Yes - we are STILL working on adoption paperwork. We have actually been in process so long that we are now having to update "expired" approvals. (Did you know that - according to the US government, your fingerprints expire? Yes - the prints that are only yours, completely unique to you, and never actually change? The ones they use to catch criminals? THOSE fingerprints? Apparently they "expire" after 18 months and you have to redo them. Interesting, huh? *sigh)
Anyway... I thought I'd do a quick update for all of you with the latest on our adoption. So here goes...
In March, we made the difficult decision to change home study agencies. I won't go into details here, but after our experience with our first home study it was the right decision for us. Unfortunately, that meant an extra $700 we weren't planning to spend, and copying and completing a bunch of paperwork we'd already done. *sigh (again)
In June we had to get new physicals, new references, new financial info, and a new home visit to update our home study. In July, we had to send that updated home study, along with some immigration paperwork to the US Immigration Office to renew our I-800A approval before our fingerprints "expire" (which is still so crazy to me... but you've got to do what you've got to do!) The short version of all that is this: Last year we were approved by the US Immigration office to adopt a child. The next step is sending them the file of the specific child we are going to adopt with another round of forms and fees, so that they can approve that specific adoption. But while we wait, we have to keep our initial approval from expiring. So that's what we've been doing this summer.
Once all of that was completed, we looked into applying for a grant (since our timeline continues to stretch and expenses continue to mount.) While reviewing a fee list on our main agency's website last week, I noticed that a Psychological Evaluation was listed as a requirement. Confused - I sent our agency an email. We've been pursuing this adoption for 42 months, and been in process with them for 30 months, and yet we'd never been told about a Psych Evaluation. Surely this was a new requirement for new families, right?
We were told we would have to do a detailed, expensive Psych Evaluation as part of our process - that essentially forces us to revisit every area of our lives - past, present, hopes, dreams, struggles, plans - that we've already been through TWICE with TWO different home study agencies. Frustrated doesn't even begin to explain our feelings.
Then, while we were on the phone trying to get clarification from our main agency about our process, they delivered two more pieces of upsetting news: #1) The social worker informed us that she didn't think we would have a referral by October. As we've been waiting and hoping for a referral to come "any day now", this was very disappointing. And #2) She told us that things are moving slowly, and it could very well take 12 months to get our daughter home AFTER we receive a referral and are matched.
I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. When we've talked about wait times for travel, we've always estimated around 6 months. We only know one other family who adopted from this agency and this children's home, and their daughter was home in 6 months. To hear that we might have another 16 to 18 months before Kate is home was devastating. To be told that we might have to watch her grow up in pictures for a YEAR after we are matched was unbearable. I will never forget the look on my husband's face when we heard that news.
I spent the next hour sitting in the bathroom floor crying while Rusty held my hand. It was hard to breathe. It was hard to think. I actually thought I might be sick. This news was just such a shock to my system after hearing such good news back in April! We had been so hopeful, and we'd been waiting patiently. And yet, once more, we were met with the news of additional requirements and more delays.
I was reading a blog today about a domestic adoption that took a long time and the mother said this:
"... as a prospective adoptive parent you prepare yourself for bumps. You know the range of where the bumps might come up. And you know there are risks. But what you don’t expect….at least what I didn’t expect…was to hit every bump in the road head on."
That resonated with me so much. This has been our story. This has been our struggle. It hasn't been just one bump... or a handful of delays. I feel like every single step in this journey has been uphill, and we've been struggling to get our footing the entire way.
These days I struggle with not knowing what to feel. We have been through every emotion - and we've experienced each of them over and over again. Our life has felt like a roller coaster that we can't get off of. We have felt all the highs... all the joy and hope that comes when you are "expecting". But "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12) and we just can't keep feeling that "high" every day. We have felt the lows... the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and yes, even the bitterness. We've dealt with more than our fair share of heartache, fear, and confusion. But underneath it all, like a constant current, is this longing... this ache for our child.
We know this is still what we are called to do. God confirmed it to us in extraordinary ways, and our desire for our daughter has never changed. We have discussed it over and over again, and we are committed to this process. We are resolute. But that doesn't make the waiting any easier.
This has been the most emotional exhausting, heart-wrenching thing I have ever endured. And yet, we still wait... we still work... we still hope. And we crave your prayers in the waiting... until the day our Kate is home in our arms.