I just wanted to post a quick update on where we're at in the adoption process now and share a few more pictures of the boys.
On January 27th, we passed court with our boys!! This was HUGE. We had been told we would go to court in August of 2015. It started out that each week had a delay and weeks turned to months and then months turned into a year. Then on December 9, 2016, God literally just opened up a way to make this possible. We had so many people praying that we would pass court before Christmas. We were asking for a Christmas miracle. Even though we didn't actually pass court before Christmas, there are SO many miracles that God did to make it possible for us to even go to court in January. The fact that it took us so long to just get past court makes this step that much sweeter.
In international adoption, every country has different laws and every process looks different. Passing court in Ghana makes the boys our children. They are officially and legally Wykles:)
Many people have asked, "What now?". What happens now is we wait for their birth certificates and all the documents from court in Ghana. Once we have those things, we file what's called the I-600. Basically what this form does is looks at all the information we've already provided and the court documents in Ghana and approves our boys to be our children in the U.S. While we wait for this to be approved, they'll get their passports in Ghana. We don't really know how long it'll take for this step to happen. The fastest we have heard of an I-600 getting approved is three weeks, but since Ghana hasn't processed adoptions for so long, we really just don't know. We're obviously praying for 'as quickly as possible' and yet, we have learned sweet life long lessons through the waiting and trusting.
After this approval, we'll receive a visa packet from the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. The boys will go through medical appointments in Ghana and then we will have an exit interview with the Embassy. If everything is good to go, then they'll receive their visas and we will be on our way to bring them home! Our agency recommends that we don't travel until the visa is actually printed in case something doesn't go as planned.
With all that being said, we are so grateful for where we're at but there is still a journey ahead and we would love for you to keep lifting our family up in prayer.
Max and I went to Ghana right after Christmas and spent three days with the boys. Here are some pictures from our time.
It's kind of hard to see what's going on here, but right when we got to the mission center, Max ran up to Joshua and they gave each other a big hug.
Seth, Joshua and my cousin, Lily
Joshua has the BEST smile! It seriously melts me.
This dude is FULL of life! There are many adventures to come with Seth and probably some broken bones as well because he's constantly jumping off of something or doing flips or climbing up things.
Samuel and Max hanging out in the hotel. He got a whole day to hang out with us, which was such a gift.
Samuel already taking on the big brother role.
This was our last night together before leaving Asikuma. The boys came to the hotel with us and ate dinner and then we sat around a table and played UNO. This is one of those times that will be forever cemented in my mind. God used laughter and lightheartedness to help me see their personalities come through and gave me glimpses of what life will be like raising these four boys. I think back on this night so much and it just makes me smile. It was a tremendous gift for all of us. It was like God was starting to knit us together through a game of UNO. Samuel and Seth are competitive, like me, and Joshua really could care less. Most of the time he was scheming on ways to give me all the cards and then would just laugh and laugh when it worked.
Joshua and I from my trip in May 2016
Another question I get a lot is, "Was it hard to leave them?" Yes is the answer. I've been there twice since we decided to adopt them and both times were really hard to say good-bye. The first time I bawled like a baby as I kissed their foreheads and got in the car to drive back to Accra. At that time, I had no idea when we would go to court and I couldn't see any kind of end in sight. But I will say this time was so different. The entire time with them was a gift. At one point I had to even talk with one of them and tell him that he needed to stop pouting and just see our time as a gift. He was already sad we were leaving and it was the first day! Even in Africa when mom mode kicks in, it kicks in. However, having to tell him that out loud made me realize I needed to practice what I was preaching to him. From then on all of us really did just see our time as a gift God gave us that He didn't have to give us.
So when we left this time, I was at the hotel waiting for our ride and I was starting to get emotional. I was fighting back the tears and trying to talk myself out of losing it in front of everyone. I took the boys out to this gazebo area and we sat down and prayed together. After that, it's like God just took all my emotion out of it. We drove them back to the mission center and I hugged them and kissed their foreheads again and they ran up to get ready for bed. Instead of being so overwhelmed with sadness this time, I was so filled. And they were, too. I just felt this overwhelming sense from the Spirit that we're on our last stretch. I am still holding on to that as we keep moving forward and we keep praying for them to be home. It was also so good to be able to tell them that we had a court date coming up and God was, in fact, moving.
It was such a great trip and hopefully I'll share more on that later!
"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." ~ Exodus 14:14