I have purposely held out for this follow-up to our last post waiting on some things to come through. Now where did we leave off…………
On February 26th, 2015, the adoption committee at our children’s local agency reviewed our file and rendered a decision. Friday, we waited patiently (OK, that was a bit of a stretch), er, anxiously for the news of their decision. None came. We were so disappointed but were assured we would definitely know something by Monday.
Monday, March 1st, our family was in Kroger doing some middle-of-the-day grocery shopping on my day off. As we were walking past the juice aisle, my phone rang and it had a distinct Washington State area code. Of course I answered and found a bench to talk to Rebecca, our agent.
WE WERE APPROVED!! AH, what a relief it was (and not because of Alka Seltzer!). Getting this important news felt like a major hurdle had been overcome! Like we had broken through some barrier keeping us 4000 miles from our children, whom we had (and still have) never met but loved as if we brought them home from the hospital.
I found Amy staring at salad dressings, struggling to concentrate knowing the phone call I was on. When I told her the wonderful news, our family gathered right there next to the Hidden Valley and prayed prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude! I’ll never forget that moment.
But, there were a couple of catches. This is still a government, after all.
-First, they requested Amy and I travel for a week-long trip to interview with the adoption authorities, MEET THE CHILDREN, and spend a few days with them. We were really hoping not to have to make this first trip (we’ve known since July this was a possibility) but were ecstatic at the news we would get to love on our kids!
-Second, when we returned for the six-week long trip, they requested we bring our whole family – all four of our biological kids with us. Of course, this wasn’t an issue because we had always planned to do this. It adds around $7500 to the cost of the trip, but how could we not take them?
-Finally, and what turned out to be, most traumatic, they were sending our approval, plan, and full dossier to the Ministry of Justice in Warsaw for an “opinion” on what the committee had rendered. Normally this happens AFTER a family has immigration approval from the US and is set to travel. The MOJ sets the court dates and issues travel dates. It’s a little out of the ordinary to send them a family’s file this early, but they wanted their approval before we traveled.
We figured it would be a week or so for the committee to hear back from the MOJ, issue the referral, and we would submit our I800 in preparation for our first trip. Well, that didn’t happen.
It took A MONTH to hear back. A MONTH! Have you ever had to wait for a month for something you thought would take a week? Something big. Something important. Something life-changing? As the weeks passed, we started to wonder, could the MOJ reject the approval? Could they change their mind? Would they approve us for our children? To say we were cool, calm, and collected those whole four weeks, would be a lie. At first, we waited patiently…..sure. But then I got anxious. My wife is always the more steady-as-she-goes one of us. But even she began to wonder what was taking so long.
I would ask the Lord why the delay? We had an approval! Why now push us back? We didn’t feel like we needed to break a barrier or win an unseen spiritual battle like before. We just had to trust and wait.
That is SO DIFFICULT.
All the Lord would say is to remind us this wasn’t JUST about us. There were many angles on which He was working. Many people’s lives He wanted to touch through the process. We couldn’t see it, it didn’t make sense, but He kept telling us He had this.
In the midst of this waiting, I decided to write in my journal, all the things God had miraculously accomplished or provided; all the ways He had made Himself known; all the confirmations He had sent. Do you know what I came up with?
Miracles in connecting our family to these children. Read about that Here.
Miracles of approval when we should have been denied according to their own rules.
Miracles of provision to the tune of $35,000!
Miracles of confirmation from many – even some who didn’t know they were confirming.
The miraculous hand of the Lord had been on this from the beginning. I counted 17 distinct miracles or God-moments, big and small, since June of 2014. As of this writing there have been minimally THREE additional.
If God himself has that much invested into this, surely He wouldn’t pull the rug out now! Right?
This week opened with Palm Sunday. We had a great time with our children waving palm branches at church! They loved it! Next Sunday is Easter. Major day for churches everywhere. We’ve been preparing for this for a couple of months. Ready to welcome all of our regulars, newcomers, and what I call “Chreasters” (people who come to church on Christmas & Easter). I took Monday off, knowing this week would be insane later, and had a pretty discouraging day on Tuesday. I was frustrated. I wanted to know about our children. Admittedly, I was doubting whether God was hearing me.
Doubt is a human thing. It’s common to all of us. On occasion, we will even doubt or question our most dearly held beliefs. I think it’s normal to wrestle like that sometimes. And, contrary to what I grew up hearing, God is OK with your doubt. Consider Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples. He doubted Jesus had actually risen from the dead. He basically said, I’ll believe it when I see it. When Jesus showed up and appeared to this doubter, there was no ridicule, no chastisement, no anger from the Lord…..just compassion and grace. And Thomas believed. God can handle your doubts, too. He only asks you to BELIEVE.
Yesterday, I heard. Rebecca called and said the MOJ had our final approval and we could travel for our first trip as early as next week!!! Frankly, I’ll get on a plane TODAY if I could! This is a MAJOR HURDLE overcome! We have our approval! The only way we can mess this up now is if I showed up to our interview sans pants or something (which will NOT happen – Amy wouldn’t approve!). We will meet our children for the first time within the month! We were speechless at God’s plan and timing. He is perfect in both. Learning that has not been an easy process, but a necessary one. There is more yet He has in both of those paradigms for our lives….and honestly, for yours as well.
So what’s next?
Well, we will travel to Poland for a week or so in the next few weeks. We don’t have dates yet, but we appreciate your prayers.
When our official referral comes through via email we will submit our I800. I am grateful for Senator Dan Coats and our friend Jen who works for him. They are willing to make a call to USCIS on our behalf to attempt to expedite our I800 approval!
After our first trip and USCIS approval, we should be a month to six weeks from our six-week trip with our whole family…..so late May/June? June/July? Not sure yet.
How can you be part of this?
1. Pray for us, for our biological kids to connect and for our Polish kids to connect and bond as we merge two distinct sets of siblings.
2. Pray everything from here out is smooth and without incident.
3. Pray we get great deals on flights, hotels, etc for both of our trips. Our budget is tight and funds limited. TEN people have to travel home with us….that’s a lot of $$!!
4 Give. If you want to be a part of this in a tangible way, you can give. We certainly don’t expect this, but it is an option if you would desire. To date, we are still in need of around $7000 to cover the remainder of our estimated travel expenses. But you know how that goes….there’s always something which comes up for which you did not plan!
If you want to give, please give here at our gofundme.com campaign.
THANK YOU so very much for joining us on this journey!!