worried.  Everyone in the car is completely quiet… the tension is so thick. Rocky decides that we are going to go to the office ourselves and wait.  As we are driving there, around 4:45, we get an email that the exit letter is signed.

Rocky dropped us off at our hotel and the exit letter was delivered around 7:30 pm. Finally, we were cleared to go home.

We head to the airport Friday morning. We make it through security.  Once we get to immigration, the woman tells us that we needed a full copy of the exit letter in order to leave.  We had already been through so much stress waiting for our Visa and exit letter.  Now this?  I just stared at her.  Patrick was uncomfortably trying to navigate how we were going to get through.  The woman told us to leave the airport and go find a copy machine to make a copy.  Like hell was this mama going to leave that airport.  I told her we were not leaving. After a long uncomfortable stare down, she finally asked the immigration representative beside her and he said it was ok for us to pass.

We boarded our airplane at 8:30 am Friday, December 15th and headed home.  Forever.

Jonathan, we loved you before we met you. We loved you the first day we met you on October 12, 2015.  And we will love you forever.

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