I’d like to start this blog by telling you that I really have not been waiting that long. But it feels like an eternity, to be honest with you. It feels like it’s been an entire lifetime.
I have had my daughter legally for a year. But for the past 6 years, she has been raised by me. The government complications in this country, and her birth country was a nightmare. Each night I would wake up frustrated and sad.
When she was 4 years old, she was dropped off at my house. Only just for a few months (so I thought). She was small, skinny and extremely mal-nourished. I knew my job was to get her up to snuff as soon as possible so that she could return to her bio parents in good health and resume the life she knew well.
But weeks turned into months, and months quickly turned into years. When she turned 5, she started speaking English-like me. So that was strange, hearing her speak to me and refer to me as “mom”.
At the time I had 3 other children as well. 2 sisters and my daughter’s younger sister. Her younger sister only lasted about 6 months. She was attached to her bio mom so she returned home after becoming healthy. But Pearl, she stayed. She forced me, to let her stay. It was as if she was saying that this is now her life. Her new life.
She went to school, kindergarten through 4th grade at the same school, she took a break and went to a school near me when she got into 3rd grade. My focus for her was to learn the English language more proficiently, reading and writing. She was smart, she is smart, still.
I finally got her into the school I worked at. It was hard to do because my school only allowed teachers to have one free kid and I had 3 children at the time. My oldest was there, and I made sure she stayed there because I knew that education would be the key to a brighter future. So Pearl remained in a small private Spanish school for the first 5 years of her schooling.
At the end of 2013, I decided that since her older sister was graduating soon, and she would be attending the school for free the following school year, she should get a jump start. I paid over 1500 dollars to get her in to school for the remaining trimester. I put her into the 3rd grade because I knew her skills were not up to par with the American system. She was bright, but not having been in an English school before, it would not be fair for me to throw her under the bus.
She finished grade 3 with amazing grades, and honor certificates. She walked into the following school year ready for the 4th grade.
I was worried about her being behind a grade. I just wanted her to be successful and feel that she could have success in school. If she were put into the 5th grade, she would sink-not her fault, just the situation.
To better prepare her for the 4th grade, I signed her up for time4writing classes along with time4learning classes. She loved both of the courses and I can see now, it was the key to her success.
Pearl loves to read, she loves the comic books and also regular chapter books. She makes her AR goals within the 1st week of the new grading period because she reads like crazy, scores high on the tests and loves to be read to on a nightly basis. My amazing partner reads to her each night. When they are finished with a book(Harry Potter or Land of Stories), Pearl takes an AR test and scores in the 90s.
I want to travel with Pearl but the US won’t allow me to do that because she is not legally adopted yet. Not knowing this, I never started the process until now. I thought that legal guardianship would be enough to take her for a visit to see her grandparents, but apparently it is not.
I started the adoption process back in 2012. I received legal guardianship of her in 2013 and in order for her to qualify for an immigrant visa, I would have had to have legal guardianship of her for 2 years. So I am waiting. But in this waiting, I am in the process of completing an adoption for her. So in reality, the “adoption” part has not been a long wait. However, many trips to Haiti has been the result of the process and I am tired.
I feel that every time there is a step forward, there is another fork in the road. It is not as if I am adopting a child from the orphanage, I am adopting a child who is already mine legally, but not according to the USA.
Canada allows children to visit, why can’t the USA?
I feel blessed though. I am not in the situation where I am waiting for a child to come home to me. My child already lives with me and will live with me forever (until college of course). As I watch these horror stories online of adoption overseas, I am pained and can only sympathize. At times, I feel that I can empathize, but not often. I have my baby with me and that is what is important. The adoption is mainly so that she can receive the benefits I have; travel, visa, green card etc.
So, though I am still waiting, I have not really been waiting that long. Yet, it feels like a life-time because each step closer throws me into further reach of my goal.