Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Court Date, Trusting God and Being Patient in a Microwave, Fastfood Culture

Yesterday was a day full of all kinds of emotions. Our case came before a judge in Bulgaria and our kids met for the first time ever! The morning started out with nervous anticipation and the expectation of good news. (At least those were my feelings. Andrew on the other hand has been worrying for days about how M and E meeting for the first time would go and whether they would like each other. So all he probably felt was anxiety!)

Last night I went to sleep breathing prayers over the court hearing and our children and this morning I woke up early and instantly prayers popped into my sleepy mind. Bulgaria is 7 hours ahead of us. I wondered what time the court date was scheduled. I wonder if it was over or happening right then and if M and E had met yet.

I (thankfully as it turned out later) had the day of work. When I got up I sent an email to our agency telling them "I was on pins and needles" waiting to hear how court went. I kept near my cell phone and the computer waiting for an email or call from our agency. It felt like a long time waiting and waiting to hear any news.

The first news came at 9:42am. Surprisingly it didn't come as expected from our agency, but from the orphanage directer of E's group home.

"Hi Katie. E. is very happy that she met her brother and he also. There were walking hand to hand and talking about how will be their new life at USA, so don't worry , they like each other a lot. But the judge was not in good mood and she move the court date at 27 this month, as the social worker told me. This is not a problem, just u will wait one or two weeks more. She said also that at the end of may you will be possible to come for E. and M. ! :) Everything is going great !!!"

My heart leapt when I heard how well the meeting went and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. And then the disappointment that there must be some hangup with the judge. She was postponing our court date until next Monday? Now I really couldn't wait to here from our agency to see what the holdup was!

I quickly called Andrew at work and read the email to him. He says all he felt was relief and joy that M and E meeting went well and had tears in his eyes too. Andrew's relief and joy were so great that he couldn't be disappointed about the delay until next Monday!

The next person I heard from was also unexpected. A photo of M and E accompanied by a smiley face emoticon via facebook from M's foster family in Bulgaria. After that I got a sweet message from Dimo, our driver during our first trip to Bulgaria.  Dimo wrote that M and E had an instant bond and "any words would be weak" to describe their meeting. He also wrote that M helped E navigate all the steps at the courthouse and that our agency would send us photos of the meeting! He did not mention the judge or what the hold up was.

Finally, at about 12:30, I received a call from K. our case worker at the adoption agency. She told us that everything went well with the judge, except for one thing - the judge was requesting that we have an updated FBI background check. The judge would hear our case again next Monday, June 27. Exactly a week to get new FBI background checks! K also told us the meeting between M and E had went well and been very "emotional." She would email us pictures as soon as we got off the phone. 

What beautiful pictures they are! Full of joy, love, bright smiles, hope, and excitement! I can't share their beautiful faces online yet, but here is a little sneak peek of how precious these photos are!

Me Helping E down the Courthouse Steps

Instant Bond of a Soon-to-be Brother and Sister
At this point I am feeling very frustrated. I love M and E! I am ready to be a family of four! Seeing there sweet pictures only increases my desire to bring them home! I am not angry at the judge. I appreciate the fact that she takes her job seriously. All to many children in this world are trafficked for slavery or criminal activity. I am glad this judge is making sure that children are going to safe and loving families! I just feel frustrated that there has been a delay. I would happily do anything the judge requires of us to demonstrate that we are a safe, loving family for M and E.

This must be how God feels, only more so. He longs to adopt us as his children. Yet so often we delay in saying yes to Him. He would go to any cost to pursue us and make us his own - He would even die on a cross to have that relationship with us! Sunday in small groups we from Luke 15, the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The shepherd left the 99 to find his 1 lost sheep. The women swept her house and looked diligently to find her 1 lost coin. The father watched and waited and longed and finally his son came home. I think my life right now is the Parable of the Persistent Mother. I will take whatever steps I need to bring my children home! I have worked for 2 1/2 years for this and I am not going to let a little old background check get in my way!

The momma bear in me went right to work to solve the problem in the fastest way possible.  At the agency's suggestions, we called the FBI to see if they could reissue an updated report without us going through the whole long process. I knew this was a long shot - a really long shot. No they could not. We would need to get fingerprinted and again and mail in our fingerprints along with a form and we would receive the background check in the mail in 12-14 weeks. Or, we could go through an FBI channeler and have them expedited. Option 2 please!

So, I went to the FBI channeler page of the FBI website and found a channeler with offices in our state. The directions said to go to a local office and get fingerprinted and mail in the fingerprints along with a form and the payment for the expediting process. I called them. What to do you know? They had a the local office (okay local as in 45 minutes away) were we could get our finger prints scanned and instantly sent to the main office instead of having to mail them. This would save a few days of time! They also allowed us to scan and email in the accompanying forms rather than mailing them. Again, to save time. For an additional fee, they could email us the results when they had them back from the FBI, as well as send us a hard copy in the mail. Perfect! I filled out the forms right away, scanned, and emailed them. Next, I drove to be finger printed. Andrew had just gotten of work and we met at the finger print place and had our prints taken again! We have done our part, now all we can do is wait for the results! Hopefully, they will email us the results in 3-5 days as promised!

On the way home as I drover through rush hour traffic, I thought about lots of stuff. I thought about how this was not the end of the world. It was only a delay. The judge hadn't turned us down. She had only requested more information. She was even willing to take scanned and emailed copies (with the expectation of hard copies that have been apostilled to follow). I know this adoption will happen in God's timing. I feel like I have been patient so long already. But I will be patient a little while longer. (And patience is not my forte. What can I say, I am an American used to instant downloads, fast food restaurants, microwaves, etc.)

I also thought about how God was in control and allowed this to happen. That He knew this would happen and must have some purpose in allowing it that I can't understand. I thought about how God loves these children more than I ever can. He loves them perfectly.

At home, Andrew and I ate our supper and talked about all the days excitement and frustration. After diner we worked on the kids rooms until bedtime. This morning when I woke up, I didn't feel all the frustration. I feel only peace. 

My verse for this week is going to be:

"Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord; exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home"
Psalms 68:4-6a

Because I know that God wants this adoption even more than I do!

1 comment:

  1. Best wishes on clearing court Monday! I know how frustrating the wait is, and how aggravating it is to have last minute - "oh, but we need this, too" issues. I don't know why these things happen as we desperately wait for our children, but I can tell you that prayer and faith really help. And having your children home will be so worth it!