Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Story to be Told (or Re-told) on Father's Day: How from Heaven my Dad Saved the Adoptions of Thomas and Nicholas

I must apologize to everyone because of how extremely behind I am. It’s been months now and still was not able to post any pix of Maximilian and Philip’s homecoming. I was not even able to select a few photos and ask Warren or Gerard to post them for me. Yes, I must admit that even though taking and posting pictures of my family is the only hobby I have, I never do any posting myself. It is always one of the twins who does it for me. I’m an innate writer and have lots of pieces still in old-fashioned manuscript form hiding in folders and boxes. If I could arrive to manage today’s requirements for more graphic presentation I’d be able to say so much more. Please don’t misunderstand me. Both twins are always, all the time, and at all times ready, willing, and eager to help me—and they do so in a very kind and considerate manner for me almost not to even realize that I desperately need their help. Yet, it is not the same if you take a picture and instantly send it to whoever you want to send it and post it wherever you want to post it than if you have to get help every time—even if you can count on the most selfless and devoted help ever.


Let’s go to a story I already posted several times before but still cannot but post it again today to honor my Dad, who is now next to God in Heaven.

My Dad, Armando C.E. Godone-Signanini, was called by our Lord on November 2, 1993—yes, on the day of All Hallows. It is a day when the Catholic Church honors all saints—including those who were never formally or officially canonized but who all the same during their path on this earth earned their rightful merits for true sainthood forever close to God.  

For those who are not familiar with the adoption process from Haiti, it is, or at least then it was, different from how things work from most other countries that are open to international adoption. The adoptions are first approved at the IBSR, which is the equivalent to what could be called the Department of Human Services, or Department of Social Services, or Department of Children and Families. Then the files are sent for court approval, and even though at that point the children legally become members of their new families, still in every single case the whole adoption process is reviewed one more time at the MOJ level. I should clarify that MOJ is an acronym for Ministry of Justice.

In 2008, after all those steps had been successfully completed and Thomas and Nicholas’ files had finally come out of the long MOJ review process and had been sent to the U.S. Consulate at Port-au-Prince for their visas to be issued, for some unknown and unexplainable reason their files were sent, or were about to be sent, for some third-level scrutiny to a mysterious office on the main land, most likely in Washington, D.C., from where they could take months or even years to return—if they would ever return. We were told that randomly one file out of I-don’t-recall-how-many was sent for an even more thorough review in order to preserve the integrity of the adoption process in the country in question. My Mom, Catherine, Gerard, Warren, and I were in sheer desperation, sharing prayers and tears. Those who had helped try to expedite things at the MOJ level were not able to do anything at a higher scrutiny step by the U.S. government. Our local senator’s office was not helpful at all. It would have taken weeks to even have our request reviewed by someone. I contacted our local representative’s office and went to speak with someone who was very kind and yet seemed to go no deeper than superficial kindness.

Days were going by and it seemed there was nothing we could do—except for crying, praying, and getting more and more desperate by the hour. A few nights after the bad news I had a dream I will never forget. I heard the doorbell ring and as I went to check I saw my Dad, looking much younger than he did during his last years on this earth, smiling at me and holding Thomas and Nicholas—one in each arm. "I had to go in person to Haiti as the only way to bring them home to all of you," he told me. "I knew that Catherine, Gerard, and Warren could not wait any more. I filled out all the final paperwork. Only I left the boys' middle names blank because I was not sure which ones you wanted for them."  In reality, unless things changed since then, children adopted from Haiti arrive home with their new family names and their old first and middle names, which can be changed only at the time of their re-adoption at their new place of residence.

 As I tried to hug my Dad one last time in my dream, he vanished—but in the morning I made one more call to the U.S. Embassy at Port-au-Prince . . . and I couldn’t believe my ears when I was told that our files were back where they were supposed to be. It had been determined that there was no reason why our files needed to go through any heightened scrutiny of any sort and they were very sorry for the distress they had caused our family in the meantime. Our boys’ visas would be issued within just a couple of days. In less than one week I already had my airplane tickets to pick them up.

Needless to say, upon getting the awesome news that everything would be all right and kept on schedule, my Mom, Catherine, the twins, and I hugged each other, thanked God, shed tears of happiness and relief—and shed even more tears thinking about the beloved one who had departed this earth fifteen years before, and three years before I had my twins sons, but was still there, interceding for us, and also watching over his then newest grandsons, Thomas and Nicholas, whom he had helped bring from the Haitian orphanage all the way home.

Immediately after our little big celebration I called our local representative’s office and spoke with the person who was supposed to take care of our case. Without telling him the wonderful news I just asked him whether or not he had had a chance to contact the Consulate at Port-au-Prince. He replied he had had a couple of hectic days but would e-mail them right away after getting off the phone. I thanked him but told him that wouldn’t be necessary—because there was no longer any problem to resolve. It was only too obvious that it had not been a matter of political intervention but of higher-order intercession.

That happened one week after Father’s Day 2008. Now, five years later, on Father’s Day 2013, my Mom is also in Heaven, next to my Grandparents, next to him, and next to God since last September 1st, 2012. Catherine and the twins have been praising the Lord every single day for having Thomas and Nicholas first and three more brothers later on. Even when there were some bad moments or some bad times they never stopped seeing all of their younger siblings as huge blessings to enrich their lives—huge blessings bestowed by Heaven with the help of those beloved ones who helped so much on this earth and from Above. It is Father’s Day today and we’re back from Mass. Yes, I did cry during the Mass. And I can clearly see Thomas and Nicholas much smaller than they look today, lovingly held by my Dad, one in each arm.

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