Sunday, February 28, 2010

To the Ends of the Earth

Saturday I got a letter from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. I eagerly ripped it opened, sincerely hoping it was our final approval from them for our international adoption (our I-600A); it was instead a step back.

It was a notice that I need to come in on a certain day and time to be re-fingerprinted because the first prints they did on me could not be processed. The fingerprints are "rolled" meaning they don't just ink you and stick your finger on the paper. It is done electronically so there is no ink, but each of your fingers is rolled manually by the technician from basically nail bed all the way across to the other nail bed on a computer pad. The person adjusts and realigns your fingers over and over, even applying lotion occasionally to get a good contact with the computer reader. It is not the most fun process! As the man did my fingerprints the computer rejected them a few times and several of my fingers were redone even more than once there on the spot. The technician said my narrow fingers were complicating things! But I expected once the computer was happy with them all that would be the end of it. Wrong!

And still we wait on the FBI clearance. A whole separate thing and a whole different government agency! When we turned in that paperwork 9 weeks ago the estimated processing time was less than 6 weeks, then it became 8 to 10 weeks and the last time I checked their website it had been updated to 13 weeks! These processing times are not just for us, but anyone needing FBI clearance. The massive snowstorms that have closed down much of the country in the past couple of months haven't helped.

Setbacks, delays, and waiting are all parts of the adoption process; they are certainly not unique to our story.

As an elective I took a class on persuasion techniques in college and one technique in particular I remember was that if you ask someone to do you a favor (and the bigger, the better), you will increase your standing in their eyes as a result. I hate asking people for favors, so this idea was fascinating to me. The reason it works is because if the person actually does something for you (and particularly if it is a lot of work) then subconsciously they justify their efforts by thinking, "I'm doing this because this person is important."

God knows we are wired like this because He created us. This is one reason why newborns are so helpless. When we do so much work caring for our newborn children the work is actually bonding us to them. The pregnancy and labor and sleepless newborn nights bonded us to our biological children.

And so as I try to make some sense of the craziness of an adoption process, I realize the paperwork, the headaches, the waiting, the work and rework are all actually bonding us to this child that will one day be ours.

She is important, she is worth it.

And so we march on with the realization that we would wait years if it came to that, do all the paperwork over again, even, for a child we've never met.

I now understand the quote I've heard but have no idea the source, "Biological children grew in your tummy; adopted children grew in your heart."

At church this morning I was surprised to hear the soloist sing the song "To Make You Feel My Love". It is not a typical church song, but oh, was it beautiful. And so related to an adoption journey, although that wasn't the topic covered this morning.

Bob Dylan, forgive me for quoting some of your lyrics:
"When the evening shadows and the stars appear and there is no one there to dry your tears, I could hold you for a million years, to make you feel my love."

"I know you haven't made your mind up yet, but I would never do you wrong, I've known it from the moment that we met, there's no doubt in my mind where you belong."

"There's nothing that I wouldn't do. Go to the ends of the earth for you."

I pray there is someone to dry her tears right now and that she feels loved. I realize that even once we can bring her home, it may take a while for her to make her mind up that it is home and where she belongs. I guess Ethiopia is technically not the ends of the earth, but from Texas, it certainly seems like it!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

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  1. Great post! We are slowly starting the process for an adoption from Africa as well. The other day my daughter was watching "An American Tail" and when "Somewhere Out There" came on I just about lost it. I think that song will be my theme song for this adoption.

  2. I pray that this process will create an awesome bond between you and your adopted child.

    That's just crazy about the fingerprints. Narrow fingers- who knew that would be a problem?

    Lots of hugs and prayers to you!

  3. BTDT! It's always something when you are trying to get a dossier together, isn't it?

    But-the end result is worth it-you are so right!!!

  4. This was a really good post and a really good reminder! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This post is amazing. Prayers to you and your family in this process.

  6. Adoption is such a roller coaster isn't it! I love that quote that "biological children grew in your tummy, adopted children grew in your heart". We are in the final stages of our adoption journey, at least for now!, we received our referral about one month ago from China and I have been amazed at how much this little girl in the picture is already a part of my heart.
    Sending up a prayer that your fingerprints will take this time! Thanks for sharing.

  7. so sorry for the hold up but remember, God always has His reasons or as my husband would say, "delay is not denial."

  8. To be able to have this perspective in the midst of waiting...that is a gift!

  9. SHE IS WORTH IT!!!!!!

    We have a little Ethiopian blessing that I just told to get back to his nap that was worth the 2 plus years we waited for him (we started in a different country). I can not get over that I get to be his Mom, God was so good to our family!


  10. I am sorry there is a setback in your adoption journey but God's timing will prevail. (((hugs)))

  11. You have an inspiring perspective on the adoption waiting game. I adopted my son domestically, but the hurdles and roadblocks still kept flying up in our faces. We worked hard for him and definitely felt infinite love and relief when he was finally ours, just as I felt when I gave birth to our daughter. Hang in there and let that alternative bonding process run its course. The payoff is amazing!

  12. Oh that is so sad, well done you for your inner strength and firm spirit... Hang in there it has to get better!!!

  13. What a wonderful perspective - thank you


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