what Webert’s visa taught me
by Kayla Raymond
Oh, and I seen many searching for answers far and wide, but I know we’re all searching for answers only You provide.
Cause you know just what we need, before we say a word.
You’re a good, good Father. It’s who you are, it’s who you are.
And, I’m loved by you. It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.
You are perfect in all of Your ways. You are perfect in all of Your ways. You are perfect in all of Your ways to us.
(lyrics from Good, Good Father by Housefires)
As the world now knows, my husband…my sweet, sweet husband…finally was granted a visa to travel to the United States late August.
Today, I want to reflect on this, share some of our memories and remind us how our Father is so good.
Webert has been trying to obtain a visitor’s visa to the United States since 2012. We became boyfriend and girlfriend the summer before my senior year of college and my biggest wish was for him to see me on graduation day. But, he was denied a visa in March 2012, two months before graduation day.
I moved to Haiti full-time three weeks after graduation. Our relationship only grew from there and I dreamt of the day when I would show my love where I was raised.
My brother would graduate from high school in May 2013 and we tried for another visa to be there on his big day. At this time, we were also starting to talk about marriage. In the perfect world I had in my mind, Webert would get his visa; propose to me while in America, with friends all around and we would celebrate with chips, salsa and margaritas. Because, that’s just how I do things.
But, we were denied a visa again.
After this second denial, I began worrying this little fantasy of mine would never come true. We would get engaged June 2013 and marry January 2014.
Once I changed my name and had all the certificates, we decided it was time to try for a visa again. Third time’s a charm, so the universe says.
But, again we were denied.
I tried to be brave, but all I kept hearing at this point was arguments saying he would never receive a visitor’s visa because he had married an American citizen. When, before, we were given advice that getting married would help his case! Side note: I have learned nothing from this experience, except the whole system is whacked out and there really is no true advice to be given.
I began drowning in this fear of the unknown and resenting certain parts of God. All I could think of were selfish thoughts, which became ugly and sinful. Some days, I just wanted out.
Fast-forward to summer 2015 and three visa tries later. Whenever I would bring up the subject, Webert would get short with me and say he wasn’t applying again until 2017. And, in turn, I would be all about the drama and say things like, “you don’t care where I come from, and you don’t even LOVE ME!” Because, I could. And, let’s be honest, we all have to let the crazy out at some point.
This past summer, we started working on guardianship for a little girl in the hopes to get her a medical visa (this process, by the way, is almost complete and we hope to have a visa appointment scheduled for her by next week!) Our big plan was to make an appointment for Chedline and Webert on the same day, make a big case how we need to travel together to help this little girl and show papers on our other three children.
Well, because Haiti, Chedline’s paper work with social services took almost six weeks longer than we expected. I was planning a trip to go back to the States for a wedding in September and found myself daydreaming of Webert going back with me to meet all of my college friends and be a part of the wedding.
So, on a random Sunday night, when we knew Chedline’s papers were going to take much longer than expected, we filled out an application for another visa appointment. I literally stopped breathing for the next eighteen days.
One minute I would be fine and pumping my fists, saying, “God’s got this!” And, the next moment I would be hyperventilating.
During this time period, a friend spoke these brilliant words of encouragement to me:
“We give the ink on these papers (visas, diagnoses, applications, etc) way too much power. The only ink that has true power is the Bible. And, in the Bible, God promises good things to those who love and serve Him.”
During this time period, a book I had been given over a year ago magically appeared on my bed stand. Well, it probably wasn’t magic. I’m sure it was my cleaning lady who put it there, but I have no idea where it had been or where she would have found it. I also have a bookshelf in the back room, so I’m not sure why she chose to put it on my bed stand instead of on the bookshelf! I had started reading this book, but never finished it and I think God put it there as a very bold reminder of who He is. The book is called Sun Stand Still and it’s based on the story in Joshua, when Joshua asks God to make the sun literally stand still so he can win a battle.
“The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!” Joshua 10:13-14
In that perfect moment, I was reminded how we are allowed to pray for miracles and with an audacious faith we can expect them to happen as well.
That moment took my breath away as I was so certain the Lord would finally grant Webert a visa.
The day before the appointment finally arrived and that night we were busy organizing papers and ironing the perfect interview outfit. And, with the greatest look of confidence, Webert starting singing one of our kids favorite songs:
If Jesus says yes, no body can say no!
The next day, I waited in anticipation for two hours in the vehicle while Webert was in the embassy. The answer was finally YES!
As we went through the airport in Port-au-Prince, the perfect song was singing:
If Jesus says yes, no body can say no!
Friends, I rode that escalator with tears in my eyes, thinking my heart could literally explode in my chest. It’s funny, how when we open our eyes to Him, it turns out He is everywhere…even on the radio!
We had such an amazing trip! I got to stand up for one of my best friends on her wedding day and wink at my husband in the crowd. Webert got to experience American football for the first time as we watched my younger brother play for his college. My best friend Molly got to introduce him to Buffalo Wild Wings, he was blown away by our drive thru banking system and loved the darkness of our basement – where, we totally made out on the couch, it was like I was in high school again! We ate entirely too much good food, went to the zoo, spent a lot of money at Target and got to hug people who have been waiting to meet Webert for over three years. Blessed doesn’t even describe it.
God reminded me so many times through this process, as my testimony tells, that He hears us and wants good for us. I still do not understand why He made us wait so long for this to happen, but the timing felt ironically perfect as we traveled.
We still have a lot to work to do for our own three children in order for them to travel with us, but I am affirmed and confidant the day will come where I get to show my babies where their mama was raised.
Thank you to everyone who has so wholeheartedly followed this crazy, little journey of ours. So many of you showered us with love while we were in the States and the love we received when we got back to Haiti was just as warm and beautiful. It’s humbling being known, loved and accepted in two completely different worlds.
So much of this journey is complicated, hard, scary and so unknown…yet, so many of you encourage us, support us in so many ways, love us when it’s hard and press forward even with us when it’s unknown.
I thank you for that. You’ve made my life all the more beautiful. Thank you for cheering us on!
Until the day when three special little Haitians get their visas,
Love from Haiti,
We are still praising God for answering that prayer for Webert to come to the U.S. It was a thrill to see you have fun here. Praying your little ones will come next yea
Love, grandma Grooters