You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Lena's (first) mission trip to
Haiti turned into our
Adoption Adventure!
Can't wait to see what God has in store next.....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Adoption Adventure.....

When I created this blog, back in the spring of 2008, it was mostly a way to raise support and keep donors in the loop about my first short term mission trip to Haiti. Thus the URL for this blog.

After my trip in July, meeting the boys and sensing what God was doing......and after some serious prayer and discussion with my husband; and after getting our approval to adopt the boys from the O, I renamed the blog Our Adoption Adventure. I kept the previous URL because it flowed from there-if not for the mission trip, this Adventure wouldn't be happening in this way, at this time. I also knew enough to know that embarking on this journey would indeed be an Adventure-as stepping out in faith with our God always is. And of course, I was aware that adoption can be a lengthy process-and that adds to the Adventure.

Now I'd like to tell you a little about our most recent adventure. It's a long story that happened over a short time. God is in the business of details. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in...this may take a while.

We have been praying feverishly for one particular piece of paper to arrive. It is the last approval we need on the American side of things, and we must have it and file it in person, in Haiti to begin the Haitian side of this Adventure. So we're praying and believing and hoping, and checking the mail every day..... and two days ago (Thursday), I sent out a prayer request regarding this particular piece of paper. Thank you to all who responded on the blog or off with encouraging words, suggestions and prayers. You have no idea what your responses mean to me. I could literally feel your prayers on our behalf. I was not terribly anxious over this, and yet, your prayers made a visible, physical, real, difference in my day. And in our Adventure.

At any rate, two of my fellow adoptive moms who are further along in this Adventure than I am sent me suggestions to contact my local US/CIS office where this form will come from because they had both needed help and gotten it. Now, I know you will find this hard to believe, because I find it hard to believe, but that thought had not occured to me. Not once. Seriously. It never crossed my mind to contact the office. Now I'm not dumb, and I am fairly well educated. I know how to advocate and work with systems and get things done. But the thought NEVER OCCURED to me. I can't explain it. I'm just telling you how it is.

I have been checking my snail mail box every day, hoping for some official government looking letter to arrive. To no avail. They've had my application since August, we were fingerprinted (oh that's another Adventure blog post) in September, and I sent them our approved home study on January 20. I figured this is government, so it will probably take some time. And it will probably take longer than I think it should, right?

After about the 1 month mark, I started getting antsy and praying more feverishly. But the thought still has not occurred to me to try to contact the office. (sigh)

I thought about the suggestion, but it was late in the day on Thursday by the time I got home and had time to look for way to contact the office-all I had was a mailing address. So I did some research (gotta love the internet-say good bye to office hours!) All I could find was the same mailing address I had and an 800 number. I was not too optimistic about the 800 number because this is a government office and well, I was just not too hopeful. I had flashbacks of those endless loop phone trees that make you push 25 keys and then disconnect or play that "Your call is important to us" recording over and over. I kept looking and found an email address for the local office and decided to use it. On the website it said that I could expect a reply in approximately 2 business days from my inquiry. With only a week to go before we travel, I was not too optimistic, but figured it's worth a shot. So I sent the email at 4:53 PM on Thursday and went about my business for the evening.

We were hanging out with friends Friday evening. I had my cell phone with me, but didn't answer a call that came in at 8:16 PM because I was busy chatting and all that. When I got home from our friends house, I checked my voicemail and heard a voice say "Hello, Lena? This is Officer so and so from Immigration." I was so shocked I dropped my phone. Also, it's amazing how many people you love can flash through your mind in the second between the word Officer and the word Immigration. I did the world's fastest inventory of who could this be about, are my loved ones okay? in that second. Luckily my husband and I were together or I might have passed out from hearing the word "Officer". I guess I watch too many police dramas. LOL. Fortunately, once she said "Immigration" I knew exactly what it was regarding and I could hang on to my thin thread of sanity.

At any rate, back to the Adoption Adventure. So this very sweet sounding woman, with a beautiful name, leaves me a message that says she found my application and that they were just waiting on my approved home study. She says that they can usually issue approval letters in a few days, once they have that. She leaves me a phone number for me to get her tomorrow (Saturday) or another officer's name and number if I can't call until Monday. I'm getting this message around 10 PM on Friday night. She says, "I see here in your email that you sent your home study to us on January 20, but we don't have it. If I knew which agency did it, I could contact them. At any rate, this is what we need."

So at 10:16 PM (Friday) I decide its too late to call, but I fire off another email to the same generic email address that I used before. I say that I will bring the home study to her, all she has to do is tell me when/where. I double check my records, and see that I did sent the home study and rec'd delivery confirmation for January 20, from the post office. But I figure, there's nothing I can do about that now, maybe the home study is lost in their office somewhere.

So I go to bed. Hard to sleep. But I'm tired-it's been a long, emotional week-on a variety of fronts, not just the adoption. Funny how life seems to go on, responsibilities, stress, drama and all, in spite of my almost obsessive focus on all things adoption. ;-)

I get up on Saturday morning and make an executive decision to cancel an appointment that I have for 9:15 AM because my husband and I have another important errand to tend to, and it must be done in the morning. I'm thinking that if this nice officer is working on a Saturday it will be mostly in the morning/early afternoon hours at best. So I decide I need the time to get this done.

I call the number the nice officer with the beautiful name left, (I am going to call her Officer Lovely from here on out).

To my dismay, go right to voicemail, which says that she is in another office, and please call a different number instead. Thinking on my feet-I simply leave a message that says I am bringing this document to her today. Can she please call me to verify. I decide to call the other number, and also get voicemail there. I leave basically the same message.

Now I'm torn. Debating on my schedule, Officer Lovely's location and how to get these things done. And do I wait for her call back? or just start driving? I wait one hour and have not heard back from the officer. So, we decide to do our other errand, and take the home study with us, hoping she will call back. She does not. So, after our other errand is done, we decide to head to the address I have and try to drop it off. I'm fairly optimistic that we can find the office, but not so sure about getting in. After all, it is a Saturday and it's a government office, in the city center.

So we're driving looking for the address. And again, I feel I must say I AM NOT DUMB. However, the address was an odd number, and I said the number and said to my husband "It will be on that side (the wrong one) of the street." I even kept reading EVEN numbers out loud while we searched. All of the sudden, the numbers went up, like they skipped over the one we were looking for. So we turned around, and drove back by where I thought the building should have been. No dice. So we drove around the small block-trying to see if we could get closer to the building, but there was no back way in. So, we found a parking spot, and decided to get out and walk a bit and see if we could find it.

(sidebar here: we haven't been down to the central city much since we both stopped working down there. I used to work on this street, and my husband worked about a mile away from where we were today. It's been about 5-6 years. One of the many changes we noticed is the new light rail system-which happens to run down the street we were on. While we are looking for this address, a train came alongside us, blocking our view of the addresses we were looking for. Now that the day is over, as I reflect on the day, that feels a bit like warfare-obstacles or blinders in our way. It was irritating, at the time. And in the past, it may have been just frustrating enough to make us give up and go home. Not today, though.)

So at any rate, while we are waiting to cross the street, it dawns on me, that we are looking on the wrong side of the street. So we cross the street, and begin looking on the right side of the street. And guess what? We found the building. Locked up tightly. Fenced. Gate locked. Large security woman behind the gate says "Can I help you?" in a rather gruff tone. I explain that I am here to drop off some papers, she shakes her head, smiles and says "I'm sorry but we're closed." I show her the papers, the officer's name, and say meekly "but she said I could bring them to her today." (which is not accurate-as I have not talked to Officer Lovely at all yet, only her voicemail.) The security guard must've sensed my desperation, as she came closer and said, "I'm not sure what to tell you, we just guard the place, really." Then she proceeded to tell us about another office location that wasn't too far away and suggested maybe that Officer Lovely was there.

We get directions, and turn to head back to the car. I decide to try calling Officer Lovely one more time while we walk back. To my utter amazement, SHE ANSWERED THE PHONE. I tell her my name, and she KNOWS WHO I AM. I tell her where we are, she tell me where she is, which is not at the office we just got directions to, but still nearby. She's giving me detailed directions. She asks me if the copy of my home study I have with me has original signatures on it. I'm standing on a busy street, traffic and trains going by. I see a police officer in his cruiser in a parking lot waving my husband down and telling him something, but I can't hear what it is, I can't focus because I'm still in SHOCK that she answered the phone.

My husband motions to me that we need to keep moving, so I follow him back to the car. All the while clutching the home study and my cell phone, trying to hear above the traffic noise and remember the directions. (For those of you that know me personally, you already know that remembering directions and getting to unfamiliar places is not my strength, and so you are probably laughing hysterically as you read this.) Finally, Officer Lovely mentions a landmark I can most assuredly identify with-STARBUCKS. Oh, sure I know where that is! I'll be right there. She says "Okay, I'll come downstairs in about five minutes, that's probably how long it'll take you to get here."

And we're off. I ask my husband what the police officer was saying to him. He says there is some sort of protest march headed our way, and they will be here (where we are standing) any minute and we might want to get out of the way. Seriously. I told you this was an Adventure.

To be continued........

Click here to go to part 2.

Click here to go to part 3.


  1. Aaaaaw! You left us hanging? That's not fair! Do continue soon. This sounds ever so much like our own attempt to get our dossier completed- Every single piece of paper was an "adventure" in itself. But God got us through every obstacle. He showed His power much more mightily, in fact, than if it had been easy. I guess that's the point, huh? I am so glad you got through to someone so quickly... And help from USCIS on a Saturday? Holy smokes! That's great!

  2. And the story gets better. So far, there are three parts to it....

    God is so cool. And if I really am honest, I have to say that I LOVE an Adventure.

    Normally, I prefer to plan and organize and prepare. But God's way is kinda fun.

    LOL. The control freak planner/list maker in me may rue the day that I typed those words! LOL.


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