Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day of remembrance...and hurry up and wait!

Seven years ago today the devastating earthquake struck Haiti. A country which was already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Hundreds of thousands were killed, millions displaced to already disparaging conditions. Destruction and suffering like I can scarcely imagine. Today we remember.
...However!  When remembering this I also honor the strength and resiliency that Haitians embrace. A country that rests proudly on a heritage of being founded on the first successful slave rebellion to result in independence. And while Haitians have continually been dealt a difficult set of cards to play the game of life with...they manage to push through with grit that is beyond admirable. So today I join those around the world in remembering the tragedy of what happened 7 years ago today, but I also honor those who survived. Those who push through struggles, and those who find a way to have hope amidst every reason we may see not to. I honor you Haitians today also.

Now, while it's difficult for anything to sound of importance after that...I also know that if I don't write some sort of adoption update while I'm on the blog now that it won't happen until who knows when. So! I can at least say this. Adoption is like those people driving who floor the gas and speed up to a red light just to sit and wait. You're in a hurry to get to your destination (meeting & bringing home your child), and you never know when driving fast might get you through a green light just in time...but more often than not you speed up to hit a red light just to sit and wait forever while you watch people speed by going the other direction.

I've been doing the hurry up and wait thing for years now, but I still put the petal to the metal anytime I have the chance. I never want to look back and think, wow...if I had just done this step faster then ____. So! The most recent example is that a couple weeks ago we got our background checks and home study update done and rushed to get it sent to USCIS with the associated fee. I included the necessary government form allowing them to notify us electronically (either by text or email) when they received and began processing our application. I knew our application had been received (because of tracking on the shipment), but we kept never receiving this notification. So, finally I started contacting people to see what was going on. I didn't want to wait weeks to find out through the mail if there was a problem. Long story short...our application was rejected because the processing fee we sent wasn't enough. They had just updated their fees and our application was postmarked 5 days too late. So it was rejected and being sent back to us. Grrr.

So, yesterday I went and cut a new cashier's check (for the right amount), filled out new paperwork and took it to Mark's office for him to sign, put in another copy of our homestudy and overnighted that bless-ed package again to USCIS. I've never overnighted something and I must say...there is really a sense of immediate gratification! Our package was already signed for today at USCIS! Sweet. Because I sent it directly to USCIS and not through their lockbox facility (that sorts, screens, and mails applications on to USCIS) - I wasn't able to submit the request for electronic notification. I weighed that with the benefit of shaving off time and chose the latter. I'm praying that we're able to get our updated approval letter back in time to send it with Chareyl when she goes to Haiti next month.

Now whenever I get our previous paperwork with rejection letter in the mail (in the next week or two), we will at least be that much further along in the approval process with our re-submission! Now we just wait and hope.

Hurry up and wait!  Hurry up and wait!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January blues

I had a wonderful Christmas season, punctuated with spots of sadness and anxiety. I continue to struggle with relinquishing myself from worry over things I cannot control. I know that worrying about our little girl won't keep her safe, or get her home faster...but sometimes it seems that the emotions are beyond my reach to control. The Christmas season managed to make me feel those spots more acutely than normal. I can only assume that our daughter just spent her second Christmas in an orphanage again. That contrast just seemed so stark each time that I saw my boys enjoying the light and magic of the season. There were a couple times that I saw a bright spot of which was that another adoptive family visited the orphanage and furnished a delicious meal for the whole orphanage. They said that the kids' plates were all clean and they loved it. I also happened to see an article about Glenn Beck partnering with Operation Underground Railroad (amazing organization). While visiting Haiti with them he stopped at Foyer de Sion and brought Christmas gifts for all 121 children at the orphanage. So - he brought our daughter a gift. I don't know her yet, but she is still there...and other people are still caring for her while I can't yet.

By means of another update, I've been toying with the idea of slightly increasing our age parameters for some time now. Some information I've collected over the last couple months (paired with lots of thought and prayer) nudged us to slightly increase our approved home study age parameters. That also means getting an updated USCIS approval letter. We have the updated home study (had to wait for new background checks to come in before it could be done...luckily neither of us have become criminals as of late), and as of yesterday USCIS has received that updated home study along with our update application and processing fee. I was hoping to get the new approval letter in time for Chareyl to take it to Haiti herself next month when she travels there, but it may take a miracle for that to happen. I just may ask for that miracle. We'll see if it's in the cards I suppose.

All I know is that our orphanage has a specific child that they have been attempting to paper ready (that's all they've told us about her), but they didn't know if they would be able to get her papers done before she aged out of our approved parameters. There's no way to know if we will eventually be referred this specific child or not, but we are at least in the process of raising our age parameters slightly so they now will read "0-24 months at time of referral" (and then tack on around a year to that before she'll be able to come home) - so she'll likely be close to 3 when we get her home. Even if this little girl isn't referred to us, this gives a more realistic age range for the orphanage to be able to paper ready a child to be referred to us as it takes around a year to do so from whenever the child comes into their care.

As I already said, I have felt the sting of wanting to know our daughter more acutely over the holidays this year...but I think that was also balanced by the joy I experienced with our boys this time of year too. Now that the holidays are done I find myself pining for her more than normal. It's like I'm experiencing all my emotions more intensely lately...including those January blues.