Thursday, June 27, 2013

Keem Irving Slingerland, It's Official!

So it's official.  We have a new son, and Keem has a new family!!!

We met with the adoption board yesterday, as you know, and that meeting went very well.  We spent a full hour waiting for what ended up being only a ten minute interview.  When we say interview, what we mean is 3 random questions, and some handy tips on how to get Keem to stop sucking his thumb.  Dealing with the Guyanese officials has been great, aside from being difficult to understand at times and the lack of a concrete schedule.  We've found them to be very practical and easy going.
Today's meeting was very similar in that we spent half an hour waiting for a 5 minute appearance before the judge, whose only words to us were "Your family is big enough now" or something along those lines.  We think he was joking, but hard to tell.  We weren't even sure if the verdict was positive, or when the meeting was over.  They just told us we could leave, and we actually had to ask our lawyer if it was accepted.   It was one of the most anti climatic moments, but afterwards we were elated.  Keem is finally ours!
After court we and the two other families who we are with here, whose hearings were all at the same time as ours went out for ice cream to celebrate.  We ordered the largest 3 scoop waffle cones they had and by the time we were done the kids were all covered in ice cream.  We walked through the hustle and bustle of the outskirts of Stabroek market to get there, which was quite the feat with 9 small kids, but it was totally worth the walk.  Keem devoured a massive bowl on his own, and it truly was a celebration.

The men managed to convince a mini bus driver to take the whole lot of us home for a mere $7.00 Canadian total!  It was significantly cheaper than a taxi, and we could all ride together which was a blast for the kids.  Also, taxis have been giving us a hard time about fitting seven people in a little hatchback taxi.  Most dispatchers recognize us when we call for them and are now requiring us to call two taxis, even though we've been using just one for almost 3 weeks now.  Kind of frustrating, but considering the difference in regulations compared to Canada, I suppose we've gotten away with a lot up to this point.
We feel we should clarify the rest of the process coming up, in case you think this is the end of our trip. Keem is officially a Slingerland, but he is not yet a Canadian.  First, we have to wait for the Adoption Order and new birth certificate, which generally takes a week.  Then, we need to apply for a Guyanese passport, which also generally takes a week.  Normally after this we would head to Trinidad, to the Canadian High Commission to get Canadian citizenship, which in the past has taken about 5 days.
Today we found out this might not be happening as planned.  The man in charge of the process in Trinidad has left his position, and we found out today that his replacement doesn't come in until August.  We received an email informing us that our application will not even be looked at until sometime in August, and that we should not be making travel plans to Trinidad until then.
This was a huge shock to everyone here, as we had all planned to be home by the end of July, at the latest.  This would potentially add 1 or 2 months to our stay here in Guyana.
We are exploring some other options, and planning to visit the Canadian embassy here tomorrow morning, to hopefully get some answers.  We are hoping that we are able to either get a temporary visa, and possibly finalize this all in Canada, or get permission to travel to Barbados to finish the paperwork there.  All the other families are on a massive campaign sending emails to their mp's and we plan to do the same, so we are hopeful that something can be done, otherwise, we will see you in September!
We aren't worried about this new development, just thrown off guard and slightly annoyed....ok, very annoyed.  We were looking forward to being able to enjoy the last half of the summer in Canada, and it is also going to cost us a lot more.  Either way our family is all together and Keem is ours and no one can change that.  What else could we want?  We are so thankful to God for this day, and our new son!


Anonymous said...

This is wonderful news!
Praying the rest of your stay will be moved along quickly!!

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations! Keem looked to be loving his ice cream! So sorry to hear about Trinidad. I know one Cornerstone family had worked very hard on outlining this process for all of us. Please keep us informed of what happens. I know families that adopted from Vietnam came home on a temporary visa and then applied for citizenship back in Canada. Not sure how this works if you applied for the citzenship route but under the circumstances that should be waived and you should be helped to find a way home once you have Keem's passport! Good luck at the consulate tomorrow. Congratulations again! What a beautiful family!

cari said...

What can I say Congrats!! I'm in tears with happiness so I can only imagine your emotions Love you all

Amanda said...

Congratulations Derek and Val! So exciting for you guys! Praying for the next steps for you all!

FamilyHighlights said...

Congratulations Val & Derek & kids!
A new son and a new brother; how sweet.
We'll pray that the continuing process will be speedy.
We will miss you at Lisa's wedding tomorrow. Hoping you can be back for Lauren's.
Aunt Linda

Pieter VanderMeyden said...

May the Lord show His control by opening doors.

Lynn's Place said...

Wonderful news Congratulations and welcome to your new family Keem <((><