November 13, 2013 marked the two year point of our adoption process. We got an update that morning from our agency stating that the children's passports were still not processed and probably wouldn't be ready until November 30th or December 1st. Later, after speaking to the other families who are at the same exact stage as us, we are certain that the passports were not applied for until yesterday! At every stage, the orphanage has held on to other families' paperwork until the others have caught up, then moved all families to the next stage together. While this is convenient for the orphanage, it delays the process and puts families in predicaments when faced with deadlines and expiring paperwork. For instance, our U.S. Immigration paperwork that allows us to adopt and for the children to become U.S. citizens expires on December 10th! To renew this paperwork, we would have to update our Home Study, redo our biometric fingerprints in Atlanta for the FBI, and resubmit our immigration forms to USCIS for an extension or re-approval! Not cool! Our only option is to get these children home before December 10th.
We got more encouraging word that afternoon that the passports will probably be completed by November 23rd, then awesome news on November 15th that we are approved to get the children on November 29th at 11:00 AM! This should allow us adequate time to complete our medical exams and the U.S. visa process in Delhi before the immigration paperwork expires. Nothing like racing against the clock...but as always, God is right on time!
We did not go to bed last night until our flights were booked! We will be arriving in Gujarat on November 28th, the same day as our friends, two families from Ireland! The Irish families have been like a lifeline to us as we have endured each grueling phase together over the last year. We are thrilled to be able to meet these friends in person...and what a BLESSING for all of us to cross this finish line TOGETHER!!! So excited!!!
In addition to booking flights last night, we narrowed down our hotels and have some on-hold, we called the medical center via Skype to schedule the children's medical exams, and we are in the process of changing the date on a previously scheduled visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy. It's all a work in progress, but should be squared away in the next 48 hours or so. Jeff had a great time talking on Skype to several different hotels in Delhi. Quite a few people hung up on him and he thought it was hilarious! Apparently lots of hotels have a problem with two adults and two kids staying together in a room. We have to get special permission from the hotels now so that we don't run into a problem later when we're standing at the front desk with all of our luggage and two exhausted children in tow.
As an aside, my dreams have been CRAZY lately. For the last three nights, I've dreamed about getting passports in a thousand different ways. Last night, I dreamed about airline tickets and meeting the kids. I was shocked in the dream to discover that my tiny 10-year-old of a boy was taller than me. Ha! I've got a lot on my mind!