Our I-171H approval letter! (For my friends who don't speak adoption-ese, this is the final document we were waiting on to complete our dossier.) Our dossier is now finished and will be certified and UPS shipped to our agency tomorrow! After 10 long, long months of waiting and paperchasing, we will finally go on the "list."
I honestly can't believe it has taken us so long to complete this part of the process. I've never really shared why we've been so delayed and don't really plan on going into all the nitty-gritty details, but let's just say it wasn't by any choice of ours. Having complied 2 dossiers prior, this should have been a piece of cake. But, well, I just had to keep reminding myself that everything happens in God's time, and His time almost always seems to run slower than ours. I feel like we started this process with such enthusiasm and excitement and then we were quickly tempered when we realized there were a few unexpected hurtles we'd have to overcome first. I spent much of the first part of this adoption process feeling like a deflated balloon, but now I feel like the clock has begun ticking again and I am reminded of the baby boy who will someday (soon) become my son.
I don't want to give the illusion that I always have great perspective on life (you really need my husband for that), but looking at where we are in life now I can see some of the blessings God has given us by "delaying" things. First, I'm pretty sure that if I had to board a 18 hour flight with Mia right now, I'd poke my eye out. Well, maybe not really, but this stage of toddlerhood has been quite challenging for us all. I can see how we will reap the fruits of our labor in disciplining her in 8 or 9 months from now. Second, Travis should be almost done with school when we bring him home. This is a pretty obvious blessing, and as we look forward to whatever the next stage in our life will be after school, having him come home then will be better for us all.
I'll end with a humorous note. Today we went to have our passport pictures taken (not for our actual passports but for our dossier) and we decided to go ahead and have Mia's picture taken since we do need to get her a passport. I wondered how they would do this, but the nice girl at Walgreens just yanked the white screen to the ground and had Mia stand front and center. We all called, directed, and "cheesed!" as you do with any toddler who seems to look everywhere but the camera and finally got a good shot, when another employee came up and said, "No, she can't smile. They have new rules." Um, how do you tell a 2 year old not to smile? Oh, and she also had to keep her lips together. So I leave you with the result of instructing my 2 year old daughter not to smile and keep her lips shut.