I feel like I’ve been trusted with such a precious thing, and I hope that I can tell it well.
Life is now broken up into two parts: Before Sam and After Sam.
When you think about it, all major life changes work that way. There’s before college and after, before marriage and after, before kids and after. I thought when we started talking about this back in November, December, January, the framing would be Before Adoption and After Adoption. But that’s too general. It’s Sam. He’s the catalyst here.
There’s a sense of urgency through every step of the adoption process because you are so painfully aware of how long the entire journey will take. We took a little time to pray through domestic vs international, then specific country, then agency. But once we knew those, the clock started and we’ve been trying to push forward as quickly as possible.
However, as any adoptive parent will tell you, there are SO MANY THINGS outside of our control. We can do our part as quickly as possible, but waiting repeatedly and with very little information is inevitable.
Our biometrics appointment for USCIS approval was April 30th. I contacted the National Benefits Center twice — once by email and once by mail — and learned we had not yet been assigned to a caseworker. So we waited.
We emailed our agency a couple of times to let them know there were no updates. Our contact there told us not to worry because they didn’t expect us to get our approval notice in the mail until mid-June. I posted a question to other adoptive parents who were farther along in the process than us and learned the average approval time seemed to be about a month after the biometrics appointment. Some were faster; some were slower. Some got approved on the first try. Some had to submit more information.
Today, a letter arrived telling us we were approved on May 11th.
As of this afternoon, our approval letter is being submitted to our Korean agency.
We are now in line for exit permit submissions.
I wish I could tell you how many times during this process I said to Josh, “There’s no way. There’s no path. God has to do this. That’s the only option.”
We asked for prayers from so, so many. I’m not the kind of person who likes to ask for help (AT ALL), but when it comes to prayer, I want as much as I can get. I believe it’s the most important and powerful thing I can offer my children.
We have felt those prayers. God has been so tangible at times. He’s just here. He’s right in the middle of this, sustaining us, advocating for us, moving mountains for Sam.
There’s a Bethel song I keep listening too — “Spirit Move”. It’s the song that came on when I turned my car on to drive to the biometrics appointment. The first line came through the speakers, “I can feel it in my bones; you’re about to move.” And I just cried and worshiped the whole way to the appointment because that was for me. That message was FOR ME. God was about to do what only he could do.
This Sunday, I didn’t want to go to church. I was tired and cranky, and we were going to the early service. But on a stripped down stage, the worship team sang “I’ve seen you move, you move the mountains! And I believe I’ll see you do it again. You made a way where there was no way. And I believe I’ll see you do it again.” They read the scriptures that inspire that song, and once again, it felt personal. I love this song so much. As I worship, I think of the ways God has moved. I think of Maci Whisner, a beautiful baby girl who was sent home by surgeons to die right after birth. But a miracle happened by way of a cardiac surgeon in Boston, and now Maci is a two-year-old with a beautiful smile and a new baby sister. I think of a friend who had a recent health scare. I think of when she told me and how I felt the weight of the missed opportunities to pray, and I just wanted to pray for her constantly. And she is as feisty as ever. I think of people I know who have experienced tremendous loss, loss of children, loss of marriages, loss of financial stability, loss of innocence. I think of how hard it would it would be to trust a God who would allow such heartache. And yet they do. There should be no way to stand up in the morning, and yet they have found that God sustains, gives them strength, makes a way where there is none.
And the thing is: We still might not get submitted this round. We have a chance, and you better believe I’m praying for it. I’m praying to my God who gives immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. I am praying to my God who finds such joy in doing what only he can do when his children ask. He wants us to ask. Sometimes the answer is no, but he wants us to ask with complete confidence that he is capable. The Bethel song sings, “You said that if we ask, we’ll receive. We’re asking for the greater measure.” Amen.
My prayer lately has been that God would move these mountains for Sam, for us. That he would defy the odds and show us grace. Unmerited grace. But for the grace of God go I.
But the second part of my prayer has been that whatever happens is what would bring him the most glory. That’s why I want to shout this from the rooftops. He did this for us. He did what only he could do! I have been trusted with this message, and I will tell it until I am blue in the face. GOD MOVED OUR MOUNTAINS.
Sometimes the greatest glory is in the miracle.
But. Sometimes the greatest glory is continuing to worship and trust even when the miracle doesn’t happen.
I don’t know if we will make submissions this round or not. We will be last or near last on the list, and they only take so many families at a time. But here’s what I am completely confident about: God is with us. God sees us and remembers us. God is with Sam. He is good. If we make the submission, he will get ALL of the glory. If we don’t, we will still praise his name.
So that’s the prayer: “God, move this mountain again! Please move this mountain for Sam, and let him be submitted for his exit permit during this next round. Keep him safe while we can’t, and stay close to his foster family and show them the same grace and love you have extended to us. But if you don’t move this mountain, God, you are still good. Do whatever brings you the most glory. We trust you.”