Wednesday marked three months since our official referral for T. Several people have requested an update, so I’m going to try to keep y’all in the loop the best I can.
- A few weeks ago, after our initial PAIR (Pre-Adoptive Immigration Review, or the pre-embassy screening), we received an RFE (Request For Evidence). Basically, with this new process they are being much stricter about paperwork and they asked for a few new documents for her case. One was as simple as there was a spelling error on her birth certificate, so we had to get it remade. All minor technicalities like that, but it has delayed us three weeks so far (these are all documents they have to get in Ethiopia). We did hear this week that the docs have all been obtained, now we are waiting for them to be translated and we should have them next week to mail to USCIS (US Customs & Immigrations Services/Homeland Security, who does the PAIR review).
- We mailed in a request for an extension for our I-171H (approval form) as it will expire in March, that should come back fairly quickly. Our current is still valid, but we need to make sure it stays valid until she comes home.
- Once we receive the PAIR letter, we can receive a court date in Ethiopia!! That is the US side. On the ET side, we are waiting for a MOWCYA (Ministry of Women’s, Children’s, & Youth Affairs – sorry for all the adoption acronyms!!) letter date. This is the pre-court date where a birth relative interviews and the ET gov’t writes us an approval letter (we do not go for this). This can be given before we get our PAIR letter, but they cannot issue us a court date until they have the letter there.
- So – once we have a positive MOWCYA letter (ET side) and PAIR letter (US side), we can get a court date and go be with our girl!!! This is when you’ll see me dancing in the streets.
- I’ll explain more after the court date, but after that we have to be submitted to embassy and get her visa before we can bring her home – it’s another process. It should be quicker since the US is now doing their investigations before court (they used to do it after), but we’ll be one of the first, so who knows.
Hope that makes a little sense, sorry – I know it’s involved.
- Both Jeff and I have struggled this month. Just being real. 🙂 The first two months went by fairly fast – but now with the delays and it being the holidays, it’s been a hard month. We just really miss her and ache to be with her. I can tell the Lord is knitting our hearts together with hers, because when we first accepted her referral, for me she still felt a little “surreal” and mysterious. I knew she was supposed to be ours but it didn’t feel totally real yet. I think I wouldn’t let myself go there. God has truly used the wait to bind my heart to hers–I can’t avoid the feelings now. She really feels like my DAUGHTER, and it is heartwrenching that she’s on the other side of the world. We’ve definitely had some tears, but I’m grateful because I feel so much more attached to her and I KNOW she is mine. So that’s where we are – learning to rely on the Lord and intercede/stand up/fight for her, because it is a totally helpless feeling knowing what she’s going through over there and not being able to do anything but mail paperwork, wait, and pray.
- She has had a hard time lately too – just keep praying for her. We’re thankful for her sweet spirit and that the Lord is working in her life even now. Her health is still pretty good, we praise the Lord for that.
- Thank goodness for pictures and video – we watch them all the time!!
“PHYSICALLY” – ?
- We started buying clothes for her! So fun!! It took a while to find out her sizes but we have them now, and this girl is gonna need a wardrobe!
- We got the boys’ passports back (that was fast!) – we still aren’t 100% sure of our travel plans – we may still be doing two trips, but extending one of them and taking the boys with us for that one. We’ll see!
So that’s where we’re at! Thank you all so much for supporting, encouraging, and praying for us. It means more than you’ll ever know. Praying for lots of exciting news this fourth month of (really) waiting!!
Thought I’d post some of the highlights from our monthly update about T.
-From another traveling family: “Loved getting to spend some time with your sweet girl! She really is so special. She was really shy at first, but after I told her that I was friends with her Mama, she warmed right up. She is really good with the other kids. Often if one of the toddlers was crying, she’d run right over and pick them up to soothe them. I also saw her signing with “F.” And she really likes to sing 🙂 She asked about you guys every day.”
From the update, we learned her favorite color is actually green (even though she’s been asking for all things pink)! And her favorite food? BURGERS. That’s my girl right there.
They said she is doing well but asking about us a lot and can’t wait for us to get there. She also can’t wait to “play a game” with us. Game night anyone?
She also said she knows Jesus loves her and protects her, that she has been in good health this month (praise the Lord!) and she asked for a new American name. We don’t want her to lose her Ethiopian name though, so we will definitely keep it as either her first or middle and give her a new American middle or first. We plan to meet her first and let her be part of that decision/process, so we’ll keep you posted on the name 😉
And here is where I’d share the new pictures if I could… oh well. Keep praying hard and hopefully we will be able to sooner rather than later!