Friday, October 13, 2017

Home stretch

Today is a special day.  4 years ago today we sent in our application to adopt.  We didn't know whom God was going to complete our family with, but we were assured He already knew them by name and how many hairs were on their heads.

Looking back in the rear view mirror, we were at times naïve, at times scared, at times frustrated with the whole process, at times scared, and at times so excited we didn't think we could keep waiting!  God matched our girls perfectly to our family.  Ryan and I still vividly remember meeting our 2 beauties for the first time.  So much emotion, so much nerves, and so much joy.  From the beginning, I was introduced as Mama and Ryan introduced as Papa.  I was torn - that was a title I felt I needed to earn.  But, WOW!  It felt so good for them to call me Mama!  While I still am not sure I've earned that title properly - I am a lot closer.  I am fortunate that I have gotten to be with my babies on 4 different occasions.  They open up more and more every time I am with them.  We are slowly peeling away the layers of learning everything about each other.

Fast forward 4 years, and last night Ryan and I were able to apply for Visa's for our girls!  VISA'S!!!  This is HUGE!!  While we still can't be cleared to travel yet, we are inching closer and closer to the finish line.  Those same emotions I had earlier - the feelings of naivety, anxiousness, frustration, fear and excitement - are all still very real and alive today in the present with our impending homecoming!  Actually, I feel all those emotions and so many more times about 1,000.  Not to mention, those emotions change about 1,000 times a day.  Yes, I've been "fun" to live with!!  So many what-if's, grieving for my girls, anxious about all the children jiving together, etc, etc.  So much going on in the Batch house!!

I am thankful that God took care of us 4 years ago, just like He is today.  I have come to learn to stop and pray immediately when the fears, doubts, and frustrations start to creep in.  He's got all that under control and I am so thankful for that!!

We are hoping for a 2 to 3 week homecoming, but obviously, that could all change - longer or shorter - depending on a few things!  We would love some prayers in the mean time!!
  • D and W leaving behind everything they know and everyone they love.  
  • Safe travels and all on one flight.  Since the 7 kids here are traveling with us this time - we have a, ahem.... larger party to book last minute!  
  • Final paperwork to come through timely, but completely.  
  • Health for everyone, but mainly our W as she has some strikes already against her!  
  • Going through customs can be tricky and it seems to never be the same for one family to the next.  
  • Finally, pray peace and endurance over us - we have a long road ahead of us, we realized that, but Mama is beyond ready to have her babies together in one country!!!
As always, thanks for all the love, prayers and support we have been given over the last 4 years!  This is definitely a team game and we can't wait for you to meet our newest members!  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Can you all hear that????!!! 
That's the sound of the clock ticking for D and W to come HOME!!  We have officially entered USCIS (Customs and Immigration).  We couldn't be more excited!!  We should have our girls home in approximately 6-8 weeks!!!!  Yep, you read that right...... 6 to 8 weeks!!

The Steps Left:
The fine people at USCIS will comb over our girls files and make sure everything is needed. 
At the same time this step is happening, we should receive the girls passports.  We have been in this step for two weeks and are anxiously awaiting the word that they are ready for pick up!! 
USCIS will then either say we are completed or ask for more documents.
After USCIS approval, we wait for the Visa's to be printed and then we get the green light to travel.

We are still a go for taking the whole crew.  Much chatter happened today about what would be taken and what there just wasn't room to take in suitcases!  It was exciting to hear them plan about what the country would be like, how hot it would be, and what to expect with their new sisters!  I am still pinching myself about this happening.

Our two biggest prayer requests:
**Our youngest daughter has had some health concerns that we are asking prayer for.  We need her little body to hold up awhile longer until we can get her home to some specialists.  Please pray healing for her and for the right people to have compassion on her case to rush her through.

**Prayer for the girls to be brave - they are leaving so much and it will be quite scary to leave everything they know!  They have to have a lot of trust in us and hopefully we have built enough trust to calm their little hearts the minute we take them from the orphanage.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Mommy .....the sweetest name!

What a trip.  I finally feel well enough to blog about my trip to Haiti.  I came down with D's cold and have been miserable since returning home - emotionally and physically!

C and I left early, early Wednesday morning on our flight for her to meet her sisters!  Silly me, I thought she would go to sleep on one of the plane rides.... yeah right mama!!  When we got to the Haitian airport, we met up with my dear sweet friends who are traveling this adoption journey with me!  God has provided these ladies for me in a way I never knew I needed!  They have been my support, my laughs, my crying buddies, and have definitely covered for me a time or two!  Anyways, back to the airport....  I had strict instructions for C when we got off the plane and she did great.  It's one of the most stressful parts of the trip!  She said later it was a bit overwhelming, but nothing she couldn't handle.

We drove to the crèche, however, were quickly disappointed with the news that we couldn't see them that night.  C started to tear up, the mama's started murmuring about how we could catapult over the gate, and one of the dad's showed pictures of previous trips with his girls..... but alas, no gate was opened and we went home disappointed.  We have all been down this road for almost 4 years, I guess we could wait another 14 hours..... I guess.....

The next morning we were set to meet C's sisters.  I saw D first and her smile melted my heart.  We have to wait for the girls to be presented to us, so even though they were close, we had to wait.... more!!  Then they finally were released to come over to us.  They immediately came and gave me hugs and cautiously looked at C.  They knew the face from pictures, but didn't get the name right away.


We went over to the all-familiar mango tree and started playing with our kids.  It was incredible the way they remember things we have done together.  I try to bring back things that they really enjoyed to trigger memories.  I immediately had to explain to them that this was not the pick-up trip (ugh, gut punch!) and that Papa wasn't here because he had to stay home and work, but that we were trying to get all the paperwork done so we could bring them home to their house. 

We then got to explain that we would take them to the guesthouse for a couple days to spend the day together.  I'm not sure they understood what this meant.  When we came back the following day to get them, my girls were very cautious and quiet - taking it all in.  When we got to my room, they saw my familiar bags and I think understood what was going on.  We got changed and headed to the pool, which, by the way, they claimed they could swim.... pretty sure that was their first time in a pool!  Much clawing, grasping, squealing, laughter, and memories were made that first hour in the pool!  



The following days flew by - so many firsts for me and my daughters!  I got to feed them lunch, bathe them, eat dinner with them, do a partial hair repair, paint with them, help them choose what to wear, take a try at communicating with them all by myself in Creole, take a nap with them laying next to me, and so much more!  It was the first time I truly felt like their mama.  My youngest, W, called me Mommy almost the whole time we were there..... melt.my.heart!  Here are a few more pictures to enjoy!!














W kept asking to call her Papa on the telefon.  So we got to face time daddy and the other kids which was a big hit.  I had a couple instances where I finally KNEW that they were beginning to understand what was going to happen.  I know God had me go on this trip to give me confidence that I could do this mommy-ing thing to them.  I know that God had C go with me, to help hold my hand when the tears wouldn't stop.  And I know that God had me go on this trip for D and W to continue building trust and bonds.  However, just because I knew all of this, doesn't make the leaving any easier.  In fact, it was waaaaay more difficult this time.  I felt like I got to be their temporary mama, but then had to go home and not be there anymore.  Words can't describe the tearing of my heart, but I will continue to go through that pain until my girls come home.  

What's the next steps?  Well.....
I am hoping to have good news very, very soon - however, I am going to leave a cliff-hanger until I have OFFICIAL news.  So stay tuned and keep those prayers coming!!  All 11 of our hearts need them!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Chocolate and tears.....

Well this is a post I have dreading to write since early this week.  So grab some chocolate with me and take a read.

Last post, we were ever-so-close to being submitted to passports .....or so we thought.  Without getting into the nitty-gritty, we have actually take a step backwards.  Ugh, that hits me like a punch in the gut.  No one wants to hear that you've gone backwards in a process that has taken nearly 4 years!  But since I serve an all-knowing God, I will trust in the process that has to happen to legally bring our daughters home to us.  After we repeat this step, we will be back at the Passport submission stage once again.

So the new time frame?
Go ahead - take another bite of chocolate - it will be before Christmas.
Gulp.
Yes, I have had my breakdown and realize that crying never really works.  So we hold onto to positives in a time like this.  Hang on, let me think of one of those positives.....
Just joking - we have still been seeing God's timing and His fulfilling of His promises.
We just have to see it through in a different way than what we thought it was going to look like.

A verse I have been clinging to this week - Hebrews 10:35-36 - "Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when  you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised."  God never promised that the road to bring our girls home would be easy - He just asked us to follow Him and hold His hand, and have faith.  So that is what we are doing.  Don't get me wrong - this news was a PUNCH to the gut and a definite faith-tester.  We want to be told "job well done my servant" when we meet Jesus face-to-face and "talk through" the adoption.  So we will hold His hand and continue to let Him lead.

Music has become a huge help to me through this process and Casting Crowns did it again with their new song "Just Be Held".  I've had this song on repeat since the night we got the news.  The lyrics speak to me greatly - listen to some of these:

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Right???!!  Just be held Jen - that's all I keep saying this week!
Does God need to hold you today?  Let Him - it's the easiest way!

We are still accepting any and all prayers!!  We are asking for specific prayers:
-There are 4 families that are desperately wanting to fly through the courts.  Would you pray this happens for all 4 families?  7 children are waiting on this to happen to come home to their forever families!
+ChoPray that our girls continue to thrive in their current environment.
+Pray for me, I want to go and visit them one more time before homecoming, but leaving the girls once again, brings such heart-ache for all of us.  Remember that chocolate - eat more for me!!!
+Endurance for all of us - our kids here are so disappointed in this delay - so it is important that Ryan and I act in obedience.  We want to finish this four year marathon with God's grace, but we need strength and endurance.

Well - I have run out of chocolate, so I will close.  We are blessed to be lifted up by family and close friends to help us with this difficult news.  We thank God for everyone that has walked beside us in this journey!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Changes are coming!!!

So here it is .....almost July and we are still waiting on a homecoming....

However, the wait is getting closer to being over.

We are getting submitted to Passports tomorrow!  We have been waiting over a month to get to this stage!!  At the same time, we will be getting submitted to USCIS.  Both of these steps run concurrent to each other.  (Yay!!)  Both steps are taking about 6-8 weeks to complete.  Then last minute doctor appointments for the girls, some Visa printing, and then travel approval for the rest of us to buy tickets!!

Have we mentioned we are going the crazy route - and taking ALL the U.S. kiddos with us for pickup?  We have prayed and prayed about this since February and truly feel God's leading for this to happen.  So many advantages, only a few disadvantages.

At this point, we are going for an August homecoming!!  Pray with us that this happens!  You all have been so faithful in praying for us thus far and we are so glad you have teamed up with us!

In other news - the Batchelor's are on the move....
We are heading to Richmond, VA in July.  With Ryan's promotion brought a new set of orders.  I'm sure he's doing something really, really important - it just hasn't been put into long term memory for me yet.  I went to Richmond three times in the last two weeks, and the last time I traveled, I found a house!  We can't wait to host visitors after we cocoon a bit with our family!!

Batchelor Academy has started once again.  We are on Week 3, plugging right along.  We (ALL) chose to start early so we can take the maximum time off when the girls come home.  We are anticipating taking our two months off when we get back to solidify bonding and attachment.  We all get to just be a family, without too many distractions and other happenings!!

With all these changes, we are praying we don't forget anything .....ok, we are really praying we don't forget anyone at this point.  We will do our best to stay in communication, however, please realize that this is going to be some serious transitioning for our family.  We have some kiddos that are dealing with all the changes superbly, however, there are those that don't want to move!  Please pray for hearts to be flexible and that they feel grounded, even though everything is changing for them!  They are anxiously awaiting to meet their new sisters, and are even talking about what they are going to do with them first when we all get HOME!

HOME - what a sweet word for us at this time.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Update!!


We’ve had a lot of questions concerning our adoption – timelines, travel, how you can help, etc
So here’s the low-down:

The update – We flew through the smaller courts.  Our latest email from our agency gave us an 8-10 week arrival time of our girls.  However, we realistically think it will be anywhere from mid-June to end of July before we will travel to get them.  This is very exciting because we had planned for September! 

What about moving??? 

Yep, we are wondering the same thing!  God hasn’t revealed His plan for that yet.  Ryan’s orders are up in November, so at the latest we would be moving then, however, it could be anytime from now until Nov.

Where are we going???

Yep, we don’t know that either. 

Timing - So will you move before or after the girls come home? 

Uhhhhh, refer to the above two answers – we don’t know!!

The last few steps of the adoption are to finish up the court processes, issue our daughters passports and visas, and a final medical exam for both our girls.  Then we get the call we have been waiting for, for over 3 ½ years!!  It’s time to travel to get our girls!!  We have to stay in Haiti for 6 days and then we fly home. 

How will you communicate with the girls?  Jenny is furiously attempting to learn as much creole as possible.  Our daughters speak no English, so sign language and “caveman” creole is what we will be doing until the girls pick up English.

So many of you have asked how you can help.  First off, thank you for always supporting and praying us through!!  We still need those prayers desperately!! 

                -Pray for the language barrier. 

-Pray for everyone’s health – as many of you know, our youngest daughter has a blood condition that we are praying stays on the sidelines until we can get her here for good medical care. 

-Pray also for our travels.  We have decided to take the whole family on this trip.  What an experience for our kids here to truly see where part of our family comes from.  What an experience that all of our kids meet on Haitian soil where it will (hopefully) be less intimidating for the girls.  What an experience for us all to bond during that precious time of doing nothing but being together as a family!  This brings up a lot of extra work for Ryan and I – however, we are up for the task, and truly feel that God is opening this door for our family.  Please pray as we continue preparations for this trip. 

-Pray for our girls.  They are losing everything they know and totally trusting their new Papa and Manman!  Our older daughter has a tough outer shell that this will be difficult for her to do.  Pray specifically for leaving their friends they will leave behind, as well as the only place they have ever called home. 

What else????

Since we aren’t sure what arrival will look like yet – we aren’t sure what other help we will need.  So many of you locals have given us clothes, shoes, coats, etc so we are set there.  I’m sure we could always use meals directly after, as we will be cocooning after getting home for a couple of months.  We treasure your prayers throughout the whole process of homecoming!!!  If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask – we will do our best to answer!!