Christine was driving out of the Chick-fil-A parking lot with milkshakes for the big kids when the phone rang. “Hi I’m calling for Christine – this is Lisa from Holt.” “Yes, this is Christine…” The anticipation was palpable. No one ever calls from Holt unless there’s news. “You got First Approval!” Lisa said. And the kids instantly screamed with excitement. Christine couldn’t believe it. It just never felt like it would ever happen. We’ve been waiting a year now for this news. Praying each night of each board meeting, twice a month, every month, for a year, that we would receive First Approval so we could bring Sunny home. And today is the day!
First Approval sounds like it should be one of the early steps in the process, but really it should be called Final Approval because it’s the last phase of this adoption process! The Thai board meets twice a month to review families’ dossiers. They look over the dossier (30+ pages) and make sure all of our paperwork is complete and in order. Our dossier was sent to Thailand in March 2021, so we have been waiting an entire year for this approval. Words can’t describe the relief we feel to know we are finally moving forward in the process and no longer hold our breath during each board meeting. The emotional roller coaster that is waiting for board approval is…exhausting. We know several families who have been waiting just as long or even longer for approval and feel their anguish with each board meeting that passes. Please pray for our fellow adoptive families also waiting that they too will receive approval soon to bring their children home.
Now we will file a few more documents for USCIS approval. This last round of paperwork usually takes a few months, so our adoption agency is anticipating a June travel date. Of course, we’re also slated to move this summer for our next Marine Corps adventure, so we have a lot of logistics to sort through. Thankfully, after countless military moves and mounds of paperwork over the last two years in this adoption process, we feel confident we can handle the trip to Thailand around the same time as a relocation. It will be extra paperwork once we move across state lines to update our homestudy (which includes unexpected new costs), but we are ready to complete the requirements as quickly as we can. We will have a lot to organize on the front and back end of the trip, or the move, or both, but we are ready and prepared. If anyone can handle it, it’s a Marine Corps family.
The Thai orphanages do not tell children about their adoptive families until after First Approval, so this entire year of praying and waiting for Sunny, he has not known about us. We are so thankful that he may be going to bed tonight knowing he finally has a family ready to bring him home. We can’t wait for him to see our photos and read our letters and know that he is loved and wanted and cared for. This will be a time of excitement, but also grief for Sunny. We know his world will be turned upside down and he’ll have to say goodbye to everyone he knows and loves – not a small feat for anyone, much less a seven year old boy. We hold him close in our heart and pray for him during this undoubtedly bittersweet time. Adoption is a long, difficult, complex road of emotions and suffering and growth, but we are ready to be there through it all for Sunny. And now we are steps closer to bringing him home – praise God.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but longing fulfilled is the tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12