Breaking through

August 26th, 2011

“I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the LORD,
Who calls you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.”

When parents are adopting from The Country That Must Not Be Named, they always take two trips.

The first trip is to establish contact.  Many countries have added this preliminary trip to their adoption program to prevent the scenario of parents attempting to back out of a near-finalized adoption once they have met the child.

When parents travel home from this first trip, they carry with them several documents that must be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services, or USCIS, with their I800 and 864 W applications.

[Remember our dramatic I800-A saga?  An I800-A application asks the United States government to approve a particular set of parents as qualified to adopt a child from a foreign country.  The I800 application is much less complicated.  It asks the United States government to approve a particular child from a foreign country as qualified to enter our country as a citizen and child of the previously-approved parents.]

As with the I800-A process, the whole packet first goes to a lockbox facility in Texas for two weeks before it is sent on to the USCIS in Missouri.  We’ve been told over and over again that the lockbox is a mechanical process that cannot be expedited.

From the time the I800 application is received by the USCIS, depending on how busy the family’s officer is, it can take a couple more weeks from time of receipt until the child’s provisional approval is issued.  At that point, the documentation is sent to the National Visa Center and then to the US Embassy in the capital city of the child’s country.

Before our attorney and I got back to our hotel after our first visit to Katie’s orphanage, she told me the wheels began turning in her head.  What can be done to trim every ounce of time off this adoption process?  We sat at the outdoor cafe table in shock, with no appetites, discussing the possibilities.  As soon as she got back to her laptop, she took off running.

And God began removing obstacles, one after another.

~The director of Katie’s orphanage suggested that we take her for the visa photo last week.  Unheard of.

~While I was still in Katie’s country, our social worker agreed (after seeing photos) to change her usual procedure, and allow Joe to mail in our USCIS application, to cut a few more days off the process.

~This same social worker immediately contacted our USCIS officer (with photos), to ask the best way to have this expedited.

~Our USCIS officer immediately responded with the exact phrasing they would be looking for in the doctor’s letter of medical urgency.

~That info came just in time for our attorney to give it to the doctor in Katie’s country who was composing that letter.

~I signed the signature pages of the USCIS forms while I was still in Katie’s city, and we shipped them home to Joe by DHL, with the documents that I would otherwise have carried home with me.

~Joe received them last Thursday afternoon, the 18th, at 4:30.  He put the entire packet together, with phone instructions from our social worker, and mailed it off.  It was delivered to the Texas lockbox by FedEx last Friday, the 19th, at 10 o’clock in the morning, Texas time, while I was still staying with our missionary friends in Katie’s country.

~Remember that the lockbox part ALWAYS takes two weeks?  And that it can be a couple more weeks before the provisional approval is issued?  We may never know exactly what happened behind the scenes, but we do know our USCIS officer asked for the FedEx tracking number so she’d know when our packet reached the lockbox.  We know she received our packet from the lockbox yesterday, Thursday the 25th, because she told us I had to re-submit our 864 W form yesterday afternoon.

~With the help of Joe’s brother late in the afternoon, before the last FedEx pick-up at the post office, we shipped that second 864 W form by overnight FedEx directly to our officer, who received it this morning at 10 o’clock.

~Our officer hadn’t even waited for that re-submitted document, but after speaking with her supervisor, they dispensed with the usual procedure, and issued our provisional approval, one week after Joe mailed our application.  

As our attorney said, “FANTASTIC! I can’t believe it! PRAISE THE LORD!  It is amazing and unbelievable. I am on cloud nine!”

Our USCIS officer shouldn’t even have received our application until Labor Day week, and it could have been mid-September or later before we received that approval.  Now it should reach the National Visa Center on Tuesday, August 30th.  At that time, on the advice of our attorney, we may need to use the help offered by a blog reader for such a time as this, to shorten the next part of the process from weeks down to days.  Our adoption attorney will then be able to work toward the court process in Katie’s country.

We are no longer looking at others’ adoption timelines.  We are no longer trying to calculate how long this could take.  We are no longer thinking in terms of possibilities; we are just watching God do this His way, possibilities or no possibilities.

As Stephanie Carpenter advised us yesterday, “Prepare your family to bring this little girl home, because it will be time to go and get her before you know it.”

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43 Responses to “Breaking through”

  1. sabrina says:

    So overcome with emotions…awe…thankfulness. My faith is so small because I’m always so stunned when prayers are answered like this.
    I’ll keep praying.

  2. Debbie W says:

    I’ve been praying and was overjoyed to read this post!  Will continue to pray that your beautiful little girl is home safely in your arms soon.

  3. Coleen says:

    Yay!  That is good news!

  4. Felicity says:

    Wonderful news!  I can’t wait to see photos of her at home!

    Reading your testimonies always gives me a faith-boost for the process our family is currently waiting through!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Precious sweet Katie, Thank You Lord for all your doing. I feel so blessed to be able to pray for this wonderful little girl. Who is such a blessing to me.    

  6. Carrie says:

    Absolutely amazing to see the mountains crumbling and the way being cleared ahead of you!! PTL!!!

  7. Ginger says:

    That video was priceless! Thank you so much for posting it! 
    Praying our BIG God accomplishes exactly what He has planned for Katerina from the beginning of time. For His glory! 

  8. Amy says:

    Only GOD! Thank you, Lord, for moving mountains! Praying for sweet Katerina to come home!

  9. Kimberly Zimmerman says:

    Thank you, thank you our most gracious Heavenly Father!!!  We are grateful beyond words for this provision!  To YOU we give all our praise!

  10. Rachel says:

    The video has made me tear up… oh, that precious child! Our first trip was June 17-26 and I hope that your process passes ours by! Well… it just might since you are already caught up! Praise God! Hmm – maybe they can get our signatures at the same time as yours? ;-) So happy!

  11. Joy says:

    As usual, I’m typing through my tears!!!!  PRAISING THE LORD WITH YOU!!!! His name is HIGHER than ANY other!!!! NOTHING is too hard for Our God!! I reserve the word Awesome for ONLY what God does – and this is truly Awesome!! 
    And that video is beyond precious, Susanna. How your sweet voice must have ministered to her. Little does she know, she’ll get to hear that voice for the rest of your or her life!  What a blessing awaits her! 

    Love you! 


  12. Stephanie Lynch says:

    Chills and crying….God is sitting on His throne; hallelujah!!!!!  More tears on the video.  

    Stephanie Lynch 

  13. JenK says:

    Such wonderful news!  Praise the Lord!

  14. Deanna Rabe says:

    Praying!  All our faith is being built seeing God’s hand at work….

  15. Heather says:

    Praise the Lord!  His mercies are overwhelming.

  16. Laurie says:

    tears……  such beauty……  in awe of God’s love for our special little ones.

  17. Barb says:

    That is so AWESOME!!! 

    Love the video of Katie laughing…so sweet.

  18. ashley says:

    Praise the Lord!!  Wooohooo!!!

    The video is just precious.  Oh how amazing your little Katie is and how beautiful it is to see you love on her.  Thank you so much for sharing. 

  19. Susan says:

    Breaking my heart with Katie’s sweet laugh – but healing my heart with the encouraging news. So many good people are  being the hands of Christ in the World to help bring Katie home, and I am so thankful for them – and for you.

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from U.      


  20. Lauren says:

    Thrilled to hear this news! Praise God!

  21. Renae says:

    Praying!  This country has given us a daughter as well!  And praising God with you today for speedy paperwork! Yipppeeee JESUS!

  22. Jen says:

    Found your blog a few weeks ago through a friend who is going through an international adoption.  I was able to follow you and pray for you on your journey to Katerina’s country.  I am so happy that all the prayers and faith has kept the path clear for you and your family to bring her home!  Still praying for you, your family and dear Katerina!

  23. Amy says:

    Thank you Jesus!  Praise Your holy name!!

  24. Love seeing the fruit of many, many prayers!

  25. Shanna says:

    God is with you…your video made me cry seeing the love for your daugher and that she still has a joyful little laugh in her.

  26. Amanda says:

    I have been following for a little while now and would just like to take a moment to absolutely commend you for what you’re doing for Katerina. I have been posting certain blog posts to my facebook in an effort to spread awareness about what goes on in these countries, and the sheer mind-boggling amount of children (especially those with Ds) who are looking for their forever home. As a fellow mama of a special little angel, my heart goes out to you and your family and I can’t wait to see Katerina come home where she belongs. Much love and prayers are being sent your way from my friends, family and especially myself. PS. That video brought tears to my eyes. She is absolutely amazing even after all that she has been through.

  27. April (justonemorebaby) says:

    I am in tears, I have watched that video so many times tonight, her laughter… oh. I have no words. 
    Amazing. He is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. I KNOW that. And yet, wow.  

  28. Cristina says:

    I am SO thankful that this part of the process was able to be sped up!  I pray that God will move in the hearts of all those involved in the next steps (including the court process) so that they will move just as quickly.  I also will be praying for the preparations you will be doing at home as you prepare for Katie’s arrival, that everything will fall into place with needed medical care and for her siblings to be able to prepare for her arrival and adjust to her being home without any issues.  :)

  29. Amy Morris says:

    I thank God for all the work he is doing to get dear Katie home quickly. I just can hardly wait to see how well she flourishes with the love of your family and all her needs being met. Also praying for all the other little ones that need families.

  30. Angie says:

    In complete awe of you and your daughter- you are both so very beautiful.  So thankful that God is working, and your precious little girl will be home with her family soon. 

  31. Praise the Lord!!! ((((HUGS))))

  32. Stefanie says:

    I see Jesus in you.  God bless you, dear sister.

  33. Katy says:

    I just cannot read your blog without tears.  What amazing things God is doing in you and through you.  Thank you for being such willing servants.  I am praying for you.

  34. Becki says:

    I have only been following your blog for a short time and your story has touched my heart. It is a privilege to pray for you and sweet Katerina. Praying you’ll have her in your arms very soon.
    Blessings and prayers from England x 

  35. Christie says:

    Those verses in Isaiah are MY adoption verse/prayer :)  HE will break them down to show you RICHES STORED IN SECRET PLACES!!!!  

  36. Anna T says:

    YEA!!  Praise the LORD!!  HE is Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD who provides!!  Praying and praying…  I’m glad that you were able to rest and are now ready to continue preparing your home for Katerina’s arrival!!

  37. Karen says:

    How Great is our God that He is working to bring your little one home to you sooner than we thought possible!  I shouldn’t be surprised, nothing is beyond Him.  So happy to hear this.

  38. Deborah Sorensen says:

    Continuing to hold your family and precious Katerina up in prayer. You are changing hearts and opening eyes, that’s why the backlash. Keep going!!

  39. Colleen says:

    Praise our great and mighty King! We have been praying very specifically for mountains to be moved so you can bring your sweet Katie safely home asap… and for the other children that need to go to their homes, too. Thank you for being a light for these children- we are so much aware of their plight because of you, and we are excited to see where the Lord is leading us in these matters. God bless you and keep you and your family!

  40. Ilisa says:

    Sweet girl.  Amazing post and we are praying so hard!  

  41. Libby says:

    Praising the Lord always!  The mountains are moving!

  42. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Loved that sweet video and praising God for His hand!!!!!!

  43. Beck Gambill says:

    Susanna I’m new to your blog. It’s such a beautiful God thing that I was made aware of it. Over the past two days I’ve been reading through your posts describing Katie’s adoption and a little of your early posts about Verity. I’ve cried and worshiped, interceded and confessed. I feel privileged to witness your journey. Tonight as I watched this video of you singing to Katie I began sobbing because like a lightning bolt the Holy Spirit brought Zephaniah 3:17 to mind, “he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” It was as if God clearly spoke to my heart and said this is what it looks like for me to sing over you. Oh, my breath was just taken away. Thank you for that tender, intimate look into the heart of Love!

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