Friday, March 29, 2013

I800 Approval, Visas, NVC and Article 5, Oh My!

Are you scratching your head at the subject line, wondering what all of that means?  Well I wish it were simple and I'll do my best to explain, but if you are still left scratching your head after reading this don't worry because I'm scratching mine too.  And my explanation may not even be perfectly right...HA!

After we received our Letter of Approval (LOA) we then sent an application for our I800 Immigration approval.  It took about two weeks to get the approval letter, which we did receive.  While waiting for that we also sent our passports and visa application to a US consulate in Chicago with our travel visa request for Ch*na.  We got our passports back complete with our Ch*na visas the same day we got our letter of approval.  So the timing was perfect.  After that we waited for the National Visa Center (NVC) to cable (basically email) our immigration approval to the US Consulate General in Ch*na.  The purpose of this is to begin processing a visa application request for Mercy to get her visa when we are Ch*na so that she can return home with us.  It also starts her US citizenship application so that the minute her feet touch US soil she instantly becomes an American Citizen.  Then we have something called an Article 5.  This is basically a letter that lets the Ch*nese Consulate know that Mercy is eligible to immigrate to the US. Our Article 5 was dropped off on Wednesday 3/27 and it will be picked up on Friday, 4/12.  I know you may not understand this, but for us it is GREAT news!  Once our Art5 is picked up it will then be couriered to CCCWA and we will await the issuance of our travel approval.  This can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks.  All of this is just more paperwork, but the outcome is that we are getting a few more steps closer to traveling, a few more steps closer to seeing her, a few more steps closer to holding her, a few more steps closer to finalizing this adoption and a few more steps closer to bringing her home FOREVER!  We are getting closer to meeting our daughter!  And that is exciting, overwhelming and frightening all at the same time.

So we have stepped on the gas a bit in the "getting ready" department.  We went shopping to buy those things that we have been putting off like diapers, wipes, bottles and PJ's.  A dear friend came and helped me decorate her room.  The crib is up and blankets and sheets are washed and ready.  Another friend has graciously given us three bags of clothing (size 2T, 3T & 4T) and a bag of shoes.  And yet another friend has given us a crib mattress.  We have seen the Lord provide so much for us to prepare for her homecoming already and we are thankful for all this and more.

We have both been to our doctors for travel appointments and begun our immunizations.  We are starting packing lists and trying to figure out what's important to take and what's not.  We are reading up on attachment and bonding and trying to mentally prepare for what's ahead.  The excitement and anticipation has been building in our kids too.  Last weekend Mason won a prize and asked me to put it away for when Mercy comes home.  Matthew bought a set of Tinkerbell stamps with his own money and asked me to put them away for when Mercy is older.  Both of these gestures were completely of their own initiative.  Their prayers are changing for her too.  They have gone from praying she would have the food she needs and God would comfort her while she is in the orphanage to now praying that she will like and play with them and she will like the dog and not be afraid.  They pray that she will like and eat the things mommy cooks so they don't have to eat Chinese all the time (haha).  So their minds are transitioning from her life in China to her life here and it's such a blessing to see their little hearts and minds getting ready for her.

My prayer would be to not spend Mother's day without her.  That's my prayer, but I have prayed things in the past and they didn't come to pass.  So I will rest in God's perfect timing with hands open to when He would have us travel, and while I still struggle to let go it's getting easier.

 So here is how you can be praying for us:

*  that the next three steps would go smoothly and we would receive our travel approval quickly
*  that when the time comes we would be able to book our "desired" flights
*  pray that Mercy's heart would be ready for us and ours ready for her
*  pray that as life here continues to get busy (end of school year creeping in, softball starting, and so on) we can focus on enjoying these final days here with our kids and not be so fixed on the future.
*  pray that we hear back from an organization who we applied for adoption grant with and that we would somehow find favor to receive their help
*  pray for a few upcoming phone calls to doctors and wisdom and direction as we begin to seek out the best medical care plan for Mercy's return
*  pray that we continue to have faith and trust in God's timing and leading of this adoption as it has been a struggle for us from day one
* pray against fear, especially for me (Jane) as we get ready to travel...I don't travel well in our own country so this is way out of my comfort zone
* pray for Scott as he continues to juggle leading our family, managing a heavy work load at the office, managing our finances and prepares to become a daddy to four
* pray for our kids, for their fears about us traveling while they stay behind, for those gracious people who will care for them while we are away and for their hearts to continue to be open and ready for the changes that a new sister will bring

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