Valentine

February 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

This week was Long….. Tuesday Titus received his 5th cast, our appointment in Lexington was at 2pm but we were not seen until 4! Which means we didn’t get home until 7. Which makes us all cranky! The doctor did tell us that hopefully next week they will recast him one more time and schedule his surgery! Which is great news we are getting closer:)

Two years ago today Joel and I decided we would begin the process of adopting. I do not think we could have ever imagined it would have been  this long or this hard. But it was both and to the extreme. Finally the child we prayed for is home and my little Valentine is napping in his own bed peacefully.

We also received news on Teusday that our agency director had been arrested for committing fraud. We had red flags about our agency but we chose to brush them off as us just being emotional and insecure of this process. Several times I felt something was weird, that something didn’t seem to be how other agencies did things, but in the end we did nothing. If you are in the process of adopting, and you have not selected an agency yet. Please I am begging you do your research, and I mean google for hours, ask numerous people that have used them what they thought. Because in the end you will be so sad if your child ends up being one that was trafficked so the agency can benefit from it. Our agency is accused of horrible things and it breaks my heart for the families that are still in process. Ones that received referrals and seen there childs face, will have to fight even a harder fight than we had to, to even keep those children as referrals. Ones that have passed court will also have to fight for the embassy to clear there cases. And the ones that were waiting for a referral probably just lost 6k + dollars being the agency now has no working staff and will very unlikely hear from them again. I just keep thinking we were literally one more month away from being tied up in this horrible nightmare. Please pray for these particular two brothers that have always been on my heart. They are a little older, like 6 and 10 maybe, but we took them scrapbooks from there adopting parents, and when we brought them to them in July of last year, it melted my heart in the excitement that filled the entire room as they looked through them! They were beyond thrilled to have a family and see the faces of there new mom and dad and the house they will one day live in. I say this because our agency Lost all there paperwork and had to start completely over ( how you freaking loose files is beyond me) , so now they are stuck! I just want to pray for this family because they have waited way to long! Now that the agency is gone, I am sure this family is just freaking out! My hearts aches for all of them!

Even though the Embassy did an even thorough search on our case before clearing, we are hiring a third party private investigator to research Titus’ short little past. I want to triple check that his Mom is deceased and his aunt really has disappeared. I want peace of mind, and to one day show him, this is the truth and we did everything we could to find out your story. If in the case someone does appear, I would love to keep in contact and send pictures, I couldn’t imagine the heartache of not knowing where your baby or a baby you knew went.

Its been a sad week, and I pray the Ethiopian Government does not use this as a reason to shut down adoptions. There are true orphans out there and an agency like ours destroys lives. I pray they look at it as weeding out the bad and keeping the good. If you have any other questions or need guidance please email me hollymegee@gmail.com

 

Advertisements

ONE MONTH HOME

February 10, 2014 — 2 Comments

I can’t believe its been one month home! Its gone super fast, probably because its been super insane! Everyday he shows more progress. We are having issues with food, he thinks he has to stuff himself by barely chewing his food up. He also has been pretty picky and sometimes it makes no sense when he asks for something and then takes one bite but then wants something else a minute later. We are just simply trying to teach him that he will get his three meals and snack times but trying to limit him eating all day long.

For the last 4 nights I can now lay him in his bed without him making a peep and he falls asleep peacefully. If he lets me I will rock him for a bit and then gently lay him in bed, kiss him and tell him night night and he is good. Nap time is getting better as well he fights it still a little but I see so much progress. At least I feel we are doing something right.

Adoption is the most complicated thing ever! In Titus’ short little life he has had 8 women attach to him and then leave, ranging from his mother to me. Not good. He has been through so much and even though children are so resilient they are still damaged by this unfair life. I pray for him so hard that he will embrace our love and family. Studies show it could take 15-18 months for him to really attach and trust us, Im hoping for sooner. 

His tantrums when you tell him No or when you are unavailable to give him what he wants are horrendous and quite the scene. He is hard to control and the communication barrier makes it hard to reason. Consistency is all Im repeating in my head and praying my tactics work. They do not come home with handbooks unfortunately 🙂 

This precious little boy on the flip side is doing really well though, he is happy and loving and loves Gavin to pieces. I pray that the love of Jesus will poor into his life and begin to heal his wounds. 

Some things you could pray about for us:

1. Pray that he will begin to see that we will provide him with food, always and that he will start not to hoard.

2. Pray for Joel and I. Patience is a must and somedays are patience run thin and we get worn down and it over flows to the rest of the family. 

3. Pray that Titus’ heart begins to heal and we see him physically relax and let us lead and not him.

Also, We are completely debt free from our adoption expenses! Thanks to some amazing people in our lives and the rest of you that gave!! Please believe me when I say YOU can afford adoption, if God has called you, HE will provide! There are so many little and big ones waiting and praying for a family, we actually met so many just from Titus’ orphanage. Image

 

Grammy and Pops came to Visit!!:)Image

 

His foot is definetely looking better, we get his 5th cast this Teusday.. Hoping they say he is ready for Surgery!:)

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE WEEK HOME!

January 19, 2014 — 3 Comments

We have been home one week today, and boy has it been pretty eventful! He did amazing on the flights home, cried when he had to be constrained but never seemed to be bothered by the actual flying part. By the third flight he was sitting in his own seat and buckling himself right up:) Monday was great, he was starting to explore the house, always following me around of course but really did well. Teusday we went to his first appointment at shriners in Lexington to see what the treatment plan would be for his foot. While we were there we were told they would go ahead and begin casting his foot, Titus did not like people touching him but in the end did really great! He will receive a new cast once a week for the next 6-8 weeks, then they will do a surgery consisting of cutting his akealies heel, and then recasting him for another 3 weeks. Wednesday pretty much had me hating life:( Titus cried from 6 am until after his 1pm when he went down for his nap. His cast caused him a lot of pain and discomfort and he thought he couldn’t move or crawl, nothing I did helped and he wanted no one else. After his nap he was a little happier. Everyday since then gets a little better, he is beginning to trust Joel and let him sit with him and hold him, which is a HUGE help to me. We attempted church today and lunch out and he did great. The swarms of people so excited to see him didn’t faze him and he was such a trooper.

If I haven’t made it clear enough, you all are a part of his Journey, whether you supported us financially or through prayer. We are forever grateful and I can not tell you thank you enough! This little boy is such a blessing to us. Please continue to pray as we raise him, he has been through so much and you can tell what his rejection walls are. He has a temper and does not like to hear the word no. It will be a challenge everyday to teach him, but he will get there:) Here are a few pics of our trip and our time at home.

Together Forever!

IMG_4156

 

Saying bye to his nanny

IMG_4164

 

First bath from Momma

 

IMG_4176

 

My hubs, my everything 🙂 Oh and the Guard in the background ( like he was going to protect us)

IMG_4183

IMG_4184

 

Airport!

IMG_4224

IMG_4227

IMG_4238

 

Family of 5 !!!

IMG_4255

 

IMG_4261

 

First wrestling match!

IMG_4272

IMG_4279

First off Jesus is SO Faithful, I mean FAITHFUL. Even in my darkest of doubting him, he was there. If you don’t know him, please get to know him, He is the reason.

SO we 100% CLEARED today at 4:15am! I cannot begin to tell you the relief that has come over me and that all the paperwork issues are good! We have tickets booked for Friday night to leave and get our BOY! Thank you to Kelly Ensslin ( Our kick butt lawyer) for getting the files moving at the Embassy, the other “stuck families” for the support and encouragement and when the days seemed really dark, you were there to bring my insanity back to reality. Cannot wait to see some of you in Ethiopia!! Also, thank all of you who called and pressured your congressman and wrote them. Your efforts will keep impacting because hopefully they realized they need to support the CHIFF Legislation.

Please know that there are still families stuck, and have children waiting for them! This fight is not over, Our child is NO longer an orphan but God calls us to Orphan care, so we will be continually fighting to get kids home, as you also should be. Please continue to call your congressman and push that they support the CHIFF Legislation !

I wish I could tell you, when we get there and Titus see’s us he will run into my arms with pure Joy. Actually, he will probably run and scream like he did last time. You see he is super attached to his nannies, he was ripped away from the nannies that raised him from 8 months old until he was 21 months old, and moved to Addis Ababa for our court date. Now I am once again am ripping him from his nannies that he has bonded with for the last almost 6 months. Pray for his little heart that he feels comfort, and will fall in love with us quickly. I am sure he will be freaked out getting on a plane! Pray for me that this 17 hour flight home will go so fast and that he sleeps 90 % of the time.

Thank you is all I can say! We could not have brought him home without your financial support and your love overflowing on us! I cannot wait for you all to meet him, he truly is a blessing!

HOLD ON TO YOUR DIAPER, MOMMA”S COMIN’ !!!!!!

Tonight we stayed up late hoping and praying we would hear something from the embassy. AND WE DID! Monday morning we received word from other families that they were clearing Embassy, but we did not. We were thrilled to hear that there was movement in some of these cases, but also disappointed that it wasn’t ours. We’ve spent the entire past day speculating on what this could mean, the positives and negatives, and definitely let our minds drift to a pretty unhealthy place. But we had hope that since other cases were moving ours would too, and we heard from the embassy at midnight tonight that their field investigation is OVER and they are ready to CLEAR OUR CASE. I say ready because it’s NOT cleared yet and that is the hurdle that I’m speaking of in the blog title. When we traveled for court we realized right before we left that Holly’s passport has her maiden name on it. We didn’t have time to get a new one so we went with it and used that name on some of our documents to keep things consistent. Now we have an I600 application with Holly Megee on it and a bunch of Ethiopian documents with Holly Reuszer on it. So, we have to clarify if we need to do a new I600, or something else. Not a big deal, but one more hurdle to jump through. We will certainly take this over sitting around waiting any day.  Thank you SO much for contacting your elected representatives on our behalf. We will forever be grateful! Thank you Jesus!! We are going to get our boy!!!

Our most recent pic of Titus from December 25, 2013.

Our most recent pic of Titus from December 25, 2013.

We received over 1,200 unique visitor’s for Holly’s post The Ugly Ugly Truth. Our story has obviously struck a nerve, as it should. Our own government keeping families apart is ridiculous and anger/outrage are the appropriate responses. From the beginning of our adoption process we have been surrounded by generous friends and family. In fact we raised half of our adoption expenses from you guys through our garage sale, Adoption WOD, and online fundraisers. We know that we have an incredible support system around us and are asking once again for your support in helping us pressure the State Department to move on our case. The biggest way that you can help is by calling and writing  your senator and/or congressman urging them to pressure the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to move on our case and the cases of other stuck families. The State Department is way past a reasonable time table for investigating our cases, yet they refuse to give us any information about our field investigations even though they are not legally obligated to withhold that information (as if we could influence an investigation on the other side of the world). Unfortunately our constant barrage of emails are being ignored or answered with copy and paste responses that are vague and never provide the answers that we seek. Right now it does not seem like they are going to budge unless they receive some pressure from influential members of the US government. We are not asking them to give us special treatment, but to treat our children like they are human beings whose legally adopted parents are US citizens who they supposedly work for. Since they are not capable of investigating our cases in a reasonable time frame they should send them on to the USCIS who can. Every day that our children are institutionalized is another day that their progress as a growing child is slowed. Please take the time to read the rest of this post and see how you can help bring our son and other stuck children home. In the game of politics numbers count. The more people that contact elected representatives about this, the more likely they are to care. If we can get one senator or representative to advocate for us beyond just sending a single letter to the embassy, we will likely see movement.

For our out of State Friends and Family: If you live in a state that someone on the Senate Foreign Relations committee resides that is our best bet at applying real pressure on the State Department. They control the Department of State’s budget so any pressure from them will be much more threatening. Those senators are:

For our Ohio friends. We have made contact with John Boehner, Rob Portman, and Sherrod Brown’s offices. We will be contacting Steve Chabot’s office on Monday as well.  Boehner and Portman’s staff have both contacted the embassy on our behalf but we have not heard of a response yet. Hearing about our case from more of their constituents will motivate them to follow up with the embassy and keep pushing until they get answers. Sherrod Brown’s office contacted the embassy but was satisfied with their copy and paste/vague response and assumed we were just an impatient family wanting special treatment. The constituent liaison I had a rather heated phone conversation with would not contact them again for another 30 days out of professional courtesy, because you know, government employees deserve professional courtesy over the welfare of a child. Long story short I wouldn’t waste your time contacting his office.

We suggest that you write a letter or email and then follow up with a phone call. Here is a sample letter that you can use as a guide. You can copy and paste it, then make it your own:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of a (friend or family member) of mine who is currently experiencing great difficulty with a foreign adoption. The reason I am writing you about this is because it is our own federal government that is the source of their difficulty. They are not asking for special treatment, their case has been sitting for months with no end in sight. The embassy will not give them any information but yet will not clear them.

Their names are Joel and Holly Megee from West Chester, Ohio and they are trying to adopt a 2 year old boy with club foot from Ethiopia. The Megees, along with at least 20 other families are stuck at the embassy level waiting for clearance and have encountered a black hole of information about their cases. Other cases are clearing left and right but for some reason the Embassy will not let them bring their children home nor tell them what it is about their cases that is causing the delay. The Megee’s realize that the Embassy staff have jobs to do and appreciate their veracity, but it is past time for them to send these cases to the USCIS or at the very least be more open to these families about what is going on.

We are asking you to put pressure on them and not accept the embassy’s generic response of “we are working on it” because its not true. Being institutionalized hinders a child’s growth and cognitive development. Every unnecessary day that these children are in an orphanage is simply unacceptable. Please advocate for them, we will forever be grateful.

Thank you all again for your prayers and support. Email or call us if you have any questions about how you can help. 

 

THE UGLY UGLY TRUTH

December 28, 2013 — 4 Comments

(this post has created so much buzz we decided to write a post about how you can help if you’d like here.)

As much as I want this post to be screaming we cleared and we are going to get my boy, its not. So prepare yourself for the ugly truth about our state department.

We were submitted to the US Embassy on October 16, 2013, the average time period to clear is 1-6 weeks, we are now coming up on 11 weeks. The reason you ask? Oh well they decided to unethically hold 20 or so cases from our agency and complete a Anti-fraud investigation, under no grounds do they have to perform this, they are choosing to. We believe they are holding up cases, trying to find fraud, even though our cases are clean. So do you think they are actually performing the fraud investigations? Nope. They are giving us NO information and can not tell us when it will “begin”. They need special funding to complete these investigations, so either they will sit on our cases until they get that or there really is no field investigations and they are lying. Keep in mind they are clearing other agencies cases in a week or two. Do you think they delay those a little bit to work on the ones that have been there for months, Nope again. They have the brains of robots, copying and pasteing emails, while getting our kids names mixed up. Its entirely a horrible joke.

The state department in there own words have told us that they are on overload of performing these investigations, so that tells me this will never happen. We have hired a lawyer and will fight until we get our little man home. Somedays I fear he won’t be able to come home but then I am quickly reminded how big my God is. He called us to love orphans, so even if it takes years he will come home.

If we are not cleared by the middle of January I am looking to go over there and spend sometime with Titus and hopefully our lawyer can move our cases on to someone that can actually do something, but if I have to leave him in Ethiopia, I am not sure how I will be able to handle it. Picture having a child and leaving him in an orphanage until the state department issue him a tiny piece of paper that says he can come home. Somedays I don’t get off the couch, somedays I don’t eat, somedays I am so mad that all I do is email the embassy all day, telling them how horrible and heartless they are to let children sit in orphanges longer than necessary, and somedays I get a glimpse of who Jesus is and my faith is restored. BUT its completely up in the air and anything can send me into a state where I just feel paralyzed. Please pray for our family right now, we are in the middle of a huge battle! We cannot afford this financially but God can, we can not handle this emotionally but God can,  and the devil will not win and Jesus will be glorified. Pray for our little man that his attachment issues will quickly be healed when he gets home, you see every day in an institution is one more day his attachment to strangers will grow and is not healthy. Pray for his foot, that he is over two and running on it and everyday that goes by his treatment will be more avassive, and that he is in no pain yet. So when you ask us ” when is he coming home”, I can tell you very strongly, that I have NO IDEA. It breaks my heart that this is happening, you can help, there is a new bill trying to get passed that will take this entire process from the hands of the state department.

Go to http://childreninfamiliesfirst.org/ to learn about important bipartisan legislation and how you can help get it passed.

Also, this lawyer wrote a quick article on her experience with the state department, and is a good read:

http://childrendeservefamilies.com/international-adoption-parents-crazy-state-department/

Thanks for following us on this journey, I wish I had better news to share.