Thursday, February 02, 2012

Overdue Update on Andrew!

You are probably wondering the same thing that everyone else is wondering.  The number one question we are asked is,“When do you travel?” Even Andrew’s orphanage sent David a message earlier this week asking us when we were coming to get him. Well the answer to that question is...we still don’t know.  So what has been happening during the past five months?  (Has it really been that long?) 
Here's what has been going on and where we are now.

• Our home study was finished in early Sept. and sent to USCIS (Homeland Security). It took us longer to finish the home study than we hoped as we updated all of our financial, medical and family information, read a 1000 pages of books, and completed ten hours of on-line training, but it was good to be reminded of the needs and adjustments that Andrew might have as we bring him home.
• In October we updated our fingerprints and on October 20, USCIS updated our approval to bring a child into the USA. We shaved a couple of weeks off of our wait by "walking-in" to the FingerPrint location 2 weeks early, trusting that God would go before us and give us favor; he did :-)
• Once we had those approvals, we sent all of the paperwork to Lifeline Children’s Services, our agency in Alabama, who made sure we had all of the correct approvals, stamps and seals from various governmental departments. They sent it to the Chinese consulate in Houston who gave it their stamp of approval. Then, the whole dossier was sent to China just before Thanksgiving.
• We were LID on December 1. That just means our dossier was logged into the system at the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).
• Now we are waiting on our official Letter of Acceptance (LOA) to come from China. We have been waiting 64 days, and know that it could come any time. Most families are waiting between sixty and ninety days, though some people have gotten theirs in 40 days and some have had to ait 140 days. If there is a rhyme and reason, no one seems to know what it is. We have heard that families reusing paperwork from a previous adoption are taking a little longer, and we are reusing Hannah’s paperwork.

Once we get our LOA, we will sign it and send it back to China.  Then we'll have to wait for Travel Approval and an appointment date to get Andrew's visa at the American Consulate before we can buy our plane tickets. So when will we travel?  February?  Probably not.  March?  April?  We don't really know, but we do know the One who knows and we know the time is closer than it was :-). We had hoped to travel by now, but God has other plans. We know that we are waiting on HIM and NOT on the Chinese government. Just as with the wait for Hannah, we take heart from Isaiah 40:31. We are putting our hope in the LORD and allowing Him to give us strength.

One thing we have wondered over and over during all these months was what Andrew has been thinking about all of this.  Last August we sent him a package with gifts and picture album of our family; so, we assumed he knew about us, but we wondered, "Is he excited or dreading it?"  When we got the email from the orphanage through Angela at Ladybugs N Love, the group that sent the birthday cake for Andrew, David wrote back to tell them we will be there as soon as we can and to ask why they are asking and if Andrew is okay.  Angela responded with this, "“I talked with the orphanage today and forwarded your message. They said nothing wrong with your son. They were asking this only because he asks the staff when his family is coming for him whenever he sees the staff. They just wanted to have something to tell him. He is ready. I asked the orphanage to tell him that his dad and mom misses him very much and will come as soon as they can."  What a precious gift God has given us to let us know that Andrew is ready and waiting for us to come and get him!  (Hold on Andrew; we would be there tomorrow if we could.  We'll be there as soon as we can.)

It seems like we have been waiting a long time, but we know the wait will not be forever. God put things into perspective for me one Sunday morning a few weeks ago. During the welcome, I was telling some friends that we were on day 46 of our wait when I heard someone say, “She’s counting the days.” As I went back to my seat thinking, “Yes, we are counting the days and really looking forward with excitement to bringing Andrew home," I wondered, "Is Jesus counting the days until He gets to come get us?  He already has LOA (Letter of Acceptance) and is waiting for His TA (Travel Approval).  What a gotcha day that will be when we all get to go to our new home that He is preparing for us.

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