Passport for Baby S

I told my friend this morning that I felt like we would meet our daughter soon.

“I don’t know if it’s that mommy intuition or simply wishful thinking, but I think we could be traveling soon,” I confided to her.

Our coordinator called within the hour to tell us that our daughter’s passport is ready.

I’m still in shock.

Passport for Baby S | Journey of Faith blog

Situation: Baby S’s passport is ready, so we are now [just] waiting on our visas to be approved before we travel.

Feeling: Ready. I am ready to meet my daughter. We’re so close to meeting her that I can almost feel my arms wrapping around her for a big bear hug! I feel anxious to hear her voice and see what kind of faces she makes, and to learn all about the personality of my little one.

Thinking: Soon, I will be standing face-to-face with my little girl. My first baby. SOON.

Fearing: our visas!!!  We sent them in last night, so hopefully our passports will be returned pronto with the appropriate stamp in them.

Praying: the same things over and over again. We are praying for our visa approvals, and for our daughter. We continue to pray for safety while traveling, and for an uneventful return home.  We also pray for our Father’s gracious guidance as we learn how to be parents.:)

Daddy’s thoughts: Excited and ready to meet my daughter! (I think he is over this whole “sharing our emotions” thing. :))

Passport for Baby S | Journey of Faith blog

The next time I post anything adoption-related, it will be to introduce you to my little girl. My first baby.

SOON.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Article 23

Upon receiving our official court order last Wednesday, our family coordinator cautioned us that the Article 23 – a legal document we need from CARA before we can travel – can sometimes take much longer than expected. “God is in control,” she encouraged me. “It will all work out. Don’t fret.”

Two days later, as my workday came to a close, we received the Article 23.

In the words of our travel coordinator:

This is one of the fastest Article 23s we have received from CARA, which is great.  The issuance of the Article 23 does not impact the timing of when a child’s passport will be ready, but it is great to have the Article 23 before the passport is issued.  This way we can begin working with the orphanage on when they can host your family as soon as we get a copy of the passport.

 We are speechless. Humbled. Thankful.

And, for one of the first times in our adoption journey, we feel the urgency of time.

We’re still fearing the visa application process and have already run into a few hiccups with Tim’s application. Hopefully, we’ll be able to sort it all out this week.

The thought keeps running through my head: “If God is for us, who can be against us? If God is FOR US, not even a silly visa application will stand in His way.”

He will bring our daughter home. Soon.

P.S. Below are a few prayer requests, and we thank you for your support in this way! 

  1. Speedy process of our visas, and that we’ll figure this thing out.
  2. Quick issuance of our daughter’s passport.
  3. Safety while traveling to India, while there, and that we’ll arrive home in one piece and with our girl. 🙂
  4. Bonding and attachment between us and Baby S!
  5. Ease of communication in these early days of having her home. 🙂

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31&32

Court Order and Visa Applications

And the story continues…

Court Order and Visa Applications | Journey of Faith blog

Situation: On Wednesday, February 24, it snowed. And in late afternoon, our adoption coordinator notified us that we received our court order from India! A flurry of excitement ensued for yours truly and her husband. 🙂

Having the court order means that our daughter’s passport is now being processed, our travel coordinator can apply for the Article 23 from CARA (a legal document we need to take with us to India), and we need to hurry and apply for our visas. We couldn’t apply any earlier than this week, since Tim had to send in his passport for an update. Below are some of our initial thoughts upon this next step.

Feeling: Excited!! Nervous!! Overwhelmed!! I am scared to fill out our visa applications. I know, I know, it’s easy-peasy right? Well, not for us. We read way too much into the questions and over-analyze our answers. I am ready to just have our forms in the mail and out of the way! It will be a joyous day when we have visas in hand.

Thinking: A TON of questions- What did my daughter think the first time she saw our picture? Is she excited for us? When will I no longer be afraid of filling out paperwork? (SERIOUSLY.) Who will we meet on our flight to India? What will Baby S think of the flight home? Is she excited for us? (I wonder frequently.)

Fearing: the visa applications. Never done it before, never wanna do it again. Hate it, don’t wanna do it. What if I enter incorrect information? What if I forget one of the documents we need to send in with it?

Praying: Our prayers are with our daughter, that she will be ready for us. We’re praying for a smooth and speedy process with her passport, the remaining documents we need before we can travel, and of course, for our visas. We are praying for safety as we travel to and from India with our baby. Our first baby. 

Daddy’s Thoughts: (On the court order) I am very, very excited because for the first time I feel like we are SO close. I am VERY EXCITED to meet my daughter now! (On applying for our visas) I’m stressed about our visas because it’s confusing and I’m not sure what to do. Thankful that my wife and I are doing this TOGETHER.

Daddy’s Prayers: I’m praying for our final paperwork, as well as our daughter’s passport, to be finished quickly and smoothly!

I am so very excited right now, and I’m looking forward to going to India. Most of all, I’m very excited to meet our little girl and begin getting to know her. So overall, I’m just excited and happy now. 🙂

Soon, our baby girl will be home. Soon.
 Court Order and Visa Applications | Journey of Faith blog

Initial Travel Preparations

Initial Travel Preparations | Journey of Faith blog

{Taj Mahal – photo source here}

I am one emotional bundle of excitement right now! Today, we received the first email from our travel coordinator at our adoption agency. It included pertinent information regarding our next steps as we prepare for India, a sample itinerary of what our time over there will look like, a list of documents we’ll need while over there, and more.

I want to remember these moments leading up to meeting our daughter. I don’t want to forget how I felt during this exciting time. I can’t wait to tell Baby S all about this journey that led her into our family forever!

To help me NOT forget (which happens more easily than I care to admit), I will occasionally write about subsequent situations we find ourselves in; along with our thoughts and feelings in each moment. Consider it an extended “labor” story, if you will. 🙂

Situation: we received the first email from our travel coordinator. Included in it was a travel preparation packet detailing the next steps we need to take to prepare for India.

Feeling: EXCITED!!!!!!!!! Ecstatic!!!!!!!! Anxious to meet my daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thinking: This is really happening. This is really my life, and {this} girl is really my girl, and we are really going to fly to India to finalize her adoption and bring her home. EEK!!!!

Fearing: Plane ride to India. I hate planes. This is the moment I have been dreading since January 2014. Praying I feel differently once we are actually on the flight. I’m also afraid that we will forget a document that is needed to finish the adoption process and our daughter’s travel preparations while in India. Just got a HUGE list of papers to take with us there, and I PRAY that we don’t forget anything!

Praying: See above. Also, we are praying that our daughter’s passport is processed smoothly and QUICKLY. This will allow us to travel sooner rather than later. We would, of course, prefer to travel ASAP. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Daddy’s thoughts: I feel conflicting emotions a lot.  Sometimes throughout the day something will happen that will make me consider how close we are to having our daughter home, and I feel really excited!  I get happy when I think about how great it will be to finally meet her and to be able to hold her and kiss her.  I also really like to think about finally being able to do everything with her like camping out  in the back yard, taking her on car rides, snuggling while watching movies, or going on vacation.  I am really looking forward to that! 

I really want to imagine a very happy life and lots of fun with our daughter as a family.  I want to picture us living life together, loving each other and enjoying being together.  But at the same time I don’t want to dwell on that image for too long because I remember that our daughter will be going through an enormous transition, and she will be experiencing a lot of loss and hurt and pain and confusion.  I imagine there will be lots of sadness and tears.  And I am afraid that she may not love us and she may not want us to hold her and kiss her.

And then the traveling thoughts…I am anxious about the remaining paperwork and all the stuff that remains for us to do to be able to go pick her up!  Paperwork is hard and confusing for me; thankfully Deborah does it all!!  But I still feel afraid and nervous that we may not know how to do something, or we may do it wrong.  And I am scared to travel to another country because I have never done that before.  Airports can be a little intimidating to me so I am afraid of going through international airports.  And I am scared that I won’t know what to do in India.  I won’t know where anything is or how to get anywhere.  And I am afraid of traveling while in India because I have heard the roads and traffic are pretty insane!  So it is scary for me.  But on the other hand, it may be the only time that we have the opportunity to go to India, so I feel pressure that we should make the most of this opportunity!  Not sure!

So basically, I am a ball of fear/excitement/anxiety.  I am so very thankful that some friends are throwing us a prayer and book shower; prayer is what we need the most!  

I also feel most comforted when I remember that God has chosen this one girl specifically for us.  She is our daughter.  Regardless of what the experience may be like, God is sovereign and he is good.  He loves us and he loves her more than anything!  I can rest in his loving care.

I loved hearing my husband’s current thoughts and feelings as we glimpse the end of this adoption finalization. (Then the journey will really begin!)

He worded it well. Despite our mix of emotions, questions and fears; we know without a doubt that this girl is our girl, by God’s design. We are so thankful! So, so, so, so…SO thankful.

The depths are what make the heights so beautiful. -Kara Tippetts

Adoption Update: Judge’s Approval

God is good all the time, and He is the God who answers prayer.

judges approval.jpg

Our God is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows (Psalm 68:5).”

It is God who “sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6).”

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children (Psalm 113: 9).”

Our God sees “the trouble of the afflicted…considers their grief and takes it in hand (Psalm 10: 14a).”

“The victims commit themselves to Him; He is the defender of the fatherless (Psalm 10:14b).”

All the time, God is good. And He is the One who answers my prayers.

We have the judge’s approval.

We will be traveling by May.

His Grace is Sufficient

Today, I wept for my child who is growing up in an orphanage and is unaware of the fact that she has parents who are anxiously awaiting her arrival home.

Since October, we have held our breaths in anticipation of the judge’s approval. It is the final step needed before we begin travel preparations.

I have fasted and prayed to the God of heaven and earth that He would speed up this process of adoption and bring our daughter home by May.

We are still waiting for news of the approval. It will be a miracle if we travel in May.

And I…I am angry. I am disgusted over the process that leaves orphans institutionalized for far too long while their parents wait for the process to work itself out. (Note: I am not angry at people, just @ the system.)

His Grace is Sufficient | Journey of Faith blogI stumbled upon Courtney Reissig’s twitter account just when I needed it the most. Her tweet caught me off guard and calmed my embittered heart:

Sometimes God answers prayer by removing our difficulty. Sometimes he answers by saying “my grace is sufficient for you.” Both are good.

I have questions about the coming months, and about our daughter. So. Many. Questions.

I know I can love a 4-year old, a 5-year old. I know, because I love my daughter. Can my heart attach to her as a 7- or 8-year old?

His grace is sufficient.

With each passing day, the wait feels unbearable. I feel like I cannot take it any longer. How long, O Lord?

His grace is sufficient.

While I prep her bedroom, fluff her pillows, and organize her stuffed animals; she has no idea of who I am. How long will she have to wait before she knows about her parents?

His grace is sufficient.

As I dream about the day that I will cradle her in my arms and hold her close to me while I sing her bedtime songs, she is sleeping in an orphanage with no such routine and with no Mama. How much longer, Lord?

His grace is sufficient.

His Grace is Sufficient | Journey of Faith blogSpringtime is one of my favorite times of the year. Flowers will bloom, trees will bud, the grass will be green again. Will we be on a plane then? Or will we still be waiting? I will not enjoy such fine weather if it is the latter. Can I take this any more?

His grace is sufficient for me.

I will continue to fast and pray. My tears will be my comfort, at times, as I long for my daughter. The questions will flow in and out of my mind as I go about the routine of my days.

And His grace will sustain me.

The day that He answers “Yes” to my pleas – hasten that day, God! – on that day, He will receive all the glory for what He is doing.

O Lord, let it be so.

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand…for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

-Psalm 73:21, 22, 28

Adoption Update: NOC

But my eyes are toward you, O God, my LORD; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!

With each passing week that we have waited to hear news regarding the status of our NOC with CARA (the adoption authorities in India), I have struggled.  I have begun to feel like this adoption finalization will never happen, and that we’ll just be waiting forever.

Yesterday, I was reflecting on the above verse found in Psalm 141 as I struggled through another day of not hearing anything.

I noted that, because of Jesus Christ, I can have the audacity and boldness to approach God my Father and assert such a statement – I trust You, DO NOT LEAVE ME DEFENSELESS.

And because of Christ, I can be completely assured that He will not, in fact, leave me without a defense.  HE is my defense, and He will never leave me alone. He’s given me His Spirit, and He will never leave me to figure life out without Him.

I can have confident assurance of such things only because of Christ. What great love God poured out for me when He gave up His Son, delivering Him over to death to suffer His wrath that my sins deserved. What amazing power He displayed when He rose again so that I would never, ever have to bear God the Father’s wrath OR be without Him in this life or the one to come.  I get to come to Him as often as I want, every day, very much like a little child approaching her loving Father.  Thank You, God, for my Savior!

While my emotions did not bring me calm, thinking about this verse and praying its truth to God gave me comfort in this long wait that has, more often than not, been extremely unpleasant.

And yesterday, in the middle of my pondering and asking God to strengthen my trust in Him, my husband called to let me know that we have received our NOC (No-Objection Certificate) from CARA in India.

WE’VE GOT IT.

N. O. C.

Tears of joy and utter relief streamed down my face as I listened to my husband.  We laughed, and laughed, and laughed some more.  It was, and still is, almost unbelievable to us.  One minute, we had no timeline and no knowledge of where we stood, and the next minute, everything changed.

Adoption Update: NOC

We now have the NOC, and this means a few things for our family and for our little girl:

  • We have a timeline of about 7 months!

We should be traveling around May 2016 to meet our daughter, finalize her adoption into our family, and bring her home.  Whereas before, we had no clue when we would travel, we now see a light at the end of the tunnel and have a more solidified time frame.  This could, of course, change a little bit, as our paperwork will now be sent to a judge for his approval before travel preparations are made for our daughter.  The next big milestone is to hear of the judge’s approval, and THEN we just wait for the call to book our flight! But, give or take a few, we have roughly 7 months before we meet our little one.

  • We get to send a photo book to our daughter!

Like, right now (I’ve been waiting for this moment!!!).  I’m just waiting for our family coordinator to send me instructions, and then I get to put together a family photo album for Baby S.

Adoption Update: NOC

We will send it to our agency, who will pass it on to the orphanage so her caretakers can show her pictures of her family when they tell her about us.  Which will happen at some point between NOW and when the judge gives his verbal approval.

As you think of it, will you pray for our baby’s heart?  Within the next few months, she will see photos of her parents for the first time.  BIG STUFF.  Please pray for God’s comfort to reign in her heart as she processes this huge, life-altering news. (Also, please pray that she thinks we’re good-looking.  Shallow, I know, but I just hope she finds her very white, non-Indian looking parents at least somewhat attractive!)

I know this may seem like just another step in the long, unpredictable process of adoption, but it is a REALLY BIG step for us.  7 (ish) months, and then we get to see her face-to-face. We are rejoicing in what God is working out for our family and praying that He will continue to supply all that we need to bring her home and be the parents she needs.

I am so thankful God is with us, working for us, and assuring us of His power and faithfulness.  He is a marvelous Father!

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant…he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. -Luke 1:46-49