Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Moving Right Along

Our I600 was approved last Thursday! We are now officially a family in both the US and Congo! Getting that green paper in the mail was such an amazing feeling. It came with a complete set of all our court documents, translations and histories. I feel so blessed to someday be able to share all these with the girls; they will have a true sense of their heritage.

Next up is the embassy appointment. I have been (uh, hem) patiently waiting for it. Then all that's left is an embassy investigation and exit visas for the girls. I think I can safely say we are in the home stretch. Of course, until I am back in the US with my daughters I will not really feel we are done...and then we never will be being parents and all.

So, we have one more Christmas to get through, one more New Year's Eve and then we should be good to fly to Africa (inshallah!- a great Arabic word we need to adopt into English...it means God willing, I hope, fingers crossed and if God wills it all in one, a great word!).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Counting My Blessings Tonight

Tonight I am sitting here thinking of the birth place of my children and my heart aches, yet I feel so blessed at the same time. I can't help but be thankful for living in a country where I don't have to worry about militias taking my home and my body and my family. 

I live in a place where I can be educated and (hopefully) live well into my golden years. I am able to choose who I marry, and I will never experience poverty to the level of life or death. 

My heart aches because my girls are still there, still waiting for their mama. If anything escalates into Kinshasa I don't know what I will do. Today I have written senators, news agencies and friends about M23, and having the freedom to do that is amazing too.

As Thanksgiving comes and we watch the parades on TV while eating tons of food with those we love, let's not forget the Congolese. Let's all pray for the rebels to quiet down, for the thousands now homeless and for the fear in so many to be gone (and for us to get our kids out of there soon!).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I600, check

I finally have some good news, our I600 is in the hands of USCIS, yippee! For those of you not in the adoption world, this is a HUGE step. It really is almost the end.

There are two I600s in international adoption. The I600a approves parents to adopt any anonymous orphan as stipulated by their home study. The I600 approves those same parents to adopt specific children- Sara and Nalya. USCIS is the immigration people, technically the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Our I600a was approved back in February of this year.

Lately this approval has taken other families about 2-6 weeks. Knowing our timeline for this adoption, I am guessing we will be on the far side of that. Then the US embassy in Kinshasa has to interview Nalya's birth mom before their visas are issued and I can finally go get them. Now, my birthday is the 13th, that approval in the mail would be the best gift ever (you think God or USCIS gives gifts like that? Hmmm). 

Technically there is a chance we could all be celebrating Christmas together! As always in the adoption process though, nothing is set. Being November, I have to say I am so thankful to be one more step closer to bringing my girls home. Whew!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Checking In

I am still alive, in case you were worried about it :) The last few weeks and tonight also have been so emotionally difficult when it comes to the adoption that I have not been able to make myself write about it.

No worries about the girls, they are good. In fact they seem to be thriving at the transition house they are in. We have received many photos and personality updates from both the agency and other parents going to get their babies. Nalya is difficult, serious and sad- sounds like a challenge for sure! Sara is quiet but happy. Strange how I feel I know these kids when really they are strangers.

Unfortunately the future of getting them is so uncertain. Due to the one living parent's serious health issues she is completely unable to travel for the needed embassy appointment in Kinshasa. We could be looking at upwards of 9 more months before the US embassy says OK, she doesn't need to get here herself. I feel like this woman is practically family, and knowing her story is heartbreaking and overwhelming. It is not my place to share it though, just know she is simply amazing and strong.

So, just like all adoptive parents out there I will keep checking email, waiting for photos or some miracle to happen. I have to believe the miracle will happen and the girls will be so worth it no matter their ages; otherwise I just may not make it through this process sane anymore. Just keep swimming!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sheer Awe

When this journey started I had no clue what we were in for. In the last year I have learned so much about a country that is invisible to much of the world. I have grown to love a country and the average people of a place known for corruption and war.

The daily events and sheer unbelievable stories people in the Congo endure take my breath away. In particular, the stories of both Sara and Nalya's birth moms leave me in awe of these incredible women. Tonight I sit here thinking of Nalya's birth mom in particular. I hope she knows she is not alone in this world and the sacrifice of her daughter shows bravery and love I hope to someday show myself. 

I feel lucky to be able to tell my girls about the amazing people they come from. So, Nalya's mom I am thinking of you and whatever happens we are with you in spirit. The gift you have given us can never be repaid, thank you.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I'm Done...

     I am pretty sure the lack of knowing anything about when we can get our girls is slowly killing me. There is no reason to not have an embassy appointment at this point.
    What I do know is our girls have completed their passports, medicals, move to the transition house and had their birthdays. What I do know is they did get a birthday celebration complete with cakes and hats and cheetos. This make me happy! If nothing else the girls are in a better home now and are well cared for.
     But, today I feel hopeless. Another Friday is here with no answers or foreseeable future of when it will be our turn to have "Gotcha Day". Now I understand why people get pregnant instead of adopting, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. This holiday weekend I vow to find a new hobby, keep my mind busy and do my best to be optimistic we have gotten this far...

Monday, August 20, 2012

4 Years, 2 Years

Today our daughter Sara should be celebrating her 4th birthday. Instead, she probably doesn't even know it is a special day for her. Friday, Nalya turns 2. She also will not know it should be a day of celebration for her life and who she is.

Their birthday week has been my goal for 10 months of when we would be together, so this week is hard for me. On one hand I am so happy our girls have beat some pretty terrible odds and have lived another year. On the other hand we should all be together! I can't help but be frustrated and angry at the Congolese workers who can't edit their work putting us weeks behind, I can't help but be jealous of the other families only days away from their embassy appointments, and I can't help but be sad that I have missed 4 years and 2 years of some pretty amazing kids lives.

We went ahead and had our own birthday celebration for them- who can resisit a reason to party? We sent a care package to the girls with party hats, stuffed horses (Matt's pick), candy, balloons, bracelets, puzzles and a recordable book so I could read them a story. We also got cupcakes and blew out candles with wishes for each of them (bet you can't guess what we wished for :)).

So, Happy Birthday girls!  We love you lots and are celebrating your lives...I hope you can feel it from a world away.