We got a very special piece of mail today….we received our 1-797 form from the USCIS!
It’s the last and final form needed to complete our dossier (stack of paperwork to be sent to China). We will get a notarized copy of the 1-797 form, then must have the original document in hand when we reach U.S. soil from China with our little one. The form officially says the United States Citizen and Immigration Services has approved us to adopt! Before they approved us we had to have our FBI fingerprints done this past Monday in Columbus.
(we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the office where fingerprinting are done….so had to settle for building pics…not nearly as interesting, but gotta document the journey!)
I didn’t realize we would receive our form so quickly after our fingerprints, so today was a nice surprise! (we were told it could take up to 2.5 months but took less than 1 month) We are thanking God all this is going so quickly/smoothly. It’s hard some days to be patient when we know she is there waiting for us, but realize there are so many families that have waited much longer…..
We have some friends that are requesting to adopt twins from Ethiopia. Their blog: http://fegingerich.wordpress.com/ They have had their Dossier in Ethiopia for 19 months, and I just can’t imagine how hard this long wait has been. She said there are some days where it’s easier not to think or talk about it. I can understand on a much smaller level. Every time I think of our little girl there waiting for us, I just ache. When you are pregnant you have a set time, and know that if all goes well your baby will arrive on or around your expected due date. With adoption, it’s completely unknown and definitely a faith filled journey. I have asked God that we would get our daughter at the appointed day. If it takes a long time, then He must need to prepare us more, and if it’s quick than she must need loving arms right away – no matter how imperfect they may be!
I wanted to not only share the progress we’ve made in our adoption, but also something really neat our adoption agency sent to us. We feel not only blessed to be on this journey, but also so very blessed God has given an amazing adoption agency–America World. The agency is full of incredible people who love Him! They have been so wonderful to work with throughout these last 4 months. AW not only helps families through the adoption process, but also advocates and pours their hearts into fighting spiritually for orphans. Today AW began a 3 day fast they call the “Esther Fast.” It’s a time “where they can focus for three days by fasting and praying on behalf of orphans. The idea comes from the Book of Esther, when the Jews fasted and prayed for a particular purpose.
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews … and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (taken out of Esther 4) AW focuses specifically on issues facing orphans all over the world as they pray and fast.
I loved this idea, because it makes me slow down and really think. We are adopting, and yes doing something about one little girl, but there are so many others waiting, hurting, hungry, and lonely. I will never forget a true story I read in one of our adoption training books. The picture of it has never left my mind…..
“one little girl we worked with—four years after she left the orphanage—showed her mother something startling. The child stood with her arms stuck straight out in front of her, and then she curled and uncurled her fingers repeatedly. “Do you know what this means?” she asked her mother, flexing two little empty hands at her. “No, sweetheart, what is that?” “This is ‘please, orphanage worker, please stop and give me food,’ but they don’t stop,” she said. (The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis.)
I cannot imagine hunger this way. Our babies cry, our children whine at the first feel on hunger and we feed them without hesitation. But there are children around the world at this very moment holding out their hands in hunger. Each country is different, so not all children will experience this same hunger, but I have decided throughout the fast America World is doing today, tomorrow and Sunday….I will think of those little ones holding their hands for food, or the babies in eerie silence…who just don’t cry anymore because they realize crying won’t get them fed or changed. We’ve never felt this deep hunger, loneliness and neglect. It’s our job as Christians to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and reach out to those hungry, lonely hands. We can grasp those hands through prayer, giving, and doing whatever God lays on our hearts.
In my excitement to bring home our daughter, I sadly realize there are so many who were in the middle of the Russian program who have been told they can no longer adopt. We know of one family who had been to Russia 2 times already and told their little boy they would be coming back a 3rd time to bring him home, but have been refused the right to proceed. How sad that government would purposely inflict injustice upon the innocent. So let’s pray the mountains will move in Russia, and all around the world.
God truly hears the prayers of the righteous. “the prayers of a righteous man availeth much.” AW writes: “The agency has done similar fasts/prayers, including once specifically focusing on lifting the quota on adoptions in China. Prior to a delegation traveling to China we fasted and prayed for three days. Following the delegation, China chose to lift the quota. I truly believe God heard our prayers during those three days.”
I have seen His loving hands move so many, many times in my own family, and believe He advocates for the poor, sick, hungry, widowed and orphaned…through you and through me. Let’s be his hands and feet today within our own families, cities, country…and wherever God may lead.
Have a wonderful weekend!
~this is one of my favorite videos! The woman speaking is a very special lady, Danita Estrella. She left her comfortable home in the U.S. to move to Haiti. She had no specific plans when she got there…only to be His hands and feet to the orphaned.
She rented home, bought little beds, and prayed over those beds –that God would fill them. God brought the orphans, and eventually so many that she had to purchase land, build an orphanage, and now has a hospital to help them medically. All because of her choice to be obedient to the call of Christ. I love it….& hope it will touch & inspire you! We can make a difference if we are only willing to slow down and listen to God speaking to our hearts.