update: still no update.

Also known as: we need your prayers.

Well, since I last updated we have just been waiting. USCIS had supposedly sent our file to the US Embassy in ET, and we were waiting for them to start processing our case. We still hadn’t heard anything from them as of last week, so we and our agency called & emailed demanding an update since things were stuck.
We finally heard back yesterday, but it was just more bad news. USCIS had indeed sent our file, but due to a computer glitch, the Embassy never received it. So it feels like the last few weeks were just wasted time. I know God’s timing is perfect and all, and I do trust that, but I won’t lie – it was incredibly discouraging and frustrating. It felt like getting kicked while we were down. We have been waiting since October for this PAIR process and we still aren’t near the finish line. They did re-send the file, and we’re waiting for confirmation that the Embassy has actually received it. We requested they put a high priority on it, but we will see. We’re hoping to hear that they’ve screened it by the end of the week – but friends, we need your prayers. We need things to get moving again.

If we can’t get things going by next week, we’ve been encouraged to start contacting congressmen/senators to help. Yep. That’s where we’re at. Craziness. Never would have imagined we’d get to that point. But we’ll do it. Whatever it takes to get our girl home. Pray for her too – she’s known she has a family since September but still no one has come – you can imagine what she’s thinking & feeling. We were able to send a care package & some letters/pictures with two traveling families who are going next week, so we’re hoping that will cheer her up and let her know we’re coming (and that means we’ll also get new pictures – which always lifts our spirits!).

We do have one (pretty big) positive update:  Ethiopia is NOT shutting down!  Whew!  The prime minister announced today that they have no intention of shutting down international adoption.  They want to continue to work to reform the system & eliminate bad practices (which it certainly needs, and we obviously support). Praise the Lord. We are very thankful that things will not shut down and are praying they can put in place positive changes for reform. The only hard part for us is that because everyone was so worried about it shutting down, tons of cases were submitted for PAIR at once to make sure they were in the system – which overwhelmed the staff with cases and has contributed to slowing things down in processing. We’re hoping they are able to process all the cases quickly and get these kids home with their families… especially our sweet T! 🙂

So yes, things have been hard lately – bad news after bad news. In all honesty we are struggling and sad – but holding on and leaning on the Lord and each other. We all know we learn & grow the most during hard times–and it’s true right now. God is stripping us down & revealing himself to us – and I really believe he’s preparing us for what’s in store. I can only imagine that the day we finally see her in person (which neither of us can really think about without getting emotional!) will be that much sweeter. She is worth the wait.
Hopefully our next update will finally be a good one! Thanks so much for your prayers, encouragement, & support! Can’t say that enough.

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4 months {really} waiting.

Yesterday marked 4 months since our referral for sweet T. We also celebrated Ethiopian Christmas (January 7th-Melkam Gena!) with a feast and activities. Miss Sara came over-she had chosen to teach about Ethiopia for her kindergarten’s Christmas Around the World and was sweet enough to come do it with the boys, too. We enjoyed it! Cannot wait to celebrate with our girl next year!

We are feeling encouraged – so many priceless friends & family have given us words of wisdom & encouragement and it’s really helped us stay positive after the disappointing update. This week we should hear what Ethiopia’s decision is regarding the future of international adoption there. We are praying hard!

We love you, T-you are more than worth the wait.

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another day on the adoption roller coaster

Hey friends – I’m sorry we haven’t updated in a while.  We were waiting because we thought we’d have some good news yesterday (we thought we were very close to receiving our PAIR letter and could celebrate!), but unfortunately we found out that instead of being close to traveling, we’re looking at probably another 6-8 weeks at least before getting a court date.  Not the turn of events we were hoping for!

Basically, we thought the US had already done their investigations in ET, but they hadn’t even started.  It isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, we just misunderstood how the new process worked (there is a lot of confusion about it with everyone!) So now USCIS will send our (completed, approved) file electronically to the US embassy in Ethiopia and their staff will do their investigations.  The ET gov’t has already done theirs and interviewed the birth relative–in NOVEMBER.  So you can see why we’re a little frustrated it’s taking so long on the US side. 😉  But, such is life with all the paperwork and red tape involved with international adoption.  We are just really sad we won’t get to see our girl soon, and that she has to keep waiting for us when she doesn’t really understand why.  This weekend will be four months since our referral, and we just ache to be with our girl.  We’d love your prayers – we still need the following things to happen:

  • the US embassy in ET to receive and begin processing our file
  • they will most likely schedule a BRI (Birth Relative Interview)
  • they will approve our case and issue our PAIR letter
  • ET will receive our PAIR approval and and can issue our MOWCYA approval letter
  • {we will get the PAIR letter and get it state certified & mailed to Ethiopia, along with a few other updated dossier documents we have sitting here waiting}
  • WE WILL BE GIVEN A COURT DATE

Theoretically, after we pass court, we should be able to clear embassy fairly “quickly” (I use that term VERY loosely!) since the US has already done their work and pre-approved us.  We shall see.

To add to the craziness, last week it was confirmed that there was a meeting of parliament in Ethiopia where various leaders met to discuss international adoption–it seems many wanted to shut it down or at least reform it.  They wrote up a 44-page “research paper” with their findings, and will meet late this week or early next week to make a decision.  At first many thought it was going to shut down… now the feeling seems to be leading toward more reform, which may slow it down even more, or who knows.  Anything could happen.  Our agency thinks we will be OK even if it does close since we are in the system – typically they would grandfather you in – but there are really never any guarantees when it comes to international adoption, as we’ve seen time and again.  We are praying hard for Ethiopian government this week!  Our agency is doing a few days of prayer and fasting, so we will join in that.

Yesterday was Christmas in Ethiopia – Melkam Gena!  We are looking forward to celebrating (a little late) tomorrow.  We have a special guest coming to teach the boys about it and we’re planning a feast.  Oh how I love Ethiopian food!

As sad as we were yesterday (believe me, tears were shed), we know God is still faithful and he hasn’t left us.  This song is still speaking to us as it has every step of the way.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14

A sweet friend reminded us that God can redeem the time we’ve lost with her and these extra weeks/months we continue to wait.  That was really comforting. We don’t know why it’s taking so long, but He does…he is still in control, and is accomplishing his purpose even now – preparing all of us for the huge changes that are to come.  We are coming, sweet girl – just as soon as we can!!

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Pray for our fellow adoptive friends too – many of them received referrals around the same time as us and are still waiting on paperwork to be submitted/processed because of the new process.  We are praying hard for all of these kids to be with their families as soon as possible!