Wow, has it really been since November 2014 when we last provided a formal blog update? Time has flown by, and it has indeed been busy. We realize that many of you have seen updates along the way on Facebook, or maybe we have connected in person or by phone to give you some updates, but here are the highlights of our last year together as a family of seven.
We came home a little over a year ago, May 26, 2014, to be exact. If we were to summarize the past year, it would be with words like crazy, tiring, busy, overwhelming, lonely, and hard to see beyond the day-to-day. Adoption is hard. Whoever says it is not is either clueless or not living in reality. In some ways it has some similarities to having a baby; everyone is excited waiting for the new family members to arrive, and then there is a sense of being forgotten after a couple weeks. We are not superheroes, though we have to chuckle under our breath and try not to roll our eyes as we continue to get comments like, “they are all yours, oh my goodness, God bless you,” or “wow, you guys are so great and are going such a wonderful thing,” or “I cannot believe what you have done – you are so amazing.” The truth is, we struggle with patience, discouragement, letting our frustrations get the best of us, and not giving the time needed to our walk with God and/or to each other. We never knew how much we would have to sacrifice over the past year just to make it through, but by God’s grace, we are making it one day at a time.
However, we know that good things are happening too. It is hard to often see these amidst the day-to-day bickering, whining, and continued adjustments of new experiences together as a family of seven. We have seen some great moments over the past year. For instance, we are at the end of another school year. God gave our children the exact teachers that they needed to have a successful year at school. Zoe just finished third grade, Micah with first, Caleb with Kindergarten, and Jeremiah with Preschool 4. Next fall, the older four will continue to be in the same school together, and Katie will go to Preschool 3 two days a week at another school.
Jeremiah and Katie have indeed come a long way. This is hard at times to see, but they really have done well considering they have only been with us a little over a year. We hear other adoptive parents’ stories and realize how well they are doing. They thrive on routines, desire affection, want to explore and ask hundreds of questions a day like any other children. They have physically grown (Jeremiah – 4 inches in 12 months!). We have less meltdowns and such better rapport with them than we did a year ago. They love going to church and learning about God there and at home. They love to sing, play outside on the trampoline and swing set, ride bikes, go to the park, swim in our neighborhood pool, have sleepovers with their grandparents, go on trips, etc. They have little buddies at school, church, in the neighborhood, and they like playdates just like their older siblings. They love seeing both sets of their grandparents and having our family friends come to visit (we have had a lot of fun hosting friends from out of town over the past year).
The Latest On Our Process
Our journey of adoption started way back in August 2011. Yes, you read that right; we are nearly four years in. Though we came home and have been living as a family of seven since May 2014, we have been struggling through the process of converting our guardianship of Jeremiah and Katie to full adoption. We started this process in Pennsylvania within weeks after returning from Uganda. We waited for nearly nine months for paperwork from the Ugandan courts to push things along here in PA per request of the PA court. We have lost count of the number of phone calls, emails, Facebook group postings and message, connecting with strangers who we “meet” that might be able to help, and conversations with our PA lawyer. Finally in March, we were told that the Ugandan courts really could not help us any further, so we went back to working with our contacts to try other ways to get our court process moving forward in PA. Essentially it appears that no case like our situation has ever been considered in PA so we have no precedence in working with our lawyer to rely on and reference. I guess you could say we are blazing a new trail in PA. Eventually in late April, Joey was able to talk with a “higher up” contact at the US Department of State in Washington DC to get some guidance with our case. We confirmed with her that we had all of the right paperwork and documentation to move forward, but it would take some further clarifying of terminology and processes for the PA courts. So, more conversations with our lawyers and friends at GSF occurred, and requests for affidavits were requested and submitted.
Finally, the first week of June, we received the following information from our PA lawyer. "Hallelujah, the Judge has agreed to accept the latest documents as evidence of termination of parental rights...we should be able to move forward with the adoptions." On June 15, we received a packet in the email from our lawyer that is the official Petition for Adoption documents! Of course, we had to chuckle, as we had to go get fingerprinted again (we have lost count the number of times that we have had to do this too).
What Lies Ahead, and How You Can Help
Along the way, because we have been on the journey of a private adoption process versus going through an agency, we have never had an exact sense of a bottom line cost for our process. We simply wanted to be good stewards, and we knew that the private route was more affordable than going through an agency, and in hearing other stories from families who have gone through agencies, we did save a bunch. God has provided for each step of our process. The cost for us to now finalize the full adoption of Jeremiah and Katie is $4,000, plus some other fees to do more background checks. Once again, we are not sure how this need will be met, but we know that God will provide through others. We have adjusted our total need thermometer on our blog to now reflect what we have received and what we still need.
Would you prayerfully consider contributing to this final step for our family?
Once we complete this (hopefully final) round of background checks and turn in our final paperwork this week to our lawyer, he will submit it to the PA court. We are hopeful that we will have a court date within a few weeks. It has been our prayer all along that Jeremiah would be able to enter Kindergarten this fall with his new last name and officially be able to be called a Beeson.
Would you continue to pray to this end?
Thanks again for reading this update. We trust that it has been helpful, though we realize so many more details could be shared. Thanks for your continued support of our family, and again, if you are able to help us financially with this final hurdle, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings to you, and have a wonderful summer!
Joey, Sarah, Zoe, Micah, Caleb, Jeremiah, and Katie