The last two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. We have been hard at work checking “to do” boxes. Even though we’ve had some overwhelming “there’s no way this is going to get done” moments, things are continuing to fall together better than we ever thought possible. Let me break it down:
This is essentially the application for the US to provide initial approval to immigrate a child through adoption. It was detailed and intimidating, but we sent it in on Valentine’s Day and got a text from USCIS at 11:20 last night that our case was received and routed for processing. At this time, they are seeing timelines of roughly 2-3 months for application approval.
I really didn’t understand why they called this phase of the adoption “the paper chase” until we got our instructions for the dossier. Long story short, it is a hefty list of official, incredibly specific documents that all need to come from different places and have multiple levels of verification. The list included police clearance, extra doctor’s notes, letters of recommendations, certified documents, employer verifications, tax statements, proof of residence, and on and on and on. I think I counted something like 32 documents. But wait, there’s more! 27 of these had to be notarized and apostilled. (It has taken me weeks to even figure out how to pronounce apostille correctly.) Alex and I looked at those lovely instructions and to be honest, we kind of wanted to puke. God is good though and completely took control, so all the pieces came together in under two weeks. Crazy. We should have all of the documents back from Pierre by Wednesday (beautiful and apostilled) and the whole dossier sent in before the week is over! This dossier is then sent to CARA, the Indian governing body, for approval. This is known to be the first of the more daunting, variable waits and could take anywhere from 12-20 weeks. The waiting will be hard, but we are still pumped to start the clock on it! After USCIS and CARA approval, we will be eligible to be matched! I like to poke fun at the process, but we have a clear heart knowledge that this all is going to be beyond worth it.
In the midst of all of this, we are writing essays for grants daily. We submitted a huge one on Saturday that we’ve been working on for a while, so that felt real good. I am gaining a lot of empathy for my students in the process as I support them in writing their scholarship essays. It’s been challenging to keep up with, but we started this process committed to doing whatever we can to produce funds for the process. Our first encouraging note on this came early this week, as we received one grant from a local church!
This has been my favorite part. People have shown up to support us in this process. It’s been such a joy to talk to people about all things adoption and gush over the excitement of it all. The three stellar women that wrote our letters of recommendation went above and beyond to write the most beautiful words. I cried in thankfulness reading them. A phenomenal human at our church took it upon himself to organize a fundraiser for us and another adoptive couple last Saturday. It was so encouraging to have people partner with us and just be present through the journey. Family, friends, and strangers gave their time, money, and talents to support us and we couldn’t be more grateful. Truly, there are no words to describe this part of it all because it’s just too good.
Adoption Life Lessons
We are learning an incredible amount of lessons within each detail of adoption. We have been a lot more intentional in seeking balance in our overall wellness and self care. One way we are doing this is training for a marathon. On my long run this weekend, I was listening to “The Adoption Connection” podcasts (http://www.theadoptionconnection.com/ – I recommend them x 100.) and was blown away by all of the tips for emotionally preparing for adoption. One of the tips was “radical acceptance” in the hardest of hard when parenting a child from hard places. I have always been aware of the concept in the mental health field, but they talked about how always waiting for the next season and looking forward to the next thing, will never allow us to get there well. It’s like being lost in a forest and just continuously walking in an attempt to get out fast. It would be far better to stop and fully figure out where you are first. Accept that position. Then, start taking steps to learn and grow from that place. What a cool life analogy to remember to be still in the hard times and appreciate the process rather than wishing it all away. Adoption is slowly giving us new lenses through which to view life and it’s really stinking cool.