Today was a real test of patience for me. I think I told you in my previous "Patience" post that our mail carrier, Cass, usually comes around 2:00. Today, Garth and I mailed a letter so all I had to do was watch to see when that flag went down. At 1:55 I looked out there and the flag was still up and I thought, "I wonder if Cass just forgot to put the flag down?" So, I went out and checked. Nope, she hadn't come yet. At 2:05 I finished typing a report so I went back downstairs to see if the flag was down yet...nope. At 2:10 I went down again and this time my neighbor, Nikki, saw me staring out our door looking for the postal truck. I decided it was time to fess up and tell her why I was stalking Cass. She laughed when I told her. At 2:20 I went down again...the flag was STILL up. I came down again at 2:30 and....THERE WAS CASS! I ran out the door and ran around the back of the truck and when I got to where I could see Cass I said "I have been stalking you!" Sadly, she hadn't seen me run around the truck so I scared her probably half to death. I opened our box and RIGHT ON TOP was a letter from The Department of Homeland Security. My palms immediately went sweaty and my hands started to shake. While this is happening Cass is watching me asking if this is the letter that I had been stalking her for. I unfolded the pages and the first page is a letter that begins with "Dear Prospective Adoptive Parents". I'm thinking "Prospective? Does that mean we weren't approved?" The next page is a pink form that has the header "Request for Action on Form I-600A". Now I'm thinking that we are going to have to do something else before we get approved. My eyes are welling up with tears and my knees are starting to buckle when I get to the 3rd sheet. This is also white and at the top it says "Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition". Well by now my brain is complete mush and I'm trying to decide if that is the I-171H that I have been waiting for. Finally, I look down at the bottom right corner and in itty bitty letters it says "Form I-171H Approval of I-600A! I burst into tears and Cass asked if they are happy tears or sad tears. I gave a little shriek that Nikki heard OVER her lawnmower and she runs over. I was finally able to speak again (yes, there really are times that I can't talk)and I told Cass she was my absolute favorite mail carrier. She jumped out of the truck and gave me a big hug. Cass, who really has no idea what the letter is, eventually asks what this means so I was able to share that next year we will be able to bring our two children home from Ethiopia! She hugged me again and she and Nikki were talking but my brain was complete mush and I have no idea what was being said. I eventually said that I had to get back to tell Garth. I felt kind of bad that Cass and Nikki knew the good news before Garth, but I couldn't really do anything about that.
Tonight, when I'm done working, Garth and I will go back to Nikki's house because she also happens to be our notary (and the best notary in town, by the way)so we can get the last form notarized. Tomorrow morning I will be going to Fremont to make two copies of our dossier and then sending it by Fed Ex to Virginia where it will hopefully get there by 10:30 a.m. Monday morning. There, two people will check it over to make sure everything is correct and if all is fine then on Friday, September 3, we will be DTE! For those of you who don't know adoption lingo, DTE means Dossier To Ethiopia. Those three little letters are some of the most exciting for adoptive parents. At that time, we will officially just be waiting for a referral of our two children.
As exciting as this is, we are still about $1200 short of the needed $7700, but I KNOW the Lord will provide. I am excited to see how He will do that!
Garth and Carmen