Before I jump into an update for our adoption process, I wanted to share how thankful I am that I had the opportunity to share the deeper parts of my heart in my last two posts: A Burdened Heart and I Will Follow. Your comments on Facebook were so encouraging. I received private messages and email from some several people - some known and others I have never met - sharing that they, too, have had similar experiences with loss when following God's leading. A friend shared an incredible sermon with me called The Pain and the Promise of Obedience, and I loved every word the pastor spoke. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet, as it was such food for my soul! Thank you for being so gracious with your words, as there is always risk to stepping out in a vulnerable position, sharing your heart and faith with others.
Now for the good news! So much has happened the last couple of months. My last update about our actual adoption process took place two months ago on September 23rd. We had just received our fingerprint appointment from USCIS the previous day. This is a background check with the Department of Homeland Security. Despite our appointment not being for a couple weeks, Ryan and I decided to see if they would allow us to have our fingerprints taken early. We drove downtown Indy on September 25th, and we were thrilled when they allowed us in without an appointment! Thirty minutes later, our fingerprints were finished. In the weeks that followed, we were assigned an officer with USCIS, and we awaited the news of our approval.
After Trick-or-Treating on October 31st with some friends and their children, we came home to find our Immigration Approval! We had already sent our dossier to Lifeline, and this approval was the last document needed to start the next part of the process. I emailed a scanned copy of our immigration approval to our social worker, and she started the Authentication process the following Monday, November 3rd. Authentication occurs at the county, state, and federal levels, and various authorities give their stamp of approval that each document is real and not fabricated. For example, our birth certificates are actual birth certificates. We received notification that the authentication process was complete on November 20th. We celebrated being one step closer!
Today we received the most exciting news so far. We are officially Dossier To China (DTC)!!! Our social worker as uploaded our dossier into China's system, and she also mailed everything to them today. HOORAY! We were hopeful to hit this milestone before Thanksgiving, and we are so grateful to be finished with everything on the US side for awhile.
So what next? Well, we first celebrate how far we have come in five months! And then, we continue to wait for a precious little one's file to arrive in the US. As I have shared before, on February 12th I saw the picture of the most beautiful little one, felt a indescribable pull to him, and said aloud, "He looks like my family." I immediately inquired about him while Ryan was asleep next to me. Every month that followed, I checked with my social worker to see if she had learned anything about him. Was a file being prepared? Did his orphanage participate in international adoption? Did they partner with an adoption agency? You can imagine our surprise when we learned on June 30th that his file was indeed being prepared, and miraculously, his orphanage partners with our agency. Within a week, we submitted our application to begin the adoption process once again with the understanding that we might or might not be chosen to view his file. Time will tell how this story shall end, but we have faith that God is sovereign! He is good, and He loves this precious boy more than anyone. I know this child will be adopted by the family that is best for him whether it is us or not. However, I can't help but imagine all four boys playing together, riding in our sweet mini van (haha!), and reading bedtime stories together. I try to protect my heart, but sometimes, those visions sneak in unexpectedly and bring a smile to my face. I will keep you posted and let you know as soon as we hear anything. You can only imagine how eager we are to know who our fourth child will be!