Sunday, March 30, 2014

USCIS Extension Approval

In the spirit of keeping the world updated with the goings on of our adoption, I am writing today to let you know that we have been cleared again by USCIS to bring our little one(s) into the United States. When you adopt internationally, you must file with the U.S. government in order to able to bring your little darling(s) onto American soil. Essentially, you send in your home study documents and a forms requesting approval. It is usually the last step before your paperwork gets sent overseas. Your clearance is good for about 18 months.

We received our first immigration clearance in September of 2012.

Eighteen months have passed. And now we have reapplied.

The great news is that we got our approval back super fast. We sent everything the second week of March and just got our approval in the mail this week. That is a QUICK turnaround. For that, I am beyond thankful. Yay!

The not as great news is that we have been on the waiting list long enough to need to file for an extension. Boo.

Adam and I were talking on the way home from church today about how much this whole trial process has affected our lives. Both in good ways and bad. We are such different people than we were two years ago.

On the one hand, our life is SUCH a far cry from what either of us thought it would be. And that is really hard for us. We have been married for seven years and together for ten. That is a long time. And we are ready to grow our family (don't tell Daisy). By this point, I thought we would have two kids and be talking about number three. But we are childless. That is a hard word to assign to yourself. But the reality is, we are. And it is really hard to live in that reality, to know that this part of you and your life that you never doubted would come to be, suddenly isn't. And to then come to terms with the fact that it might not ever. Facing that truth does a number on your faith. I have found myself questioning things I have always believed with rock solid confidence.

Is God good?

Is God just?

Is God there?

Does God love me?

Those are tough questions. And especially tough when you have lived your whole life in the church and cannot remember a time when you did not know God. Still, I found myself wrestling with these questions, trying to get my brain and my heart around the fact that I believe wholeheartedly in a holy, just, good, loving, all powerful, upright God. And that this God sees how much I am hurting and allows it to continue. That will scramble your brain.

I am happy to be able to tell you that the answer to each one of those questions is a resounding, "Yes." I do want to be transparent here, and tell you that it does not always FEEL like the answer is, "Yes." But I know it is. I know that because I can see so many good things that have come from this.

I have learned that I must be wholly and completely reliant on God. (This is something I still struggle with way too frequently.)

I have learned that God's Word is life-sustaining.

I have learned that it is more important for my prayers to be honest than pretty.

I have learned that my struggles can point others to Christ if I stay focused on Him.

I have learned that God stays near to the broken hearted, of which I am most certainly one.

So there have been a LOT of parts about our current situation that have been harder than I can explain to you. But on the other hand, I believe that God gives us trials to sharpen us and prepare us, to strengthen us and grow our faith. And for that part of this life I am now living, I am grateful. I am also quite curious to see what is coming next if this current phase is just the preparation.

So for now, we are cleared to bring our babies home for another 18 months. Please, Jesus, please do not let us get to the place where we have to renew again.


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