Thursday, May 4, 2017

We are coming home!!!

We are coming home!!!  This morning, we had our last appointment at the U.S. Embassy where we had to present some more paperwork along with the medical records, and then had an interview about the process.  We were informed that the visa, which allows Noah to enter the U.S., would be finished either tomorrow or at the latest, Monday.  After our appointment, we travelled to Picacho Park so that Lin Lin could see the huge statue of Jesus.  It was really beautiful, and we even noticed a rainbow circle around the sun (apparently called a solar halo) once we got to the top of the mountain!  It was an incredible sight for sure.  After leaving there we went to a Honduran restaurant for lunch called, El Patio, which is Spanish for…The Patio.  Haha.  The food was great and as soon as we got done our incredible attorney, Marta, got a phone call from the Embassy that Noah’s visa was ready!  So Ricardo whipped the truck around, and we headed to the Embassy, after a stop for some afternoon coffee, of course.  Daddy went in by himself and picked up the visa and some other paperwork.  And just like that we were all done and ready to come home!  

As we got to the hotel, Mama got right on the phone with the airline, and in record time (an hour and ten minutes) we had our flights changed.  We will land in Jackson, MS at 11:00pm this Saturday night!!!  Very late, but it was the best they could do with such short notice.  We are ready to be home and can't wait to see everyone!  

We are sorry that Lin Lin’s trip will be cut short but are so glad that she was able to come and meet Noah here.  She was just a little excited to see her grandson for the first time.  Haha!  It didn’t take Noah long to warm up to her.  Once she got down on the floor and played cars with him, it was all good.  Also, she will be a huge help as we travel home as a family of three.  

This time away has made us so grateful for everyone's prayers, support, help, encouragement, etc. It's really humbling to know that we have amazing family, friends, and co-workers that are behind us 100%. Included, of course, are our Honduran friends and "family" at the Humuya Inn and Ricardo and Marta! They and our adoption and home study agencies, America World and Bethany Christian Services, have worked so hard on our behalf to finish this adoption process. There is no way we can thank everyone enough or thank everyone without leaving someone out. Just know that we genuinely appreciate each and every one of you and pray that God blesses you for all your help. 

Finally coming to the end of this part of our journey has also made us more aware of how good and faithful our Heavenly Father is! He is the One who has made all of this possible. Without Him it would have been impossible. I say this because I, Clint, have not been as patient or as faithful through the process as God has. I have doubted it would ever happen. I've been angry at the cancer diagnosis and treatment Amanda had to go through. I've been worried, frustrated, impatient, and imperfect. But, thankfully, we have a perfect God that is for us and working for our good, no matter what! Seeing Him finish what He started six years ago has been so incredible!  And because of that He gets all the glory. The good deeds you see from us are God's grace and mercy. He uses us in spite of our failures. I'm so grateful for that. My prayer and desire is that the light of Jesus shines through us so that people will see and glorify our Father in Heaven. God is the One who deserves all the praise and glory. We're just grateful to be a part of what He is doing.  

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:14-16 NLT

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Since our last post, Noah has gotten a negative result from the TB skin test (which is a whole story in itself - as we arrived on 2 wheels in Ricardo's big truck just moments before we had to have the test read at exactly 2:47 pm or we would have had to redo the test!) and has completed his medical exam, which was required by the US embassy.  La Doctora was a wonderful, kind, and caring lady who was very encouraging to us and excited for us and our new family.  She was very gentle and professional; however, Noah did not like having his weight or height taken nor anything else that she wanted to touch or look at.  He proceeded to exhibit his displeasure by screaming his way through the exam.  As soon as she finished, he was completely fine and enjoyed his sucker and stickers! The exam results are in a sealed envelope, which we will take to our interview at the US embassy on Thursday morning.  After that, we will wait for an undisclosed, but short, period of time to receive Noah's Visa and will then begin to search for flights back home! 

Working' out with Daddy

Watching bball with Mama

Basketball or Phone?!

A few fun tidbits about Noah recently.  He is still rapidly learning to speak English and learns new words every day.  He will hardly let us take a picture or video of him doing something cute as he purposefully stops what he is doing or refuses to look at the camera.  He enjoys racing superhero cars like his daddy, learning numbers and shapes like his Mama, and eating and playing ball like Mama and Daddy.  We are telling him that soon we will be flying home in an airplane to Mississippi; and he says "Bippi?!"  He says "Thank you" and "No" and "Good job" appropriately, and usually when telling himself  LOL!  This boy is so much fun and can get us laughing at any moment, even when it is bed time and we are trying to make him go to sleep!  We can not wait to get back and let him meet everyone!!

We wanted to take some time and share about several people we have gotten to meet up with d uring our time in Honduras, some brand new and some we have known for quite a while, but all incredible people, and whose company has helped us pass our 6+ weeks here.  At our hotel, we have seen several mission teams from the US and Canada come through.  One family (from Tennessee we think - can't remember) was here on a family mission trip.  They visited a dump in the city and fed meals to the people who live there..yes, the people who LIVE IN THE DUMP.  One group in particular, from Florida, was here building relationships with a sister church.  One of the leaders really took a big interest in our adoption journey.  Special shout out to Father Brian!  We also met a group who DROVE from California to Nicaragua to do some mission work and was on their way back when we met them.  It's been encouraging to hear about the groups coming to give their time, resources, and love of Jesus to the people in Central America.  

We have also met several individual couples or families who were in Tegucigalpa for other reasons. One of which was completing their adoption of an 8 and 5 year old brother and sister.  They were able to return home last week!  (  What a blessing to get to share experiences and parts of our stories!  Another was a couple from Canada who lives in Honduras for 5 months out of the year.  They enjoy ministering to the local people and promoting the positive aspects of life in Honduras (  We enjoyed catching up with Shane and Kerri Estes and their precious children for lunch one day. They are from our hometown in Mississippi and are missionaries in Nicaragua. They were in Tegucigalpa for a missionary retreat, and we had the joy of visiting with them.  Noah really loved playing with their children!  Also, the friendly people who work at our hotel have really made us feel at home, well as much as possible.  They are so helpful when we need anything and greet Noah every time they see him. They let him feed the fish, turn on the decorative lights, and pretty much run the place haha!   Also, we are so very thankful for our lawyer Marta and her son Ricardo.  Without them, we would have been so lost, in every possible way. Marta is an expert at adoptions in Honduras and has made sure we were prepared every step of the way. Ricardo is an expert driver and tour guide who we hope will come visit us in Mississippi. We have enjoyed spending lots of time with him, and Noah really looks forward to riding in Ricardo's big truck.  Finally, while we have been here, we have had the pleasure of being visited by family -  Aunt Ash and Momee - and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Lin Lin tomorrow!  Noah loves face timing with them and has learned their names already.

Overall, our time here has been wonderful and has allowed us to get a great start on bonding together as a family!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Where's Noah?!?!
Today was another good day of progress being made!  We woke up, got breakfast at the hotel, then watched a little Paw Chatrol (Patrol) before getting ready to go to the U.S. Embassy for our first appointment towards getting our visa for Noah.  Thankfully, we only had to bring a few pieces of paperwork with us because our superhero attorney Marta already had everything prepared and ready to go.  Because Marta could not go in with us, she gave us the paperwork, and sent us in by ourselves.  We were told not to bring any electronics with us, but as soon as we started to go through security they spotted Amanda’s FitBit.  So she had go outside and give it to Marta.  Then, they spotted the few snacks we had for Noah; but they wouldn't throw them away or let us in with them, so Clint had to shuffle outside with his shoes halfway on and no belt to dump the snacks into Marta’s purse.  We did make it inside ok though and after being sent at several wrong windows, we arrived at correct one, where the lady who was going to accept our paperwork and interview us was waiting.  It didn’t take long because everything was in order; so we went back to the hotel to wait and receive our case number so we could go to the doctor and get a TB skin test done for Noah.

Once we received our case number, we made our way to the Honduras Medical Center.  On the way in we had to walk down a flight of stairs and Amanda/“Grace”, who was holding Noah, tripped and nearly wiped out!  Thankfully she was able to avoid disaster.  HaHa.  Once we got inside we met with personnel who needed to get Noah’s information and weight.  Well, he screamed and cried and didn’t want to get on the scale.  So, they had to weigh Mama first and then Noah and Mama together.  Then we made our way to the doctor who would give Noah the TB skin test.  That was definitely a tough time for Noah.  As soon as they started to clean his arm, he began to scream and cry and didn’t stop until they pulled that massive needle outside of his little arm.  As soon as it was over though he got a sucker and smiled and told the doctor “Adios!”  Overall he did a good job!

On Saturday, we will go back to the HMC to have the TB skin test read.  Then, on Tuesday, when the doctor gets back in the office, we will complete the rest of the medical exam.  Of course after we finished this horrifying experience, we had to stop and get some coffee for Daddy and cookies for Mama and Noah.  Noah left with a cookie in one hand and a sucker in the other!  He earned a good snack for being a big boy!

We’re currently back at the hotel waiting for Wheel of Fortune to come on, and then we will live- stream Pinelake’s Wednesday night church service.  Mama is going to cook some burritos if the oven gets fixed, and later is the rooftop dance party!  That’s where we play music on our phones and have a family dance off.  Noah always wins.  Ha!  We had a good day and are grateful for the progress this week.  Thank you so much for the prayers!  We know our Father was with us today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Yesterday marked 5 weeks that we have been in Honduras.  Today was the day that we have been waiting for over the last 15 business days: Noah’s new birth certificate day!  Ricardo and Marta arrived early to the registration office to receive the new birth certificate, but had to wait and wait and wait.  Also, we were waiting all day to get word of their receiving it, so that we would be picked up and taken to the Honduras immigration office to get Noah’s passport.  Finally, at 2:38 pm, we got a message from Ricardo saying that they had the birth certificate and would pick us up shortly.  We arrived at immigration around 3:45 (they would close around 5:00) and sat down in one area while our lawyer Marta sat down in a line of chairs to wait for our turn to present the birth certificate and other documents to the lady who would allow us to proceed to the next step for obtaining his passport.  Because we were about 10th in line and there was only one lady working, we knew there was no way we would be seen before closing time; and we have to have the passport for our 10:00 am appointment tomorrow at the US Embassy.  We could sense the anxiousness from Marta as well, as she scurried around chatting persistently and convincingly to several official people.  Then, (from heaven) appeared another worker in the office at a cubicle labeled “emergency cases” who agreed to hear our case.  Soon, we were moving into another room to present documents; and before we knew it, we were having Noah’s picture made.  We were told we would wait 40 minutes for his passport (it was now 4:47).  At 5:02, after workers had begun to leave, doors were being locked, and air conditioning had been turned off, we were presented with his passport by a fellow who was on his way home from work!  God surely showed up big time this afternoon; and we also surely do appreciate Marta’s hard work to get this done today.  Now, tomorrow, we will have our first meeting at the US embassy and hopefully a mandatory doctor’s appointment, working towards getting Noah’s visa.  This is the beginning of the last step for us in being able to come home!  Please pray for us tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Today was a tough day because we had to say see you later to Aunt Ash and Momee.  We are so glad that they were able to come down, meet Noah, and spend some time with us over this long Easter weekend.  The weekend was filled with activity as we wanted to show our family the Honduran ropes.  They arrived on Friday and received a friendly welcome from Noah, who took to them both very quickly.  We hung around the hotel Friday, ate dinner, and introduced Aunt Ash and Momee to Noah’s dance moves!  Our hotel has an open air roof with flashing colored lights, so at night we go up top, play some music, and let loose!  Noah has got some moves for sure!  Mama and Daddy…not so much.  HaHa! But we have fun!  On Saturday, we headed out of the city to do some sightseeing and shopping.  We fed the ducks and turtles in Santa Lucia and then fed ourselves some freshly made plantain chips.  Aunt Ash and Momee enjoyed shopping at a store with some local flowers, plants, and outdoor decor.  After that, we were able to shop in Valle De Angeles before enjoying a Honduran meal at El Roble.  On Sunday, we were able to tune in online to our Pinelake’s Easter service and worship our risen Lord from Honduras!  We are so grateful that we can connect with our church family in that way.  Sunday afternoon we made a trip to a nearby mall and let Noah play in the kid’s area.  We all got some chocolate/swirl ice cream while Daddy got some coffee.  Mama went to give Noah a bite of his chocolate/swirl ice cream cone and all the ice cream slid off the cone and onto the ground!  Noah looked at it on the ground like, “I know that wasn’t my ice cream,”  Haha!  Thankfully the staff at Dunkin Donuts was gracious and gave us a new ice cream cone for Noah.  He loves chocolate ice cream!  Monday we had planned to go to the zoo, but it was closed; so we went to a neighboring park to let Noah play on the slides, swings, and see saws.  

Next, we walked a nature trail up to the huge Jesus statue.  It’s a really beautiful place, and the statue is amazing to see.  There was also a replica of a tomb containing Jesus.  So thankful that the real tomb is empty!  What a special experience to have been able to visit this park, especially during this Easter weekend.  We are so grateful to have spent Easter with Noah this year and that Aunt Ash and Momee could join us!  Seeing Noah run down the trail towards the huge statue of Jesus with His arms open wide made us think of the verse in Matthew, “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14).  That’s how we all should be, like children running into the arms of our Savior!

During the last two weeks and since we last blogged, we have been just waiting for the new birth certificate to be done, but expect it to be done a week from today on the 25th.  Then, we can continue the legal process and work towards coming home.  We have continued our daily/weekly schedules that we established the first two weeks we were here.  We are so impressed with how Noah is picking up on English.  He is so smart!   There are so many Spanish words and phrases he used to say that now he says in English…like Buenos Dias/Good Morning, Adios/Goodbye, Gracias/Thank You, Zapatos/Shoes, Agua/Water, Pelota/Ball, and so many more.  He is getting good at saying animal names and making and their sounds.  He likes to sing Old McDonald Had a Farm.  He has learned how to put 3-dimensional shape blocks in their correct spots.  And now, he has even learned what “time out” is LOL.  We took Noah to the arcade for the first time, which he really enjoyed.  He enjoys Facetiming with family and friends.  We were also able to spend a few days at the beach, introducing Noah to the sand and water for the first time.  He loved the sand (but not so much the taste of it 😝), the ocean water, and the swimming pool.  He became famous around the hotel where we stayed because of his dancing performance in front of everyone there.  Anytime we were not in our room, someone was saying “Hi Noah! Can you dance for us?” So funny!  it was great to get away for a few days and it helped pass the time as well.    

The process has been so long but we’re getting closer to coming back home - shooting for May 10th, so prayers for that would be appreciated.  Ready to see everyone and for Noah to meet you all!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

 From now on we will get to celebrate "Family Day" every year on April 4!  We started out the day like every other day for the last two weeks - waking up around 7:30 and heading downstairs for breakfast. We then spent an hour or so back up in the apartment playing before heading up to the roof to play outside with bubbles.  As we were coming down from the roof, we met our hardworking lawyer Marta and her son, who is also our driver, translator, tour guide, and so much more (thanks Ricardo!) who had frantically come to look for us because our signing, which was originally scheduled for 3:00 and then rescheduled for 2:00, had apparently now been moved to 11:00.  Now, that was fine except for the fact that it was 11:12 and none of us were dressed for the day.  In fact, one of us was still in pajamas!  We raced back to the apartment and in 12.35 minutes, all three of us were dressed to impress.  When we arrived to DINAF, we dropped Noah off at the play area, and Ricardo stayed with him. Then, we went into a room with six other participants/observers, where the notary read the entire 10 legal-sized page document of the official adoption decree aloud. We didn't understand much, but we heard our names and Noah's name several times and felt very grateful that this was the moment that we would be officially recognized as a family of three.  We proceeded to sign off and place our fingerprints on the document and in just under an hour, we were returning to the play area to be reunited with Noah. Ricardo said he cried a lot and Called for Mama and Daddy - that was the first time we had been apart in two weeks.  Noah was so glad to see us, which totally warmed our hearts 😍.  Next, we were on our way as three Hatches!

Now...although we had the official signing today, we still have a long way to go before we can come home. The official papers from today will be turned in to the courts tomorrow. Then, there is a mandatory law that requires a 10-business day waiting period (but in Honduras, the country pretty much shuts down from work for Semana Santa, which is their celebration of Easter during the week leading up to Easter; so we will now have a 15-business day waiting period because of this) before we are able to obtain Noah's new birth certificate which has his new name and our names as his parents.  Because of this, we are expecting the get his new birth certificate on April 25, so lots more waiting. Once we have his new birth certificate, we will be dealing with the  immigration department here and the US embassy for passports and visas. We anticipate that those aspects will take around two weeks. It appears that we won't be coming home for around five more weeks. It's really hard to let this part sink in, but as some special people reminded us recently: God's has had His hand on this adoption since the beginning and He's got this too. "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may received what was promised."  - Hebrews 10:36

The waiting has always been and will continue to be hard, but what an incredible thing God is doing in our hearts and lives!  We greatly appreciate each and every prayer to our good Father in heaven on our behalf. They're being answered!

Thanks to everyone for sharing in our exciting day through all of your encouraging and kind comments on our post and pictures today!!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hola from Tegucigalpa, Honduras!

This past week, we received great news - that our signing date to make the adoption official will be this Tuesday! When we found out, we were high fivin' and fist bumpin'!  We're so glad that the date has been set, and that we will be able to move forward with the rest of our paperwork here. The next step after signing is to take the paperwork to the registrar, who will make a new birth certificate for Noah. That will take about ten working days, so we'll be playing the waiting game again until we get the new birth certificate...but we've gotten pretty good at that over the years.

Since our last update, we've been to the zoo, a national park, and the mall where there is an awesome play area that Noah loves. The zoo was really nice and his favorite animal was the peacock! We also got to see a big lion, some monkeys, and some scary snakes. Well, everyone got to see the snakes except for Mama. She didn't want any part of that! Haha. The national park was nice and we got to take a walk through it, play on the swings and slides, watch some kids play a game with balloons, and dance to some of the local music! Noah can really break it down. He must be quick learner from his Dad! ;) The mall play area was fun because he got to play in a ball pit with some other kids. He stayed in there for an hour and didn't want to leave.  So, right then and there he pitched a nice little fit; but by the time we had turned the corner, he was back to his normal, happy self!

Overall, we're doing well here and slowly learning about being parents for the first time, which is kinda hard (LOL), especially when we're in a foreign country for an undetermined number of weeks and we've been given our two year old son who doesn't speak our language and we are living in a 900 square foot apartment. It's...awesomely interesting!  The good news is that Noah is a normal two year old little boy. The bad news is that Noah is a normal two year old little boy. Haha! We're so grateful that the good far outweighs the bad!  He is continuing to pick up on English quickly as he understands most of what we say and is ever increasing his vocabulary.  With God's help we're learning how to be a family of 3, and by His grace alone we are doing really well!

Thanks so much to everyone who has participated in the Noah's Home t-shirt fundraiser -what a blessing!  We can't wait for you all to meet Noah!!  (Pictures coming Tuesday)

Also, please keep us in your prayers as we move closer to finishing this part of our journey!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Just wanted to give everyone an update...Most everyone knows that we arrived in Honduras last Monday on our second official visit in the adoption of our SON, Noah! We thought we would be given a signing date (day where the court declares that we are officially a forever family and we will post pics on this day) on Monday when we arrived, but that was not the case.  We continued to wait all week in hopes of a date with no word. Please pray that we will receive word on this date very soon so that we can begin the official legal process of finalizing the adoption.

Meanwhile, we have really enjoyed our time with Noah. After arriving Monday around noon, we picked up a few groceries, unpacked our suitcases, settled in to the apartment, and rested up for our reunion with Noah on Tuesday. When the time came, we were so ecstatic to see him and he definitely was glad to see us, but he was hesitant to leave the place and people who were so familiar to him. We are so very grateful for their taking care of him. Seeing Noah be unsure and hesitant when we were leaving the orphanage made us think about our relationship with our Heavenly Father. So many times God shows up in our life wanting to take us to a better place. Yes, change is hard and it may not be an easy road; but God does it for our good. Even though Noah recognized us he still wanted to stay in a familiar place. How often is God trying to deepen our relationship with him and others and make us useful in His Kingdom, but we just want to stay in a comfortable place?

During the past week, we have played around the hotel, had several outings to the mall and children's museum, and pretty much established a daily/weekly schedule. We get up in the morning around 7:00/7:30 to eat breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then play at the hotel or go out until lunch. After lunch is nap time for 2-3 hours. We take turns working out upstairs in the fitness room during Noah's nap. When he wakes up, we have a snack and watch a cartoon, then play or go out until dinner. We eat dinner in the apartment or the hotel restaurant. Next is bath time, which Noah loves!  Finally, we play until bed time around 8:30/9:00.

We try to get out of the apartment every other day because days in the apartment are very long. Noah loves the children's museum, and on our first visit there on Saturday, there were several school buses full of kids, which was great because he really enjoyed playing with them. Today we were able to watch our church service online. Noah loves music and seeing him raise his hands and dance while worshipping his Heavenly Father was so touching. I know God was smiling this morning watching His little boy!

Overall, our first week has been great.  Noah speaks really good toddler Spanglish, and we understand it very well.  Haha!  He is talking a lot and learning much English very quickly.  He says please, thank you, hello, bye bye, fish, water, big truck, and our favorites mama and daddy.  He loves to play with blocks, balls, puzzles, and toys that make music or other sounds. Noah is very particular about picking up his toys and organizing them in certain ways.  He loves to play outside and we have so much fun! We are so blessed with this wonderful little boy 😍

We do want to say thanks to everyone who is helping us at work and home. Without you, we couldn't be here doing this right now. How do you leave work and home for 4-6 weeks!?!?  With people you love and trust to cover for you, that's how! And we certainly have many of those people in our lives, so thank y'all very much for your help.