Tuesday, October 10, 2017

5 Months

Today is October 10.

Today I have been back in the US for the same amount of time that I was in Nicaragua. That feels significant.

I think most people have seen me jump back into my work and my fast paced schedule quickly. I've stayed busy. I've pushed forward. I haven't stopped. I've worked really hard to try to catch ip on 5 months of work that was hard to accomplish from another country. It has helped me to feel like I have a handle on things again.. after such a very long time of helplessly feeling like every single detail of life was completely out of my control. We've figured out how to manage our work schedules while whisking around this sweet baby girl-turned toddler. We've traveled to see family. We've been in countless doctors and therapy and specialist appointments. Yeah, I've done a lot in the 5 months that I've been back.

But there's also quite a bit that I have not done.

I gave myself some grace months to solely focus on work and getting Valley adjusted. I told myself once we've been home for just as long as I was gone, I would need to scale up my efforts. Now, here we are.

I have not made myself mentally process anything. Being in another country and not able to leave for an undefined amount of time was fairly traumatic. Things with our court date and visa got so scary towards the end of being in Nicaragua that I am fairly sure I've experienced some post-traumatic stress, where your brain tries to block things out. For these months, I've let that happen. I've only shared updates via short Instagram snippets, and been totally ok with that. However, I'm really aware that there are lots of people out there who are in the middle of adoption processes, or are considering international adoption in the future who scour the internet looking for the experiences of others. I want to share our experience in a meaningful way, and will organize my brain enough to do so.

Friends - I have not seen you. I am so sorry. Like, maybe I've seen you in passing, but I have yet to carve out time to really see you. I've contented myself to be around people and friends who already find themselves built into my routine. But to everyone else - please still be my friend, you are wanted and needed in our lives!!!

I recently caught myself thinking about things I missed about being in Nicaragua. Thank God, my mind is healing. I'm finding myself beginning to feel thankful for our time there, and all of the special things that we did. Even the many long, long, long days where we did nothing. I'm thankful that Valley's home country was a home to me for a while, and I can actually look forward to a time when we will go back.

I Disappeared

I tried switching blog host sites a while ago and never really finished switching things over. So until I do, I'll stay here. This is the only post that was put up over there and not here... about our visa delay with the American embassy in Nicaragua.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Why we're still not coming home yet.

I feel like I should share more about life here and why we are still not home yet. I think about writing blog entries and then I put it off because I spend 100% of my time here trying to distract myself from looming frustration and anxiety by focusing on working, physical therapy, spending time with new friends here, climbing volcanoes and stuff like that.

The reality is that when we got the call to come to Nicaragua to get our baby in December, I was told it was very likely I'd be home by the end of February. Now it's mid-March and the end is still not in sight. A lot of people want to know why, so here's the reason - The Ministry of Family here was working to expedite our case. Our baby has a disability and they wanted to get us home quickly. One of our last steps was to have a court date. Just before the ministry gave us their official approval, the judge that handles adoption cases quickly (within a week or so) was moved, and we had to go through the general family court. There are only 12 judges that handle family-related cases for the whole country, so we essentially had to step into a long line of cases. For weeks I've been told "you'll get your court date assigned next week," only to wait by my phone all week, and it doesn't happen. Week after week.

We didn't foresee this happening, but it's the reality we are in right now.

It's not all bad, there are quite a few really nice aspects about being here; if we have to be stuck here for the time-being, we're in a really good situation! I'm staying in a house with three other people that have been really good friends to us. I have a lot of fun spending time with them, and even get to go to church with them... I have pretty consistent internet access, and I am able to continue doing most of my work remotely. I have also had time to scope out potential opportunities for UTST to operate in partnership here in the future, if we were to choose to do so. We're in a beautiful country with a language and culture I love and am familiar with, there are beaches and lakes and volcanoes... and really good smoothies. Valley is extremely flexible and easy-going; I can hike volcanoes, kayak lakes, jump in ocean waves, walk for miles, ride hours in crowded busses, all with her as happy and content as can be. My mom, dad, and brother have all been able to visit and help distract me, so that's been really nice.

The down-side: I can't accomplish all of the work that I need to from here. I struggle with guilt that I can't make everything happen for UTST right now, and fear that funding and progress will fall behind what we need for the coming year. I miss everyone at home. I haven't seen David in two months.. we never expected to be apart this long. This aspect has been the hardest of all. But compared to all of the time that we have had and will have together, it's a relatively short amount of time. It's still hard. Our relationship is remarkably strong.. in my opinion. Valley is making so much progress, but I am very anxious to have her evaluated in the US and started in consistent physical therapy. I still don't even know how much she weighs.

I probably won't be back by the end of March, even though for a while I was so sure that we would be.

So, that's my best update for you. Now, I need to get back to keeping my mind completely distracted from all of these things. We're going to get through this, smiling. And I'll keep looking at this baby girl and telling her how much she is worth it.

Thank you all so much, once again, for all of your notes of encouragement and your prayers.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Life with Valley

This is our 8th week together in Nicaragua. It's just been me and Valley here for almost half of it. She's curious and exploring, playful and wild, but also easy-going and patient. I'm still able to get a lot done for UTST, even while chasing the little explorer (who, with her lack of walking, has managed to become a very fast crawler). It's easy to go out with her (except for the fact that I have to manage to carry baby and all of our supplies, jumping from taxi to street to bus), so we visit new places and see new things. I'm thankful, because if you know me - I have trouble staying at home for too long.

I'm so very, very encouraged by all of the many notes and messages I receive on a daily basis from everyone back home. Thank you all so much for continuously keeping us in your thoughts and prayers, it keeps me feeling connected with you all.

Many of you ask how much longer we will be here, and what needs we have. I'm hoping we have less than a month left! Things tend to be quite unpredictable, however, so I can't say that for sure.

As for our needs - honestly, the biggest need that we have is funding. Agency fees and lawyer fees are expensive, I have to pay on top of our rent at home to stay here, we're paying off plane tickets, and we will be facing an unknown amount of medical bills when we get home and have Valley's condition evaluated and treated by specialists in the US. We need funds. The most sustainable way to support us financially is to support my position as director of UTST. It takes so much work for me to try to fund my own salary, and becoming a supporter takes a huge burden off of our shoulders. You can do that here. We also have a fundraising page for adoption expenses, which is located here.

In terms of supplies, we have wonderful friends collecting diapers (size 2 and 3) and gift cards. We have very little cold weather clothes (if we manage to get back while it's still cold out) - she's currently wearing 12 months size clothes.

Thanks so much for all of the love and support, friends!