It's not often that I sit down and blog. As a matter of fact in the 2.5 years that we've been in this adoption process I'm not sure how many blogs are actually from me, Craig. The only times I recall being on here is when Rebecca needed help learning how to post photos. :)
Before anybody reads any further: Everything IS going to be fine. God has a perfect plan which includes perfect timing for bringing the boys home, we just can't see it yet... Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry."
This afternoon we received an e-mail from USCIS (US Immigration), an e-mail that we've been waiting for, for weeks. Judah was submitted to USCIS for his Visa on November 20th. Since then we've been anxiously optimistic about getting his "orphan status" from the US and looking forward to Elijah's birth certificate getting straightened out so that he too could be submitted to USCIS. The e-mail we received today was not what we were expecting two days before Christmas. The heading of the letter read "Notice of intent to deny." WHAT?!?!?
The letter goes on to explain that because of two inaccuracies in paperwork and interviews, the US plans to deny Judah from coming home as an orphan, unless the paperwork can be straightened out within 30 days. The first issue the letter raised is that the birth father stated in an interview with USCIS that the birth mother passed away in January of 2011. Thinking through this, that was 9 months before the twins were born. I can see where the USCIS investigator might question that. In reality she passed away in January of 2012, when the twins were 3 months old. The problem is that the embassy never received her death certificate like we were led to believe they had. Unfortunate. The second issue is that there is supposedly a signature of consent to give up rights for the boys from their birth father, and birth mother in February of 2012. Again, that's a problem since she passed away the month before. I can see why the letter from the US says that our request is invalid, and questionable, but it stings A LOT.
After reading the letter my immediate reaction was confusion (they're denying us?), then depression (this sucks!), then fury (I wanted to lay down in a grocery store isle and kick and scream and throw a tantrum) and finally a calm sigh. I had a Facebook post written up and ready to post that was basically "woe is me." Then as I drove home contemplating posting that, God calmed me and reset my reaction. Really? What do I have to complain about? I have an amazing wife, amazing and healthy kids, awesome family and friends supporting us, a wonderful church family, a beautiful house, great jobs, etc, etc. PLUS, this isn't about us and our emotions, the hardest part of this news is that our twins will be living in an orphanage, in a 4th world country without a family holding them for that much longer. How much longer? I wish I knew. James 1:2 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
So what's next? Again, I wish I knew. I forwarded the letter to our international agency, our local agency and to our national politicians. We'll see. Our agency quickly responded and said they would follow-up with our orphanage tomorrow and get back to us by Friday. As I stated above, we/they have 30 days to submit the correct/appropriate paperwork to fix this or Judah will be denied orphan status.
What we really want to do is hold our boys! We first met them in June of 2012 when they were 8 months old; then Rebecca and I returned in March of 2013 to see them when they were 18 months old. Since then we've been waiting to go back and visit them so that we could save that extra trip's money and vacation time for bringing them home and bonding as a family of 7. Now, depending on the delay this causes it might be time for an unexpected trip south! Which would make coming home without them again that much more difficult.
The most important thing we can ask for from each of you is to pray for the boys, pray for us and pray for all of this to get straightened out quickly. Pray for our developing patience and for Rebecca's anxiousness about all of this. At times this afternoon she was having a hard time breathing as we worked through the news, but she's good now. :)
I am completely, 100% confident that God "has this" and that His will is what will be best.
Thank you for your love and prayers!
Trying to wait patiently,