We got our much waited for LOA on November 23rd. From there we filed with immigration for Emily to be classified as our daughter and be allowed to enter the US. We then waited for that approval and then we call, call, call, email, email, email, the National Visa Center asking for some numbers we need and an email copy of a letter being cabled to the US Embassy in Guangzhou. Then we send it all off to china where we have something called "Article 5 drop off" This is packet of papers that are important and do something...what I am not exactly sure. Two weeks later exactly (unless you have Thanksgiving in there, which we did, then it's two weeks and one day) you have Article 5 pick up an you are officially waiting on your travel approval. That takes roughly two weeks. Nine days for us last year. Several people got them in 4 days around us. Three weeks for us. Three. Weeks. Or all of eternity in adoption time.
Mixed into that was a major spiritual lesson for me. Someitmes the answer to our prayers in No. Oh how hard that is! I have prayed for a year that we would all be able to make this trip. That limited us to certain times. Namely Thanksgiving and Christmas. I just knew it would be Thanksgiving but it wasn't. Then I was sure we would spend Christmas in China and it was down to the wire. We needed one of those 4 day travel approvals for that to happen. And it didn't. So we aren't all going. The answer was No. I don't understand why and we are sad but I do know that God loves Will and Jenny and Sarah and Emily even more than I do and He is working all for their good and we have to trust that.
So... with so much uncertainty about travel along with the flu that wiped us out I was WAY behind on Christmas. But we got it all done and had a fabulous time. And our travel approval was mailed just before Christmas and arrived at our agency on Monday. We got our confirmed consulate appointment date Tuesday morning and booked our tickets. We will meet Emily on January 12. To say we are ready is an understatement!
We had a major blessing during this wait! Our agency set a skype call for us and we were able to talk with Emily. Rules about conatct are very strict and I am thankful they are seeing the value in being able to "meet" ahead of time for these older children. I was prepared for it to be awkward but it all worked out so great and we loved it!
We also had a friend who visted her orphanage and took a package for us and got some pictures and video. I LOVE this one!
It won't be long now!! So much to do!
I've had a bit of a language panic attack and have been downloading hooked on phonics apps and Chinese dictionaries. I've got lots of markers and crayons and colored pencils in order to have something to do that doesn't require talking!
Please pray for her as she prepares to leave all she knows. We know that she is excited which is a positive thing but sometimes reality is different than what you expect. We expect her to grieve pretty hard. Pray for sweet heart as she gets ready.
I plan to blog our trip and would love for you to follow along!