Have you ever had one of those moments where you breathe out and realize that you’ve been holding your breath? Well I have. Just yesterday.
It has been nearly seven months since I opened an email, opened the link in that email, scrolled down, and saw my daughter. At some place in the beginning of this journey, I inhaled.
Along the way, I’ve learned more about adoption and immigration and Eastern Europe than I ever really wanted to.
I’ve also learned a much bigger lesson. Patience. Okay, so I haven’t mastered it. But, I am coming to terms with it. Do you know how many times the Bible talks about waiting? About 160. I know this because I think I’ve read every single verse on the topic. Adoption is all about waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more.
You contact someone, who contacts someone, who decides if you are suitable to even start the process. You order documents and you want to receive them. You mail off those documents and you wait for them to be authenticated and returned. You get finger-printed (a few times) and you wait for your background checks. You take new photos and send off your passport renewal forms and you wait for your new passport. You start your home-study and you wait for home visits. You finish your part of the home-study and you wait for the agency to write their report. After a few months of putting your dossier together, you send it to a foreign nation and you wait to hear if it’s arrived. You wait for it to be translated. You wait for it to be approved. You wait for a travel date.
And….you wait for the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services to deem you worthy of adopting. This part of the process has been torturous. All I can say about dealing with USCIS is…Thank you, Jesus! It’s over.
As promised, on Tuesday, the lady at immigration who is in charge of issuing the approvals for orphan visas, faxed us the holy grail of documents. Also known as an I-171h, this piece of paper has become mythical around our house.
Even better than the fax, we got the real thing in the mail today.
The waiting is over.
One week from this moment, I will be sleeping in Serbia after visiting for the first time with my daughter. I will know what she looks like. I will know the sound of her voice. I will know her scent.
Time to exhale.