I Can’t Walk Away :: Patience Through the Trial of An Arduous Adoption



difficult international adoption

I have heard that the gestation of a mama elephant is over two years. At this point, I should have given birth to two elephants! Adoption took root in my heart when I was a little girl. Maybe because my mom was adopted, I’m not sure, but it really started to grow after my second child was born. It consumed me. I knew I had heard from the Lord, and that our family should adopt. When I excitedly called my precious husband to tell him my plan and got a resounding “NO”, I was stunned. But not enough to give up!

I’m very persistent, y’all.

After years of begging, posting pictures of orphans and scriptures, and praying, he felt the time was right. We went down several paths, and some of them ended in brick walls. At one point, we were even matched with a birth mom who ended up choosing a different route. Then, in April, 2012,  we went to Haiti. Oh, Haiti, how you rocked my world. Our world.  We met two precious babies: a brother and sister in a creche in Montrouis, Haiti. We fell in love and devoted ourselves to prayer. Our hearts had been broken, and we wanted to be sure we were doing what God wanted us to do. We received that confirmation and knew that these were OUR children.

We had done lots of research on the particular agency and creche that we planned on using for this adoption. We followed up on references, meeting everyone in person, and we both felt peace to begin the process. We were told in the beginning it would be 12 months or less to bring these two home – we waited, and waited, and waited. Our babies were “stuck on the President’s Desk”, awaiting something called “dispensation”. We already had biological children, so we needed a special waiver from the President of Haiti to adopt these kids. Though we had befriended the director of the creche, and loved her, red flags had begun to pop up. I was embarrassed to say anything because we had already heard things from people like “Well, maybe its not God’s will for you to adopt… what about all the money you already spent…”

Quietly we started asking questions – and the answers were terrifying. Misappropriation of funding, starving children, birth parents being told that their children were in “boarding school” and secretly put up for adoption – we hired a private investigator to determine the orphan status of our beloved children.

He searched the mountains of Haiti to find their biological parents. God granted us a miracle and he found them in only two days! Their biological parents removed them from creche and kept them for a week. We then were able to get the kids transferred to a new creche and hire a new agency to try to salvage our adoption. We were told we may have to start all over, or even worse, that we might not get our kids. They knew us as “mama” and “papa”. They knew their siblings’ names. They wanted desperately to come to America. Finally, after more waiting, the Haitian government granted us permission to proceed with our adoption!

In March 2015, we received an adoption decree. London and Sam now had our last name, and there seemeddifficult international adoption to be an end in sight! These kids might finally come home! We entered the U.S. Immigrations portion of the adoption process in July of this year. It was supposed to take 6 weeks. We felt confident enough to get their rooms ready, and our church threw a wonderful shower for us while we prepared. But weeks passed by, and I still hadn’t heard anything; I started to get nervous.

I received an email from our agency. During this long process, Haiti had changed their adoption laws. We were supposedly grandfathered in under the old law, but the U.S. Department of State was demanding that we add one word to our adoption decree before they would process a visa for the kids. We waited for the Haitian and U.S governments to develop a solution: a 17 step process requiring us to redo all of our paperwork.

That’s where we are now.

We were told it could take up to 5 months for this to be completed. Unfortunately, the Haitian judge responsible for these papers is notoriously corrupt. Our attorney is currently working to convince him to grant our request. We are confident that God has brought us this far, and that He sets the lonely in families {Psalm 68:8}.

I rest in the fact that London and Sam will be with us far longer than we were without them.

After being involved in the adoption community for over 4 years now, I realize that some adoptions go very well, and some don’t. One thing I do know is that there are an estimated 147 million orphans worldwide. 147 million children that have no one to call “mom” and “dad”. That breaks my heart. There are close to 2,000 children in Kansas alone that are legally free for adoption. We can all be the solution.

We are asked many times why we haven’t walked away. Why have we stayed on this journey? At this point, we have spent thousands and thousands of dollars. And you know what? I would do it all again. One day soon, I will step off of a plane, and there will be two fewer orphans in the world. I will look at them and not say “look what I have done” but “look what God has done”. And that is a perfect story of redemption.

Tracie Ward is a mom to 7, pastor’s wife and middle school English Teacher. Growing up in Arkansas, Tracie has also lived in Owasso, Oklahoma and Charleston, South Carolina. The Ward family resides in Andover and loves the community! She also blogs at www.wardfamilycircus.blogspot.com.

difficult international adoption