When something beyond painful happens, you wonder where God is in it all. I’m still searching.
After a terrible visit with Belkis a few days ago, we contacted the social worker about where we stood with the kids. The judge told us to bring the kids in. We picked Pamela, Arol, Jonatan and Dayana up early from school. Then we picked up Courtney, Amber and Rosie from the building.
When we arrived at the judge’s office, Belkis was already waiting. We don’t know if she just showed up or if the office called her. (She has gone often recently to this office to complain about how we’re “stealing her children.”)
The kids didn’t know what to do. Belkis was in a mood and passing out “guilt trips” to each child. To her defense I’m sure she misses them and doesn’t know how to express that, but it was hard to make myself remember that.
We sat with the kids on another floor for hours, while Amber and Belkis waited and then finally spoke with the judge.
Someone finally came to bring us upstairs. The kids went to speak with the judge’s staff. Arol came out first. He smiled, and I asked how it went. He said, “They asked me if I wanted to be with you or my mom. I said you.” He sighed and gave off a general sense of confidence – “That was that.”
The other kids followed smiling except for Dayana. She stayed inside, confused, troubled and acting out as a result of this horrible mess. Finally Amber came out and said we were going to lunch. She had tears in her eyes.
For the first time since this process began, my confidence felt shaken. I was scared.
From the driver’s side, Amber continued to fight look losing it. As I held Dayana as she sobbed, I asked what happened.
“They’re taking them to IHNFA,” she said.
Easily the worst five words I have ever heard. IHNFA is the child services of Honduras. In other words, the judge thought the best thing for the kids was to rip them from the only people with whom they had ever felt safe.
As we ate, she explained it wasn’t for sure yet. We were supposed to get the decision when went back after lunch. I couldn’t believe someone could look at our situation and think we weren’t right for the kids.
The judge had told Amber and Belkis if they couldn’t work out a visitation schedule and a way to get along, she would send the kids to IHNFA. Amber said,in any way she could, she was willing to do anything.
Belkis said, “Send them to IHNFA – that’s better.”
We think she believed she would see them more that way. When in reality, it will be the same, probably worse. And clearly, this isn’t the best situation for the kids.
When we got back to the office, the judge was gone. We thought Amber would be able to discuss it more with her. But she had left her decision with an aid. We prayed this meant she changed her mind. We waited for a few more hours. The kids kept asking what was happening. All I could say – “I don’t know.”
A guard came for the kids, while Amber and Belkis waited upstairs for the judge’s ruling. We walked out of the playroom toward the stairs. A man said, “just the kids for now.”
The man was a representative from IHNFA. He didn’t even give us a chance for hugs or explanations. He just took our kids and shoved them into a car in a parking garage upstairs. I can’t even imagine how the kids felt.
Once I realized what had happened, I couldn’t breath. Corey, Courtney and Darwin began to cry around me. I felt against the wall and imagined how unbelievably scared each of the kids probably felt.
To say we are all devastated would be too simple. To say we’re angry and confused would at least be closer.
We’re going on Monday with a lawyer friend of ours from IHNFA to try to get visitation from the judge. The kids don’t have even one change of clothes. We know what center they’re in, and we’re praying we can get some sort of regular visitation.
This isn’t the last word. The judge will make her final decision in a few weeks; unfortunately we didn’t get an understanding judge. But we know we have many people on our side.
The owner of Interamerican wants to come to fight with us to keep the kids in their school, at the very least. Several of the teachers have family members or friends in IHNFA.
We’re angry. We’re worried. We are hurting indescribably, crying out to God for answers. But someone is hurting more. Someone is more angry. Someone is crying more for these kids. Our God loves these kids more than me or Amber or any of the rest of our team. We know he is working through countless people to help these little babies.
Please pray our wavering faith – that we remember his omnipotent love.
Please pray for our precious kids Arol, Rosie, Pamela, Jonatan and Dayana.
And for Belkis to have a change of heart. God loves his daughter Belkis just as much as all of us. Please pray he opens her heart to see what’s truly best for her little ones.
We need your prayers desperately. Please drop to your knees with us as we beg our omnipotent God for the best solution in all this chaos.