Since our last post, it seems like not much has happened until recently. The home study that we started back in August with our initial paperwork was finally delivered to us a few days before Christmas. That same day, we overnighted our USCIS application (immigration approval stuff) to Texas so we can get started on that. Our adoption agency has said the chance of us making our dossier deadline given to us by China is pretty slim because our home study took so long, but they are going to file an extension for us while we wait for the USCIS approval to come, which will probably take 6 weeks or so, and then a copy of that document has to be notarized, state certified, and then authenticated. In the meantime, we are going to get the document-sealing process done on the rest of our dossier documents. Last time around, we waited until we got the USCIS approval and then had all of our documents sealed at the same time, which saves on postage and courier fees, but half of our documents start expiring at the end of March unless we get them to the Chinese Embassy in Chicago for sealing before then (documents can't be over 6 months old for them to authenticate at that location), or else they have to be redone. We'd prefer not having to redo pretty much half of our dossier!
We're also waiting for updates on the kiddos. Our agency requested updates on them last week since it's been 90 days from our preapproval. We are hoping and praying to get updated medical and developmental information on both of them. Skye's information we received in her file was very recent, from the past few months, but Kai's information was from April 2014, when he was only 13 months old. He'll be 2 in March, so that's a pretty big chunk of time for a little guy, comparatively speaking. Of course, we'd also be thrilled to get new pictures of the kids and (dare I even say it?) possibly video. We have 2 videos of Skye already and are so thankful for them. You can see her sweet personality shine right through her shy smile and quiet little voice. So much of the time it seems like the kids are so far away and can't possibly be real, so we crazy adoptive parents are eager for any kind of pictures or information that make our kiddos more real to us as we wait.There are several months ahead of lots more paperwork, grant applications, etc., but most of all, lots of waiting to bring them home. Not our favorite word, by the way!
Below is a picture of Kai and Skye's boxes where we've been putting special things for them while we wait. In them, you'll see some things that we will be sending to them soon, including a photo book of their new family, some toys, an outfit, jammies, and candy for the orphanage staff /foster family. Also in there are special things for them that we'll take with us when we actually travel to get them like a special blankie and stuffed animal for each of them. These simple plastic tubs represent a hope that is deferred for right now; hearts that are preparing to bring these children home to a family that loves them so much already, even though we haven't met yet.
A few weeks ago, Lily told us that she was “frusterated” with Daddy and Mommy. When asked why, she said, “Because you took too long to get me in China.” In one way, her statement broke our hearts because she somehow remembers her own waiting, too. However, this spunky little 4-year-old now knows the difference between where she was before and that she is now home, and we are looking forward to Kai and Skye knowing that difference as well.
All in all, we are so thankful to have our kids that are here already and for the ones to come home. What a great privilege we have been given! We are so thankful to God for doing this work in our hearts and family and taking us to places that we would have never dreamed we'd go (both metaphorically and literally!). We are so thankful to Him for His provision, even when we can't see how it will work out yet, but we know it will. And we are so thankful to you, dear friends, because you have chosen to follow along with us in this journey. This is really so much bigger than just one family trying to bring a few children home, but a glimpse of just a tiny part of how much God loves each and every one of us and how He went not to the other side of the world to adopt us into His family, but from the glories of Heaven to the dust of this earth when He gave everything for us.
We ask that you would please pray along with us for His provision for the rest of the adoption process, for patience along the way with all of the waiting (which we're not so great at, if you couldn't tell!), that Kai and Skye's hearts even now are preparing to bond and attach with all of us, and for their health and well-being.