Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We've Caught Up

We have now completely caught up to the huge, aggravating delay in the Congo adoption process- the ban on exit permits. Today Roland's visa was issued. He is officially allowed to immigrate to the United States. The adoption is done. Today should be one of the most exciting days in the whole adoption. Under the normal procedure, we should be travelling to Congo very soon. We should be buying plane tickets, buying baby supplies, figuring out what to pack, and making doctor appointments for when Roland is home. Instead, we are doing nothing. It is just another day. We are not travelling to Congo in a couple weeks to bring our son home.

While the visa is not very exciting, it does bring some relief. In case things do start to spiral downhill in Congo adoptions, it is always best to be as far along in the process as possible. Since every step of his adoption is complete, we will have more fighting power if we need it.

So now we just continue waiting. We have to find a balance of being patient while still being ready to travel on short notice. I have started reading adoption parenting books again. I haven't opened those books since the home study because they are just too depressing to read when you are still so far from bringing your child home. I figure it's time to start re-learning what to do with this baby so we will be as prepared as possible when we finally get the word we can go bring him home.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Situation

I just got off a conference call with USCIS and the US Embassy in Kinshasa. They didn't really have any new information to share and it is not helpful when their favorite phrases are "in theory" and "we cannot comment on that" and "we cannot speculate". Basically they just said that DGM (the agency in Congo responsible for immigration) is still suspending exit permits (which are required to bring all adopted children home). Nobody knows how long this suspension will last- it could be one more month, a year, or even longer. They say the purpose of this suspension is to revamp the adoption process and attempt to reduce fraud. USCIS and the Embassy can not predict if  the exit permit suspension is a step toward a complete shutdown of adoptions or just a hiccup along the way. They also did not provide any course of action for adoptive parents, besides to wait indefinitely on the whims of DGM.

According to Congo, we are Roland's legal parents. We are completely financially supporting him- childcare, food, doctors visits, a safe place to live (for $600 a month). Next week Roland has his visa appointment, which will allow him to immigrate to the United States. However, one government agency (DGM) in Congo is holding almost all adopted children hostage until an undetermined point in time. If we were wealthier, we could go visit him as often as we wanted or we could even move to Congo to care for him full- time. However, that is not an option for us (with his on- going monthly childcare fees, we don't have enough money for the final trip to bring him home). It is a very confusing spot to be in as parents. We are responsible for him, yet we are not allowed to bring him home. How do we keep living in a state of being ready for our child while also being mentally and emotionally prepared for a long wait? How do we make life decisions when opportunities present themselves? How long can we put our lives on hold for?

We chose the Congo program 1.5 years ago because it was moving quickly. In the current situation, we would seriously consider switching programs if we had not already passed the court process and the embassy investigation and spent $30,000. We are financially, "legally", morally and emotionally committed to Roland wherever the tides might take us.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Birthday, Roland!

Dear Roland,
Today is your 1st birthday. It breaks our hearts to not be able to spend this day with you, celebrating your first year of life and showering you with love (and maybe a few gifts). We are sorry for the losses and instability you have experienced in your short life, but from the few pictures of you we have seen, you seem to have such a strong spirit. You have the ability to grow and thrive and blossom in less- than- ideal situations. You seem to possess and radiate such a pure joy. We hope you do not lose these attributes as you grow up in a land of excessive abundance, where wealth, convenience, and opportunity are taken for granted. Where you come from will always be a part of who you are. We hope you are able to use it to create something positive in your life.

We are excited to learn all about you. What are your favorite games to play? What are your favorite foods? What makes you laugh? What comforts you? We can't wait to hear your voice, read you a book, take you on a walk in the woods, and show the happiness and comfort of petting a gentle dog. More than anything, we want to just hold you and demonstrate to you that we are your family. You are our child, who we have waited so long for. We will love you for the rest of our lives.

Roland, you are so loved by so many people. You have four wonderful grandparents and another grandma in heaven who would have so wanted to meet you. You have three uncles, an aunt, and three cousins. You have great- uncles and aunts and the list goes on. You also have a sweet, loving church who are a whole other family to you. All of these people have been thinking of you, caring for you and praying for you.

Happy Birthday, Roland! We love you and we are doing all we can to bring you home with us. You are in our thoughts and prayers every day.

Mom and Dad