Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Fine Brick Wall

We seem to have reached a major roadblock in terms of our I-600a extension. This form is one we file with Citizenship and Immigration to be cleared in advance to bring an orphan into the country. We were approved over a year ago, but after a certain period of time the approval expires and you must apply for an extension. We did this in September. We know that our application was received -- we were smart enough to have delievery confirmation -- but from there its all a mystery. The process ideally takes about two weeks in our state. We should have received our approval letter (I-171h) by the beginning of October. Now it is the end of Decmeber and there is no sign of it.

I contacted them at the end of October and since that time have been told on a weekly basis that we are approved and our form is in the mail. About two weeks ago, when there was still no sign of our letter, I enlisted the help of our social worker. She is now getting the exact same run-around. They would not give her any information but to say that they would resend the form. Last week they even went so far as to confirm our address and tell us that the form was going out that day. Over a week later, we still haven't seen it. Their office is three hours away.

Nobody knows what is really going on. It is completely absurd that such a routine process would be so messed up. I almost wonder if somebody there doesn't like us for some reason. We may never know, but we need that form.

When a family is placed on the waiting list, the understanding is that they will have this letter in hand by the time they reach the top. With over 20 families on the girl's list, signifying months of wait time, its not a big deal to have the process done in time. It is, however, a stated requirement to have this form to complete the referral process. I'm not sure what this means for our case. I've been keeping our case worker up-to-date, so she knows we're trying. If it comes down to it, we will seriously drive over there and pick up the silly form -- that is, if they'll let us.

Would you please pray specifically for this form? Also that we wouldn't be anxious -- we really feel like we've hit a brick wall. As with our referral, we must essentially sit and wait through the holidays, because if things weren't moving at this government office during normal days, I can only imagine how difficult it will be to navigate during these next two weeks. Our social worker and case worker are also out of the office until the 5th. I officially hate waiting!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

"It was really the best Christmas present ever -- even better than hearing about our baby girl. I would gladly postpone our referral in exchange for that moment. I really would."

I wrote that yesterday (on our family blog) in response to my son's Christmas program. Little did I know -- or maybe I did know deep down -- that we weren't likely to get our referral before Christmas, that it really would be postponed.

We found out today that there is little chance of a referral before early January. I spent a significant amount of time grieving the loss of that hope this afternoon before I remembered what I had written yesterday. So ironic. Now, as I'm consciously choosing to move on and rejoice in the blessings of what I do have this Christmas, I realize that I really did mean what I said. The countless mountains that God has moved in the life of my son are a testament to what God can and will do in the coming year, and that reminder Sunday night was necessary to get me through the news of today.

Speaking of irony, consider what I wrote this time last year. And if that wasn't enough, there is this. I am simply awed by where God has brought us in just one year and humbled to think of what the next year might bring...starting in early January.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Ever heard of it? Well, I've got it. Its the fear of using a phone*. Calling on the phone, answering the phone -- both are very difficult for me. I've gotten better though. I still get sweaty palms when I call anyone other than my mother or my husband, but at least now I can call to make my own appointments.

So why this confession? Because I'm probably the only mommy-in-waiting in the history of our agency who has her husband as the primary person to call. Yes, indeed. When our blessed moment arrives, my hubby will be the first to know! So its HIS name I anticipate with such anxiety every time I check my incoming calls. It also makes matters more complicated since he does call for other reasons throughout the day -- so I never really know. But, considering the fact that I'd probably faint if I saw AGCI's number on my phone, it really is the better option. Even if it is really weird.

*I made this up. However, I have heard of other people with a strong aversion to talking on the phone, so I wouldn't be surprised if there actually is a term for it. Just like coulrophobia, which is the fear of clowns and another phobia of mine. I'm actually bothered by any masked or costumed character, which my hubby says is related to my fear of the phone because in both cases the other person involved is concealed. He could have something there. The irony is that in his younger days my husband spent a number of years performing as a clown on mission trips around the world. But that's a post for a different day....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Looking Forward

Looking forward to something really has its downsides. Its been about a week since we learned that we are just about as close as you can get to a referral without actually having one. And I'm hanging in there. Really. After three years on this journey, what's another couple of weeks? Trouble is that all isn't so rosy after that blessed moment of referral. And that's what's got me down. (And writing in sentence fragments, apparently.) Its like almost being to that last rest area before the most difficult part of the journey. For three years I've watched families get referrals only to then plunge into all manners of despair as they wait for court, wait for travel and/or experience lengthy delays, mistakes in paperwork, and even closure of of their country's program. Some have even lost their children before they were even able to bring them home. Adoption is like the longest pregnancy ever, followed by the longest labor and delivery ever...all for the price of a new SUV. And that doesn't include the emotional toll. I spend my moments praying for all these other families, their children, and their circumstances. With my own troubles heaped on top. Sometimes I wonder what on earth I've signed on for....

Lord, thank you for the blessing that I KNOW adoption to be -- help me to BELIEVE that ALL things DO work together for the good of those who love you. Grant me an extra measure of grace as I wait for that "rest area" and the journey to follow.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Can I Get an AAAHHH!?!

So I've been sick for the last couple days. Totally out of it. But late last night I decide to check in on the AGCI listserve. Wasn't thinking that anything had happened. After the movement last week, I figured we'd have some down time. We were all just waiting for our official number updates. Oh, look, I say. Maria got a referral. How wonderful! Wait a minute. Maria is right before us. Maria was Number 4. If Maria got a referral, then we're like....

For the record, we did get our OFFICIAL number update today from our case worker, which is Number 4. That just means that there are three people ahead of us who haven't submitted their official referral acceptance paperwork. A family isn't removed from the list until that happens. So you can't OFFICIALLY move up until that happens. But, odds are we are indeed #1. At most #2. I think. Isn't that completely nuts??!!

God is moving and so are we...even if we aren't ready!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Someday Soon

I'll get to use this fabric that I bought over two years ago!