I was one of those kids in grade school who was lucky to make it home with my homework. More than once, my mom or dad (shout-out to my dad for the three years he was Mr. Mom while he finished seminary) had to come to school with my textbook, permission slip, lunch box, or track spikes. In fact, once they made a speedy trip to Linn, the town we'd played basketball in the night before, to pick up a backpack I had left. Side note in full disclosure: I did not play basketball. I kept stats. Yup. Don't be fooled by my running: I was the stat--keeper for most high school sports. I digress...
Amazingly, I've gotten through two college degrees and four years of marriage with most of my wits (and my paperwork) about me still. Yes, I may misplace my debit card once (or five times) a week. And I may wander aimlessly through the mall parking lot looking for my car. For the most part, though, the scatterbrain has grown up. That's the thing about adoption, though--even pieces of you you think have grown up can reappear in the kid version.
Hubs and I received our finalized home study in the mail two nights ago. Friends, if you have not been around adoption much, I will let you know: it is a pretty big deal. We've spent a good part of 5-6 months gathering paperwork and having meetings for this exact reason. I jumped for joy! We decided we would go together to Fed Ex to express ship our USCIS paperwork (the thing the US gov't approves to say we can adopt from out of the country) on Wednesday morning. I packed up my stuff the night before, paperwork and all. We woke up super early with the hopes of having a nice coffee/ quiet time together after we mailed off the pieces of our baby. And trust me, it kind of feels like you're mailing off pieces of your baby.
So we get to Fed Ex, I pull out my binder, and here's where I have to explain to you that, as grown up as I feel, as ready to be a mom as I think I am, and as together as I'd like you to believe I can be, I left the USCIS paper and our cover letter on the microwave, where I had asked Hubs to sign them the night before. We had two choices: we could come back later or we could print them off and fill them out again. Hubs wanted to go with the former but I was not about to leave that store without a receipt showing my paperwork was on its way to being with the US government. Fifteen minutes, three printouts, and twelve dollars later, everything we needed was in an envelope and on its way. Adios, Baby, we'll see you in 6-12 weeks.
So yes, our USCIS is on its way. For those adoption gurus who are wondering, my check, the home study, and the birth/marriage certificates WERE in my binder so we at least had those ready to go. The lesson I keep learning is no matter how much I plan this thing, I am really, really not in control. And that is, in the end, a good thing.
For those wondering where this leaves us in the timeline of adoption, we have to wait for the US to give us a fingerprinting appointment. We don't know how long this will take. Then they will send us back the equivalent of a permission slip. We will take our permission slip, every other paper we've been hoarding, and lots more money, and mail it to Ethiopia by way of Virginia. Then, more waiting. And support-raising. And if you're wondering about that, God continues to bless us through kind people in ways we never, ever expect. Right now, the time frame is 10-16 months to referral but we have NO idea what it will look like in terms of real time for us. We're just excited to have one more step down and we look forward to receiving our "permission slip" as soon as we can.
I promise not to lose it.