Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Why is this Abandonment Decree taking so long?"

I wanted to get in one more update before 2011 rolls out and 2012 rolls in. I'm still having a hard time believing that another year has past by.  Time flies and I'm sure 2012 will soar along just as quickly.  The good thing about that...before we know it we'll be bringing our little one home!
We talked with our Agency Director this week and got some news.  The reason our Abandonment Decree hasn't come through yet is because the Congolese gov't has already issued a Decree for "our" little girl to an adoption agency in Italy.  I know...What?!  That in itself raises many questions (at least it did for me), but we don't have any answers on that right move on.
Our lawyer has talked with the agency in Italy and they have said that they are not going to be placing "our" little girl and that they will instruct the gov't to release the Abandonment Decree to our agency/lawyer.  Our lawyer asked the Italian agency to write a letter to the Congolese gov't, but they said they would be in Kinsasha in January and would take care of it in person.  
Our Director has told us her recommendation is for us to wait it out through the month of January.  The plan is that the Italian agency will instruct the Congolese gov't to release the Abandonment Decree sometime this month and it will be turned over to our lawyer.  After that our case will get under motion and most likely we'll travel in the Spring.  
If for some reason, the Italian agency doesn't carry out their part by the end of January, then we'll be given another referral.  I haven't wrapped my head completely around that one yet, so I'll just leave it at that.
Please pray!  Specifically, that before January comes to an end the Abandonment Decree will be in the hands of our lawyer.

It's a relief to have an answer to the question, "Why is this Abandonment Decree taking so long?".  I'm really trying to remember to thank God for the answers to prayer that He brings our way.  So we're praising Him for another question answered - it truly does take us another step closer!

We have the distinct feeling that 2012 will be an interesting year.  We're praying that it will be "interesting" in a good way! :)  Whatever God has in store for us, even those moments when it feels like everything is falling to pieces, we know that His Word promises that He is before all things and that through Him all things are held together.  
We're so thankful for our Great God and the many family and friends that are praying with us along the way!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Thomas family!

Our family wishes you a very Merry Christmas!
Thank you for praying and following along with our adoption journey in be continued in 2012!
We're praying that peace, joy and hope fill each of us to overflowing as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Looking forward to adding another beautiful girl to our clan in 2012!

Photos courtesy of Jaclyn McNeal

Monday, December 19, 2011

God Has Done Great Things!

Some of you have asked what ended up happening with our friends who were denied the Visa to bring their little girl home from Uganda.  As you may remember their case was sent to Nairobi for another ruling.  Below is what they posted today!  Thank you to those who prayed for this family.  God has done great things!  
While I laid in bed I began praying over and over that God would allow us to be one of those 40% of cases who automatically get the green light to go get their baby.  BTW, I have no idea where those statistics actually came from that were given to us, but hey, it gave me some numbers to work with:)  I knew it was unlikely and seemed to be the easy answer to our hearts plea, but it is what I prayed…over and over and over.
I walked into the office and opened up my email to see a letter from the Embassy in Kampala.
The subject title was
“Congratulations” and here is what it said:
“You couldn’t have had a better Christmas present than the approval to take Shabi home.
Merry Christmas”
By now I’m shouting for Josh to come in the office and figure all this out with me!  This was all just too good to be true.  We have had set-backs at EVERY step of the way since leaving for Uganda.  Surely this wasn’t what we thought it was.
We went to open the email but it was encrypted and didn’t have any way of opening it.  Those first few minutes were absolute torture as we tried everything we could to open the attached verdict.  We called Josh’s super-smart brother to see if we could forward it to him and see if he could figure it out.  A few minutes later he called saying that he opened it and that it was on its way back to our Inbox.
After refreshing the page 47 times while we waited, we received it…the approval notice for our I-600 and word that our case was on its way back to Kampala!  No questions asked.  No further investigation needed!
We cried.  We jumped.  We squealed.  The kids went absolutely CRAZY!
Then we sat down and thanked God with everything we had for answering our prayers with a “YES” this time!
We have to wait to hear back from the Embassy with a VISA appointment before we can schedule our airline tickets to go pick up our daughter, but she is coming!  She’s really coming home!
We know that we are very fortunate, as many families are getting opposite news from Nairobi, and we don’t take lightly that we are blessed to be able to bring our little girl home in the next week or two.  Friends, know that we are continuing to pray for your families and your processes!  We know our news is bitter sweet as you read it…
A big thank you to those of you who have continued to lift our family up!  Our God is so good.  He’s been so good to us all along.  I still feel like the ripples will continue as He reveals all the ways the Lord has worked throughout our process.
The best is yet to come!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Picture-Perfect Weekend

This past weekend we continued to celebrate JT's 40th birthday!
Time with my hubby + Time with great friends + One of our favorite cities = Amazing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You get the picture...(adoption update)

We heard from our Adoption Agency earlier this week.  They had talked with our lawyer and received some information specifically about our case.  The Abandonment Decree that we've been waiting for (for about a month) is being held up by Social Services.  The details surrounding why it's being held up are still not known.  
What we know right now is that from the time we receive an Abandonment Decree we have to wait 30 days until a Birth Certificate can be issued.  Our lawyer needs the Birth Certificate in hand before he can submit our case to court.  He's saying that it will take about 2 weeks for our case to make it through court and then we'll be waiting on the US Embassy to give us permission to travel - right now they are saying that process is taking around 4-6 weeks.  So...even if we were to receive our Abandonment Decree today - we're looking at March before we'll be able to travel and bring our little one home. 
First, it was November/December, then it was January, now it's March...Ugh!
Not the news we were hoping for and quite stinks.  
I feel like we're walking a tight rope right now - trying desperately to keep our balance...
We know God's timing is perfect, but every day we wait is another day that our little one is in an orphanage without a family.
We know God is in control of this situation, but every day we wait is another day that our little one is in an orphanage without a family.
We know that God is stretching and growing our faith and that He'll use this for our good, but every day we wait is another day that our little one is in an orphanage without a family.
You get the picture...

Keep praying.