Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I800A Approval!

On Monday we got our I800A approval from the Department of Homeland Security! For those who don't speak "adoption" - that means that after reviewing our homestudy, supporting documents, and processing another round of $900 fingerprints, the US Immigration office has officially approved us to adopt!

This is a big step in our adoption - and a very important piece of paperwork that we have to have before sending our dossier to Thailand. I should've celebrated when I opened that envelope... but instead I burst into tears.


This adoption thing is hard ya'll.

The truth is, I'm THRILLED that we got this approval, but I'm also feeling really, really guilty that the rest of our dossier isn't finished. Our hope when we mailed off our I800A was that we'd have our dossier legalized and ready to go to Thailand when this approval came in. Now we're probably another 3 weeks away. 

And this time it's no ones fault but mine.

I've blamed my lack of progress on a lot of distractions... several trips out of town, the unexpected and truly heartbreaking death of one of our close friends, and a summer cold that will.not.go.away. - but if I'm being honest, a big part of it is just the fact that I am really struggling to be productive and focused and finish this last leg of our paperwork "race". 

The truth is, I am worn out. I started this process with so much excitement and commitment and I just knew we were going to get things done so quickly! I am a detail person... I am an excellence person... and I like to check off a good "to do" list. Unfortunately though, every single step of this process has been an uphill climb. Finding an agency is usually something that takes a couple of weeks, a phone call or two, and a short application. Ours took a year of disappointing, frustrating, heartbreaking phone calls and emails and internet searches. Completing a home study is a somewhat invasive, but usually pretty simple process. For most people it takes 3 months or less. Ours was an emotionally, mentally exhausting YEAR of mind-numbing paperwork and frustrating phone calls. This paperwork portion (application, homestudy, dossier) of our process has taken 9 times longer than it should have taken. It usually takes around 3 months to get your paperwork ready to send overseas. But we are in the middle of month 27 of pursuing our child, and our paperwork still isn't in Thailand.

I'm not writing all that to vent or complain.... (okay... maybe I am... a little...) I don't want to come off as whiny or negative, and I certainly don't want to discourage anyone else from considering adoption (our journey thus far is not at all the "norm"!). I'm sharing this as kind of a confession. I don't really feel angry or bitter... I just feel tired. It's as if I set out on a 3 mile run on flat ground only to find myself in the middle of an 27 mile uphill hike. I've been running really slowly these last few weeks (and I'm frustrated with myself for it.) But mentally, I just wasn't prepared for this. And I think I'm finding it harder to trust in the process... hard to believe any sort of timeline or expectation. Which gives me a terrible "unsettled" feeling about what will happen next (and fears about the rest of our process that I'm having to battle.) I know there are lots of "unknowns" in the adoption process - and I was prepared for long wait times AFTER our paperwork was finished. I just wasn't prepared for such a difficult first two years. This was supposed to be the "easy" part! I think it's all beaten me down more than I realized.

You know, you think you're prepared when you begin your adoption journey, but nothing - no book, no blog, no conference, no friend's experience - can ever prepare you for what this process does to your head and your heart. 

So as I confess where I am (and beat myself up for not being more productive the past few weeks), would you mind saying a quick prayer for me? A prayer that I will be able to fight discouragement and fear? A prayer that I can hold it together and get this paperwork FINISHED in the next 2 weeks? A prayer that nothing will get lost in the mail, and that everyone I talk to and meet with (all government officials) will be helpful and kind? 

Thank you in advance, sweet friends, for holding me up and helping me get to this finish line!


  1. Prayers for the rest of the journey to be easy & uncomplicated. In Jesus' name. Amen.

  2. Is the political turmoil in Thailand going to be a problem?

    1. There's no way to know for sure, but we don't expect it to be a problem. Military coups are (unfortunately) pretty common in Thailand, and as far as we know the office that handles international adoptions is still open and operating normally. We've also been told that adoptions continued during the last coup, so that's encouraging! Just please pray with us that there is a peaceful resolution to all this and that adoptions are not delayed or affected at all!

  3. Saying a prayer for you! We just started the process to adopt a toddler girl from Thailand with Holt. Your blog is making me nervous! :)

    1. Lia,

      Congratulations on starting the process! So sorry if my blog is making you nervous. It's tough to share at times, because I don't want to discourage people from adopting, but I also want to be honest about our experience. If it helps at all - we are not using Holt, so your timeline will probably be very different than ours. So far I have not heard of any family in America taking this long to adopt from Thailand. We've had an unusually difficult process, but that is not the norm. I hope that encourages you!