We met for court yesterday and were told that we need to come back Monday. We have, in the process, met several delays.... Delayed sda approval. Delayed paperwork retrieval, delayed sda approval again, and now court delay. A total of 9 weeks of delay...... And 8 of those we have actually been in country. 7 of those weeks we were all together as a family here, but now the two smallest are in Alabama.
Many have asked what the problem is, but the truth is that we can't point to one place. It has been across the board. It might be easier to pinpoint the problem if we fully understood what happened when we went into meetings and such, but we rely on translations. It might also be easier to pinpoint the problem if this portion of the process were standardized. If there was one place to go to for the rules. But there is not. Each region works differently. Each judge is different, each orphanage is different. There is a standardized process before you get here, and a standardized process for the last days of preparing papers when you are getting ready to leave, but in country, we are at the mercy of those who decide to help, delay, or stop us at any point in the process, for whatever reason...
We are thankful, that to this point. No one has decided to stop our process..... But we also feel that everyone has chosen to delay! Seriously! Everything has taken longer than expected. The whole process here is estimated to be 6-8 weeks.... We are now at 9 weeks with at least 3 to go.
Last night, I posted that we are looking to see if anyone has any travel miles. Due to the delay in court yesterday, we will be having to change everyone's return tickets..... And, due to the fact that we had used a travel agent, but had also had to to change our own tickets at the last minute without the travel agent because our flight was cancelled coming over here.... Neither we, nor our travel agent, can edit our tickets.... So even though we bought my ticket and Lena's ticket as humanitarian to be sure we could fly together going home..... We will not make that date now, and will likely have to buy new tickets.
The response has been absolutely overwhelming and completely humbling. I woke up this morning to tons of people donating to help us with Lena's plane ticket home! We have had thousands of miles given and should now almost have enough to get one ticket with skymiles and vouchers, and the other ticket is well in the process.... Donations by tons of people! Many of which we don't even know. As complex as it is to be constantly delayed and denied by people here..... It is also completely overwhelming to see this kinda of generous response from you. We know that you aren't doing it for our sake, nor are you really doing it for Lena..... But you are doing it for Christ. And that is awesome. It is a rare gift to be on the receiving end of people giving their gifts to those in need. Yet, We have seen it so many times through this process. Without you and your generosity we couldn't be here at all.....
She is such a fun girl. When we get stressed and overwhelmed, she is laughing, wanting to sing, dance, cook and shop! She talks about Josiah and Lydia often and asks us when we can leave for America. She understands the process.... And the delays.... As well as we do, if not better, for she understands the conversations happening around her. She has watched friends come and go to families.
Yesterday after court, we went to eat, she was sad like we were at first. In court she and I hugged and cried. On the way to the bus she fussed and complained like we did. But when we got to eat, she had changed her spirit. She was ready to focus on eating, and shopping and talking. She asked for some new earrings, we got a few groceries, we wandered and looked at the whole store, slowly. It was fun. It was good bonding. When our hearts were hurting, she was the one pulling us along to look at everything in the store.
Anyway, I need more coffee..... Thank you for your friendship and support and help and prayers. They help more than you can imagine.