This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Just to share!!! I got a e-mail saying that the kids are all excited,
all they talk about is their "MOM and DAD."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Our case officer at USCIS (God bless this amazing woman!) assigned us appointments to have our fingerprints taken in Hartford. First available date: November 11. She recommended that we take the appointment card and walk into the office this week and explain our situation and hope for mercy and flexibility. As long as they have our recent fingerprints on file, USCIS should be able to process the approval update before it expires while we're in Brazil.
It looks like LIMIAR finally has the electronic copy of the Acordo and Lino is taking it to CEJA today so that they can make up the final packet that the president of the CEJA needs to sign and send to the courthouse.
The pieces are coming together. We will get to our children. We will be a family and God will be glorified.
We just have to remember to breathe.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
But there are those IF's to contend with. IF the Acordo (sent to the wrong address by the US Consulate in Rio) is/was recovered by Lino and brought to the right place, our court date could be arranged this coming week... with enough time to prepare the children for our arrival.
IF the court date is scheduled later than the first week of November, we may very well run into some significant delays since our USCIS fingerprint approval expires in December and we must complete the adoption before they expire. IF I hadn't forgotten to sign one of the pages on the application to extend that approval, we'd probably have nothing to worry about, but since I did... we may end up having to wait around here for our fingerprints to be renewed before we can even request a court date.
IF we don't travel before Christmas, we'll have to get new visas for ourselves since they are valid for entry up to 90 days after they are generated--December 23.
I'm trying very hard to keep it together right now since neither one of us can bear the thought of another delay (or series of delays). And do you know what I think? I think that only God can make this happen. Doesn't it seem like the kind of set-up He would love? Everything looks impossible, and just as we begin to lose hope... the only One who can make a miracle happen... makes a miracle happen. And everyone knows that it wasn't thanks to me, or James, or any government or agency. It was only thanks to God. Let's pray for that.
In the meantime, while we wait to find out how things go with all these IF's... we're putting the finishing touches on the house.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The court social worker will decide how much time the children need to adjust to the reality of being adopted before we can come meet them. Usually a week, but it could be more or less depending on the social worker's judgement about our situation. We should (probably) know by the end of this week and could (possibly) be Brazil-bound in a couple weeks from now!
Could it be that we are really just one step away from being together with our children? After all that has happened, could we really be just a couple weeks from being parents? Lord, have mercy and let it be so!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
In the spirit of 21st century digital communication between continents through satellites, in my dream I was getting ready to travel to the International Space Station to receive a bit of adoption-related information transmitted up from Brazil and then personally retransmit it down to the appropriate party in the United States. Although I was never really clear on what the information was, it was quite evident that it was critical to this adoption process, and I absolutely knew for sure I would be leaving on Tuesday! (Perhaps that has something to do with my flying to Calgary on business this Tuesday.)
It is not a general habit of mine to remember any of my dreams, and this is only the second time since finding out about our kids in March that I have any sort of dream memory about them. (In the one other flash of a dream I have in my memory, I was playing soccer with Abraao Lucas as he laughed and laughed at my Portuguese. Not in a make-fun-of-way, but in a smiling, 7-year old filled with a joy for life way. It was really quite a beautiful moment.) As with all dreams, it felt so incredibly real in the moment, and it was clear to me that I would do anything for my children. I would wait for them, fight for them, do anything to get them--I would take a trip to outer space if it meant having them home.
Sometimes I wish I dreamed about my kids more often. Who knows the number of times I have gone to bed looking at their pictures or thinking about them, hoping for such a result. But it doesn't really worry me that I don't. After all, I daydream about them so much that perhaps my subconscious needs a rest to think about something else at night!
Although waiting "a few more weeks" always seems like an eternity in the moment, in view of a lifetime, it is so small. I know in my heart that we will meet them soon, and that in God's perfect timing, all our dreams, and more, will come true.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Here's the story. The US Consulate in Rio received our USCIS "Provisional Approval" and needed to process a form called DS-230 "Application for immigrant visa and alien registration," a 4-page form with a $400 processing fee. Once this form is approved, then the Consulate will write up the "Acordo" document (aka "Article 5") which allows Lino to go make us a court date to meet our children. The consulate used to process this form after the finalization of an adoption but have changed their policy and now want it completed before they issue Article 5. (This is a smart policy change because it eliminates the risk of finalizing an adoption and then not being able to get the children out of the country with their new parents.) However, here's the snag: they will only accept payment in person. ... right. We can't go to Brazil without a court date, and we can't get a court date until we hand the consulate payment in person (or have someone do it for us). In other words, we must pay in person before we arrive. In other words, we're stuck in a policy that doesn't make any sense.
Our agencies (AWAA and LIMIAR) are working their tails off to try to figure out a solution, but have been unable to find one in the last week or so. We have offers from 3 friends to connect us with their personal and/or business contacts in Rio who might be able to make the payment for us and are following some of those leads. We also have many suggestions that we contact our Congressperson for some help. I guess I'm not sure how the government could help me with problems with the government. Even so, I left a voicemail for Rosa DeLauro.
It's overwhelmingly tempting to just get plane tickets and take care of this mess ourselves. We've been encouraged not to do that because no one really knows how much time will need to pass between getting this payment made... and the creation of the Acordo document... and the day our court appointment will actually happen. I'm not sure how spending an extra 2-3 weeks in Brazil is a bad thing, but we do understand how it would make travel arrangements difficult--not knowing a start date means not knowing an end date and difficulty booking return tickets.
Thinking back over the last 3+ years, I realize that just about NOTHING has gone as smoothly or quickly or easily as it should have. Just about EVERY step of this process has turned out to be unpredictable, delayed, or difficult. Of course I know that God has the timing in His hands and that I will see how perfect it is someday, but after more than three years of working and wanting and praying and striving and jumping through many many hoops, I am at the end of my strength and I feel like it's time for something to go smoothly.
The most encouraging word I've gotten during this latest round of frustration came from a LIMIAR parent whom we met at the reunion this summer. He said, Soon you will be looking backwards on all these delays and they will be your war stories about how you battled for the lives of your children....AND WON!
It's hard to stay positive and keep trusting God's plan when our desires seem to be thwarted at every turn. It's not a selfish desire, is it? I don't think it's a sinful one. Will our family ever come together? Lord knows.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Bicycles! from kim fullton on Vimeo.