It has been, admittedly, way too long since our last update. For a while, that was simply because there wasn’t much to say. We were going through the adoption process: filling out paperwork, completing the required online training and waiting for our homestudy to be completed. Eventually, we reached the point where there was about nothing more we could do until we received our homestudy. From there, we would receive our formal approval from our adoption agency, submit our paperwork to US Customs & Immigration Services (USCIS) and then send our paperwork off to Zambia.
Then, and I’ll tell this story from my (Steve’s) perspective, came the email. Suddenly, there was a lot of news, but we weren’t even sure how to process it or what we were going to do next to think about sharing that news. We had been waiting for what seemed like forever for our homestudy and we had just received word of its completion and that it was in the mail to us when everything changed. On November 18, I was in Tennessee speaking at the Communicating Church conference. I was scheduled to speak during the main session at 11:00 and then in a breakout at 1:30. Between the two sessions, while eating lunch, I checked my email from my phone.
The message of that email? Our agency was closing their Zambia program effective immediately.
Now, to be clear, we both understand the reasons behind the decision from the agency (though we would rather not get into them here). That does not, however, make it any easier. We had expected hurdles, challenges and obstacles in the adoption process. What we had not anticipated, to be sure, was our agency closing their program! To Kim’s credit, she probably handled it better than I did. Pulling from everything that God has been teaching her this fall, she experienced a peace and faith that was a great encouragement to me. I was just in shock, and hurting (And yes, I had to get back up in front of people and speak on the use of social media in the church. Here’s guessing that, given how distracted I was, my breakout session was less than stellar).
So, there it is. It took us 8 months of searching, talking and praying to land on Zambia and with one email, it felt like the house of cards crashed around us. In short, we were left with two options.
- Pick a different country and backtrack a little bit.
- Proceed with Zambia without the aid and assistance of an adoption agency.
At first glance, option 2 sounded crazy. And yet, we couldn’t get past a single question. Up till now, we were convinced that our child was in Zambia. Had that suddenly changed? Our answer? No. It hadn’t. We committed in this process not to try and bust through closed doors. But this didn’t seem to us like a closed door. Instead, as we prayed and deliberated, it actually seems more like a test. How much do we love this child and what hurdles are we willing to jump to reach her?
So, here we are, less than 2 weeks from Christmas, with only one gift for which we both long: to hold our child in our arms. We have received all paperwork back from the agency and are, this week, filing with USCIS. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be traveling to Zambia this coming spring. But given this unexpected hurdle, all going according to plan may be out of the question. This I know: we will leap hurdles, dodge obstacles and push through the challenges to find our child. More on that to come.