We found out on Friday that our file entered the Visa stage…the last step before we fly home…the last step before our family is back together. We were told by the Department of State that our file will not take long to process since they reviewed it before and were ready to approve us when the mess began and Haiti insisted that we needed to fix 2 papers. I am hoping to get an email early next week telling us when our Visa appointment is scheduled so that Jeff can book his flight to come down and meet us.  Then we can all fly home together.  

I’ve been here 2 1/2 months now and as much as I love everyone here, I am ready to be home.  Ashley and I traveled home for almost a week and returned last Tuesday. It was nice to be home but hard to leave again after such a brief visit. I hadn’t planned on coming home but Jeff’s brother passed away and we needed to be home and with our family for this heartbreaking time. It was an exhausting and emotionally draining trip but I was glad we could be with family for a few days and celebrate the life of my amazing brother-in-law who will be missed terribly by everyone who knew him.

I am hoping to see all of you very soon and introduce you to our daughters.  Please pray that there are NO MORE DELAYS. I’m not sure any of us can take any more. 

Thank you all for your continued support of our family during this very long journey.

Resting in Him,

Brenda

Well here is the latest from Haiti….

We found out yesterday that the problem with our file (and about 50 other families’ files) is that the adoptions aren’t listed as full and final and the paperwork, including the passports, lists the girls’ names with their previous last names and then our last name. This is how they always did it before the law change but now it is required that the birth parents sign something that says they realize the adoption is full and final and then the paperwork is changed so that their previous last name is dropped.

Our agency went and retrieved our file today from USCIS (US Immigration) to return it to IBESR (Haitian Children’s Services) to begin the process of having this fixed. They have an appointment tomorrow at IBESR to discuss our file and determine if our girls’ birth parents have to come back in AGAIN or if they can just make the change. Then it appears that the file will need to go back through the passport office to have the passports printed with the corrected name and then the file will go back to USCIS for approval and then back to the Visa office so they can be issued visas to go home.  This is my understanding at this point but some things have not been clearly stated so this may change.

I have no idea how long any of this will take. 

I have to confess that I had a really bad day yesterday when I heard that our file had to go back to IBESR, which is often refered to as the black hole. I was so frustrated that this was happening. It was the last thing I wanted to hear after already being here for 5 week, but I know that nothing has changed in God’s timing and that we will come home when He decides. Everything is still under His control. I’m praying that this process will happen amazingly fast and we will get home quickly, or that God will give me, and Jeff who is home alone, the strength to endure as long as we need to. I also pray that the girls will not become discouraged with the wait.

At this point I am trying to look at the positive. I am getting to spend time with my daughters and get to know them better (and after sharing a bathroom with them I’m thankful that they will have their own when we get home). I’m thankful that they are taking such good care of me while I’m here. I’m thankful for the school and how busy that has kept me and that it has given me a way to help and I’m thankful that Ashley is here with me to act as my interpreter and driver and to support me through all of this.

Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated. I will update as soon as I know more.

In Him,

Brenda

Haiti Field Hi all,

I’ve been in Haiti for almost a month now.  I was hoping to be counting down the days until I got home but that’s just not God’s plan right now.  On Friday we got word that our file was returned to USCIS (US Immigration) because there is an error on one of our documents.  We did everything correctly but on our final adoption decree they put one wrong word…or at least it is not the word that the US Immigration officials want it to say.  There are several other families that are being held up for this same technicality and have been waiting for a long time.

This was not the news we expected since our file had already been passed on to the Visa stage.  The Immigration officials told us that they would let us know next week what they need from us next.  Our agency has not been able to help so we are forced to hire an immigration attorney.  Jeff has a phone consultation with an attorney tomorrow morning.  We are praying that she will be able to contact USCIS and get some answers for us and find out what we need to do to resolve this issue quickly.

Please join us in praying that this issue will get resolved quickly and we can bring our girls home soon.  Please pray for strength and wisdom for Jeff and I and that we can be back together again soon.

In the meantime, I will continue to help in the school, sweat,play with children, sweat, enjoy getting to know my girls, sweat, enjoy the beautiful country, sweat, eat great Haitian food…you get the point.  God will bring us all home in His time.

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers.

Blessings,

Brenda

Girls

For those of you who don’t know, I am updating from Haiti. I arrived Wednesday after a long day of travel which fortunately did not involve any puking for a change.  I’m so thankful for good drugs. 

 I came down to help Ashley with the start-up of the new school at the orphanage. We are very excited about the school and think it will be a great investment in the future of these children. We spent most of the summer fundraising, training and getting ready for the start of this school year. Thank you to all of you who helped us with all of this. 

Since we’ve been here we’ve been super busy doing testing on the kids, altering uniforms, and dealing with the chaos that never stops in a house with 30 children but it has been great reuniting with all of them.

Our adoption status is still the same. We are waiting for U.S. Immigrations to give their approval (which they say will be in two weeks) and send our file on to the Department of State to issue Visas for the girls. The visa stage usually takes about 3 weeks. Then we will be heading home

 My plan is to stay until the girls are released to travel home and then we will head up to Port-au-Prince where Jeff will fly in and meet us and we will all go home together. In the meantime I will be living at the orphanage, helping with the school, and spending time with our girls and all the kids at the orphanage.  

If you would please pray for us, here are our most pressing requests:

  • Pray for a successful school year for the children.
  • Pray for a speedy end to the U.S. Immigration process.
  • Pray that there are no hold ups in the Visa stage.
  • Pray that I will be able to function well in the heat of Haiti and that I will not get sick while I am here. (I’m kind of a baby too so please pray I would be tough enough to live in Haiti.)
  • Pray for Jeff as he is home and not able to be here with his girls.

While I am here I will have access to wi-fi sometimes so please feel free to message me through Facebook, Skype, or WhatsApp. I will be homesick and craving contact with my friends.

Thank you all for the love and support that you have showered on Jeff and I throughout this incredibly long and difficult process. We see the end in sight and are looking forward to being home with our girls very soon. I can’t wait for you all to meet these awesome young ladies. 

Brenda

The verse my grandfather gave to me to live by:  2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power and He maketh my way perfect.          

Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted in the earth.

God has moved our mountain.  We have exited MOI (Ministry of the Interior) after a 3 month wait.  The girls went up this morning to sign the final paperwork to get their passports made.  We should be done with the Haiti immigration side within a week and can move on to the US immigration process.  Please pray that there are no delays on that end.

It’s been a long journey but it is the journey that God gave us to walk and so we do not walk it in our own strength.  I was just looking over my blogs from the past 3 years and these words from the Mercy Me song that I posted in January of 2013 still ring so true.

You’re the one who conquers giants
You’re the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You’re the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan’s hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am
You are I am

Praising Him for where He has brought us so far and knowing that He who parted the Red Sea to bring the children of Israel into the Promised Land will bring our children home.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Brenda20150329_161420

17661044[1]The last time I wrote was in February when we received our official adoption decree and were excited that we were nearing the end of this very long road.  We had hoped that we would have our girls home by June so they could be here to see that Ohio does actually have some good weather.  Unfortunately the road has been a little bumpier than we thought it would be and we have been delayed again.

We entered MOI (Ministry of the Interior) on March 17.  They were supposed to issue the decree that said that the girls could be given their Haitian passports.  This process was supposed to take about 4 weeks.  We have now passed the 10 week point and are still waiting. We were told that they were “out of ink” so they couldn’t print the letter necessary for the girls to be issued passports.  We have since learned that this is not true and they are just refusing to cooperate. So basically, the Haitian officials in MOI are holding our girls hostage.  Our agency has been fighting with them to get them to release our girls and obey their own laws.

We have done everything that we know how to do to try to get this moving.  We have contacted everyone we know who might have some pull and we have gotten nowhere.  We are frustrated.  The girls are frustrated and wanting to know when they are coming home.  We have frustrated our agency immensely with our constant badgering. We know though that the only one who has the power to make this happen is God.  It is in His hands and we are trusting that He will show His great power in moving this mountain that stands in the way of our girls coming home.

Please pray with us that God will move this mountain. Please pray that we will trust Him and not our own abilities to make things happen. Please pray that our girls will trust Him also and know that their futures are in His hands and they can rest peacefully in that knowledge.

Thank you.  I will keep you posted.

Brenda

It’s official. There are two new Wojton’s in the world. As of Friday, Rose Berline Wojton and Medgine Wojton are officially our daughters. We received pictures of the adoption decrees and we are beyond excited. This means that they are legally our daughters. We still have to get Haitian passports for them and then proceed to the U.S. part of the process so this is not the end of the road but we can definitely see the light at the end of this very long tunnel.

Since I wrote last a lot has happened. We visited Haiti again last August and spent some time with our girls and all the kids at the orphanage. We had to have the biological father’s of both of the girls go back up to Port-au-Prince to relinquish custody again…for the 3rd time. We had been waiting since April for Children’s Services to allow us to exit that step. It was supposed to happen 10 days after our mandatory 2 week supervised visit with them in April but we did not exit IBESR until November. Then we went to the Parquet courts who again requested that the father’s come up to appear before them. Then we were held up there for two months while they argued that Rose was now too old to be adopted. As our agency fought this stupid misinterpretation of their own law we waited again…not so patiently. Finally a couple of weeks ago the Parquet judges agreed to sign the papers necessary to move our file one step closer. And Friday we received the OFFICIAL ADOPTION DECREE! Praise God! They are our daughters now.
August 2014 (8)
We have a trip planned for next month to go for one more visit to Les Cayes before we go to take them home. We are hoping to be able to bring them home by summer. We are praying that there are no other delays in the process and that the US immigration process goes smoothly. These girls have waited sooo long now. We are praying that the wait is almost over.

Thank you to all of you who have prayed with us for the past 2 years. Please keep praying! The end is in sight!
Brenda

Medgine and BrendaWe have been home from our visit to Haiti for over 6 weeks now. We have heard that our file is still at the judges offices but we don’t know why or how long it will be stuck there. We have bugged, pushed, begged and harassed people to try to get this moving. Our girls are sad that they are missing important things that are happening this summer. They missed their oldest brother’s graduation from Ohio State with his doctorate degree. They missed their other brother’s graduation from Navy Nuclear Power Training and they will miss his wedding this weekend. They want to come home and be a part of this family.

That is why we need your help! We need your prayers. We know that God can move this mountain and bring our girls home. Will you please pray with us that the judge will sign our file and move it on to the next step in the process and that the remaining steps on the Haitian side would go quickly. Please pray that once our file gets to the US Embassy that there won’t be any problems and that it will be processed quickly.

We would love to bring our girls home this fall! They would love to come home this fall! Please pray for that miracle with us. Please pray that God will give us peace while we wait. Please pray that God will watch over and protect our girls while they wait and that they would have patience and not lose hope.

Above all, may God be honored through this whole process and may He receive the glory that is due Him for all that He has done and will continue to do to make all things work together for our good.

Ephesians 3:20-21 – Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Thank you for your love and support and for your continued prayers.

Jeff & Brenda

Girls Haiti April 2014 These four precious girls see themselves as sisters and they see us as their parents.

We just returned from our second trip to Haiti this year. We visited for 12 days in January and just returned yesterday from a 16 day trip. This was my fifth trip to Haiti since August of 2012. I never thought I would have to say good-bye to my girls this many times. We are weary of the wait. We are frustrated with the fact that our girls are still living in an orphanage without their parents. Don’t get me wrong, they are well taken care of by the wonderful ladies that run the orphanage but they are still not with their family…us! They think of us as mom and dad and they want to come HOME!

This trip was part of the process and was a step forward in getting the Haitian side of the adoption finished for the oldest two girls. The new Haitian law mandates a 2 week bonding trip that is supervised by social services before they will approve your adoption. This is because, under the new law, prospective parents are not supposed to know their children so this would be the first time they would meet them and then get to spend the two weeks getting to know them. Of course, our process began before this law took effect and we have known our girls for a year and a half but we were still required to complete this step.

It was awesome getting to spend so much time with them and all of the children at the orphanage but it was really hard to leave them there this time. It is hard every time but this time we were able to spend some time alone with just our 4 girls and we started feeling like a family…and then we left them. They are sisters at heart and they are our girls and it is so hard on them to have to go back to normal life in Haiti while we return home. It is not fair! They are children that deserve a family.

I keep wondering what we can do to make the process of international adoption, and specifically Haitian adoptions easier. I don’t have a problem with the fact that the American and Haitian governments make you go through intense scrutiny before being qualified to adopt. I don’t have a problem with them reviewing my medical and psychological history. I don’t mind the criminal background checks, the home inspections, or the numerous letters of recommendation from friends, employers, pastors, and family. I gladly turned over all my financial records, work history, and personal data. What I do mind is that after all of that, they still drag their feet and refuse to do anything unless bugged and harassed. We have found that the Haitian social services will sit with files on their desks for months and months and not even bother to work on them until someone goes in and insists that they do something.

We would not have gotten permission to move on to this step in the process if our daughter, Ashley, had not personally gone to the government and requested that they move our case along. I watch as so many other families sit by and wait for something to happen with their adoptions. We are not good at sitting by and waiting when there is NO REASON for the wait. They are not busily working other cases. They are not working at all. I’ve been there and seen everyone sitting around talking or watching television. Ashley waited for a long time outside the office of one of the head officials as she could hear him trying to clear the next level of Candy Crush! All of this while hundreds of children are currently in the system waiting to go home with the parents that love them. This is a disgrace. We should not all be sitting idly by waiting while this goes on.

I wish I had a solution for how to solve the issues of international adoptions but I don’t. All I have are questions.

Why does it take 2 to 3 years to finish an adoption?

What will it take to have real changes made?

Why are there rules about how many children you can take at one time? Is there a shortage of orphans to go around?

Why is a 50-year-old allowed to adopt and infant but if you are over 50 you have to beg for special permission to be able to adopt even if the child is 9 years old?

Why are the costs so high that most families need to fundraise and beg for money just to be able to bring a child home from a country that is not able to financially care for them?

Why are agencies afraid to go in to the government offices and demand answers?

Why is no one willing to listen to what is best for the children? I realize that laws are in place for a reason but when they don’t make sense in an individual case why is it so hard to get an exception made?

Why is the US government not more helpful in getting foreign governments to complete these adoptions?

I could go on and on but I’m sure you are sick of my ranting by now. I will end with just a simple plea that you pray with me for miracles. We are trusting God that He will work this all out but we also feel that He is telling us to fight for our girls and to fight for change in this process. I’m not sure how we are supposed to do that but we will do whatever we can. Please pray that God will give us wisdom and direction and that He will break down the barriers that are holding our children captive.

Thank you for listening and praying!
Brenda

Ashley and MedgineFinally, after months of waiting we have taken the first major step in this process. We have IBESR numbers!!! IBESR is the Haitian Social Services, and obtaining a number from them means that we are officially entered into the system and matched with our oldest two girls. This is huge for us since we needed to get our oldest in the system before she turned 16 in January. We are praising God for this major step.

This is only the beginning and we are praying that the rest of the steps will go quickly and we can get these 2 girls home. Thank you to all of you that have been praying diligently for this first step to happen. Please continue to pray that things will move along now.

Many of you have asked me what happens now and why the process takes so long. I was going to try to write out the whole process here but it is much too long and complicated. If you are interested you can read about it on our agencies blog. http://kashaiti.blogspot.com/p/hatian-adoption-process.html

Once our oldest two girls are approved from the Haitian government we can immediately go back in and file for the younger two while we are working on the US side for the older two. We are praying that there will not be too long of a gap after the oldest two come home before the little ones join them.

It’s so hard to explain to the girls why things are taking so long since we don’t understand ourselves. We are looking forward to the time when we won’t have to sing them happy birthday over the phone or miss out on spending Christmas morning with them. We know though that God is in control and is working all of this out. There is a reason for the wait and we are trying to be patient and wait on His perfect time. We know that miracles have happened in just getting us this far. He is at work and when these girls come home it will be obvious that it was only because of Him that any of this was accomplished.

Thank you all for your love and support during this very trying year. Your prayers are so greatly appreciated. The acts of kindness shown to us this past year have been both humbling and encouraging. We are truly blessed to have so much support from our family and friends. Thank you.

In Him,
Brenda

We are continuing our Amazon Fundraiser so if you are planning to shop at Amazon please follow this link and a percentage of your sale goes to our adoption fund. The page won’t look any different to you and it won’t cost you anything. Wojton Adoption Fundraiser

Seeing God's Children as He Sees Them