I apologize for my long absence in sending a HOPE update. Those of you who have seen my Facebook updates over the last months will know part of why there was such a long silence. I found out at the end of November that my work visa application had been denied. I had 21 days to make an appeal, at which time I hired an immigration attorney in Zimbabwe to assist. The appeal was also denied just days before Christmas and I was told I would have to leave the country by January 11. I flew to South Africa on that day, not knowing what to do next. In what can only be described as an intervention from God, I found out the very next day that my lawyer had put in a second appeal, which had been approved before immigration closed on my last legal day in the country. I am now safely home in Zimbabwe for another year.
This ordeal was made much worse by the fact that the adoption process for Abigail and Grace was only in the beginning stages. When Social Welfare filed the adoption paperwork in September after a mandatory foster care period, it was discovered that we had been following the guidelines to adopt as a Zimbabwean citizen. I was supposed to apply to adopt as a foreigner and be cleared as an adoptive parent in the US before being allowed to foster or adopt Abby and Grace. Until this paperwork can be obtained, Social Welfare informed me that the girls would need to be removed from my home. They were removed on December 28, after living as a family for 1 year and 2 months.
Although this is the hardest thing I have ever been through, I am very grateful to the officers who realized that Abby and Grace are very attached to me as their mother. They arranged for the girls to be placed at Fairfield Children’s Home where I live and work so that we could continue to see each other every day. The girls adjusted very quickly and we see each other throughout every day, though they sleep at Fairfield. It has made me realize what a wonderful home environment Fairfield really is. The girls are well-cared for and well-loved when I am not able to be with them, which gives me great peace of mind. The administrators, Luke and Cecillia, were so supportive through the whole situation and helped me to make good decisions about how to best arrange the transition.
I have now begun the adoption process on the US side, and it will take a few months for everything to be processed. I was fortunate to find two US Social Workers, one living in Zimbabwe and one in West Virginia, who are working together to complete my home study. Once I am cleared as an adoptive parent, we will be able to resubmit paperwork for guardianship in Zimbabwe. A US immigration attorney, the US Embassy and my Senator’s office have all been contacted to assist in completing the adoption once the guardianship is granted, but for many reasons this may prove much more difficult than first expected. There is a definite possibility that I will not be able to complete the adoption, but everything possible will be done to ensure that it proceeds. Please be in prayer that everything will progress without problems and the girls and I will be reunited as soon as possible.
If anyone would be willing to contribute to the costs of the adoption, a tax-deductible donation can be made to:
PO Box 192
Wilmore, KY 40390
Memo: Zimbabwe adoption
I will keep everyone informed of the progress throughout this year. Currently the home study information is being gathered and then the paperwork will be filed for approval.
Thank you all for your support and love,
Janine, Abigail and Grace