Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Embassy Update

After a spotty Internet day yesterday for the folks in Addis, we got news today that the U.S. Embassy has requested a birth family meeting for next Tuesday, Dec. 6th {his 9 month birthday btw!} at 7:30 am. If things go smoothly, we should hear word from the embassy in the next few days that we are cleared & be given dates to travel. {to give you an example of a scenario we would be blessed to follow: a family had their same interview yesterday & found out today that they will need to leave THIS Friday to go to ET!}

Also, the other 3 families were submitted yesterday!!! I am praying that all 6 babies will be home by Christmas...would LOVE for you to join me! ;-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Submitted to embassy

Last Monday, our file was submitted to U.S. embassy to be reviewed, approved, & obtain a VISA appointment. The U.S. also does their own investigation of adoption cases, proving that each child is an orphan. The embassy takes 1-2 weeks per review & then comes back with 1 of 2 scenarios:

1) the case is cleared & dates are given to travel to get Little Man's VISA so that he can enter the United States

2) the embassy calls for additional information. then, will review the case a second time once that information has been given.

Now, along with all the changes with adoption on the Ethiopian side of things, so the U.S. has vamped up their scruitany of cases on their end as well. Most all cases, if not all in general, have gone the #2 route. The main thing they have called for are additional birth family interviews. {Just fyi, birth families are also called to testify in the ET courts before you are ever given custody of your child, & documents such as this will be in your file that the embassy has.}

CALLING ON ALL PRAYERS :) - on Monday, we were submitted with 2 other families. those families have already received 2 different emails from the embassy. One, that their file was "opened." Two, that a birth family interview was requested. We have not gotten anything from the embassy directly yet. My case manager assured me that this does not mean that they are not working on our case & that they are not consistent in their direct correspondence with adoptive families. However, I am getting nervous about it. Part of me is just so relieved that my baby boy is actually coming home, that I don't care...but, another part of me is begging the Lord that this lack of correspondence means we are being cleared! ;-) {for lots of reasons we would love for them not to request a birth family interview} So, will you join me in praying the following:

1) that the embassy will clear our case the first time
2) that we will hear word from them either through them or our agency SOON
3) that the other 3 of the Southern 6 will get submitted tomorrow - really tonight according to ET time :)

We all just want to get our sweet babies home ASAP!!! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's OFFICAL!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, this news is super late in coming, but as of Monday, the Baxter family is officially a family of 3!!! Monday morning we found out the court had received our MOWA letter & issued our "final, final" court decree! I have pretty much been running at full steam ever since trying to get caught up on all the things I have been putting off...it's a little hard to register, have showers, buy diapers/clothes/etc. when you have NO IDEA how old your baby is going to be when he comes home. SOOOOOoooo glad that's over with!!!:)

I wish I could show you all a picture of his sweet little face & announce his name to really make things come alive! However, our agency is extra precautions & doesn't like us to show pictures of our littles until they are safely in our custody....& there is a little debate over what exactly his name will be. It's pretty much set for the most part except we can't decide whether to sneak in a second middle name. I'm for & against it for several different reasons, & Matt is mostly against. So, we'll see how all this plays out! ;-)

Next steps are AGCI will translate our paperwork & make an appointment for our lil guy to have an extra medical exam at the embassy's clinic. Once all that is complete, they can submit us to the U.S. embassy who will then complete their own investigation of our case. The embassy is very strict & only allots certain days that each agency can open files. Ours is Monday. We are praying that our staff is able to get everything done in time to submit our file to the embassy this coming Monday! We know Almaz & everyone will make it happen if they can! :)

Yay!!!!!!!!! Matt & I have been on cloud 9 since last Wednesday {when our case was taken off hold!} I can hardly tell that my head is spinning in 5 different directions- ha!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Roller. Coaster.

So, this post is a little later in coming than I wanted, but now my mind is flooding with ALL the things that I have been putting off! :) I feel the need to take you back to where I was last week, to be truthful of this sweet journey & the majesty of God & our walk to our son.

Today re-read an email I wrote to a friend last week, & I think I'll just use it to fill in the gaps in order to keep this post from being forever long. {For those of you who don't know me well, I'm sure you've figured out by now that I tend to be a little wordy!}

honestly, hearing that someone is praying for us daily is huge. I need to know that someone is interceding for me on the moments/days it gets too discouraging to plead for the exact same thing one more time. We did find out on Monday that the judge issued our written decree, but we still need our MOWA letter before we can move on. we also got confirmation on Monday that MOWA is not cooperating as we suspected. I feel so guilty because I know I should be rejoicing & praising the Lord over this small victory, but I can't seem to get there out of fear that this next hurdle is going to take even longer. ...I just feel so guilty because this is an answered prayer. 

Then that Friday {last week,} one of the other "Southern Six" mommas {that's what we became known as on our agency's list serv} asked if AGCI would be open to talk about making an extra trip to go visit our babies. I'm not sure if they realized that we were all looking at plane tickets for December:), but they agreed to "talk" about it. I dreamed about seeing Little Man again all weekend, & Matt & I started brainstorming on fundraising. Well, on Monday I found out that the option of an extra trip was being taken off the table. We love our agency & they had good reasons, but I was still super bummed because we had no idea when we would hold our baby next. Plus, there still wasn't any new information about why our cases were still on hold & what exactly was going to be needed to get them off even though 2 more of our Southern Six families got their court decrees.

So now I hope you have a little sense of my mental state when the phone rang Wednesday...in fact, don't be surprised when I tell you that I was in bed at 11:00 AM.;-) My case manager told me, much to EVERYone's surprise, MOWA had agreed to go ahead & write our letters!!!! Our orphanage director explained it best, "The steps have been many to get here, but most of all it is God's thing, no one can move men's hearts but God." AGCI expects our letters to get here by the end of next week...Little Man is coming HOME!!! Matt & I are elated to say the least & are truly beyond grateful for each one of your prayers. We aren't really sure about the timing yet. It will depend on when we actually get our letter & how the VISA process goes, but there is a possibility it could be by the end of this year! :)

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see these last few years as purposeful refinement, even though I cringed at that thought just 3 short days ago. Thank you for continuing to give me permission to ask for things that may give You glory because I'm beginning to realize the depth of your love for me. I am humbled by your grace in so. many. ways.

so much for not being wordy, huh?! wow, this post took a turn i totally wasn't expecting...here's your reward for making it to the end ;-)