Updating paperwork

Ever had one of those days when you become frustrated because you did something (maybe hastily) and then have to go back and do it over again? Irritating, isn't it? Now imagine that you did it very carefully the first time, it was perfect, but due to circumstances out of your control you have to go back and do it over again. Very frustrating! That has been the story of keeping our adoption paperwork current. As time has continuted to march forward in waiting for our referral, we've found ourselves doing several parts over again.

First came getting re-fingerprinted by the FBI (luckily we have an office for that here in Charlotte). I was annoyed that we had to get them redone, it seems like they could just run the ones we had last year over again in their computers, but that I guess makes sense only to me. So Ian and I head back to south Charlotte on a Thursday in July to scan them again. I will admit that it is pretty cool, kinda like the machines they use to scan groceries at the grocery store, but it captures the minute details of your fingerprints. Anyway, just like last time my left ring-finger, pinky, and right pinky caused the computer screen to flash red with the words MATCH WARNING. At least this time the woman who scanned me had personality and smiled at me and made a lighthearted comment about my prints. Cost of that day... $130.

Next we noticed that our Homestudy would be expiring in mid-October and with no referral in site, updating became a must. So we gathered the necessary proof that we are still physically fit (a new physical at our doctor), still not criminals (criminal background checks in all counties we've lived in for the past five years), still employed (Ian is full time, not me, but luckily the loss of my teacher salary didn't put us below the minimum required by China), and still good potential parents (a visit to our home by our agency). Most of it was routine, but I'll give a few details about our visit. This time we met Stephanie who is a faithful sister in Christ. The visit took much longer than anticipated because we got talking so many times about how faithful God is! It was awesome. One cool thing, she was encouraging us to contact a couple who have now returned from China with their second daughter. As she said their name, I realized that a friend of a friend has already given me this particiular couples' contact information. Before I had felt that I didn't want to contact these people out of the blue, but the second time (when God speaks) I'm gonna listen. I'll post again when I hear back from them. Anyway, cost of this day... $550.

And then we realize that still no referral means that we are going to be lucky to complete our travel by December 26 (the day our I-171H expires). For those of you that don't know what an I-171H is, it is basically the magic ticket to bring an orphan into this country for adoption. No I-171H, no entry for your baby. It's that simple. So we decide to go ahead and get that refiled. It starts as the I-600A and then mysteriously turns into the I-171H during processing. I don't fully understand why, but that's the way it works. (By the way, there is something you can do that may help others a little behind us in expiration from having to refile this document. If you are willing to write a short note to your house of representatives on expanding the validity of this document from 18 to 24 months, email me and I'll send you the information. I did it and it only took me a few minutes to type a letter. I even got a response from Robyn Hayes. If this legislation had already been in effect it would have saved us from refiling ~ for now anyway). So again we gathered the necessary pieces of paperwork to prove who we are and sent it in about three weeks ago. Our receipt for it arrived this week ~ dated September 11. We expect to get the I-171H in early December, but there seems to be something poignent about the date it was receipted. Cost of the new I-171 H... $545.

So it's not so much the money that I lament having to send (though it would have bought at least one of our plane tickets to China). I would clean out what is left of our savings if it would just hurry up the timing. But each day I see God's hand at work and I know that he is preparing our hearts for her and her heart for us. The day we are finally united with her will be the right day. I guess that what I've come to realize is that having a daughter is going to be... PRICELESS!

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