Thursday, October 20, 2011

What a roller coaster kind-of day!

Today definitely had its ups and downs regarding our adoption.  At one point I apologized (via email) to our officer from USCIS for pestering her and not being patient.  It may have been more than one phone call and one email last week to find out information and then it may have been (okay, I think it was) more than one phone call and one email this week to see if there was any new movement on our supplement 3 (approval we need to adopt up to 9 years old instead of up to 8 years old).

You see, there is a great website known as rumor queen (China Adopt Talk) that is mainly geared to China adoptions.  Lots and lots of activity on that site and on the forums.  They keep stats of every bit of paperwork so you know the average timelines for approvals.  I was on it a lot for our adoption of Lyric, and I hopped back on it to track how fast the USCIS paperwork had been moving.  What I was finding was that there were some people who already had their approvals for their I800's (processed at the same time as the supplement 3's) even though they had sent theirs in after us. 

I let this information make me a bit, well, let's be nice and say "a little impatient" and sent me into what could lovingly be called "THE CHECKING ZONE" or not so lovingly as "TEMPORARY OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVENESS IN REGARDS TO VARIOUS ADOPTION PAPERWORK APPROVAL IN ORDER TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP IN THE PROCESS DISORDER".   This disorder looks a little like this (and if you know of anyone who is adopting you may recognize these signs on occasion): Mom is often found sitting in front of the computer.  Just a little at first.  And then you notice that she is more often at the computer then not at the computer.  She may have developed a callus on her right index finger from hitting refresh on her screen every 5 minutes so she can check  to see if there are any new emails.  If she is waiting for a phone call, then when the phone rings, she feels a tightening in her stomach and a "let's not get my hopes up too much" feeling washes over her in the split second before she rushes to see who is calling.  If she is expecting something in the mail, she watches or listens for the mail man.  She KNOWS the earliest that he/she may arrive.  If it is nice out, she may walk out herself to check.  If it is not so nice and it is raining, she may bundle up the children and send them to check the mail while waiting comfortably inside the house at the door where she can yell out, "Anything?" just as soon as the children get close enough to hear her.  (yes!  I'm guilty!  Fresh air is good for kids - even if it is raining). Dinners, breakfasts, and lunches were once really nice with a lot of home-made items.  Now you notice that cereal, mac and cheese, hot dogs, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are frequenting the menu much more often. (We had hot dogs for dinner and I just bought peanut butter and bread for tomorrow's lunch.  The peach jam is home-made though!) 

Take heart.  The symptoms of this disorder ARE temporary, but they can only be put into remission when whatever piece of paperwork she has been expecting has been delivered.  It is a cycle, but she can be cured.  She will be cured when she holds her precious child in her arms. It is a happy ending for a disorder with a really long name!  (Beware though.  On occasion, some moms who adopt find that the disorder sneaks back into their lives.  Dad's: one sure sign it is coming back is if you often see your wife sitting in front of the computer (again) with pictures of many different children on the screen who don't have family's yet.)  As far as disorders go - it's a really good one to have!)

Back to my day.  Kind-of got side-tracked there.  Because of this disorder, at 12:00 today I told myself I would not check my email again until 4:00.  Gulp.  I only made it until 2:00.  (Baby steps here!)  To my very, very surprised self, there were TWO emails from our officer at USCIS!  I quickly clicked the top one and with a glance saw that we could be approved - IF they get some information from our adoption agency.  I saw all this in a split second.  Not one second later, my phone rings.  Turning in slow motion towards the phone, I hear Laurel say, "It's an unknown caller."  Hopping quickly out of my chair in front of the computer, I rush to answer the phone.  On the other end of the line is our USCIS Officer!  She asked if I had received her email.  I think I blabbered that I had told myself I wouldn't check my email until four, but I couldn't wait that long and had just opened it up when she called (She is a good officer and let me blabber away).  She told me the same thing the email said - that she could approve it today if we got some information from our agency.  They had to send in evidence (a letter) which stated as a Hague-approved agency they had reviewed our home study and that it was all correct and conforms with, well, conforms with something.  In just one of the emails I had previously sent her, I had told her that Nichole, from our agency, was actually in Colombia on behalf of Children's Hope, and that if I could get her our approval while she was still over there then she would get it translated and to the right people quickly.  It seems our officer wanted to make sure, not only just by emailing, but by calling as well, that we could work on it as soon as possible.  I told her I would contact our agency and see if anyone there could get it done, and guess what?  They did! (Thank you, Children's Hope!)  At 4:52 this afternoon we received an email saying that a "favorable decision had been rendered" on our application - in other words, "we were approved!"

Wait!  There's more to the roller coaster ride!  Before Nichole (from our agency) left for Colombia she had emailed and asked when our FBI fingerprints had last been done.  I emailed her the other day that it was in April, but hadn't heard back yet b/c she is now in Colombia.  I finally got around to looking in our travel guide and it said that the FBI prints have to be done within 6 months of travel. UH OH!  It took about 8 weeks to get them done last time and we really would like to be in Colombia by then.  (Personally, I think by the end of 2011 would be perfect timing to get our children, but my "perfect" timing and God's perfect timing isn't the same thing.  Mine is flawed and His is not.  Really excited to see how He works the rest of this adoption story out!)

When Kevin got home from work we rushed over to the police station at 3:30 to get our prints done and in the mail for the FBI in West Virginia.  We did a few more errands (picked up peanut butter and bread) and headed back home by about 5:30.  I felt drawn to the computer.  Really, with this disorder, checking email is very hard to control.  To those who have phones that you can check your email on - oh, how I fight Envy during times like these!  My computer was the first thing I went to.  Well, the second thing.  I got a big hug from Lyric first.

How GREAT it was to see the email from our Officer at USCIS.  We were approved!  But wait.  There is no remission for my disorder yet.  I'm still hoping to get information from our agency about the children.  That could come at ANY time.  And next week, I'm sure to be running out to the mailbox (or in inclement weather I will bundle up the children for their bit of fresh air) just as soon as I think the mail man has been by.

After I checked email and had cheered (another symptom of the disorder I forgot to mention previously.  Cheering can be accompanied with happy tears,hugs, lot's of phone calls to friends and family relaying the good news, and, yes, more time on the computer as the mom updates all her wonderful internet friends because she knows that many of them have experienced the same disorder or are even experiencing it now.), I saw a post on facebook from someone in my local Christian Adoption Support Group.  Before we had left in a rush to get the FBI prints done, I had posted an update on our group (yes, updating others whom you have never met except online at every step of the process is a symptom!) about having to get the prints done and that it could take 8 weeks to get them back.  Another adoptive mom had posted back that they went through the state police to get theirs done and it only took about 2 WEEKS! 

"Um.  Honey?  Kevin? Maybe we should have waited a day to get our FBI fingerprints done"...

And that was the end of my day.


I'm at the end of it now.

Telling friends, family, and those whom I have never met, all about my adoption roller coaster ride of the day.
(It can be one of the symptoms also...)

Grateful for all He has done in our lives and for placing adoption into our hearts,


  1. Karen,
    This post brought back memories...I was a horrible sufferer of the aforementioned disorder ;)! Good luck with all of your waiting. You are so close now!

  2. I had to laugh at your post. I can so relate right now. We are so close as well. Apparently we have been matched with kids but continue to receive no info on them. I think it is worse when you know Nichole is in Colombia and you are praying she brings home information for you. Maybe we will travel together.

  3. May the word of the LORD encourage you and your family today and the days ahead....

    Isaiah 26:3
    You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trust in You.

    My prayer and personalization of this verse:
    You keep me in perfect peace my mind is stayed on You, because I trust in You.