The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Friday, July 15, 2011

No MOWA Letter - Court Otherwise Successful

We woke up this morning after a rough sleep. The anticipation didn't, however, take over until about 8:30am when we knew we had but a half hour before being picked up. G, our KidsLink (Imagine) Rep was supposed to arrive at 9:00am. When he wasn't there as the clock struck the hour and we waited in the lobby, I tried to self-talk convince myself that everything here is on Africa time and G has done this dozens of times. (He has been with KidsLink since pre-bankruptcy...about four years.)

We waited until 9:10am and then I couldn't stand it any longer. (Court was to begin at 9:30am.) He was on his way as I called his cell and he arrived around 9:15am.

We arrived at court at 9:30 and headed upstairs, down a narrow hallway, and eventually made our way into a small white-walled room with (fortunately) several open windows. G told us the judge was seeing 69 cases today. Wow Mama.

To the right of me, just under the windows was a large crate looking wooden structure. It was maybe 6 feet by 8 feet. On it sat a few birth mothers, fathers, and two Ferengi (Caucasians).

The juxtaposition was nearly too much for me to handle and this was the first time I felt the lump in my throat nearly impossible to swallow back down, while simultaneously holding back tears.

I want to paint this picture accurately because I think it personifies the journey.

The birth mother is sitting on the edge of the crate, wrapped in shawls and scarves - tattered and dirty. She looks tired and desperately sad. She wasn't too young, maybe late twenties or early thirties...though her life has likely taken a toll and she possibly appears much older than her chronological age. A look of defeat resides in her eyes and I would bet that had I been given the privilege of sitting down with her, the sentiment would have emanated from deep within her soul.

Today is the day she would verbally relinquish her rights as a (birth) Mama.

Trusting "the system" and wanting more for her child, she would make the biggest sacrifice within these next few hours.

This is what got me: She is sitting there barefoot. And my guess is that this wasn't for cultural reasons.

She cannot - likely could not - afford a pair of shoes...and this in itself speaks volumes.

Behind her is the Ferengi waiting his turn to enter the judge's room. He is dressed casually but well. I wouldn't be surprised if his clothes had been dry-cleaned prior to coming, as they looked starched and pristine. He is on his blackberry typing away, looking slightly bored and definitely not bothered by all that is going on around him.

He is wearing nice, clean, shiny, laced up, leather shoes.

Had these two beings not been mere inches away I don't think this would have been so exaggerated. But there were. And the difference between rich and poor here is just as obvious.

As I mentioned earlier, we arrived around 9:30am. By 9:40am we were in this waiting room. There were signs (black and white photocopies) with the words "Silencio" and "Silence" copied and taped onto the walls - and they were being ignored. It was sad really. While this day was long awaited by many of us, we all couldn't seem to observe the one thing being requested of us. Like small school children in a line waiting for library and ignoring the teacher's continual request for them to close their mouths. This day, while long awaited with anticipation for us, has been equally long awaited (likely) with dread for many mothers (and some fathers), in the room.

At 9:50am we were called into the judge's office.

Her office was that of an average four walled, 12x9 office. She sat at the end, a scarf around her hair. She is young and soft spoken. Her voice gentle and genuine.

Upon entering the room (it was only ourselves and G) we handed over our passports to the clerical worker who also had a desk in there. We sat down in chairs lining the wall.

The judge asked us a series of questions (these are to the best of my recollection but honestly I was worried about wetting the chair and my nerves were getting the best of me)...
  1. Do you have children at home?
  2. Do they know about the adoption?
  3. Had we met our daughter (she used her birth name)?
  4. Have you taken courses to prepare yourselves for this adoption?
  5. Do you understand the importance of cultural identity for your child? (She emphasized how important this was to her and will be to our child.)
  6. Do you know that this adoption can not be reversed or revoked? (It was at this point I could no longer hold back the tears...they welled up with force.)
All objectively, quickly answered with, I'm certain equally as quiet a voice as they were asked. She then told us that all our documentation was/is complete with the exception of the MOWA subpoena (letter of support).

We thanked her and left.

It was 9:51.

We were in there for one minute.

So what does this mean? It means that no steps will be taken to begin immigration (the final step to complete before bringing her home) until we receive our MOWA letter.

MOWA letters are currently coming in approximately 22 days after court. Apparently this includes weekends. Hmmmm.

I may have mentioned before that MOWA does continue to write letters even after the courts close for summer break, (the last day for court is Friday, August 5th and then it is closed until late September). This is great...but there's a kicker.

There's always a kicker, isn't there?!

If our MOWA letter is written but courts are closed (ie: after August 5) then the adoption is at a stand still because the court (judge) has to give a final sign off.

So, we HAVE to get our MOWA letter before August 5th or else we will continue to wait until the end of September for our immigration process to begin.

There seems to be a slight bit of misunderstanding through all this but we have asked nine ways to Sunday and this has been clarified.

The prayer cannot stop. Please don't stop.

We need this letter to be written before August 5th - it's going to be so so close. MOWA is typically writing 10 letters a day, however this does fluctuate. Last Friday, for example they wrote 20. Each day varies the quantitative outcome.

We are thankful today has come and we are grateful for all your support. It's not been easy and we continue to be on pins and needles, clinging desperately to the faith, hope, and knowledge that this is all planned out.

I look forward to the day when we look back and can reflect on the perfection of all His timing.


Chad, Laura, Sara and Seth said...

Many many prayers that you are holding your sweet girl again by Sept.


Jennifer said...

Oh Ashleigh, I didn't know that the judge had to sign it!!!!--Aug.5th is 21 days from your court date--I'm POSITIVE she'll sign A LOT on the last day before courts close!!!!! PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING!!!!!

emily said...

Wow, this is an amazing post. Thank you so much for writing it with such detail and care. The picture of the birth mom with no shoes on brought me to tears.

I will definitely pray you get that letter by the 5th. And I agree that MOWA will most likely be writing extra letters... thinking positively for you all!


elsie hiebert said...

I was so hoping you would get your letter. Why was I told that once the MOWA letter is in, there was nothing else? MOT lead me to believe that the court closure would not affect me if I got in before then. That all I would have to wait for is the MOWA letter. I specifically asked that question. ARGH!!!

Sarah said...

Congrats Keizer family! Hoping that all goes well and quickly from here.

Anna said...

Wow, I love the details. We didn't have that court experience, so I love the picture you painted (I too felt a lump in my throat). I will pray that you get your letter before closure.