January 8, 2013! That's the big date. The day I will meet my daughter. For months, I've been praying and crying and hoping that Sara would be home for Christmas. Surprisingly, when I got the date of January 8th yesterday, I wasn't upset. I was THRILLED and excited and giddy! I'm so glad that the wondering and questioning is over. Now I'm just on to waiting. Something that isn't as hard when you know when the waiting will end.
In all honesty, I did not make the decision to postpone travel until January. The agency did. After pouting for a little bit, I realized they are right for a multitude of reasons.
While I really, really wanted to Sara home for Christmas, I've known deep in my heart that it wasn't in her best interest. Christmas is crazy! There are parties and food and music and lights and gifts and people and travel and major sensory overload! Christmas can get stressful for all of us. Now, imagine being a 4-year-old who has left the only home she's ever known, the language she knows, the food she knows, the warm weather she knows, the people she knows and being dropped into December in Chicago and Buffalo. Talk about a shock! While it would have been fun for me to have her to celebrate Christmas with, it could have been very hard on her. (It's also possible that she would have gone with the flow and been fine but who knows.) So, it's probably in her best interest to settle into her new life for a year before she experiences American Christmas!
There are also a couple of major factors that played into the decision to travel in January:
*The majority of the government of Colombia shuts down for a month around mid-December to mid-January. I've heard different dates for when the shut down actually occurs but the bottom line is the same: traveling in November is risky. If you don't get everything done in a timely manner, you could end up getting stuck in Colombia for a very long time. You take custody of your child shortly after arriving in the country so leaving and returning when paperwork is complete is not an option. You are there start to finish.
*The judges in Colombia are still on strike. They went on strike October 11th. Right now, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Even if they were to go back to work on Monday, they are now three weeks behind on their cases. So, even if I got my Article 5 on Monday, I wouldn't be able to get a court date for several weeks which would push things way too far into November.
*The adoption house where Sara lives has had it's license revoked. I don't really understand all the implications of this. I know that the social services agency in Colombia has taken over their active cases. Sara's adoption is not in jeopardy but it will look a little bit different since I will be adopting under social services and not the adoption house. With this added factor, it makes sense to wait until January until the dust has settled a little bit to travel instead of being the first one to try out the new system.
So, while I didn't like it at first, it makes a ton of sense to travel in January. (Plus, I can be off from January until spring break. No one likes working in January/February anyway. Those are the longest school months of the year.)
I'm off to look for plane tickets and start a count down!