Wednesday, December 22, 2010
PLEASE PRAY-WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GET SEBLE THIS WEEK!!!
OK-trying to make a long story short-(but won't happen) We got a call yesterday afternoon that the US embassy has not "confirmed" our embassy apt. for this next Monday dec. 27th. Our entire group from all god's children as well as other agencies that had "appts" this next week haven't been confirmed (so it isn't based on individual cases-it is the whole). That made me feel a little better I guess to know that we are not like singled out, but it also scarred me to wonder-what in the heck is going on?!
When you get an "embassy appointment" it isn't actually an appointment like we know it....it is a "holding spot" -so for example-every-other Monday is AGCI's embassy dates....our agency gets every other Monday along with several other agencies....and other agencies say Holt, might get like every other WED.....so all year that's how it is....well, all our paperwork was in and we had a spot on Dec. 27th for our embassy date....well within a week of going, usually the director at our orphanage in Ethiopia,(Almaz) gets a call or email from the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia verifying and saying that "YES, go ahead and have your families come over for the December 27th date). Well on Monday (a week before our date) Almaz still hadn't heard from them, so she began calling/emailing to find out what was going on....on Tues. she still hadn't heard-well, now she was getting worried and so was our agency in Portland, so they called the families to let us know (there are 8 families scheduled for the Dec. 27th date) that there was a chance that the embassy wasn't going to confirm our embassy date and we may not be able to go, so our caseworker called us to tell us this horrible news.
OK, so since it is night time over there when it is daytime here, when AGCI staff got into their Portland office today and checked e-mail, there still wasn't a confirmation-so they called this morning to say that we still don't have it. They said that if we don't get confirmation in the morning that we have to cancel our flights (paying $175 x 3 tickets) and put them on hold until we do get a confirmation on a date. AGCI's next date (they think-if the embassy keeps up for 2011 on every-other Monday) should be Jan. 10th or 24th. So they ASSUME that we would get that date....
On a back note, this agency hasn't had this happen before....UNICEF went into Ethiopia a couple weeks ago to try and crack down on unethical adoption practices.....some bad agencies actually go out to villages to recruit children....well, they want this to end so a few months ago, the US embassy made a declaration that it would start doing an "orphan investigation" on EACH file that was brought in BEFORE they would grant a visa/passport to come into the US. Now, this isn't a huge investigation-it is just a paperwork thing that they trace to make sure all I's are doted and all T's crossed....and they it should be approved
Well, in rare cases (and mostly with the agencies that they have had problems with in the past that are not running honestly) they open an actual EXTENDED investigation and go into depth tracing back the child and really studying the file extensively.....to make sure that they are a legitimate true orphan and not taken from parents......well, we knew that up until about 5 days before our apt. the embassy COULD decide to do this, but it is SO rare and has happened like once on an older child in our agency-because they know that AGCI is such an honest agency with very good ethics, etc....and that investigation only lasted about 2 weeks and they got the visa...
OK, so what is the story with Seble-why is this happening....the only thing that we and the other "suppose to be traveling families" figure is that it IS the week of Christmas and since most people at the embassy are expats they want to go home for Christmas. We knew that since this summer, the embassy has been short staffed-they said this at some point-but they may be EXTRA short-staffed due to people leaving for the upcoming holiday.....so, basically it COULD just be that they are not doing it-all the bureaucracy and red tape also doesn't help!
What's crazy is we, along with ONE other AGCI family had our court date on November 19th-that was almost SIX weeks ago! We were the first 2 families to travel after courts reopened from the rainy season. The US Embassy has had 6 WEEKS to process her paperwork for her visa/passport and yet it hasn't happened. This is maddening-both us and the other family have abandoned babies-so it should be a no-brainier.
We are here and what is even more crazy, is I have a copy of Seble's adoption verdict from when we went to court stating that she is legally OUR child (but this is in the eyes of Ethiopia) and now the US government has to OK that she can come into OUR country legally with no fraud or falsehood, etc.....they have to OK it too by issuing a visa/passport-and they just haven't yet.....so, IF we decided to fly over to Ethiopia, she IS OUR BABY-we could go to the orphanage and pick her up and stay in a hotel....we could move there, but we COULD NOT leave the county and bring her to the US without that visa/passport.....that fact that we could go get her, brings me hope-so, OK, if we need to -we are moving to Africa! :-) We could fly over and wait-but what if it takes a month-how can we both be gone, miss our kids and work for that long-use up all our vacation, then when she does come home not have time with her!?
So what now-well, we WAIT some more-since we are SO good at it (ya right) and trust that God is in control....we know he is just, we know he loves us and wants the best for all of us (including Seble) and we know that he has a plan and is in control-do we like this road? NO NOT AT ALL, it is HARD and FRUSTRATING and HURTS! But we don't have a choice, so we are walking it one step at a time-and looking at her beautiful face! We love her and love knows no boundaries!!! I feel like one of our children are being kept from us-my heart aches and it is so sad, we are stunned, and tired and just want her home....we wanted her home by the end of this year-and even though the Ethiopian Christmas is January 7th-so if we got the Jan. 10th Embassy date, we would spend Christmas with her in her country (which would be cool) we don't want to -we want her home more!
So, PRAY HARD as you go to bed tonight-the Embassy in Ethiopia will be up working-pray that someone has the heart to see that we were suppose to come on Monday and that "oh, I better get that paperwork done" pray that people will not be overworked, so they can take the time to do this, PRAY for a Christmas Miracle, and PRAY her home!!!!! We love you all and have felt your prayers, for the most part we both actually slept last night-but when we did wake up, I instantly thought it had all been a nightmare and prayed when I realized it wasn't. :-(
On a last ditch effort, the other couple that went with us for our court apt. in Nov. have friend of a friend that is a US Congressman-they have contacted him and he is suppose to call them at some point today, and possibly call the US Embassy on behalf of us and the other family-saying that it has been 6 weeks and WHY hasn't it given them enough time to issue visas for two abandoned babies-SO PRAY-this would be the miracle that we need!!!! Anyone know of anyone else high up? Let us know!
As long as we don't think there is any chance of loosing her-we are fine -and the ONLY way this would happen -say worse case at some point, the Ethiopian Government decided to close to adoptions, well, according to them, SHE is legally OURS so they would honor that....now if the US Embassy decided to NOT issue ANY MORE visa's to kids being adopted from Ethiopia-if they really thought the thread of non-orphan kids being taken into our country was so great, then we would have a problem-as she is ours, but with NO visa-and then we would really have to lobby our congressman to get her home, etc...but we don't anticipate that happening-but it is still a scary thought...
We know God is taking care of her and us and that his plan is ALWAYS perfect-we have to rest in that-HE is in control and WE WILL GET OUR BABY SEBLE HOME!!!!!
Thank you all-hope this sheds some light on the long roller coaster of the last 2 days (we WANT OFF)! :-) Love you all thank you for continuing to pray-God CAN move mountains if that is his will!!! We will let you know!
PS-I fell off our deck while getting our mail this morning-my ankle has an egg size purple swollen area and I can't walk too well, the don't think it is broken, but are having the radiologist look at the x-ray more closely to make sure tomorrow-I have crutches and a brace...unbelievable, what a day! So pray I get use back soon!!! Thanks amber
Our Airport Homecoming for our 2nd Adoption~
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Seble's Referral Video
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"Although it may not always be obvious to us, there seems to be one distinct moment when God begins a new story in each of our lives. He writes words on our hearts that long to be spoken and strain to be lived out. Then with His own great hand, He begins to write the script. Experience by experience through seemingly ordinary days, He supernaturally orders our lives. Only when we look back and reflect on what appeared to have been the ordinary events of life does it become clear what a miracle the Lord has performed." Jan Beazely