(and I get to say that in a not-because-I-need-convincing-today tone!)
In other words, we have very good news. Which also explains why I’ve been missing again recently.
Last weekend, we had a very nice visit with Jen, the Magpie Knitter, and her husband, both Naval Academy classmates of ours about to leave DC for the West Coast. After a great deal of wine, beer, hotly contested board games, our three kids making their house look like a bomb exploded in a toy factory, and none of our combined five children sleeping very much… well, we got home tired. To find a surprise waiting for us.
My father-in-law came over to let the dog out a few times a day and grab the mail for us. And in the pile of mail on the table by the front door, I found a letter from Immigration. No, not a problem. It was our approved form that is the last piece of our dossier.
I had to read it twice to be sure. We weren’t expecting it for at least another two weeks, if not four. I had hoped to have it in time to visit our friends in DC, but that didn’t look possible as USCIS slowed down and other things delayed our paperwork just a bit here, a bit there. When we told our agency we got our immigration approval (I-797, for those of you who know what I’m talking about) in 58 days, they were shocked.
So, the day after returning from DC, I got to drive (with all three kids) back up to Richmond. We got the copy notarized on the way up, the state authentication office had their stamped sheet done in five minutes, we ran copies, and we stuffed forms and checks for the courier, the State Department, and the Chinese Embassy into an envelope to go to DC. The courier got it, ran it through, picked it up at the embassy the next day, and got it in the mail. Meanwhile, our agency had already done their big review of the rest of the dossier, which I’d already finished and mailed, so that cut two more weeks off the process. Our agency got the authenticated I-797, said the now-complete dossier would be with the translators for a few days, then e-mailed back that same afternoon to say it was done and in the mail.
And tonight, our dossier is on its way to China.
Two of our three adoptions have had very odd coincidences associated with the anniversaries of the deaths of the saints we had picked to name our children after. Diva’s namesake’s feast day turned out to be the day we were probably starting our initial paperwork for her adoption. Empress’s namesake’s 150th anniversary of her martyrdom was the day of our appointment at the U.S. Consulate to get the “magic brown envelope” that lets you get back in the country with your new child, generally the last full day you’re in China because it’s the last wicket to clear before you can go home. Part of the youngest’s saint’s name actually sounds quite a bit like “Kassie”, as in Secret Vatican Spy, who sort of tipped off this whole thing by posting a link to her RCIA sponsor who’d just adopted a child from China through the Special Needs program (and, no, that’s not why we picked that saint; I realized after the fact that, hey, “Kai Zhi” sounds a lot like “Kassie”, what a cool coincidence!).
I had somewhat tentatively asked for another miracle, hoping to at least get the immigration paperwork by the anniversary of our youngest’s saint’s martyrdom. As various things slowed down and delayed, that began to seem like it would be a stretch.
However, instead of that intermediary step, we could actually have a log-in date around then. I’m still sort of in shock.
I am reminded of a sermon I heard once on the miracle at the Wedding at Cana. Not only did Jesus turn the water into wine, he made it exceptionally good wine, and a lot of it. Several of Jesus’ major miracles went beyond what would have been the bare minimum, and provided an overflow of blessings. God, the preacher said, does not just meet our bare needs, but often chooses to give us more than we dared hope for.