It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since we welcomed Feven home! I fully intended to write this post sooner, but….with 3 kids, 3 horses, 2 dogs and our new crazy life, well, I just haven’t quiet figured out how to get everything done yet. Hopefully this gets better with time.
Anyway, this post is about Feven’s Homecoming. Let me start back to the week of July 15th. Looking back at the blog, I remember how desperate we where. That was the longest week of our lives. All legal documents from our attorney had been submitted to the US Embassy. We went Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday without hearing a word. Basically Wednesday night we were being prepped for the next steps. We were being prepared for Feven’s case to be denied. Thursday comes and we picked our heads up knowing, whatever the decision is, we continue to push on. We will bring our daughter home. It seems so surreal…she cleared! With tears of joy and praises to God we quickly packed Jeremy as fast as we could and on Saturday July 20th, Jyaden, Judah and I said goodbye to him at the airport.
That week was crazy busy with me being a single mom of 2 kids while working and getting everything ready for Feven at home. (cut me some slack, I’ve only been a mom for 3 months at this point and am trying to figure it out, I know lots of people are single parents and are fantastic at it).
Friday July 26th finally arrives! Today is the day! I remember running around the house like a crazy person. Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping. I wanted everything to be perfect. But most of all, my anxiety and excitement were through the roof! Even Jayden and Judah knew. In Judah’s words: “Feven Home! Yay! (clapping his hands). That morning Feven and Jeremy landed in DC and for the first time I was able to see her and speak to her by Face Time. Jayden and Judah giggled and laughed seeing her. For me, seeing her face next to Jeremy’s made me speechless. Our fight was over, she was on US soil.
As I laid Judah and Jayden down for a quick nap, I hopped in the shower rushing to get ready. Everything is such a blur. I laid out my dress, Jayden’s dress and Judah’s suit. I had planned this all along. I was saving our outfits for this moment. While in Ethiopia in April I had bought traditional Ethiopian outfits for us. Jayden and Judah had no idea. But oh the excitement they had once their clothes were on. All Smiles!
Out the door we went. Technically I left in plenty of time, but we made a pit stop to buy roses for our girl. Well, when you have to lug a slow moving crew, I went into panic mode rushing to make it to the airport. For anyone who knows me, I HATE being LATE! I was terrified I was going to be late for my own daughter’s homecoming! AHHHH!!!!
My heart raced. Due to arrive @ 3:50pm on a Friday, I fully expected most of our friends and family not to be able to make it because of work. As I walked towards the gate my heart was full. So many people and they just kept coming….many took off from work, others worked through lunch…all to be present and welcome Feven home. I have never felt more blessed than in that moment.
New friends, old friends, Ethiopian friends all piled in. My heart raced as Jeremy called to say they had landed and were on their way out. Then I heard someone yell, “I see them.” I took Judah in my arms and Jayden by the hand and slowly walked out from the crowd. As they came through the gate, I hear Judah, “mom…dad and Feven.”
I’m not sure I can describe this moment for you. I can say that I hugged her neck so tightly and we both cried. I cried because for a while I was scared that we would never have this moment. To have her here, in my arms felt like a dream. I cried tears of joy, tears of relief, tears of hope, tears of praises to Our God who is merciful and mighty to Save.
This picture tells it all. My happiest moment. My Family of 5! Hand picked by God himself.
I want to start by thanking everyone who has prayed, fasted and lifted up Feven. Jeremy and I can honestly say that this has been the hardest experience for us. Adoption is hard. PERIOD. There is always waiting involved and different variations of waiting. The waiting really gets hard towards the end, once you’ve travelled for your first trip and are home waiting to be submitted to the Embassy and then cleared by the Embassy to bring your child home. There is a whole where you know your child is suppose to be. And no matter what you do, that void is not filled by anything. And really…no one really knows how that feels expect others that have walked the same road.
The last 3 weeks of our journey we hit rock bottom as you all know. It seemed like no end was in sight. Last Sunday our attorney submitted all the documents to make our case to the US Embassy. We went Monday, Tues and Wed with no communication from the US Embassy. All I could think was…really…it takes how many day to make a decision. If you are going to say no, say no so we can begin the fight to bring her home. We had been told that if we did not her anything by Thurs, most likely our case was going to be submitted to USCIS head quarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
As Wed came to an end and Thurs began, we faced the day knowing our chances were slim at this point. Feeling defeated and weary we continued our day as always. Just before 10am, my phone rings. I answer to hear Jeremy crying on the other end. My heart sank as I prepare for his words, “We CLEARED! Mer we CLEARED!” and I cried. I sat in the office and just cried. All the pressure of that elephant that has been sitting on my chest for 3 weeks just caused me to erupt. And in 1 simple call, it was gone. GONE! Our fight was over. FEVEN IS COMING HOME!
So as I sit to type this post, my dogs are at my feet, Jayden and Judah are tucked in bed and my husband will be landing in an hour in Ethiopia to bring Feven home! Let me just say it again, Feven is coming home!
We will be welcoming her and Jeremy home Friday 26 @ 3:50pm at the Louisville International Airport. Jayden, Judah and I are crossing off the days every day counting it down. We are so thankful for everyone who has helped, prayed, fasted, lifted up, loved and cared for us during these last 19-20 months of our adoption. Our journey is not ending, it is only beginning.
This post was meant to be written this weekend. However with the never ending list of things to do at home on a farm and kids…well…I am just now getting to it.
I don’t have any great words of wisdom or facts. All I have is the plea for urgent prayer. Our last post was about the struggles of Feven’s case. In the last almost 3 weeks now, our agency has been conducting interviews with Feven’s birth father, sister, aunt, uncle, school, orphanage director and Feven herself. We have letters from Jeremy and myself plus Feven’s best friend who lived with her for 3 years. From those documents our attorney composed a legal letter with law citation arguing Feven’s case.
Our letter has been completed. Today around 4pm our attorney submitted the letter along with all evidence regarding our case. When the US Embassy arrives to work tomorrow, around 1am our time, they will have all documents. Before going to sleep, please pray for our Feven! Please pray for clear minds, open hearts and grace on our Embassy worker reviewing the case. Please pray that all questions or concerns that they may have are answered. And lastly pray for Feven’s heart and mind. She is weary and tired and sad. She is working through a lot of things on her own at the young age of 15. More than I ever could. We long for her to be home. We are tired and weary. Our rest and hope comes from the Lord. We are putting one foot in front of the other just 1 minute at a time. That’s all we can do.
We are hopeful that with the attorney’s help, Feven will be cleared quickly. I’m not sure I want to talk about what happens if not. I will say that it would months before coming home (fighting every step of the way). However, we are hopeful. We have so many loving friends, family and people I’ve never met that have heard our story, all on bended knees praying for our sweet Feven. God has BIG plans for her. And I can’t help but recall a wonderful, wise friend of ours telling me the enemy “hates children and he would rather them die on the side of the road than to have a chance at a family and what that teaches their hearts about the Father’s love.” Feven WILL do amazing things.
I know God hears our cries. I know he knows our hearts and her heart. Our God is faithful.
Thank you all who have lifted up our family and especially Feven during this time. Pray boldly tonight.
2 weeks ago tomorrow Jeremy and I awoke for work, excited, nervous and ready for the news we had been anticipating for a long time. We were expecting news on Feven. Her birth Father had an interview with the US Embassy that morning, early. This is one of the last stages that you see with a lot times your child clearing that same day. This held true for Jayden and Judah. The same day their mom had her interview, they cleared. We had been putting the finishing touches on her room, packing bags and were feeling ready for Jeremy to hop on that plane to bring her home.
Instead of what was to be a joyous moment, excitement and relief became….fear, hopelessness and devastation. I remember it all too well… the nightmare that won’t go away. Rather than news of being cleared, Feven was being questioned because of her age. No big deal, right? Wrong! We know our sweet girl to be 15. However the US Embassy was requesting additional documentation supporting her age…. which more than likely does not exist. Remember, it is a 3rd world country and they do not have paper documentation like we do. And on top of that, they are requesting information from close to 7 years or more.
I literally could not breath anymore. It felt like something was sitting on my chest. All I could think was, “no, no, no. This can’t be!” I won’t lie, I cancelled by patients for the day, went home and cried! ALL DAY! I know, you are wondering what the big deal is… well, here it is. We know Feven to be 15. We believe she is 15! Once a child turns 16, they are deemed no longer adoptable into the US. (yes this is a US rule, A STUPID rule!) At age 16 you are still a minor in the US, so why 16? We have no idea. This 1 year difference meant the difference between her coming home and her not coming home. If deemed un adoptable here, that would mean we have legal custody of her in Ethiopia but not able to bring her to the US. As far as the Ethiopian government is concerned, she is ours. We are responsible for her. But she can’t come here! Seriously the dumbest thing I have ever heard of! (excuse me for saying that. I will end the rant there, because I have so much more I want or could say).
As our world around us suddenly became unknown, we put on the happy face for Jayden and Judah (who ask for Feven daily at this point!). With lack of sleep and stress…we pushed on.
Many things have run through our heads. We have a daughter 1/2 way across the world. What will we do to bring her home? What would we do to be a family? We have our answers and we know what it could come to, but we pray and hope for the best. As the week went on, our news got worse and worse and worse. It finally hit a point where we were expecting the worst at this point. And then, we caught a break.
Our adoption agency contacted the best adoption attorney in the country on our behalf. She even took time to call back while on vacation with her family. She gave us some things to be working on while she is gone that way it is complete for when she returns to the office. She ask to get interviews from Feven’s family regarding her age. Immediately Jeremy called a family that has adopted Feven’s best friend. These girls have been together for 3 years. This brave girl wrote a beautiful letter of testimony about Feven. Jeremy and I also wrote a letter. The attorney will compile all documents and write a legal letter for us citing various laws and codes, etc and arguing for our case to be cleared. The attorney also recommended interviewing friends and family of Feven and getting written testimony from them stating her age.
So, as of today, this is where we are. We feel stuck, she feels stuck. We have relinquished all control and have tired to learn to let go. Yes, we know this is all in God’s hands and He is in control. And that is a very easy thing to say when you are not living in this moment. These are all things we know and we try to take comfort in, but it does not mean it is easy.
Below is a video that a fellow adoptive mom and friend made for us during the start of the rocky 2 weeks. It is a beautiful piece that reminds me, God will bring us together. How she even knew to pick that song it beyond me. The song is one that was shared by another friend and adoptive mom when we began our journey 19 months age. We have prayed, fasted, cried and pleaded. As this week moves on, will you pray? will you fast? will you remember our Feven who is all alone waiting for us? This week and next week will be vital to getting her home.
To be honest, I am not really sure where to begin this post. I’m not sure I have the right words to express our feelings or the situation.
Sitting here on the couch, I had a completely different post in mind for this week. I fully expected to be writing a post this week about Feven clearing Embassy, Jeremy leaving to bring her home and all the excitement we have to finally be a whole family. However as we worked on packing bags and finishing touches to her room, it all came to a sudden stop. Tuesday morning, early, we were expecting great news of Feven being cleared. Instead it came to a screeching halt. The phone call that took place was not one of her being cleared, but one of questions that the Embassy has regarding our daughter.
I would love to sit here and say it’s just a road block, a bump, a hurdle to climb. But Jeremy and I can’t help but sit and wonder pending what is found and how the Embassy rules, could our daughter be denied coming to the US to be with her family. Would they really do that? Could they really do that? Remember, in Ethiopia we have custody of her. She is our daughter. Could it really be that we would have a daughter on the other side of the world that we could not bring home!
As you can imagine, it has been an emotional week. It doesn’t help that Jayden and Judah have watched us pack, work on her room and now are wondering why it stopped suddenly. Tired, exhausted and drained do not even bring justice to how we feel right now. We have prayed, we truly believe and know God granted us with a beautiful daughter. But what will He have us do to bring her home? Whatever it is, we will do.
Our family covets your prayers now more than ever. But I would ask…no plead…can you take it 1 step further. Fast for Feven. Even if you can’t do a full 24 hours, can you do 12, can you do 1 meal? Can you, would you give up the comfort of 1 meal and instead pray for our daughter who is desperately wanting to come home.