Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where did summer go?

Apparently, I haven't blogged in 2 1/2 months. This hasn't been for lack of things to say, but rather, an inability to express those things in ways that haven't already been said, and better. The biggest of these is this: on May 7th, 2011, my father-in-law went to be with Jesus. He fought for so long, and with such dignity that, even expecting it, it was an enormous shock when Rod was suddenly gone.

As you can imagine, the loss of such an important figure in our lives left a maelstrom of grief and heartache. Our lives are suddenly full of firsts. The first father's day. The first family vacation. The first family picture. Unlike the addition of a new child, these firsts are full of bittersweet memories. And with that comes the knowledge that when our new additions do arrive, their Papa will never get to meet them.

But we have so many things to be thankful for, so many years that we had with Rod that we never expected. And six grandchildren have gotten a chance to sit on Papa's lap, and be loved with his tongue-in-cheek humor and grace. And as much as my kids grieve their Papa, I consider it a tremendous blessing that they were given this time with him.

On the adoption front, things are moving very slowly but they are moving. We submitted our 1600A to USCIS (US pre-approval to adopt) on June 10th and had our fingerprint appointment on July 14th. May I just take a moment and say that the folks at the USCIS office were above and beyond friendly and efficient. They really made my day with how incredibly nice they were. Ryan and I were also fortunate enough to witness 30 new citizens being sworn in. It was beautiful, seeing such diversity being added to our (relatively) small community.

For those wondering where we go from there, let me just tell ya. :) Once USCIS approval is in, we can send our dossier to the Congo. The dossier is basically our packet of papers praying for permission to adopt. Like the alliteration there? Thought so. The dossier will include things such as our homestudy, our USCIS approval, and large sums of money.

Once the DRC government approves us, we wait to be matched with our kids-this is called our referral. We can choose to deny any referral, but we don't really see that happening. I will admit, I love the symmetry of another son and daughter, but that might not be who is right for our family. We are trusting that when the time comes, we'll know. :)

After the referral, we wait. Again. A lot of paperwork goes into proving that children are truly orphans (legally this means either their parents have died or abandoned them), and the last thing we want is to "buy" a child. The Congo will tell us when we are allowed to travel. At this point, once we travel, it looks like at least one of us will be in the DRC for approximately 4 weeks. Yikes! This, naturally is posing a few problems with logistics. We're not sure Ryan can get that much time off of either work or school, but the biggest issue is that we don't want to leave Robby and Ella for a full month without a parent.

So. Overall timeline until our kids are home? Right now, I think they will be home next spring, which is frustratingly much longer than we had originally planned. C'est la vie. Or rather C'est l'adoption!

I've been remarkably lazy about it, but I really want to learn a few basic phrases to talk with my new kiddos. The official language is French, but most people speak Lingala or another of the 243 languages spoken there! So, a few phrases in French and Lingala will hopefully aid both the bonding with our kids and our stay there.

I will confess that I'm having trouble remaining excited throughout this process. Please don't mistake this for 2nd thoughts. It's just such a long process, and while I'm fully aware that adoption takes a lot of time and patience, right now it's still just a pie in the sky dream. I'm desperately looking forward to our referral, when our kids will have names, faces. It's difficult, not know who I'm planning for. At least with a pregnancy, I know that I'm expecting a baby! But with adoption? Next summer I might have two infants. Or two more preschoolers. And while I will embrace them wholeheartedly regardless, my heart has no one to long for.

I am absolutely sure there is more I should update, but "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a..." Funny story. Miss Ella picked up a not so nice word. Can't imagine where she heard it. We talked about it repeatedly, and she didn't seem eager to drop said word. So finally, after I'd calmly talked about it 3 times before noon, I told her we'd have to wash her mouth out with soap, to wash away the dirty words, if I heard it again. Two minutes later.... we're washing her tongue with a drop of soap (carefully checked for nut allergies first-geez, even the soap?) She was suitably chagrined. That same afternoon, Robby came running in, telling on his sister, that she had used that word once more. We were busy doing laundry, and we reminded Robby that tattling will also get a person in trouble. When we left the room a few minutes later, however, Ella proudly announced that she had washed her own mouth out with soap (unbidden!) and the dirty words were all gone! Love that girl. :)