There has been no change in our adoption process over the past 45 days since we submitted our LOI (Letter of Intent) to adopt Hannah. We are currently waiting on the Chinese government to pull our dossier from the stack so it can be translated, reviewed and officially matched to our daughter. Once that is done we will get the coveted LOA or Letter of Approval. We should travel to get Hannah 10-14 weeks after that LOA is received.
This has by far been the hardest part of waiting, especially since we know Hannah is in the orphanage instead of in foster care. While I believe most orphanages do the best they can with their limited resources, they are never a substitute for a family. Last week a friend alerted me to a blog post from a family who had visited Hannah's orphanage as part of their adoption trip. Two families told me she really stood out and was very alert. They took pictures of her, not knowing she was anyone's daughter. Initially the pictures made my heart so sad and I cried. I'm trying not to focus on her sad eyes in the picture, but instead on the positives: she is out of her crib, she doesn't look sick or like she's lost weight, they haven't shaved her head to prevent lice.
But the reality is that this is Hannah's life now until we can come get her. While we can't find her in this picture (probably because it was taken while she was sitting in the bouncy seat above) this is more than likely the room where she sleeps and it contains the crib where she spends most of her time.
I felt like God was calling me to spend time in His word. I sat down to read while the boys were at school and began praying for our Hannah. I was asking God what He wanted me to do: pester my agency and fight and focus on the next step of our adoption? I immediately felt Him telling me: "Rest." My heart wants to call every day and check every adoption discussion group for statistics and refresh my email constantly -- and yet He was clearly telling me it was time to rest.
I have tried to do just that. Rest in Him and what I know to be true about Him and His character. Focus on all the ways He has been faithful to our Hannah in spite of the fact that she is in an orphanage. Trust that His timing, while hard to understand now, will be future evidence of Him working all things together for good. He loves us and He adores our Hannah. He did not forsake her before we knew about her; why would He forsake her now? And what good will my worrying do-- it only shows that I am forgetting that she is HIS child, not OURS.
Shortly after I spent time in prayer I got an email from our agency saying that as far as they can tell our dossier has not even been translated yet. While it is possible that the adoption computer system was not showing updates (it has been unreliable), if what they said is true it means we have at least 5 weeks until approval. I'm trying to pace myself emotionally for this race, in spite of the fact that we don't know if it is a sprint or a marathon.
We long to have our girl in our arms. Her brothers ask about her all the time, especially Caleb who has told me he loves her without knowing her and that he wants to go to China and sign those papers himself! Please pray for Hannah: that God would place orphanage workers in her room that would love and nurture her, that they would keep her active and moving for the sake of her joints, that God would guard her heart against the impact of orphanage life.
While I'm praying we will have an update with our LOA to write about very soon, the reality may be that we are in for a long, emotional and exhausting race.