I always feel some pressure to write an update when it's been more than a week since the last one. The problem is--when I haven't updated, it's because nothing is going on.
I love how much people care and how often people ask about Sara and the process. I hate not having any new information to give them. Here are the most popular questions I get and the answers as I know them:
*Do you have any new pictures yet?
No. I had heard from a friend of a friend that was down at her orphanage and saw her about a month ago. I was thrilled at the possibility that they would be able to get me more pictures. However, when they went on their official tour of the orphanage, the older children were all at school. So, I will have to wait for her official referral to get more pictures.
*Is your little girl home yet?
No. Trust me, you will know when she is home! I will shout it from the rooftops. Plus, I'll be gone for quite a while. If you've seen me in the last month, she's not home. (Sometimes, I get a little bit sarcastic...)
*Wait. What? You have to go get her?
Yes. I do. Different countries have different rules. Sara's country requires that I go there and stay until all the paper work and legalities are completed. I will be in her country between 4 and 7 weeks.
*So you'll be down there just waiting for her?
No. Not waiting for her. Waiting for paperwork. From my understanding, I will have custody of her after court. There is a "bonding" time that will allow us both to get to know each other and to make sure this is something we both want to do. After that, we will be in her country waiting for her new birth certificate, passport, visa, etc.
The good news is that we will be together during this time. We will get a chance to start the bonding process before we return home.
*Are you coming back to work?
Yes. I will be going back to work. I can take a leave with FMLA of up to 12 weeks. How long I'll be off depends on a lot of things--including how long we are in country and when exactly the leave falls. (If it falls over Christmas break, I'll have even more time off!) It will take a while to get her settled in after we get back both from an emotional stand point and a logistical one.
*When are you going? I hope it's next week.
Who knows! There are still a few more things that need to happen before I can go. Right now, I'm waiting for approval from Sara's country and her orphanage. Both could come soon (like this week!) or could come in 6 weeks or more. I heard on Thursday that the dossier has been received by both the orphanage and the country. When they sign them is completely out of my control. Thus all the whining about waiting.
When both of these approvals are given, I will get the ever-coveted "official referral." This means that I will get all of her medical and social information and---wait for it---new pictures! I can't wait to find out how my little girl is doing, what she's learning, how much she's grown, how her health is--any little bit of information I can get!
After I officially accept her referral, I apply to the US government for permission to bring her into the country. (I have their approval to adopt a child from her country. Now I need permission for her to be that child.) This process has been taking 2-3 weeks.
After that approval is given, I will be given a court date. It could be between 2 and 4 weeks out. I'm hoping and praying for 2 weeks. I'm ready to go now. I don't need 4 weeks to get ready!
So, as you can see, there are several things still that need to happen before I can go meet my little girl. Also, her country shuts down for most of December. I am praying with all my heart that I can travel by November 1st. If I can't, I won't be going until January. I really want my girl home for Christmas! Alas, it's all out of my hands so I just keep waiting.
*How much more do you need to be fully-funded?
I have been incredibly blessed with the support of all my friends and family. I've received a grant and I worked summer school to earn a chunk of money to put towards the adoption. So....
I will be done with my major fund raising efforts after my current auction.
I will continue to knit because it gives me something to do while I'm waiting. I will list new items on my Scarves and Skirts for Sara page on facebook. I will also take custom orders until I get a travel date.
I will also keep my Adoption Bug t-shirt sale open until I get a travel date. I love their shirts and jump on any chance to promote adoption.
While I still don't know how much I will need for travel, I know that God does and I know He provides. I'm choosing to rest in that. (You can think I'm crazy. I'm ok with that.)