Footprints in the Jungle
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
The path towards adoption is laborious. The beginning holds much to get done, running around and gathering all kinds of documents and paperwork. Then you wait to be matched and begin another trek of document approvals. I always knew that God would have to be in it for me to make this journey, because I'm too selfish to keep pressing forward on my own fuel tank! And He has been there directing in each decision and affirming when I'm in doubt. I keep a prayer journal specifically for this journey, and it has been amazing to look back and see how God has answered us so many times and in so many ways. It has been a faith building experience for sure!
Recently, we hit a roadblock. Honestly, we are still sitting at it as I write this. At the beginning of March, 2020, it was time for us to apply for our I800. It's the application for our daughters to immigrate into the U.S. once we adopt them. We had a planned spring break trip to visit family, so I wanted to get this done before leaving town, knowing it was supposed to take a couple of weeks to go through the approval process. It took me a solid week to make a doctor's appointment, get our address updated on our license, get documents notarized proving we moved, getting it all photocopied 6 times and then driving to our State Capitol for a day to get it all apostilled! That was a stressful week, and I about lost it when I realized I had mistakenly photocopied and apostilled multiple copies of my home study together! I had to carefully take each set apart and reassemble it all, which sounds like no biggie until you actually do it and you're on the floor for 5 hours!
I saw God's provision in these circumstances later. While we were on our trip, our Nation began to shut down state by state! We drove all the way home in a day, did some grocery shopping, and then our state was on a lock down until the end of May! As you all know, NOTHING was open at that time! If I had not done all of that work in a week's time, I would not have been able to get it done until after May. Even then, it would have been more complicated. I felt sure God was watching out for me and that our approval would be on its way. Instead, our papers were mailed back to me with a letter saying I did not fill out my form correctly. After going over it again with my Family Coordinator, we identified the issue. I quickly mailed it, and waited. And waited. I finally called and was told they will notify me if there is a problem. I understood there were fewer staff members working during this time, so I tried to not think about it. I painted my kitchen and started setting up the girls room. Anything else. Finally on the last Friday of May a letter came! When I opened it, I found 2 pink slips! Needing more evidence, it said. After I cried to my Family Coordinator, I gathered myself together to get back on task. We had to make some updates to our Home Study. It took a week to do the work, and then I was told my Home Study was mailed the following Monday. I checked my mailbox everyday! Our mail carrier usually arrives before noon. By Friday at noon it still had not arrived!
Throughout this process, even in the hard times when I just want to sit and cry, I have always felt an inner voice in my spirit that God is in control and that His timing is perfect. But on that Friday, when I checked the mail one more time, I did not feel that voice. I felt mad. I cried out to God aloud, "Where are you? This one step has taken 3 months when it should have been two weeks! Where are you in this God?" My husband heard me and realized I truly was not ok and sat to pray with me. I left the house to run some errands and get it off my mind. While out, I received a text from him that said, "Guess what arrived!" By the time I got home, and gathered my pink slips and study, it was 4:25 p.m. I rushed to FedEx and was able to get it sent before their 5 p.m. pick up, so it would arrive the following Tuesday. One more step done and out of my hands. I sent out prayer requests to my friends to plead for my application to finally get approval. I'm hoping by next week I will get the envelope I've been waiting so long for!
On that Tuesday morning, the day I knew my updated information should arrive to my Hague officer, I attended a Bible study for my first visit. I knew the teacher from years past, but no one else. After the worship and praise time, a woman who was sitting a few seats from me, leaned over and said she wanted to tell me something. She looked hesitant as she said, "I don't normally share these kinds of visions with people when I don't understand it, but I keep hearing the Lord telling me to just share, so here it goes." She said, "I see you sitting on the back of an elephant while walking through a jungle. Leaves keep coming and hitting your face, but you easily move them out of your way as the elephant keeps walking you through the jungle. Does this make any sense to you?" Like I mentioned before, I was new. No one knew anything about me! When I told her I'm adopting from India, she gasped and flung her hand over her mouth. Tears welled up in her eyes as she said, "I kept asking the Lord where were you in this vision, and I heard India, but too unsure to say it."
This is my God! This is OUR God! He didn't have to answer my cry when the mail carrier didn't make it in the timeframe I expected. But He delights in letting us in on who He is when we seek to know Him better! He let me know that while I might have big leaves coming at my face, I have no idea what He is carrying me through! He is carrying me to my girls and I CAN TRUST HIM! And not only that, He also strengthened the faith of someone else I don't know by helping her learn to trust in His voice!
So while this "step" is not yet completed from my viewpoint, I trust that from God's view, it is!
AUGUST 25TH, 2020 UPDATE!!!!
When I wrote this blog, I thought God was just answering my cry out to Him. What I did not realize then is that he was giving me a visual to hold onto for what was to come! The very next week, I received a call from my agency that we had an emergency! I had called the Hague Officer over our I800 case and left a message inquiring if he had received my papers. Instead of calling me back, he called my agency and said that he has never laid eyes on any files on our girls, and that he was not even sure they were in fact biological sisters!
Back in March, when all of my papers had been sent back to me from the Lockbox (which is a first check-in place before we are assigned an officer), I had received everything EXCEPT the reports on the girls! I had made a note of that when mailing it all back. Since I never heard anything about the papers, even when I received two pink slips in May, I assumed they had them. So I was in shock when I was told if their files were not mailed within a week, our whole case would be nullified!!! Very scary words! At this point, I had been in this process for 4 months. I was undone! At the time of this call, I was painting a desk for one of our daughters in their room. All of the sudden, preparing their room felt meaningless. I immediately sent out prayer requests and expressed my despair to my prayer group. The vision of the elephant came to me and through tears I told God I did not feel like I was being carried. One of my dear friends called me after I sent out my stress call and reminded me of the vision and what I had shared with her before about knowing God had me. I realized that while this was emotionally hard, the only work I had to do was sign a form and mail it to my agency while they did the leg work to get all that was needed to my officer. Like the leaves I easily moved aside while riding on the elephant's back. As my husband and I signed and dated the forms, what stood out to me was the date. It was July 2nd, which is our son's birthday. His name means Beloved and Gift of Peace. A peace did wash over me and I was able to hold on to the promise that my almighty God, who can crush any obstacles in His way, had promised to get me to our destination!
On the morning of August 17th, I woke up to the words "get ready". I asked God what I should do, so I cleared out the girls closet. It had been on my to do list awhile. That afternoon, I received an email with updated photos and videos! A rare treat! And it had their heights and weights! Some friends had offered hand-me-downs once I knew their sizes, so I was able to inform them. The next day, I received an email from the immigration office that our approvals should be in the mail by the 19th. By August 22nd, our I800 approvals finally arrived! God is faithful and so kind to not let me wander through this jungle in the dark or on my own stamina. He encourages me with His words of comfort and gives me my assignment each step of the way!