What is the significance of this number you ask? It is the distance (in miles) that I am currently from my son.
He is without family in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. He is considered a second class citizen and to some, nothing more than something that should be thrown away and forgotten.
But to us, he is life. We could not be more excited to be adopting Sterling than we are now. We are more than thrilled to be bringing him home with us.
Let me fill you in on the paperchase...it ended today. At approximately 12:35 I called USCIS to inquire as to the whereabouts of our I171H. You see, our officer (who was AWESOME btw), had promised to email me a copy by Wednesday. Well, Wednesday came and went and no Golden Ticket. So,I called today. SO GLAD I DID. She emailed it Monday...to the wrong email address...I wish I would've called sooner but EVERYTHING happens for a reason. So today after speaking with her, our coveted Golden Ticket arrived in my inbox. It was a beautiful moment. But also, it was quite nerve wrenching.
It's an experience, I think, can only relate to adopting parents (internationally at that!). I have been working on this stack of paperwork (the paper pregnancy) and finally it is finished. Every last piece is in place and every last notary is there...yet I feel no peace. I am still frought with nervousness. As soon as it arrived I texted Brian that I needed him home to sign our notary page so we could send it off to be apostilled. And then I noticed the error. Brian's name was only spelled with one L. Some of you are giggling about now...there's no L in Brian you say...but there is an L in Brian's middle name...Phillip. But, here is the tricky part...some of Brian's legal documents have one L and some have 2. I emailed our stateside helper and she says go with it. But, just to be safe I emailed our Eastern European helper too...no response...I also emailed our USCIS officer and asked her to change it to match Brian's passport...also no answer. We decided to send what we had and we prayed for the best.
Off we went to We've Got Mail and More, our local packing store (Lisa has been great!) And, we get everything packed and ready to ship to Tallahassee, FL. Here our entire dossier will be apostilled (the Secretary of State will check every notary page and be sure it has been signed and stamped by a legitimate notary and will send a whole page approval for each). We get this all done and walk out the door and <ding> my phone email goes off. It is the correct spelling of Brian's name on the Golden Ticket. We walked back in and asked Lisa to take the envelope apart, print the new form, and repack it. She is more than willing to help. We agree immediately that this is a sign from God and we are thrilled.
So, the dossier is off. It should arrive tomorrow before 11am EST. We are hoping that it is apostilled and returned to us by Tuesday - when we can send it straightaway to Europe for translation and submission to Sterling's government. At this point, we are assured of NO travel dates. However, we are ASSUMING that our travel dates will commence around the end of September or the very beginning of October.
We are more than thrilled. In just 2 months we will be travelling, and within 3 months our little boy will be HOME - with us! We are so excited!!!!
As we near the end of our journey we have some things we would like you to consider:
1) If you haven't made a donation yet to Sterling's FSP please do so. This money will help us travel to Eastern Europe, adopt our son, and most importantly, help us bring him home!!!! You can donate here: http://reecesrainbow.org/sponsorhinz
2) Please PRAY. For those travelling now (Debbie's family, Jenny and Eric Monier and the Earlywines) that they may have safe travels and productive visits. That their children will come to understand them and that the Lord will bless them with peace of mind and fill love in all their hearts and also the He will facilitate the adoptions in a positive and productive manner.
3) Please PRAY for OUR process and our travels. That they will continue to move smoothly and without barrier. That God will help us to follow His ways and walk in His footpaths as we continue on this journey. That Sterling will remain safe and healthy and that we (and our paperwork) may have safe travels.
If you have been hesitant about donating or have been waiting until you are SURE that this is for REAL, NOW IS YOUR TIME. As soon as our dossier returns from Tallahassee we will be mailing it off to Europe. From that point we should be TRAVELLING within 4-5 weeks. Wouldn't you love to know that you helped us make our dream become a reality?!?!?! Please help us bring our little boy home!!! We are MORE THAN READY to become a FAMILY!!! If not for us, PLEASE consider helping him...Sterling will turn 5 on Monday and helping us to bring him home will the BEST birthday present he EVER RECEIVES!