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Remembering Uganda: It’s “go” time

August 17, 2013

We are telling our adoption story by posting a series of emails that were sent while we were in Uganda in July & August of 2012. If you have made your way here because you are thinking about adopting from Uganda or are in the process, please know that the process is very different now than it was in 2012.

Sent August 17, 2012


We found out today that our files actually arrived in Nairobi two days ago on Wednesday. We are shocked and thankful that our file is already there and has been for a couple days. We had a long conversation with our DC attorney last night, and I am going to try to summarize it for you so that you can know what we were told to expect going forward. Our attorney said that once the file arrives, it takes about a week for someone to actually look at it. Then, after the initial review, which can take up to a week, the application is either granted as “clearly approvable” or a petition is sent back called an RFE (Request For Evidence). We were thankful to hear that “no” isn’t even an option after the initial review. The only two responses Nairobi is allowed to give at first are “yes” or “please send us more info.” Our attorney has advised us to draft a letter to send to USCIS as kind of a “pre-emptive strike.” This letter would explain the reason we were given for the denial, why we think that reason is not legitimate and include attachments of the additional evidence we have collected which supports our case. The idea is to give them everything they need to determine that our case is “clearly approvable” BEFORE they even have a chance to review the case and send an RFE. Our attorney was very honest with us about the timeline we are looking at: a week before someone even looks at it, a week to do the initial review, a week to return our approval to the embassy and a few days for our visa to be issued- and that is if we get an immediate “yes,” not if we get an RFE. If an RFE is sent, add another week or two to that, while the requested evidence is collected, sent and reviewed.

-that our file is in Nairobi. It arrived more quickly than we expected, and we are so grateful.
-that the only two answers we can get at first are “yes” and “please send us more info.” Those answers are both so much better than “no.” We are weary of hearing “no” when it comes to visa applications. We are thankful “no” is not an option at first. 🙂

-for wisdom for us and “M” as we work together over the weekend and on Monday to draft the letter and other documents we need to send to Nairobi
-for the judge who gave our guardianship ruling and for our attorney “I”- we are still waiting on a few documents from the judge, and while “I” has been diligently trying to get them from him, he has not been successful yet. Please pray we will get those last few documents on Monday.
-for our social worker “G.” He has been on a well-deserved vacation this week and therefore (obviously) has been unable to help us collect some of the things we need. Please pray he will be back to work on Monday and will be able to quickly gather the rest of what we need.
-for our case: upon reviewing all of the documents and paperwork with “M,” there are some inconsistencies and errors in the paperwork that could potentially hold up our approval from Nairobi. These errors/inconsistencies are things that don’t matter with the African definition of time and lack of attention to detail, which is probably why they are there, but they could matter greatly with the American obession with time, dates and details.
-for the person who ends up reviewing our case in Nairobi, that God would give him/her eyes to see that our case is “clearly approvable” immediately, without the need for further evidence
-for God to miraculously move this process along faster than anyone expects or thinks it can go.

I confess that when I heard the timeline “M” spelled out for us last night, I was very sad. If the timeline holds true, there is no way we will all be on our August 28th flight home. As soon as we said good-bye to “M,” we cried and prayed. We are pleading with God to show His power- to show that He is bigger than documentation errors, slow-moving beauracratic systems and what is considered to be the “normal/expected” timetable for these kinds of things. This is not hard for Him. He can do it. And we are praying that He will.

I was just reading Jeremiah 32 today and was comforted and encouraged by it. In verse 17, the prophet Jeremiah is praying the to Lord and says, “Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” He goes on to ask for explanation on why the Lord has told him (Jeremiah) to buy a field when the Babylonians are about to take them into captivity, and the Lord responds in verse 27, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” and explains to Jeremiah that even though the Babylonians will take His people into exile, He will return them to their land: “fields shall be bought in this land of which you [Jeremiah] are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast, it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans [Babylonians].’ Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed […] for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.” (v 43-44) [emphasis added]

Isn’t that incredible? That is ultimate power and sovereignty talking. The odds were stacked against them. The Babylonians were beseiging them. Judah was about to fall to their enemies. Buying a field in a land that was about to be destroyed was probably not the best idea. Jeremiah knew that; indeed, he had been prophesying just that to the people as instructed by the Lord. But God knew that the destruction, the captivity, was not the end of the story. He would “restore their fortunes.” He would rescue them from their enemies, from a power more mighty than them. They could not save themselves, but God could do it, and He would. And it would not be hard for Him. Because NOTHING is too hard for Him.

This is our God. Lord, show Your power.

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