Life amid international adoption (especially independent adoption without an adoption agency, and especially in the turbulent, new-to-the-adoption-scene Democratic Republic of Congo) is an adventure. In many ways, we are forging the path. There have only been a handful of adoptions per year from the DRC. That number is slowing gaining, but the need is still mostly unmet, and the territory is still being charted. Regulations change from one adoption to the next and one district to the next. It’s an adventure in faith every step.
We received final USCIS/Immigration approval on our I600 Petition to Classify An Orphan As An Immediate Relative form last week! Now there are two big steps remaining, first, the embassy appointment, and finally, Ken’s trip to bring her home.
Initially, upon receiving USCIS clearance, we thought Ken would be traveling at the end of this month, but the embassy appointments are taking longer to schedule, and children’s passport processing times have increased. We were faced with the option of “gambling” on an early embassy date, which would then cause huge expenses and hardships if Kiffanie’s passport isn’t done in time, or go with a safer, later date.
We are going with the later date. What all this means is that Pastor Didier will fly with Kiffanie to the capital city of Kinshasa in a few weeks. We’ll post when they leave so you can pray with us for travel safety. (Didier tells us Kiffanie is so excited to fly in an airplane that she asks every morning when they are leaving.) They’ll be in Kinshasa for three weeks or a bit more. In this time they will apply for the passport, have a required medical exam (she’s had others previously, but this is necessary for visas), and then have two different embassy dates, a document drop off on April 12th, and the main appointment April 16th. After that, then fly back to the orphanage in Lubumbashi.
Two weeks after they return to Lubumbashi, Ken will fly out to visit the orphanage, and spend a week enjoying Congolese delicacies of fresh goat meat and foo foo—Pastor Didier’s favorite food. He’ll also bring Kiffanie home!
We are waiting to hear back from our travel agent for the exact dates (we are at the ticket purchasing stage! Wooo hooo!) The plan now for travel is either the week of April 30th or the week of May 7th.
We were discouraged and disappointed that it won’t be the end of this month as we’d hoped. While we know that God is sovereign and that His timing is perfect, Kiffanie is our baby girl in our hearts already even though we’ve never met. Learning that we have an extra couple months of “labor pains” before delivery was a bit rough after the previous delays and then finally feeling we were sooo close! It’s hard knowing she’s half a world away, in a beautiful, but conflict-torn country that’s foreign to us (even though it’s home still to her). We’ve refocused though, and setting flight dates with our travel agent (a lovely lady who books flights for missionaries and adoptive parents and has herself adopted from Ethiopia), has renewed our excitement. We know God is in control, but that doesn’t keep our hearts from aching for her– for that’s part of love.
Even though the date is now further away, we are another few steps closer.
Harp & Hammers DRC Fact: In 2008 it was estimated that 7,000 child soldiers were in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government armed forces and other combat groups. Many were recruited by the Congolese armies from refugee camps in neighboring Rwanda.