We are just a few days out from our federal fingerprinting appointment - hallelujah! Many have asked what happens next. Here's a brief snapshot:
Federal fingerprinting appointment - this Friday!
Wait on U.S. government to send us our I-171H form
Receive I-171H form, and then our dossier is complete!
Mail dossier to our agency - they will process it, translate it, then we will be....
DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) - the date our dossier is officially sent to Ethiopia
And once we receive our DTE date, then the looooong wait begins. How long? It is an ever-moving target. Right now we're told 18 to 24 months from DTE before we receive our referral, but we're constantly reminded that the time could increase. Or it could decrease. That is the beauty of adoption - you simply don't know. Our agency does a great job of giving us realistic expectations so as the wait officially begins, I hope to learn more.
This past week was my birthday, and it was wonderful, but my heart has been hurting. You wouldn't know by talking to me, or seeing me, or hanging out with me. But it can be so disheartening to read all the stories about families who struggle once their kids come home from orphanages, and it's something that's become a focus of mine. We've discussed it internally with our Ethiopia group in the agency and fortunately, I have found I'm not the only one to feel this overwhelming sense of worry. And also, fortunately, God knows my heart, and once again, he has stepped in to calm my fears.
My devotion this morning was titled, "Do I have what it takes?" (Hello God, you've got my attention now). The devotion asks:
"Have you ever stopped short of God's calling on your life because you felt almost paralyzed by your limitations and insecurities? We often excuse ourselves from God's greater vision because we don't believe we have enough for God to work with. Unfortunately, one of the enemy's most effective strategies is to fill our mind with thoughts about what we don't have and all the ways we fall short. But when we focus on what we lack, it can keep us from realizing what we have is more than enough for God. You see, God has a history of using what little someone has in order to do great things that only He can do. When I hear that voice reminding me of my shortcomings and limitations, I've decided to say, 'You're right. But my greatest limitation is God's greatest opportunity.'"
I can't tell you how much I needed to hear that this morning. My shortcomings seem to smack me in the face constantly. My little voice reminds me of how many barriers we're going to have to overcome by choosing to expand our family this way. It's going to be hard. I'm not choosing the easy road. But God doesn't say our road will be easy. He does say that He will be with us. And that is the thought that crosses my mind each and every day.
My sweet 4-year-old proudly showed off her drawing from school today. She had drawn our family, and the first person (well let's be honest, they all look like amoebas, but it's the thought that counts) she pointed out was her brother. This whole concept is still so abstract for her, understandably, but it warms my heart to know that she thinks about him too. I love her childlike innocence, and her hope for the future. I think that's what I will go to sleep dreaming about tonight.
Forever and always grateful for your prayers,