Saturday, January 26, 2008

A year in review...

A year ago today, I completed the paper chase for my China girl and submitted my dossier for review.  I can't even express the relief I felt when I finally handed it over to my China coordinator and saw it for the last time. 

I was approved to begin the process on October 9, 2006 and I hurried hauled ass to finish before the deadline.  Because I was/am single and the new guidelines for China would eliminate me as an adoptive parent, my agency required that I finish by the end of February 2007.  I managed to completed ALL my social work visits, home visits, and the rest of the dossier within 6 weeks.  BUT I hit a snag, that feels oh so familiar now, with USCIS.  When I first submitted my application I did not know I needed to include my social security number.  It was not requested on the I-600A form and no one had told me.  So, the first was sent back back to me.  I waited and waited and finally received a fingerprint appointment a month later, a few days before I left for Hong Kong (another story).  And I waited and waited.  I ended up waiting another 6 weeks before I received my 171H, even though the average is 2-3 weeks in this state.  I had decided that my 171H was going to arrive the last full week of January and I requested half of Thursday and all day Friday off so I could go get my documents authenticated and then drove with a girlfriend up to Chicago to the Chinese embassy.  WOW.  What an experience.  I remember stepping out on the street with my newly stamped documents and walking up the street towards the sun and it suddenly hit me "I'm going to be a mom!"  Up until then, it had not fully settled on me what I was about to endeavor.  I hope I never lose that memory or the feeling that settled over me in that moment. 

We drove home that evening, stayed in our respective homes and then met early the next morning for the next trek of our journey: the adoption agency.  Granted, I could have mailed my documents, but I was so fiercely attached to those documents that I could not have trusted them to the US Post Office or FedEx.  I finally met my coordinator--the coolest coordinator ever!--and she reviewed my dossier while we took a tour of the agency and met with the agency director and other coordinators.  I remember feeling humbled and awed that these people work around the clock, every day without a break.  Here it was a Saturday, and they were happy to meet with me and show me what they do.  Since my friend had family in the area, we stayed overnight with them before making the trip back the following morning.  What a great memory! 

My dossier was officially reviewed and submitted to China on February 2nd.  On February 13th, in the middle of a nasty snow storm and while I was trying to leave the office to get home early--I got the call that my LID was the day before.  I was amazed to feel such happiness for such a small thing.  I called my mom and we both cried with joy over the phone.  With a smile on my face I struggled to get my car out from under the snow when the flower man pulled up to my office building.  Somehow I just knew they were for me--and sure enough, they were!  My dad had sent me Valentine's Day flowers.  There was no way my day could have possibly gotten any better! 

It's been an amazing journey, but I pray that it not last forever.  Despite the challenges and the contradictions, I still pray that I receive a referral this year.  I don't think it will be for my dear daughter, but I do hope that I will finally see Haven's face this year. 

1 comments:

Jo January 27, 2008 at 6:17 PM  

What is it with Chicago USCIS??? It took over 3 months for us to get our I-171H. Well it took a bit longer because they lost our paperwork TWICE!!!!

I bet we live close, I am in South Bend Indiana and have been home 7 months with my daughter from Vietnam.

Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know I am sending some good thoughts your way!

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About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.


But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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