Being the ultra patient person that I am (ha ha), I emailed Rachel at AOH to ask her about how things were going with the finalization. On February 6th, they were estimating that 15 children would be finalized in the Liberian courts within two weeks, but I hadn't heard of any being done. She said that because of all of the "excitement" over the last few weeks and the possibility of adoptions being shut down by the Embassy, the judge overseeing our cases decided to wait and see what would happen.
The Liberian staff is guessing that at least half of those cases will be done by Friday, Monday, or Tuesday. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if we will be in the first half, because the judge doesn't seem to be concerned with working chronologically. I do know that we are one of the 15 though, and I hope that by early next week, JJ will be officially our son according to the Liberian courts.
These would be the next steps after finalization:
1. Get JJ's passport
2. Schedule a birth family interview at the Embassy. During this interview, the living relatives of the child go to the Embassy to be interviewed by the consular. During that interview, she decides if she believes that these people are truly the birth family. She also makes sure they understand the concept and permanency of adoption. Sometimes she requires a DNA test to prove that they are related to the child. This adds 6-8 weeks to the process and longer if the DNA results are negative. Other times, she is fully convinced that they are the birthfamily, and the interview is successful. In some cases, these birthfamily interviews have not been successful. It is a really scary last step of the process.
(One family this week had an unsuccessful interview. If I understand it correctly, the birth mother is dead and nobody knows where the birthfather is. They were told that if they can't locate the father, the adoption is off. They have been waiting over a year, and Julie has already been to Liberia to meet their little boy, Teddy. It is devastating news. Please pray for the Redman family.)
3. If our interview is successful, than Pat will fly to Liberia and have an appointment at the Embassy to get JJ's visa and then bring him home. : )
My new hope is to have him home before the end of April. We'll see : ) I don't mind having him home sooner, though, Lord. : )
This has been a rough week for me. It is the 13th week of my pregnancy and that is one of my scary anniversaries. My first two pregnancies with Karissa and Amy were perfect and free of complications. As we tried for our third child, we had four pregnancy losses in a row. The first loss was at five months, the second was an early miscarriage at 6 weeks, and the last two losses happened at 13 weeks. Other than the early miscarriage, the other three had no warning or explanation. Everything seemed great until we tried to find a heartbeat. That is why every heartbeat that we are able to hear is such a blessing to me. There is no sweeter sound. : )
For the last three weeks, I have thought that I've been able to feel the baby move. I've doubted myself because all of the pregnancy literature says that you shouldn't be able to feel the baby move before 14 weeks. But I knew that this feeling was unique to pregnancy, and it was a comfort to me even if it wasn't the actual baby moving.
Then over this last week, I haven't been able to feel that movement any more. It added to my stress and fear. Yesterday morning, though, I had a great prayer time and as I said, "Amen," I could feel the baby again. It was such a gift.
Later yesterday afternoon, the Doppler that Pat bought me for my birthday arrived, and the whole family gathered around to hear Baby's heartbeat. Pat tried to find it in the same location that the doctor has been finding it for me, but all we could hear was my heartbeat. I started getting nervous. Karissa kept asking, "Why can't we hear it?" I think she was nervous, too. Finally, Pat said, "Where did you feel the baby moving?" I pointed to the spot, he put the Doppler on it, and there it was, 170 beats per minute!
It was such a gift to me to have confirmation that the movement I was feeling really was the baby. A huge weight fell off my shoulders and of course I teared up. Pat said that if it was going to make me cry, he was sending it back. : )
I am so thankful to have this now. I don't want to listen too often, but whenever the fear roles in, it will be so nice to have the reassurance.
It is the 13th week and we still have a heartbeat!!!! Praise God!