For months now we've been eying the calendar, wondering when.
When will the Chinese government say "Yes."?
When will the US immigration give the go ahead?
When will we receive our travel authorization?
When will Natalie officially be part of our family?
And now we finally have answers.
The foreign "powers that be" said yes on May 29.
The final nod from US immigration came on July 12.
Our travel authorization was granted last week and received at our agency on July 22.
And we'll meet our youngest daughter on September 2.
It isn't quite as soon as we'd have liked.
Yesterday would have been fine, thank you very much.
I was chomping at the bit to gun for those first available consulate appointments, the ones that would have had us leaving as early as next week. But as we realized we were dealing with astronomical summer airfare, limited flight availability for a travel party of eight on the way and nine on the way home, and the start date of school for our "big kids," it became apparent that we were going to have to step back and consider what was the best fit for our family as a whole.
I was in tears while on the phone with Ian as we tried to piece together the puzzle and figure out when we were going to be able to go. After I hung up with him and indulged myself in a good cry, I went to my computer to recheck flight prices on kayak dot com. It was open to my Facebook account, specifically on my page for our agency. And the top two things were balm to my aching heart. Two women, in two different stages of the wait to bring home children, had posted words that I really needed to read, right that very moment.
"God's delays don't make things worse. They always make things better."
Now I won't lie. I still long to have Natalie in my arms, STAT.
BUT I am at peace because I trust the one who placed her in our hearts in the first place.
Maybe it's because she needs a little longer. Perhaps she is a blessing to her caretakers...I've never forgotten the words of wisdom from a life-time friend when we were waiting for our travel approval for Kylie back in 2006. "Kristi, As I prayed for you, Ian, and Kylie last night I thought of how God is working in each of you to make His plan complete. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for you right now as you await Kylie in your arms, but I know that God is working in someone's heart in preparation of His grand plan and I think it could be one of the caretakers for Kylie. You remember how He used a baby before to save the world? Maybe He is using Kylie to show His love to one of the caretakers. Anyway, you are in my prayers constantly and I await the great news that you guys are on your way to get her." It could even be a special blessing to us right here, right now in our family that we are overlooking, maybe Daniel isn't quite ready to relinquish his role as the family baby. After our busy month of July, could be that we need some down time to savor these last days as a family of six, before things get off-kilter for a while as we morph into a family of seven. Or maybe it is something else entirely different.
Whatever the reasoning, I trust Him. Because He is the author of this story and He is good.
And I look forward to becoming a family of seven. In 38 days.
Not that I'm counting...