***Written on Thursday, December 17***
This morning, I was feeling a little overwhelmed of all the things that we have yet to accomplish in J's adoption. Then I just started praying. Praying helps the panic subside most times. Especially praying in thanksgiving! (Thanks to a book I read through with awesome women this summer, by Ann Voskamp called "One Thousand Gifts")
It's like God in that moment, reminded me of all the things he's already done. "So just hold on!" At the very beginning when we first said yes, I was praying for God's hand to be on this process. For every desk her case came across, every person involved. I even had this image of God's literal hand on her "file" (and her life!) and just sliding it across the desk in favor of all the different officials involved. Here are the things I was able to stop and give thanks for...
* when we were at the beginning and figuring out the fees for her process, since her case had already been completed in so many aspects of preparation when she was previously matched, we kinda assumed some of these fees wouldn't need to be repaid. Long story short, the majority of the fees we hoped to not have to pay, were not granted toward her case. We were flipping out. How in the world will we come up with the difference we were planning on not having to pay? This wasn't just a few hundred dollars. Or even a few thousand.
Well little did we know, Beau had a "once in a lifetime" type file at work come through. Literally, this doesn't happen in our neck of the woods. And wouldn't you know, when he landed this deal, it covered the ENTIRE first part of the fee that we didn't get granted to us from the agency. Not only that, it was upward of the amount that we had originally hoped and thought. So God provided. And even a sliver more than we were panicking about. :)
* when our agency called us to tell us the shocking news that we could have a court date in a matter of weeks, not months....she mentioned that it was imperative to get her all of the remaining documents signed/notarized/etc to her as soon as possible. I was ON IT.
THEN, "two day priority mail", turned into five day. It got LOST and my email kept blowing up all hours of the day and night telling me it was stuck in limbo going back and forth between two post offices. When I called to have someone at one of the POs find it and HOLD it, they said they couldn't find it. This was soooo bad. There were so many original docs in there and a very large check. I had prayer warriors praying and eventually it was found and our agency gal was gracious and drove to the PO and got it. Swapped envelopes right there and resent it to UG. WHEW! Just in time, to get the docs to submit our case to court.
* a court date in November. When we were totally realistically prepared for a date in February. At the earliest. And to add to the panic, there is a bill trying to be passed in Uganda making the guardianship orders void, and making adoptive families LIVE in Uganda for upwards of TWO YEARS before adoption. Now that our case is through the courts, we are in the clear if/when that bill is passed. (Praying this bill doesn't pass. ALL adoptions need reform. But I do not believe this is a solution.)
* we booked tickets in faith, without a solid confirmed court hearing, and the day we landed we found out the judge agreed to take us. Not only that, he's known to not show up or turn you away after hours of waiting on your scheduled court date. But HE SAW US!
* the judge didn't make us wait as long as most families waiting to see him have had to wait. (Only 1.5 hrs rather than 5-6) Such a sweet little blessing!
* with USCIS and getting approved by our government: our fingerprint appointment that is "non-walk-ins" came, the date of course, fell on a date that we would be IN UG for her court hearing. We went down to the USCIS the week before we were scheduled, and after providing a few evidences of "proof" of why we couldn't make the original appointment. They made the exception and saw us!
* a week after sending in our application to USCIS, I realized in the hustle and bustle of it all- I forgot to send in our birth and marriage certificates. Ah! This means they would have requested more evidence, and set us back weeks in being approved. Well I stalked down our officer, and he graciously allowed me to email them as an attachment. Saving us time and haslte! That doesn't happen these days!
* when USCIS sent us our approval, they somehow misprinted our approval letter and it had many errors:
"you are approved!" (Yay!!)
then we saw:
"For zero children/no age listed/etc." uhhhhhhh!?!?!! This won't fly with the embassy? Ha!
Thankfully, our agency knew of the officer we had been assigned- and got ahold of him ASAP and he fixed it ASAP and got us our new approval! (Some officers can be super difficult and not flexible at all)
These are little and BIG ways we've seen God's hand on her file, just "sliding it across the desks" of those involved in little and big ways.
* OH! And did I mention we were approved by the judge? We received the verbal ruling and order while in the Dominican on vacation together. He didn't give us the ruling "early" like he said he would try to do. And it came two days after the date he said he would give us. Those were hard days. But eventually, it came! And we were overjoyed!
------> We're officially J's guardians! praise! She is an ORPHAN NO MORE.
We are waiting for a few more things to be signed, sealed and IN HAND.......HOLD THAT THOUGHT.
MID-TYPING THIS UPDATE (on Thursday)....we JUST FOUND OUT PART TWO OF HER RULING IS COMPLETE.
Having two "new" kiddos at home through this adoption process, is very different. I can't just up and leave for 8-12 weeks like I could last time! So we wait for a few more things to be lined up, then I will go. And we continue to trust.
I'm busy nesting. Organizing oodles of clothing friends have passed down to us for J. Minimizing other things around the house. One of my sweet friends blessed us with J's bedset. I've been rearranging furniture, and DIYing some decor. So now she doesn't have to move into the "guest room", but we're slowly and creatively, making it HER room. :) So fun!
Meanwhile, we are prepping for Carver and Macy's first Christmas! And if you know me, I LOVE Christmas. Because the process in Uganda is at a turtle pace, I am actually going to be HOME for Christmas (unlike previously thought!). I am thrilled! But we still notice and talk about the void of not having our entire family under one roof, for yet another Christmas.
But all in His timing. And the first adoption process has taught me to be content and trust in that. :)