"How's everything going with the adoption?", I love this question. This tells me even though it's been 15 months since we announced we are "having a baby" you haven't forgotten that we really are "having a baby"...yes, it's taking a lot longer than the traditional way, but it's still happening! This question is so hard to answer. Partly because there's so much to explain to tell you how everything is going and partly because I'm not really sure how everything is going...so not only for your sake, but for mine as well, I've compiled a little timeline of what happens next. Here it is...
After we accepted the referral for the twins in March, our I600a had to be updated approving us to adopt all 3 children. Once that updated form was received we were once again able to consider our Dossier complete. In April, the updated Dossier was translated to French and submitted to the DRC. Once the Congolese government received the Dossier they were able to begin the court process...
"Court" is a 2 step process... first, OUR documents are submitted (dossier, etc) to start the court process, which began sometime before the first of May. Then once we pass court (roughly 2 months) they have to collect all of the children’s documents, which typically takes another two to four months.
When court has "passed" for all of us, they will send us a copy of the court judgment saying that we have adopted the children. They will also send the act of adoption (which is the official registry of the judgment.)
After the act of adoption there is a thirty day waiting period. Once that waiting period has passed, we receive the CONA, or certificate of non-appeal, which means that no one appealed the adoption of the children.
Once we have all of the above documents, we will file our I600 with USCIS and wait for provisional approval – about 5-7 weeks.
That approval (I600) will trigger the beginning of our investigation period with the embassy in Kinshasa – which at this point we have been told is expected to take 3-6 months. During the investigation, staff from the US embassy in Kinsasha will investigate the children, their biological family members and gather any information they can about the children. This is to determine that they meet "orphan status" based on US guidelines.
Once the investigation is complete, the Embassy will contact us to set embassy appointments, for about 2 weeks later. At that time we will submit the second round of documents.
Next, we will wait for Visas for the children. Once Visas have been issued we will be cleared to travel to Kinsasha! The last step before being able to leave DRC and bring our kids home to the US will be receiving an Exit Letter from the DGM in Kinsasha. This is expected to take about 2 weeks. Then...finally...we travel home!!!
So, back to where are we now?.... We are in "court" . We know that our court process began sometime before the first of May. They will not give us updates during the court process, only that it has begun and then we will be notified when we have "passed". Please pray specifically during this time that all of the needed documents for the children will be located quickly and that court will proceed smoothly. We thought that waiting for our referral was the tough "waiting" phase. We see now, that we are only at the beginning of really WAITING…waiting is hard…waiting goes against every bit of my nature. I'm a "doer". Tell me what needs to be done and I'm on it. Tell me, there nothing I can do right now but wait, that's a different story...
So, there will be no sitting around and just waiting here! It's so crazy to think back on the last 5 months and all that has transpired. We have so much to DO!!! Our home renovation is really moving forward…we have an entire bathroom and bedroom upstairs gutted, rearranging everything and getting ready for 4 little ones to have a place to brush their teeth, take their baths and feel right at home with their own space. Downstairs, the kitchen ceiling is completely torn out and the framing for the kitchen addition is beginning! I look back in awe at Gods use of timing…the damage created by the tornado so perfectly corresponds with the need for home renovations and additions…miracles…right in front of us.
We are also excited to be preparing for a fundraising yard-sale next month! Friends are graciously putting lots of time and effort into planning an adoption fundraiser for us! Donations are being taken, involving 3 different church congregations, our communities, family and friends. All items donated will be sold, generating funds for our adoption expenses!!! We are so so grateful for this! We have passed some amazing financial milestones, but we are well aware of the reality of expenses yet to come! If you are local and would like to donate items for our sale please contact me (email@example.com) and we will be happy accept items. I also plan to post a flyer for the sale for anyone who would like to come and shop, start planning now!
We were so blessed this last month to receive more photos and updates of Dauphin, Altess and Vincent. We were able to be in contact with a family traveling to the orphanage to pick up their son. We were able to send gifts to them to be delivered personally to our kids! We now have a picture of the 3 of them together and we also have a picture of Vincent holding a picture of Emmaline (who is holding his picture, in that picture)…that, messes with my mind to see! I am not able to publicly post their pictures but I have added the pictures of Emmaline wrapping their gifts and the pictures of her that we sent to them. We know now, that they at least know about us and know that there is a family here waiting to bring them home, together! Thank you for continuing to shower us with love and support and please please please continue to pray for our family and our sweet children, all FOUR of them!
|Emmaline holding a picture of Vincent and our gift for him|
|Holding a picture of Altess and her gift (including matching purse and bracelet)|
|Wrapping everything up (Christmas themed wrapping compliments of Emmaline)|
|Vincent wearing the shirt and shoes that we sent to him!|
|Holding a picture of Dauphin and his gift|
|Vincent holding Emmaline's picture and our gift|
Passing the time at home...
|First visit from the Tooth Fairy!|
|Celebrating Five and a half!|
|I love this silly girl!|